Upon arrival at the airport we noticed the reps ushering all the people to their booths for visa payment trying to get them to ignore the bank tills to which are a lot cheaper, £10 at the bank and up to £15 pp at the booths, what we noticed there were huge queues at the banks and you could wait up to ½ hour or more to go through. What we did is negotiated with them and got the cost down to £12 pp rather than queue up at the bank
Our Hotel The Aladdin beach (separate review) was about 7Km away from the town, what we did notice was the huge amount of building works that were stopped because of the recession and it looks like one big unfinished building site. The main town had the usual shops to which you barter for everything. The town was very quiet and everyone was telling us this is the worst they have known it nearly 50% down on tourists.
There seems to be 4 parts to the town, down town to which is for the locals, new town to which seems to be the old town but tarted up a bit, the touristy bit where Mac Donald’s and Rock cafe is and the Marina to which is grossly overpriced. Must admit we preferred the new town where we found some great restaurants and bars.
Be careful of the con men someone stopped us to ask if we can change 10 £1 coins for 2 EP£50 notes, what they do is change what you gave them to a 50 Piastres note (50p) and say you gave the wrong note. We nearly got caught out when I noticed him giving his partner my money and changing it the lower value note.
After an argument and he accused us of drinking we told them that we were going to the police, after a few paces down the road and speaking to a shop keeper to ask him what sort of note we had one of the guys come running up and apologized and gave us our money back, seems like they don’t like the police being involved. Worst thing about it we walked down the street a few days later and the same people tried to do it again, after a very short response and telling them what they can do with it they backed down, so be careful of people offering to change money.
We took 2 trips the glass bottom boat to which we found was a waste of time as you can see more around the hotel beach and the safari on the quad bikes which was great fun, but again there was a lack of people only 15 in our group and it finished 1 ½ hours early.
Obviously we never see Hurghada at its best, a lot of places shut down even the casino seems like the place was in a bit of decline but then again I think you could say that about most holidat destinations nowadays.