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Tips & General Advice

SUBJECTS ARE IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER, FOLLOWING ON FROM THE BRIEF INTRODUCTION ABOUT SHARM, WITH PHOTOS.

Sharm is a man-made sea-side resort, about 40 mins end to end, by taxi & is divided into 3 main areas where there are shops, bars & restaurants, namely the up & coming Nabq (a long main street with shops, hotels & development ongoing) Na’ama Bay (built in the 1990s & considered by some as the centre) & the Ras Um Sid / Hadaba area, where the “old” market is situated. It’s only “old” in comparison to Na’ama as that area was built in the 1980s. Hotels situated in other parts of Sharm may not have many facilities within walking distance so visitors will have to travel into one of the areas named above.

Na’ama Bay photos:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Old Market, Hadaba / Ras Um Sid area.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

A few of Nabq

…photobucket.com/albums/…

In addition to these 3 established areas, there is also:

New complex, Soho Square, White Knight’s Bay, Sharm (near the Savoy hotel & airport) This is more “up-market” than the rest of Sharm & prices reflect this.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

ADAPTERS:- Voltage 220v & 2 pin, round plugs, European adapters. http://www.nileflower.com/electric_01.html

ACTIVITIES IN RESORT:-

*Bowling Alley , Na’ama Bay – Opens at 7pm. It’s on Abdullah Street; stand with your back to Hard Rock Café, look right & see the fork in the road. Take the left hand fork, past a perfume shop & Pioneer Property & go a little way up there; it’s on the right, past the Abdullah Supermarket.

Photo link:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

…photobucket.com/albums/…

…photobucket.com/albums/…

* Bowling at Soho Square, White Knight’s Bay, near the Savoy Hotel, near the airport.

*Concorde El Salam Hotel has ice skating.

* Soho Square has a skating rink.

Photo link to Soho Square pics:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

*Magic Life, Concorde El Salam & Sofitel have stables. The horses are not in bad condition. The hard hats may not be up to the standard of the ones used in the UK.

*Camel Rides & horse rides can also be arranged through local vendors but please be aware that the animals may not be in the condition / surroundings which you would hope them to enjoy in the UK.

* Paintballing in La Strada & children’s craft days on Saturdays afternoons.

*Extreme Park - by Ghibili Raceway Karting (between the airport & Na’ama Bay) - bungee jumping and rocket, archery, trampolines, KTM bikes, inflatable games etc and a pool for relaxing in between activities.

* Fit & Fun Centre - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k274…

*Ghibli Raceway Karting between the airport & Na’ama Bay. (see “KARTING”)http://www.ghibliraceway.com/

*KTM Enduro – up the road in Na’ama that points to Cleopark, off Peace Road (the main road)

* Noos Karting near the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Ras Um Sid as well. http://www.nooskarting.com/ but they don’t seem to be so well known on the forum.

AIRPORT SCAMS – see “ENTRAPMENT PLOYS”:

AIRPORT TRANSFERS – see “TAXIS” & “TRANSFERS”:

AIRPORT WEBSITE - http://sharm-el-sheikh.airport-authority.com/

Tel: +2 069 360 11 40, +2 069 360 03 02, +2 069 360 03 49, +2 069 360 05 30

ALF LEILA WA LEILA – see “NIGHTLIFE”

ANTINAL – see “UPSET TUMMY”

ARABIC PHRASES:-

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k138… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294205-i9426-k125… & nileflower.com/arabic_travel_phrases_01.html

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k255…

ATMs – WHICH CARDS ARE ACCEPTED? See also “CURRENCY & TIPPING”:- Master Card, Master Card Electron , Maestro , Visa , Visa Electron , Cirrus , Plus , Amex , Diners Club International , 123 , CSC Network , NAPS , SUDAPAN & Benefit. ATM locators - http://visa.via.infonow.net/locator/global/ & mastercard.com/uk/…index.html &http://www.visaeurope.com/personal/findacashmachine/main.jsp

AVERAGE SEA & AIR TEMPERATURES THRU THE YEAR – see also “SUNRISE & SUNSET”:-

Remember that air temps are representative of the temp in the shade! To convert Celsius temperatures into Fahrenheit: Multiply the Celsius temperature by 9 divide by 9 +32.

TIPS FOR COPING WITH HEAT:- Watch alcohol intake, don’t eat heavy meals, drink lots of bottled water, take rehydration sachets with you (Dioralyte from Boots, Tesco etc) use Aloe Vera gel on sunburn (from health shops) & maybe Magi Cool will help children (google it). It’s good for itching (incl. insect bites), prickly heat, sunburn / minor burns, heat exhaustion, hot flushes, first aid. You can get magi cool in most chemists, Boots etc. & you can now get one that instantly removes the heat out of too much sunburn. There are also cooling patches, with a soothing gel, that relieve headaches & fevers, which may be useful for children.

Drink plenty of water, at least 1 litre per 50lbs / 22.70kgs of body weight.

AVERAGE AIR TEMPS (in the shade):

Jan - 20°

Feb – 21-22°

Mar - 24°

Apr – 27° - 28°

May – 32°

June – 35°

July – 38° - 45°

Aug – 45° - 50°

Sept – 34°

Oct – 31°

Nov – 26°-27°

Dec – 21°-25°

AVERAGE WATER TEMPS:

January - 18°

February – 20°

March -20°

April – 21°

May – 22°

June – 25°

July – 29°

August – 28°

September – 27°

October -24°

November -22°

December - 18°

HOW TO CHECK THE WEATHER:- Check out this site. In the middle of the page (History & Almanac) you can put in any date from 1996 and it will give you the weather on that given day/week/month

wunderground.com/global/stations/62460.html (http://www.wunderground.com if you want to check another destination)

www.weather2Travel.com is also good & can tell you humidity, hrs of sunshine etc.

5 day forecast here: …mydestinationinfo.com/en/sharm-el-sheikh-we…

SANDSTORMS:- The sand storm season is Feb-April. The storms occur once or twice a month & last for a couple of days each time. They are worst in Upper Egypt (Aswan & Luxor) & the Western Desert Oases but Cairo can be quite “smoggy”; even more than usual with its pollution. Sinai is not usually affected but it can be.

SUNRISE & SUNSET TIMES: - http://www.gaisma.com/en/dir/eg-country.html www.gaisma.com/en/location/sarm-as-sayh.html

…weather.com/climate/annualClimo-Sharm-el-Sh…

AVON SKIN SO SOFT – see “MOSQUIOTOES”.

BABIES:- There are baby products in supermarkets but they may not be your preferred brands.

BARS WITH SPORTS TVs – see also “RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS & BARS” & “NIGHTLIFE”

There are many, many bars offering this; here are just a few.

NA’AMA BAY

Camel Bar

Tavern Bar

Fifty Bar (on the prom, under the Red Sea Dive School)

NABQ

St George’s Bar (opposite the Jasmine Centre)

La Strada area

SOHO SQUARE

Queen Victoria Pub

RAS UM SID / HADABA / OLD SHARM

Please be careful about restaurants & bars who don’t display the menu & prices as they are likely to overcharge, even just for drinks.

BEACHES (public):

tripadvisor.co.uk/…17006900 & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k2… & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k1…

BOAT TRIPS - see “EXCURSIONS” & “PRIVATE BOATS”

BOWLING - see “ACTIVITIES” (bowling allies in Na’ama Bay & Soho Square)

CAIRO - see “EXCURSIONS” & “COMPARING CAIRO with LUXOR for a DAY TRIP”

CAMEL RIDES (in Sharm & in Cairo):- Local vendors will be able to arrange this & there maybe the odd camel by the shops in various parts of Sharm on which you can pay to sit & be lead.

If considering doing a camel ride near the pyramids at Giza please check on the Cairo forum for the latest prices & do not give anyone (e.g. tourist police or camel handler) your camera to take photos of you as they will usually want a tip to give it back.

Please be aware that some animals may not be in the condition in which you would wish to see them.

CANOES – see “WATERSPORTS”.

CAR HIRE:- It is possible but the driving is rather erratic & it’s not uncommon to have taxi drivers around at night without headlamps on! Taxis are cheap & plentiful so it’s recommended, overall, to hire a taxi & driver for the day. They are in fierce competition so will be eager to strike a deal. Hone up your haggling skills! If you find a driver with whom you are happy, you may wish to book him for the duration of your stay. Many drivers are happy for this & will also accompany you around the shops / Old Market to help ward of hassle if you’re not very confident.

There are numerous check points within Sinai, manned by tourist police who may or may not choose to be awkward with tourist drivers & can still be so with their own countrymen.

If you insist on driving there are several websites with car hire firms for Sharm.

CHEMISTS – see “PHARMACIES”

CHILD-FRIENDLY BARS & RESTAURANTS:- Egyptians love children & they are warmly welcomed everywhere.

CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES – see “FIT & FUN CENTRE” under “ACTIVITIES”

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR:- The weather is usually 21-25C in the day, with low humidity & sometimes a breeze; this is often welcome in the day but can be quite cool at night. The sun is warm enough to sunbathe by about 8.30am & goes in at 4pm.

It’s dark by 5.30-6pm & then you need to start putting on 1 or 2 extra layers, depending how much you feel the cold. Eve temps vary; we’ve known 13-19 degrees by about 9pm. It’s bikini weather in the day, (occasionally there will be a cloudy day or partially cloudy day).

Most hotels have heated pools (although folk who go in ours seem to wince as they get in!) There are people in the sea & all trips are running as normal.

The resort & hotels are all beautifully decorated in festive mode & they make much of 24th & 31st Dec with Gala Dinners / buffets in the hotels. Folk tend to dress up a bit for this; especially NY eve, when the hotels really go to town with the buffets. Local restaurants have special menus too. Hotels make more of an effort with the NY entertainment on this night; normally hotel entertainment is quite dire but it’s passable on NY eve! Xmas day is quiet so we usually book a trip.

For earlier in Dec or later in Jan, adjust the times I’ve given slightly & maybe even the temps by a degree or so.

CIGARETTES & SMOKING:- Generally speaking smoking is permitted in bars / restaurants / public places but there are some restrictions in certain establishments & each hotel will have their own policies regarding where one can & can’t smoke within the complex / rooms.

Please be aware that there are many fake cigarettes in Sharm & you may also not be able to obtain your own preferred brand.

CLOTHING – see “RECOMMENDED ATTIRE”

CLUBS – see “NIGHTLIFE”

COLOURED CANYON – see “EXCURSIONS”

COMPARING CAIRO WITH LUXOR FOR A DAY TRIP:- This question crops up quite a lot; these threads may help you choose which day trip is for you. Cairo’s pyramids are from an earlier part of history than the tombs & temples of Karnak & Luxor; both are fascinating in their individual ways. Check out several photo links in the 1st reply of the 1st link from Cairo, inside pyramids, Giza suburbs, Luxor & Karnak Temples. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k352… Sharm_El_Sheikh_South_Sinai_Red_Sea_and_Sinai.html & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k3… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k201… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k198… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k200… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k201… &

COMPLAINTS:- Making a complaint - http://www.cpa.gov.eg/english/contacts.htm

Egyptian State Tourist Office,

Egyptian House,

3rd floor,

170 Piccadilly,

London W1J 9EJ

Tel: 020 7493 5283 Fax: 020 7408 0295 Email: info.uk@egypt.travel

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt - United Kingdom

26 South Street,

London W1Y 6DD,

Telephone number: (020) 7499 3304. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (10.00 am to 3.00 pm during Ramadan).

Egyptian Consulate - United Kingdom

2 Lowndes Street,

London

SW1X 9ET, Telephone number: (020) 7235 9777.

Website: www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 12.30 pm (lodging applications), 2.30 am to 4.00 pm (visa collection). Email: info@egyptianconsulate.co.uk

British Embassy in Cairo,

7, Ahmed Ragheb Street,

Garden City,

Cairo. Tel: 0020 227 916 000 http://ukinegypt.fco.gov.uk/en/

CORAL:- Please be respectful of the marine life & don’t stand on the coral.....even if others (including locals) do! Please see the section on “FISH” below.

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k1… & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k1…

CURRENCY & TIPPING:-

* The local money is “Livres Egyptiennes”, which translates as “Egyptian pounds”, & is shown as “L.E.” for short.

* There is a limit of 5,000LE which may be taken in & out of the country.

* The exchange rate is about 10% better in Egypt than at home & one can check the daily rates in Egypt on any one of the following sites: www.luxortraveltips.com & http://www.cbe.org.eg/ & http://www.nbe.com.eg/en/ExchangeRate.aspx & http://coinmill.com/EGP_calculator.html#GBP=1

* Denominations of LE notes are: 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 & 1 & there is also a 1LE coin. Each L.E. is made up of 100 piastres; they come in coins & notes. Take care not to confuse the notes with L.E. & check change carefully as this is a known scam.

* Small denomination notes of L.E. can sometimes be hard to obtain & you won’t get any in the U.K. if you choose to exchange a small amount before you go. There is an exchange facility at Sharm airport & you may be able to obtain some there.

* Small notes are handy for tipping.

* Some hotels have atms in the grounds & there are several around the resort.

* There are banks in Na’ama Bay on His Majesty the King of Bahrain Street where one can exchange traveller’s cheques.

* Don’t flash hard currency about; pay in local. If you use dollars, Euros or sterling, you leave yourself open to be ripped off re: exchange rates. They believe that all the tourists are rich & seeing hard currency in use only re-enforces this belief. They always ask you what currency you’re using, in the hope that you say “dollars” or “sterling”!

* Be careful when paying by card as some posters have reported fraud / double transactions & also spasmodic fraudulent problems with atms.

* Don’t take Scottish notes! You can’t exchange them.

*Cards accepted include: Master Card, Master Card Electron , Maestro , Visa , Visa Electron , Cirrus , Plus , Amex , Diners Club International , 123 , CSC Network , NAPS , SUDAPAN & Benefit.

* ATM locators - …infonow.net/locator/…SearchPage.jsp & mastercard.com/uk/…index.html &http://www.visaeurope.com/personal/findacashmachine/main.jsp

TIPPING:- People report differing experiences on the locals’ expectations of tips. I think the majority’s opinion would be: If you receive good service, then tip, if you don’t, then don’t tip. If you want to tip a little as you go along (to ensure good service) then do so; it’s up to you although others will disagree as it can lead to expectations that all tourists will do this.

There have been debates on the forum about which currency to use for tipping. It’s another emotive subject so I will try to put forward what I’ve understood to be the majority’s point of view.

Where possible, tip in local currency. They do accept dollar notes & £1 coins & Euro coins but will have to save them up & ask a tourist to exchange them for local notes, as they can’t get them changed any other way. The wages are low & £1 is quite a lot to them (about a day’s wages). This over-inflates their economy & makes a mockery of what a waiter will then have earned in comparison to a city Dr. or teacher, for e.g. It also increases the expectation of high tips.

Small denomination notes are sometimes hard to come by in Egypt so it may be that you feel obliged to tip the bell boys in another currency at the start of your hols. When you get some small notes; hang on to them! Generally, don’t tip if you don’t want to! The Brits are perceived as being softies.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294200-c94591/Egypt:…

DEAD SEA – see “EXCURSIONS”

DENTISTS – There are several clinics in resort. Search online with YellowPages.com.eg; this is a useful directory for all sorts of enquiries.

DIARRHOEA – see “UPSET TUMMY”

DOCTORS – Hotels usually have a Dr on site or on call 24/7. See “HOSPITAL” section below.

DOLPHINS – see also “EXCURSIONS”:-

* Dolphins ~ Dolphinella in Sharm is not popular on the forum; this link will explain why: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k151…

* Dolphin trip to Eilat, Israel - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297551-i9496-k176… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297557-i9295-k114…

People have been fortunate enough to see dolphins when out on boat trips; it’s not guaranteed though.

DRESS CODE – see “RECOMMENDED ATTIRE”

DUTY FREE SHOPS – Allowances & Legal Drinking age

* Egypt’s duty free shops - http://www.egyptfreeshops.com/index.htm

The duty free shops in Na’ama & Old Sharm are quite basic, I’m told (not been, personally). Directions for the one in Na’ama are as follows: Find the street with the Camel Bar on it - everyone knows it, it's called His Majesty the King of Bahrain St. Have the Camel Bar on your left & walk up the road. When you get to the T junction (you will have just come up the "stem") you'll be staring at the side wall of Jolie Ville Resort & Casino & their Italian restaurant, Zigolini's is upper level, with a jeweller, bank & perfume shop underneath. On your immediate left, on that corner, is Dananeer Steak House. Turn left & keep looking left; past Romeo jewellers & a little further on, still on the left, is the Duty Free. It's barely 2mins from when you stand staring at Jolie Ville. You must take your passport & you have to go within 48hrs of arriving in Sharm.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Flying from outside the EU to the UK (w.e.f. 1st Jan ’10) taxfreetravel.com/…20Allowances

If you are flying into the EU from outside the Euro Zone you are allowed to bring in the following, from January 1st 2010, provided you travel with the items and do not intend to sell them.

• 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of tobacco

• 4 litres of still table wine

• 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume or 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or other liqueurs

• 16 litres of beer

• 60 cc/ml of perfume

• £390 worth of all other goods including gifts and souvenirs.

LEGAL DRINKING AGE:- 18 for beer & 21 for wines & spirits, whether purchased / consumed on or off the premises. Many hotels & restaurants don’t seem to enforce this rule.

EGYPTAIR – see “EXCURSIONS”

ENTERTAINMENT – see “NIGHTLIFE” & “ACTIVITIES in RESORT”.

ENTRAPMENT PLOYS & POSSIBLE SCAMS (taxis, shops, perfume & oils cigarettes, fraudulent atms, timeshare & airport / luggage)

The vendors can be a bit pushy - you must be prepared to haggle hard & try to look out for the "entrapment" ploys such as "Can I ask you a question?" "We've just opened a new shop & have a sale on, come & look". "Will you sign my guest book for other customers to read?" or “Please will you translate something for me?” It's all harmless but you can get caught up for some time!

They'll want to offer you drinks like mint tea in many of the shops, if you seem genuinely interested, or go back for a 2nd look.

The restaurants will also hassle you for their custom as competition between all shops & bars is strong due to the similarity of many. Quite a few have a “front man” who stands outside & encourages people to come inside. Some people cope with this better than others but fore-warned is fore-armed.

If anyone feels threatened or intimidated, say that you will call the tourist police / report it to the rep / hotel….& MEAN it! They & the government is well aware that Egypt relies on tourism heavily, so please report anything untoward to them.

Carry your hotel number & tourist police number in your phone: Police is: - 0020 693 660 311

This link may help re: how to handle the hassle from shopkeepers: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k166…

& reply number 12 on tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k3…

*Bargain for *everything*; haggle hard, including taxis - even to the point of pretending to walk away.

* Wear sunglasses in the day & don’t give too much eye contact.

* Be polite, yet firm & say, “No thanks” or “La Shukran” (which means, “No Thanks”)

*A smile goes a long way & the Egyptians have a great sense of humour.

*Don’t go down the little side streets or in the souks till you feel more confident; sales pressure is higher in these parts.

*If you’re not keen on the hassle / haggle idea, stick to the supermarkets or the 3 fixed-price shops (all called “Aladin’s Cave”) on His Majesty, the King of Bahrain Street in Na’ama Bay. Supermarkets are usually fixed-price.

*Check your change thoroughly as there have been scams reported involving small denomination notes being switched for large one. There have also been comments about being careful when asked to change coins as the new 1LE coin looks like a Euro at 1st glance.

*Taxis will ask the most ridiculous prices, especially at the airport on arrival. There are governmet stated prices that apply round Sharm & they are up on boards here & there. This link will show you what they are; check for updates:

members.virtualtourist.com/m/53487/1e93d1/9/

*Some of the perfumes are fakes, as are some of the cigarettes.

*Some of the oils in the perfume palaces are watered down.

*Timeshare scams! - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k200…

*Jewellery: be very wary if buying so-called precious / semi-precious stones out there. Some people have been caught out. Be wary of shoddy workmanship if having something made. Don’t pay for the finished product if you’re not happy with it.

* tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294200-i9124-k171… &

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294200-i9124-k2…

*Possible airport scams:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k650…

&

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k199… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k210… & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k6… (coral & visa scams)

N.B. - If you are charged for supposedly overweight luggage & are not happy about it, insist on a receipt with a view to making an official complaint to the airline &/or:

Egyptian State Tourist Office,

Egyptian House,

3rd floor,

170 Piccadilly,

London W1J 9EJ

Tel: 020 7493 5283 Fax: 020 7408 0295 Email: info.uk@egypt.travel

Other useful addresses:

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt - United Kingdom

26 South Street,

London W1Y 6DD,

Telephone number: (020) 7499 3304. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (10.00 am to 3.00 pm during Ramadan).

Egyptian Consulate - United Kingdom

2 Lowndes Street,

London

SW1X 9ET, Telephone number: (020) 7235 9777.

Website: www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 12.30 pm (lodging applications), 2.30 am to 4.00 pm (visa collection). Email: info@egyptianconsulate.co.uk

British Embassy in Cairo,

7, Ahmed Ragheb Street,

Garden City,

Cairo. Tel: 0020 227 916 000 http://ukinegypt.fco.gov.uk/en/

Making a complaint - http://www.cpa.gov.eg/english/contacts.htm

ENTRY VISA –see “VISAS”

EXCHANGE RATE – see also “CURRENCY”:- The exchange rate is about 10% better in Egypt than at home & one can check the daily rates in Egypt on any one of the following sites: www.luxortraveltips.com & http://www.cbe.org.eg/ & http://www.nbe.com.eg/en/ExchangeRate.aspx & http://coinmill.com/EGP_calculator.html#GBP=1

EXCURSIONS, INSURANCE & HOW TO BOOK:-

Please ensure that you’re aware of the suitable dress code when out of resort, plus comfortable footwear for places like Cairo & Luxor (dusty, uneven ground) or on trips where you may be doing quite a lot of walking:

* Please ensure that you have adequate insurance if travelling out of Egypt to Jordan or Israel.

* Some people choose to book thru their tour operator, at the Welcome meeting, for peace of mind, should anything go wrong (especially on the trips out of Egypt to Israel or Jordan) others book thru the hotel, on arrival, or there are plenty of tour operators in Sharm. The latter 2 alternatives are cheaper, but it's entirely up to you. You can also book thru any tour op, even if you haven’t travelled with them....ie, if you’re there with Thomas Cook, you can book trips with Thomson or Longwood, for eg.

* Some people book the Cairo & Luxor trips before travelling to Sharm by using the Egyptair website. One should click on the Egyptian flag, thereby showing Egypt as your home country, as it will secure the best deal. Then you must arrange a guide. A recommended list (by TA posters) can be found in the Cairo & Luxor forums. tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294201-c85398/Cairo:…

Use the search engine to research the names further to see who was happy & who wasn’t.

* Keep an eye on this for updates: tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g294201-c85221/Cair…

* Some people book online using one of the local tour ops who happen to have a website. Some of the prices quoted on the forum (from the websites) are not that much cheaper than the tour reps such as Thomson, Thomas Cook etc. If you wait until in resort you can shop around & haggle for the best deal. You can also see the people face to face & trust your intuition as to whom to book with. There are countless local vendors, all competing for custom, all selling the same trips, so they will try & accommodate the customers as best they can. Please bear in mind that cheapest isn’t always best though! Useful link below:

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294205-i9426-k3…

TRIPS:

*CAIRO ~ Cairo is about an hour from Sharm by plane or 6-7 hrs by coach each way. This starts at about midnight, travel all thru the night, see Cairo & travel back till about midnight. You can take the hotel pillow & sleep on the coach.

The Giza Plateau opens at 0800 and closes at 1700. Itinerary usually includes Giza Plateau, museum, mosque(s), Khan El Khalili Bazaar (bargain hard here!), papyrus & perfume factories (the guide will take commission on any sales so they’re not the cheapest places), maybe a felucca (boat) ride on the Nile.

The price to see the solar boat, on the Giza Plateau is about 50LE.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

www.touregyptphotos.com/showphoto.php… – pic of someone inside the 2nd pyramid. There is often a constant stream of people going in & out along that same route.

Please be aware that it can be very stuffy inside the pyramids; if you are claustrophobic or have trouble bending to walk about 70 paces, then stand upright for a short way, then bend & walk for about another 70 paces, entering a pyramid may not be for you. Cameras must be left outside with the guards.

Pics of Giza Plateau & inside the Great Pyramid (pics are not usually allowed in any of the 3 unless you pay for private time, which is expensive.)

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Approx prices: - Giza Plateau 60le, Enter Great Pyramid 100le, Enter Second Pyramid 30le, Enter Third Pyramid 25le, Museum 60le, Mummy Rooms 100le.

Only a certain number of visitors are allowed in the Great Pyramid per morning & afternoon.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294201-c85221/Cairo:…

Don’t give anyone your camera to take a photo of you as they will want a tip to give it back; this includes the tourist police who will ask for a tip just for you to take pics of them!

Vendors & small Bedouin children will try & sell you their wares; it can be a little tedious! Don’t accept anything for free as they will return later & ask for money.

If you want a ride on a camel or horse by the pyramids, ensure that your guide negotiates a good rate for you & check the going rate on the Cairo forum before you go so that you know if the guide is being fair with you.

Cairo / Giza are very different from Sharm & some people are shocked by the poverty in the suburbs, the pollution in Cairo & rubbish around. You may see animals transported & treated in a way which is not what you would wish to witness.

Suburbs near Giza: …photobucket.com/albums/…

SOME TOUR OPERATORS WILL OFFER 2 DAYS IN CAIRO

*LUXOR– about 50 mins by plane (not available by road). Usual itinerary is Collosi of Memnon, Hatchepsut’s Temple in the Valley of the Queens, nobles’ tombs, Valleys of Kings, Luxor & Karnak Temples, alabaster factory (won’t be the cheapest place as the guide will take commissions on sales here).

The tombs & temples here are slightly more recent than the pyramid age.

A few pics near the Valley of the Kings, including the Colossi of Memnon

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Karnak Temple near Luxor

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Luxor Temple

…photobucket.com/albums/…

* PETRA (in Jordan; obtain visa for Jordan when you land at their airport; it’s around £15) About an hour by plane.

Please remember that Jordan is a Muslim country & suitable clothing should be worn. Petra is a long, tiring day, but awesome. We went once in March (nice & warm) & once in Dec; rather cold & many of us bought extra layers at the 1st comfort stop!

You need a visa on arrival in Jordan; the Jordanian guide will sort that. They’re about £15 or so.

You will be collected early for a 6pm flight, then it's about 2.5 hr by coach to Petra, incl. a comfort stop or 2. There are a few shops which you get to see on the way out of Petra but there is probably time to grab a drink.

The walk into the heart of Petra is quite long...at least an hour or so; wear comfortable shoes. There are kaleshes (horse & carriage) & horses, but it's all a bit mad & rickety! In any case, you want to hear what the guide is saying on the way in & to look around / up.

The rocks get pinker as you get more towards the centre, where the Treasury is. It's absolutely amazing, as are the other ruined buildings in the vicinity, round to the right, which aren't ever mentioned, really.

You can't go far into the Treasury....it's not like in the Indiana Jones's film! (“The Last Crusade”)

There are camels to sit on, if you want, just to have a photo taken.

You walk round to the right, to see the other parts, incl ancient theatre ruins & then have some Bedouin tea. Bedouin kids try to sell you stones / rocks. The guides will ask you to ignore them as they don't want the Bedouins, or anyone, continuously chipping away at the place.

I suppose you could get a horse or carriage back if you wanted as you retrace your steps to exit the place.

After a look around the shops, you go for lunch (nice hotel, armed guards outside, but it's only for your own safety)

Quick drive round Aqaba, then flight home.

*JERUSALEM & THE DEAD SEA. (No visa req’d but border fees payable)

These day trips are all long but brilliant.

Start at about 1a.m., go thru all the day ahead & return at anything from 11pm that night to 1a.m the following day.

Please ensure that you have knees, shoulders & chest covered (males & females) for Holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem etc. Comfortable footwear is a good idea.

LADIES: - When leaving the Ladies' Western Wall, please be aware that it's respectful not to turn your back on the wall till you're a certain distance away. Take your cue from other ladies around you & back-track as far as possible.

* DEAD SEA:- (Sometimes combined with the Jerusalem trip, sometimes sold as a separate trip. These are details as tho it’s a separate trip)

Drive through the Arava valley and Negev Desert to Masada, a mountain-top fortress in the midst of the desert overlooking the Dead Sea; famous as the last stronghold of the rebels against the Romans.

Ascend by cable car to visit the ruins, including King Herod’s winter palace, the synagogue, living quarters, bakery & hot baths with spectacular mosaics, whilst re-living the tragic story, with explanations from your guide.

Continue along the shores of the Dead Sea to Kibbutz Ein Gedi for a buffet lunch, then on to the Ein Gedi Spa to relax in the sulphur pools at the lowest point on earth.

Cover yourself with the famous therapeutic black mud of the Dead Sea, & spend the afternoon experiencing the unique floating sensation unique to the Dead Sea.

* QUAD BIKES: i.e. quad biking at sunset, in the desert, or quad biking by day, incl. BBQ (buy a Bedouin scarf at the local supermarket to wrap round your mouth - very very dusty!) Wear older clothes for these trips & wrap up for the sunset trip in cooler months. They’ll usually sell you goggles at the venue. They’ll do a DVD of the trip, which you can buy after – ours (sunset trip) was excellent. Both are great trips. Thomson & other reps have an age limit of 16 but local vendors / hotels will allow younger children on board, alone or behind a parent. If the trip goes thru part of Ras Mohammed National Park, strictly speaking, you need a visa although they don’t always ask to see it.

Local vendors charge about £15 & may ask that you sign a disclaimer re: insurance or they may say that you’re covered.....this is not usually the case!

Don’t book with any firm that doesn’t provide hard helmets.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

* N.B. Make sure you have adequate insurance cover for “risky” sports on the 250cc quads. Problems with quad accidents & lack of insurance by local vendors has been highlighted on TV & not just for Egypt;

Check out any of these:

insuremore.co.uk

www.travelinsuranceweb.com

Endsleigh ins.

www.moneysupermarket.com/insurance ,

http://www.sportplan.net/userapp/pages/travelInsurance.jsp?sport=Quad+Biking ,

jsinsurance.co.uk/travel_insurance/quad-biki… ,

rush2go.co.uk/insurance/travelinsurance.asp

the-insurance-surgery.co.uk/…

www.ecclesiastical.com

Columbus

*STARGAZING in the desert - looking at stars thru proper equipment, have a BBQ meal & listen to the local guide explain about the constellations. If you’re going in slightly cooler months, wrap up for that trip, or sunset quad trip, as the desert gets very cool!!!

* SEASCOPE - half day trip in a boat which has a lower deck under water, & the walls are all see-thru', so you can see everything, close at hand. Ideal for children or those who don’t dive / snorkel.

*JEEP SAFARI– not done it, so can’t comment on it, except that, as with quads, ladies are advised to wear a sports bra! Here’s a link to an old post about it tho: tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k7… Off road through the mountains, in valleys & along the coast. Lunch & soft drinks are usually provided & conclude with shopping in Dahab.

* There's a long but good day trip to MOUNT SINAI & ST. CATHERINE’S MONASTERY - (see the burning bush & cow carved in the rock, dating back to Moses's time) You’ll visit Dahab on the way back. This is also a diving resort & not as commercialized or large as Na’ama Bay. Be prepared to witness the poverty of the Bedouins. Children will beg for chocolate, pens, chewing gum & sweets in general.

Bedouins will try & sell geodes / crystals cut out of the Sinai mountains & the Bedouin scarves as well as little bracelets & trinkets.

St. Catherine’s Monastery photos:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

* CLIMB MOUNT SINAI at night, so you can see the sunrise. Can be a bit cool, even in summer months & it’s a l..o..n..g hike (about 3.5 hrs); camels are available.

Photos by poster Chatterbox of Climbing Mount Sinai:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Slideshow by poster ScottieDog73

…photobucket.com/albums/…

* There are BOAT TRIPS to RAS MOHAMMED NATIONAL PARK (visa req'd....even though they don’t always ask to see it. Some posters have had theirs checked) & you can either soak up the sun or snorkel at the 3 stops. There’s another to TIRAN ISLAND; no visa required.

* COLOURED CANYON is interesting, & like a mini-Petra, but not offered by the companies like Thomson as the ground is so uneven. Here is a link about it:

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k1…

& pics:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

*EVENING BOAT TRIPS around the bay with a meal on board.

* SAND BUGGIES~ They go at around same speed as quads. You have a full harness to strap you in. Longwoods have something called “off road buggies” (as well as quads) so maybe they're similar. Longwood Office is in shopping mall 8 (upstairs) in Na'ama Bay, next to Jolie Ville Resort & Casino, on the main rd thru Na'ama. Check your insurance as with quads!

DOLPHINS: -

* Dolphins ~ Dolphinella in Sharm is not popular on the forum; this link will explain why: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k151…

* Dolphin trip to Eilat, Israel - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297551-i9496-k176… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297557-i9295-k114… People have been fortunate enough to see dolphins when out on boat trips; it’s not guaranteed though.

* BEDOUIN DINNER – Bedouin style dinner is served in a candle-lit tent with an Oriental show as entertainment.

* SUNSET CAMEL TRIP – Ride camels in the desert, watch the beautiful sunset & sample mint tea in the Bedouin tents. (Please note that some animals may not be in the condition in which you wish to see them). If planning on riding one on the Giza Plateau, check on the Cairo forum for the going rate so you don’t pay over the odds; same with horse rides at the pyramids.

*HORSE RIDING – Horse riding in the desert on Arabian horses; sample mint tea in the Bedouin tents. (Please note that some animals may not be in the condition in which you wish to see them) The hard hats (if offered!) may not be up to the standard of the ones in the UK. If planning on riding one on the Giza Plateau, check on the Cairo forum for the going rate so you don’t pay over the odds; same with camel rides at the pyramids.

* ABU GALUM & THE BLUE HOLE – Early morning trip to Dahab; the Bedouin town, less commercialised than Sharm, for snorkelling at the Blue Hole. You can ride a camel to Abu Galum where you can swim & have lunch. Shopping in Dahab then follows.

*TABA, PHARAONE ISLAND & DAHAB – Early drive to Taba, transfer to the Pharaonic Island, visit the fortress of Salah-el-Deen. Lunch at Nuweiba & then onto Dahab for shopping.

EXTREME PARK – see “ACTIVITIES”

FAKE DESIGNER GOODS, BAGS, SUNGLASSES etc – see also “SHOPPING”:- Plenty of places in Sharm for these. The Old Market (in the Ras Um Sid / Hadaba area) may be cheaper but it all depends on your haggling skills! The choice of goods is probably not on a par with Turkey.

FERRIES:- Don’t always run to schedule! http://www.ask-aladdin.com/ferries.html

FISH: – You don’t have to go out very far before you are among the most beautiful fish; PLEASE DON’T FEED THEM! Either when in the water, from a boat or jetty. It not their natural food (can damage their liver) & upsets the eco-system of the marine life. Apart from being illegal, it also causes the fish to associate people with food & to start taking bites out of divers & swimmers. Please be respectful of the marine life & don’t stand on the coral.....even if others (including locals) do! (please see the section on “CORAL” above.)

FISHING: - Not allowed in the waters around Sharm, but.........

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k205…

& tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k721… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k243… & tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k169…

FIT & FUN CENTRE – see “ACTIVITIES”

FIXED PRICE SHOPS – There are 3 in Na’ama Bay, all called Aladin’s Cave & all on His Majesty the King of Bahrain Street (where the Camel Bar is situated). The supermarkets are also fixed-price. Stick to these & the supermarkets of you are intimidated by the hassle from vendors. Shops in Il Mercato are also fixed price. They sell international brands but won’t be as cheap as Na’ama & Old Sharm.

SUPERMARKETS: - These are also fixed price & sell a wide variety of souvenirs. The largest one in Na’ama is on Abdullah’s Street & is called Abdullah’s Supermarket. You stand with your back to Hard Rock Café, look right & see the fork in the road.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Take the left hand fork, past a perfume shop & Pioneer Property & go a little way up there; it’s on your right. It’s not fixed price upstairs, but it’s less hassle then some shops.

Supermarkets do sell nappies & baby food but they won’t be the same brands as back home. (Search engine will help)

Please note that suntan lotion & toiletries may be surprisingly expensive in Sharm.

WARNING!!! The pavements have quite high kerbs in Na’ama &, both in Na’ama & Old Sharm, they can be uneven in places. The pavements in Old Sharm are also pretty covered in merchandise, so it can be difficult for wheelchair users, & parents with buggies, in some instances.

FORUM GUIDELINES: - With regard to posting in the forums can be found here & also appear (in brief) every time a reply box appears: tripadvisor.com/help/what_are_the_guidelines…

Self-promotion, advertisements, solicitation & SPAM are strictly prohibited online or through the Private Message system (i.e. PM system). Please report abuse via the forum support email or to one of the moderators by PM.

FORUM SEARCH ENGINE:- One can usually obtain a wide variety of opinions on most subjects (including many hotels) by connecting to previous discussions on the forum by inserting the hotel name into the forum’s search engine, above & below all topic listings, in the pale green box. Once that is done, look about a third of the way down, to where it says:

TOPIC FORUM AUTHOR POST DATE

& then look just above “POST DATE” to where it says, “Sort by”. The default setting is usually on “Relevance” but if you click the drop-down option, you will get the list sorted in “Date” order, with the most recent showing 1st.

Many people sign up just to post a review, be it good or bad. By reading the previous posts, in addition to reviews, one can often make a more informed decision & form a more rounded opinion about certain hotels.

FORUM SUPPORT:- Moderators will not answer questions online. Posters can contact them with queries by PM or by email on forumsupport@tripadvisor.com Some questions may be answered by fellow posters in this support forum: tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowForum-g1-i12105-TripAd… Questions about reviews should be addressed by email to: userreviewsupport@tripadvisor.com

GALA DINNERS – see “CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR”

GETTING MARRIED - www.creativeplannersegypt.com/page4.htm & theweddingsplace.co.uk/…

GOLF: - Available at Jolie Ville Golf Hotel in Shark’s Bay. Competition days are Wednesdays & the entry fee is about $11. Golf clubs need booking separately on your flight about 3m beforehand. Most airlines will charge for that now. Clubs can be left at the hotel golf club for the duration of the hols, after the 1st visit. Handicap cards are not normally required. Clubs can be rented.

Visitors staying at the hotel & sister hotel are privy to discounted golf fees.

Contact details of JV Golf Hotel:

Telephone: +20-69-3600635 / +20 69 3603 200

Fax: +20-69-3603225

E-mail: golfclub@golf-joliemoven.com

Email: gmgolfsharm@hotmail.com

About the Course: 18 hole course, 6585 yards, par 72, 71 rating, four tees

Who can Play: Annual memberships, daily golf, tourist groups welcome

Golf Services: Pro Shop, caddies, carts, lighted driving range, club rental, tournaments, beverage and food service on the course

Learning to Play: Golf Pro, golf academy

www.jolieville-hotels.com

N.B. A new 18 hole course is being built in the Nabq area of Sharm. http://www.golf-in-egypt.com/SinaiGolf.htm

GHIBLI RACEWAY – see “KARTING”

GIZA – see “CAIRO”

HADABA – see “OLD SHARM”.

HASSLE – see “ENTRAPMENT PLOYS”

HEALTH & SAFETY (kerbs, sites, quads, taxis, horse riding)

WARNING!!! The pavements have quite high kerbs in Na’ama &, both in Na’ama & Old Sharm, they can be uneven in places. Much of Na’ama Bay is pedestrianised. The pavements in Old Sharm are also pretty covered in merchandise, so it can be difficult for wheelchair users, & parents with buggies, in some instances.

In general, health & safety matters in Egypt are very different from the UK. The taxi drivers drive whilst talking on their mobiles, they don’t always wear seatbelts & I’ve never seen a child seat in a taxi. They drive 3 abreast on dual carriageways & often without lights at night.

The historical sites are very uneven underfoot & places like the Coloured Canyon are off-limits to tour ops like Thomson, Thomas Cook etc as it’s hard going, both underfoot & one has to climb / scramble in places. Mount Sinai is also not an easy climb & safety, by western standards, leaves a lot to be desired.

Quads (250cc) & insurance comes up a lot. People trust that their own insurance covers them (it often doesn’t) & so they forget to read the small print. They also trust that the local vendors have it.....they usually don’t & this has been highlighted on TV; not just in respect of Egypt. Accidents do happen on quads & some have been caught out by the insurance aspect.

Take extra care round some of the hotel complexes as their standards may fall short of UK expectations with balconies, the pool area etc.

HORSE RIDING – see “ACTIVITIES & “EXCURSIONS”

Hard hats (if offered) may not be up to the standard of the ones n the UK.

HOSPITALS & VISAS – see also “VISAS” – There is Sharm Medical Centre & Sharm International Hospital in between Na’ama Bay & Hadaba (Old Sharm) in the Hay el Nour district:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

There is also a Hyperbaric Chamber in Sharm El Maya (see map link above)

If you don’t have a visa but need to be transferred to a Cairo hospital or any hospital outside the Sinai region, your transfer maybe delayed until one is obtained.

There is a women’s clinic in Ras Um Sid / Hadbaba: Khazzan St. Landmark: beside the French School, Um El Sid Hill (red cross on white background).

…photobucket.com/albums/…

HOTEL DOCTORS: - Hotels usually have a Dr on site or on call 24/7

HOTEL REVIEWS:– At some point or other, most hotels will go through a “bad patch” with reviews. Broadly speaking, reviews can be either glowing or damning; not many are “middling”. One can usually obtain a more balanced approach by connecting to previous discussions on the forum by inserting the hotel name into the forum’s search engine, above & below all topic listings, in the pale green box. Once that is done, look about a third of the way down, to where it says:

TOPIC FORUM AUTHOR POST DATE

& then look just above “POST DATE” to where it says, “Sort by”. The default setting is usually on “Relevance” but if you click the drop-down option, you will get the list sorted in “Date” order, with the most recent showing 1st.

Many people sign up just to post a review, be it good or bad. By reading the previous posts, in addition to reviews, one can often make a more informed decision & form a more rounded opinion about certain hotels.

HOTEL STANDARDS & STAR RATINGS:- 5* in Egypt does not usually equate to what others perceive as 5*; it normally means a good 4* by western standards:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294200-c101366/Egypt… &

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294205-i9426-k2…

Some of the 3* hotels in the Ras Um Sid / Hadaba area of Sharm may be a disappointment if expectations are pitched rather high; please bear this in mind.

HOW TO CHECK THE WEATHER & HUMIDITY – see “AVERAGE SEA & AIR TEMPS”.

ICE BAR – SOHO SQUARE: Entrance price includes a drink.

Poster nwbs’s slide show of the Ice Bar in Soho Square.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Front of Ice Bar: - …photobucket.com/albums/…

New complex, Soho Square, White Knight’s Bay, Sharm (near the Savoy hotel & airport)

…photobucket.com/albums/…

ICE SKATING – Available in Soho Square (near the Savoy hotel, nr the airport) & also Concorde El Salam Hotel (Shark’s Bay)

INOCULATIONS – see “RECOMMENDED VACCINATIONS”

INSURANCE FOR RISKY ACTIVITIES – e.g. QUADS – see “EXCURSIONS”

INTERNET CAFÉS- There are many around Sharm & reasonably priced in comparison to the hotels. Wifi is widely available. One can usually buy a local sim card here too; see “Mobile Phones” section.

IRONS & IRONING BOARDS – Often available from hotel housekeeping.

ISRAEL – see “EXCURSIONS”

JABS – see “RECOMMENDED VACCINATIONS”

JERUSALEM – see “EXCURSIONS”

JET SKIS – see also “WATERPARKS” & “WATERSPORTS” – Jet skis are illegal because of the marine life & coral.

JEWELLERY:- There are countless jewellery shops in Sharm selling silver, white gold & yellow gold (18ct). All my jewellery has been verified & valued back in the UK & is worth more than I paid for it but some people have had bad experiences. Be very wary about buying supposed precious stones out there; some have been fakes. Be wary about shoddy workmanship if having something made; don’t pay unless you’re 100% happy with the finished product. Shop around & haggle hard! You can have a cartouche made with a name in hieroglyphs for protection & immortality. The jewellery is varied but one can find ancient protection symbols & the ancient Gods & Goddesses in some shops.

JORDAN – see “EXCURSIONS”

KARTING:- There is Ghibli karting track, between airport & Na'ama. Various packages are available on the normal 4 stroke karts, You can purchase 2 (or more) lots of 15 or 10 mins, but may have to wait a while in between goes.

If they’re not busy, you can just turn up (Arrive & Drive) but our sons usually book.

If you "prove" yourself on the normal karts, or hold a race license, you can go on the Rotax (0-60 in 3 secs, proper racing karts, 2 stroke) It’s not cheap & in Dec ’07 it was 120 euros for 30 mins & you must put either £400-£500 cash or your credit card behind reception as insurance, in case you break the kart. Competition nights is Friday.

Prizes for normal weekly competitions can be a meal for 2 at the raceway or a subsidised go in a Rotax, for e.g. They give good safety talks; our lads take their own safety gear & our personal health insurance covers them as opposed to travel insurance; please ensure you have adequate insurance for risky sports. There is a good junior track there too & a comprehensive website. http://www.ghibliraceway.com/

There is also quad track at the KTM Enduro centre which is up a side road near the entrance road to Cleopark in Na’ama Bay.

There is Noos Karting near the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Ras Um Sid as well. http://www.nooskarting.com/ but they don’t seem to be so well known.

KITE SURFING – see “WATERSPORTS”

LEGAL DRINKING AGE – see “DUTY FREE”

LOCAL SIM CARD – see “MOBILE PHONES”

LOCAL TOUR OPERATORS – See “EXCURSIONS”

LUGGAGE SCAMS – see “ENTRAPMENT PLOYS”

LUXOR – see “EXCURSIONS” & “COMPARING CAIRO WITH LUXOR FOR A DAY TRIP”.

MAPS – Sometimes links go offline so here are a few, in the hope that some remain “Live”! Sharm is about 40 mins end to end by taxi.

www.sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/maps.htm

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/sharm-el-she…

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/naama-bay-la…

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/hadaba-large… &

Old Market area: …photobucket.com/albums/…

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/old-town-lar… & …photobucket.com/albums/…

Nabq

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/nabq-bay-lar… & …photobucket.com/albums/…

www.diveinnresort.com/Maps/Map-Sharm-01.html & www.diveinnresort.com/Maps/Map-Sharm-02.html

MAP OF SINAI PENINSULAR:

http://www.egyptmyway.com/maps/sinai_map.html & http://www.safariegypt.com/Maps/sinai_map.htm

MAP OF EGYPT & SINAI

http://www.egyptmyway.com/maps/egypt_map.html & arabiansands.com/images/…map-of-egypt.png

MASSAGES, SPAS, HAIR & BEAUTY:- Please choose a masseur carefully. Some posters have reported being touched inappropriately by male masseurs, even when (in one case) a lady’s husband was sitting next to her. This was the hotel’s masseur! There are some who offer beach massages; it’s hard to know if they are qualified, as well as being difficult to regulate them. Many of the hotels offer massages.

MEDICATION:- The Egyptian Consulate website states: “An official letter from your GP is required, specifying that the medication you are taking to Egypt is for your personal use only, the quantity you will be carrying and details of your condition. Please note that any medication containing Methadone is not permitted into Egypt.”

Unlike some countries, there is no problem taking Codeine into Egypt.

MOBILE PHONES:- Calling & texting back home is expensive. If people ring your UK mobile, you will pay to receive.

The cheapest way is to take an old, unlocked handset with you & buy an Egyptian sim card; they are about 20-25LE. You then buy credit at 5,10,20,25, 50 or 200LE as well. If you haven’t got an old spare handset, you can buy one out there, very cheaply. There are shops & booths all over the place! The guy will set it up for you.

We ask people back home to text us on our UK one, so they aren’t paying any more than normal, then we reply on our Egyptian one, or phone them with that. The sim is usually valid for 30 days but you can get ones that last longer if you know that you will revisit Egypt in coming months. I have had a 3m one.

Calls to the UK on an Egyptian Sim card cost around 4 LE a minute & texts to the UK about 50 piastres (100 piastres = 1L.E.) To keep an eye on your credit, text *868*1# & you’ll receive a text with the balance.

There are 3 companies; Vodaphone, Mobinil & Etisalat; I usually have the Vodaphone one.

You may also wish to check out sites that do global sims / international calling cards, like Iphone.

There are several online companies offering special access numbers for people wishing to ring abroad from the UK so if you want people back home to have the freedom to ring your mobile at a reduced rate you may want to check some of these out, for e.g.

See here for info: http://www.0844calls.co.uk/index2.php

There are no set up or subscription costs, just enter their access number for Egypt, wait for verbal instructions & then enter the Egyptian number:

Egypt landline – 6p a minute – 0871 754 9090 followed by landline number

Egyptian mobile – 5p a minute – 0844 566 6969, then the mobile number.

MONEY – see “CURRENCY & TIPPING”

MOSQUITOES:- They are around 365 days a year in Egypt!

At the time of writing, the only Malarial risk is 69km S.W. of Cairo in the El Faiyûm Oasis region. This can be checked online but your Dr is the one with whom you should ultimately check medical facts.

The following information contains suggestions only; it’s not meant to be taken as medical advice it is merely a guideline from other people’s experiences & recommendations. It’s down to the reader to take responsibility for their own health issues / welfare & to chat with their own Dr, pharmacist or health care practitioner.

*Take Vit B1 pills just before going & during; thiamine, found in B1 is an irritant to them. It is excreted thru the skin & changes one’s body odour.

Be aware that prolonged use may upset your mineral balance. Vit B1’s effectiveness is lessened thru alcohol & pregnancy.

*Vit B1 patches that are safe for children. http://www.dontbiteme.co.uk/

*Holland & Barrett sell timed-release B1 capsules; our body doesn’t store if for long so you can begin them a couple of days before the hols.

I acknowledge Vit B1 doesn’t work for everyone, but maybe it’s worth a try?

*There is not a lot of scientific evidence online but here is one link: highland-midge.co.uk/highland-midge-science.…

"Since thiamine is eliminated through the skin somewhat, doses of over 50-100 mg. per day may help repel insects such as flies and mosquitoes from those with "sweet blood."

* Some people prefer to eat Marmite, yeast pills or garlic.

*Take Avon Skin so Soft / Woodland Fresh as it's a great repellent. (Some specifically recommend the Avon skin so soft dry oil spray "soft & fresh"; you want the blue/green bottle as this variety has the citronella in it.It’s available online.

*Jungle Formula from Boots with Deet. Please note that whilst Deet is effective, it can be harmful & should be used with caution. Deet is known to cause neurological damage, & once it enters the bloodstream, (after being absorbed through the skin) it makes its way to the nervous system, where it is known to cause seizures & even deaths. It can be especially harmful to children, which is why its use should be strictly limited with children. Please google “deet” & then decide if it’s for you.

*Take a room plug in.

* If a real mozzie problem occurs in your room, ask reception to spray it when cleaning.

*You can also get wristbands from Mothercare against mozzies. Have seen them at airports too.

*Aspivenin gadget from Boots or online- pocket sized mini pump that will suck out the poison from mozzie bites etc.

*There's also something called a ''clickit' ; it gives small electric shocks to the bitten area, which is supposed to stop the itching.

*Aloe Vera is also a good & natural soother, for our inside as well as being a good topical aid for sunburn.

*Magi Cool will help children (google it). It’s good for itching (incl. insect bites), prickly heat, sunburn / minor burns, heat exhaustion, hot flushes, first aid. You can get magi cool in most chemists, Boots etc; & you can now get one that instantly removes the heat out of too much sunburn.

*There are also cooling patches, with a soothing gel, that relieve headaches & fevers, which may be useful for children.

MOUNT SINAI & ST. CATHERINE’S – see “EXCURSIONS”.

NABQ:- The up & coming area of Sharm (a long main street with shops, hotels & development ongoing):

Photos: …photobucket.com/albums/… & maps:

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/nabq-bay-lar… & …photobucket.com/albums/… &

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/sharm-el-she…

NA’AMA BAY: - Considered by some as the centre of Sharm. Kerbs are high & not always helpful for buggies, wheelchairs but better than Old Sharm for that. Built in the 1990s;

Photos: …photobucket.com/albums/…

Maps: -http://www.sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/sharm-el-sheikh-large.jpg

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/naama-bay-la…

NAPPIES – see “BABIES”

NEW YEAR – see “CHRISTMAS”.

NIGHTLIFE / ENTERTAINMENT / ALF LEILA WA LEILA: Most hotel entertainment is quite dire! They do make an effort on 24th & 31st December though, with Gala Dinners (see “Christmas” section)

A few suggestions:

NA’AMA BAY

*Most of the hotel beach bars along the prom have a Happy Hour during the day as well as 6-8pm & some have singers or entertainment like folklore shows, belly dancing, whirling dervishes some nights.

*Many bars have big screens for the sports, incl. Camel, Tavern, Underground Bar, Fifty Bar on the prom, in front of the Red Sea Dive School.

*TGI’s turns into a club after midnight

*Pirates Bar at Hilton Fayrouz - diver bar, live music, bar snacks.

*Viva Beach – in front of the Red Sea Dive College, on the prom, has entertainment some nights, like a whirling dervish & music in the shisha pipe part next to it. Great menu too & TV screens.

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*Camel Bar - diver bar, live music on Thurs, big screen sports, food; His Majesty, the King of Bahrain St.

*Camel Roof - chill out bar, DJ, shisha pipes, food

*Lido - another chill out bar

*Tavern – British style pub / bar, big screen sports, food, lively at the weekend; Karaoke on Wed & Sat eves. It has its own website.

*Underground Bar – under the Tavern / supermarket – Opens at 7am for an English breakfast & continues thru the day / eve.

*Hard Rock

*Little Buddha - turns into a club later, more expensive.

*Pacha - next door to Camel Bar, the international brand moved over from Ibiza, sponsored in Sharm by Ministry of Sound, regular guest DJs

*Karaoke – Bay View Hotel, King Abdullah Street, Na’ama Bay. Mon eves. 10pm.

*Bowling Alley , Na’ama Bay – Opens at 7pm. It’s on Abdullah Street; stand with your back to Hard Rock Café, look right & see the fork in the road. Take the left hand fork, past a perfume shop & Pioneer Property & go a little way up there; it’s on the right, past the Abdullah Supermarket.

Photo link:

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RAS UM SID AREA / HADABA

*“Fantasia”, (Alf Leila Wa Leila / 1001 Nights) in Ras Um Sid – live shows incl. English speaking nights (Saturdays); bit cheesy by our standards but it’s nice to look round the place as there are shops & restaurants. http://www.pickalbatros.com/leilasharm.htm

It’s cheaper if you just pay on the door, rather than book thru a rep / local vendor.

*There is also a big party in the rock on a Friday night as well that attracts about 4000 people (by 1001 Nights ) called Dolce Vita.

*T2 - relaxed local bar, big screen sports

*El Fanar – Beach party every Wed eve from 23.30hr., Latin American every Thursday eve.

*Phoenix Bar - chill out roof bar, movie nights, live music.

*There are beach parties at Terrazinna beach which is at Sharm El Maya next to Iberotel Palace. They have DJ's on the beach in the afternoon and the parties start at sunset until early hours, normally on Tues and Fri. There is normally live music and fire shows as well.

NABQ –

* St George’s Bar – Brit-style pub with TV sports screen; opo the Jasmine Shopping Centre.

* The Zone – Bar that turns into a nightclub

* La Strada – Area with shops/bars – there is entertainment here some nights, eg Fire shows, magic shows, folklore.

SOHO SQUARE – New complex near the Savoy hotel, near the airport, with bowling alley & Ice rink & Culture show. There is also the Queen Vic Pub (TV screens) & stage where bands perform, eg. Boney M, UB40. There is Panagea nightclub, Oxygen Bar & an Ice Bar. Soho Square has its own website.

Photos: …photobucket.com/albums/…

OILS – see “PERFUMES”

OLD SHARM:- It’s only old in comparison to Na’ama Bay (built in the 1990s) & the up & coming Nabq (still under development). Old Sharm was built in the 1980s & has some of the cheaper hotels. They’re ok but may not be of the standard that some seek. The official names of Old Sharm are Ras Um Sid & Hadaba. This is where the market is situated & some recommended restaurants like Sinai Star, Fares, Al Masrien.

Whilst there are some stalls selling fruit, a butchers etc, it’s heavily aimed at tourists. Be careful when choosing a place to eat / drink as some don’t display their menu & posters have reported being charged over the odds for drinks, especially.

Haggle hard in the shops; some say they find the prices cheaper here than in Na’ama; it really depends on your haggling skills.

The kerbs can be high & the pavements are often covered with wares, which is not helpful for buggies, wheelchairs & the less mobile. There are quite a few stray cats; more than in Na’ama.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/img/old-town-lar… & …photobucket.com/albums/…

Old Market, Hadaba / Ras Um Sid area.

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OPTICIANS:- There are several in resort. Eye tests & prescriptions are much cheaper than in the UK.

PACHA – see “NIGHTLIFE”

PARASAILING – See “WATERSPORTS

PEDALOS – see “WATERSPORTS”

PERFUMES & OILS – Perfumes in resort shops are sometimes fakes (eg “Opium” & well-known names.)

There are countless perfume palaces in Sharm & within many of the hotel complexes. The ones in resort have a bad reputation for being pushy salesmen, inviting you in, offering mint tea & charging silly prices for the Egyptian oils. They will let you smell various oils from large bottles, then go to fill a small bottle for you, from a different bottle (should you decide to buy) & some have experienced that the resulting bottle contents are watered down so please be very careful.

As well as the scents & oils, they sell decorative perfume bottles & other decorative containers. You need to haggle hard in these places & don’t buy if you don’t want to....no matter how many cups of mint tea you have drunk!

In 2004 I bought a set of 7 little 25ml oils from a shop that has since closed; they are genuine & still fresh today. I paid £35 (the pound was stronger then). In 2005 I bought 7 more for a friend at a different shop & paid £35. In Jan 2009, a guide took us into a perfume palace in Cairo where the owner was charging £165 for the same set of 7. Granted the pound had de-valued slightly but that was a complete rip-off, & the guide would have had a good rate of commission, so be careful.

PETRA – see “EXCURSIONS”

“PHARAOH’S REVENGE” – see “UPSET TUMMY”

PHARMACIES- There are many in Sharm & some will, unfortunately, charge over the odds. Some of the stock has the price on, but it may be in Arabic. Sometimes, it’s embossed on the packet. This is the price they charge the locals. Some will be fair & ask the same price of the tourist but you have to be careful & can haggle in pharmacies. You can buy antibiotics & other drugs without prescription. The local drug for stomach upsets is Antinal. It’s about 5LE to an Egyptian. If you get it for 10LE you’re doing well. If they try & charge more, then walk away & go elsewhere. Some people are caught out as they are in “dire straits” when they get to the pharmacy & end up paying over the odds. Consider buying products as a “safety net” or when you’re able to spend time haggling / walking on to the next one.

PHONE – see “MOBILE PHONES”

PHOTOGRAPHY – Not allowed in the pyramids unless you pay for private time, which is expensive. Not allowed in the Cairo Museum or in the Valley of the Kings or in the Abu Simbel Temples. Cameras must be left outside the pyramids & at the entrance of the museum & are not allowed in the Valley of the Kings either. No photography is allowed in St. Catherine’s Monastery chapel but you can take your camera inside.

PLUGS – see “ADAPTERS”

PRIVATE BOAT TRIPS & SPEED BOATS:- Hiring one is possible but not cheap. Shop around for the best deal. Several firms on the beaches do this.

PUBLIC BEACHES – see “BEACHES”

PYRAMIDS – see “EXCURSIONS”

QUADS – see “EXCURSIONS”

RAMADAN – Doesn’t normally affect tourists in the Red Sea Resorts. Some of the historical sites may close at different times; please check on the relevant forum for details, e.g. Cairo, Luxor etc.Ramadan dates:

* 2010 - Aug 11 - Sep 9

* 2011 - Aug 1 - Aug 29

* 2012 - Jul 20 - Aug 18

RAS MOHAMMED NATIONAL PARK – see “EXCURSIONS”

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS & BARS – The search engine will provide countless threads on this. Vegetarians & Vegans are well catered for. The same names will come up time & time again.

Egyptians love children & they are warmly welcomed everywhere.

NA’AMA BAY

Dananeer Steak House (most steak houses will have a varied menu, including fish too that is on display outside)

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Pomadoro Steak House

La Fleur – on the prom at the back of the Jolie Ville Resort & Casino. Bit more expensive than some in Sharm but very nice setting & lovely food.

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Viva Beach – on the prom, in front of the Red Sea Dive School. Varied menu, fish, steak, pasta, snacks.

…photobucket.com/albums/…

China House (ensure you see the drinks prices 1st though)

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Thai restaurant in the same building.

Fairuz Lebanese nr China House & the Thai.

Camel Bar Tandoori

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Hard Rock Cafe

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TGIs

KFC

Pizza Hut

McDonald’s

Starbuck’s

On Deck – at the Iberotel Lido; floating pontoon in the sea.

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…photobucket.com/albums/…

Tam Tams – on the prom at the back of Ghazala Gardens – Oriental / Egytian.

Little Buddha

Mahoney’s

Oonas Dive Club along the prom.

Onions

The Mexican in Na’ama Bay hotel

Underground Bar – under the Tavern / supermarket – Opens at 7am for an English breakfast & continues thru the day / eve.

Tavern Bar – Brit-style pub.

Abu El Sid - Egyptian

HADABA / OLD SHARM

Fares – Old Market

Sinai Star (good fish) – Old Market

El Masrien – Old Market

Onions

Cilantros – coffee shops; also in Na’ama Bay

The Mexican in Na’ama Bay hotel

El Fanara Italian

Terrazina (on the beach)

Alf Leila Wa Leila – plenty of shops & eateries in this complex; English-speaking shows on Sat eves.

NABQ

St George’s Bar Brit-style pub

Onions

El Masrien

Burger King

KFC

Peking Restaurant

Starbucks

McDonald’s

On Fish (La Strada) Take your own alcohol to this one.

La Strada – several cafés, eateries & shops

Jasmine Centre –“ “ “

SOHO SQUARE

Queen Vic – Brit-style pub

Bombay (Indian) Zen (Chinese) & Saffron (Eastern) restaurants, all next to each other: …photobucket.com/albums/…

Mövenpick waffles & ice cream bar.

Several cafés

RECOMMENDED TRIPS – see “EXCURSIONS”

RECOMMENDED VACCINATIONS:- It’s down to the reader to take responsibility for their own health issues / welfare & to chat with their own Dr, pharmacist or health care practitioner. The recommended vaccinations have been the same for over 20 years but may change.

None is compulsory but the following are advisable:

*Triple vaccine for TETANUS, DIPTHERIA & POLIO, (boosters every 10yrs) After 5 of these one doesn’t normally have to have any more boosters unless in a high risk job / environment; check with your Dr.

*TYPHOID (boosters every 3yrs) – this can be contracted even in Spain, Italy, Greece, etc & there was a case in Taba, Sinai, in Sept 2009.

*HEPATITIS A; boosters last up to 25 yrs after initial course.

Some people have Hep B. (Hepatitis B is transmitted via blood & other body fluids. Contaminated needles & hospital equipment can serve as routes for transmission. Cuts and & lesions can also provide a portal of entry. It is also spread through s*xual contact and drug abuse).

MALARIA – At the time of writing, the only Malarial risk is 69km S.W. of Cairo in the El Faiyûm Oasis region. This can be checked online but your Dr is the one with whom you should ultimately check medical facts.

Quote from: wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationEgypt.aspx : Malaria risk area in Egypt: “Very limited risk in El Faiyûm area only. No risk in tourist areas, including Nile River cruises. Risk is very limited; therefore, prophylaxis is not recommended.”

INSURANCE:- Please note that your insurance may be invalidated of you don’t have the recommended jabs & then contract one of the diseases. Staying in the hotel or Sharm area doesn’t guarantee immunity. Nobody can guarantee the hygiene of hotel staff or fellow guests or know their medical conditions / background. Hotel staff are from all over Egypt as are those in restaurants & shops.

Vaccinations are usually free in most parts of the UK except for parts of Scotland & Ireland.

More detailed information about the diseases mentioned above, & how they are spread, is available at the end of all the subjects.

RENTING A CAR: – see “CAR HIRE”

RESORT MAPS: – see “MAPS”

REVIEWS: – see “HOTEL REVIEWS”

SAILING:– see “WATERSPORTS”

SAND BUGGIES – see “EXCURSIONS”

SCAMS: – see “ENTRAPMENT PLOYS”

SEARCH ENGINE:- One can usually obtain a wide variety of opinions on most subjects (including many hotels) by connecting to previous discussions on the forum by inserting the hotel name into the forum’s search engine, above & below all topic listings, in the pale green box. Once that is done, look about a third of the way down, to where it says:

TOPIC FORUM AUTHOR POST DATE

& then look just above “POST DATE” to where it says, “Sort by”. The default setting is usually on “Relevance” but if you click the drop-down option, you will get the list sorted in “Date” order, with the most recent showing 1st.

Many people sign up just to post a review, be it good or bad. By reading the previous posts, in addition to reviews, one can often make a more informed decision & form a more rounded opinion about certain hotels.

SEASCOPE – see “EXCURSIONS”

SECURITY & SAFETY:- Since the terrorist attacks in Aug ’05, security has been stepped up by the hotels. They have electric gates & taxis must drop people outside. Coaches are allowed in the grounds but only when they have shown their permits, which they leave at the gates & collect on the way out. Hotels also have the metal detector doorways & the security guards may ask to see inside your bags when you return to the hotel. This is usually done in a light-hearted manner. Security guards also have “mirrors on sticks” so they can examine the underneath of vehicles.

Much of Na’ama Bay is pedestrianised now & there are guards at the ends of the roads to ensure that only bone fide coaches get thru to go to central hotel. There are more tourist police but it’s not intimidating. Many people say that they feel safer around Sharm than in their home towns, day or night. Our sons go out of resort, to the karting track, in the evening & we worry less about them than if they were in our local city.

Nobody can guarantee the safety of travellers 100% so it’s wise to keep an eye on the foreign office recommendations; it’s down to the individual as to whether they decide to visit an area that has had problems in the past.

SHOPPING – including hassle, haggling. See also “FIXED PRICE SHOPS & FAKE DESIGNER GOODS”:-

The vendors can be a bit pushy - you must be prepared to haggle hard & try to look out for the "entrapment" ploys such as "Can I ask you a question?" "We've just opened a new shop & have a sale on, come & look". "Will you sign my guest book for other customers to read?" or “Please will you translate something for me?” It's all harmless but you can get caught up for some time!

They'll want to offer you drinks like mint tea in many of the shops, if you seem genuinely interested, or go back for a 2nd look.

The restaurants will also hassle you for their custom as competition between all shops & bars is strong due to the similarity of many. Some people cope with this better than others but fore-warned is fore-armed.

If anyone feels threatened or intimidated, say that you will call the tourist police / report it to the rep / hotel….& MEAN it! They & the government is well aware that Egypt relies on tourism heavily, so please report anything untoward to them.

Carry your hotel number & tourist police number in your phone: Police is: - 0020 693 660 311

This link may help re: how to handle the hassle from shopkeepers: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k166…

& reply number 12 on tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k3…

*Bargain for everything; haggle hard, including taxis - even to the point of pretending to walk away.

* Wear sunglasses in the day & don’t give too much eye contact.

* Be polite, yet firm & say, “No thanks” or “La Shukran” (which means, “No Thanks”)

*A smile goes a long way & the Egyptians have a great sense of humour.

*Don’t go down the little side streets or in the souks till you feel more confident; sales pressure is higher in these parts.

*If you’re not keen on the hassle / haggle idea, stick to the supermarkets or the 3 fixed-price shops (all called “Aladin’s Cave”) on His Majesty, the King of Bahrain Street in Na’ama Bay. Supermarkets are usually fixed-price.

*Check your change thoroughly as there have been scams reported involving small denomination notes being switched for large one. There have also been comments about being careful when asked to change coins as the new 1LE coin looks like a Euro at 1st glance.

* Offer a substantial reduction in the 1st price quoted by the shopkeeper, maybe a third or half; then creep up slowly. Have a price in mind with which you’re happy….i.e, your own limit. If the shopkeeper really won't drop, then walk away. If he follows then you know there is still mileage in the deal, if not then you know roughly what the price should be when you see the item in the next shop.

* WARNING!!! The pavements have quite high kerbs in Na’ama &, both in Na’ama & Old Sharm, they can be uneven in places. Much of Na’ama Bay is pedestrianised. The pavements in Old Sharm are also pretty covered in merchandise, so it can be difficult for wheelchair users, & parents with buggies, in some instances.

In general, health & safety matters in Egypt are very different from the UK.

* Souvenirs include: - Egyptian cotton (although Alexandria & Cairo are probably better places, especially Alexandria) perfumes / oils (see section above about them) decorative perfume bottles & other receptacles, shisha pipes (place in your main luggage to bring home or they will be confiscated as glass) & flavoured tobacco, Turkish Delight, little / large statuettes of various Gods & Goddesses, jewellery (you can have a cartouche made with a name in hieroglyphs) papyrus (you can get ones with Zodiac signs on & then have the person’s name written in hieroglyphs on it in the cartouche shape, for protection & immortality). The jewellery is varied but one can find ancient protection symbols & the ancient Gods & Goddesses in some shops. There are all manner of ornaments / articles based on the Ancient Deities, e.g. ashtrays, mugs, coasters, mirrors, jewellery boxes, candle sticks, incense burners, obelisks, pyramids, sarcophagi, you name it, they have it. There are T-Shirts with topical themes for the Red Sea & Egypt, belly dancing outfits & scarves, pashminas (not real silk) leather goods, spices.

SIM CARDS – see “MOBILE PHONES”

SMOKING & CIGARETTES: – Many of the cigarettes are fakes. Most places are quite liberal about smoking in public places, at restaurants etc but some may impose restrictions or have smoking areas & so will some hotels.

SNORKELLING EQUIPMENT: – You can rent from the hotel, but do you know how well it has been cleaned? You can buy in Sharm but to ensure a really good fit, then buy in the UK.

SOHO SQUARE:- New complex near the Savoy hotel, near the airport, with bowling alley & Ice rink & Culture show. There is also the Queen Vic Pub (TV screens) & stage where bands perform, e.g. Boney M, UB40. There is a nightclub & an Ice Bar. Soho Square has its own website. Photos: …photobucket.com/albums/… You can still haggle for souvenirs to a certain extent but the quality of goods is higher than elsewhere in Sharm so not so much room for manoevre with that!

SOUVENIRS – see “SHOPPING”

SPAS – see “MASSAGE”

ST. CATHERINE’S MONASTERY & MOUNT SINAI – see “EXCURSIONS”

STAR GAZING – see “EXCURSIONS”

STOMACH UPSET – see “UPSET TUMMY”

STUDENT TRAVEL CARD:- STA Travel sell an International Student Identification Card (ISIC). They are also available online & will afford the user substantial discounts on attractions when abroad.

SUNRISE & SUNSET TIMES – see “AVERAGE TEMPS”

SUNTAN LOTION – Bring your own as it’s expensive in Sharm / Egypt.

SUPERMARKETS – see “BABIES”, “SHOPPING” & “FIXED PRICE SHOPS”

TATOOS –- i.e. HENNA ONES ~ Be very careful!!! tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k143… & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g311425-i9663-k3… & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k3… & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k8… & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k3…

& from the Tunisian TA forum, by ArYTraeth, 11.09am 17.9.07: “Most of the tattoos in hotels etc. are actually harcois rather than henna - which might explain why you've reacted when you didn't before. Harcois last about 1-1.5 weeks and stays black, henna fades to a reddy-orange colour and lasts a lot longer (months).”

TAXIS - members.virtualtourist.com/m/53487/1e93d1/9/ will tell you the government- stated taxi prices around Sharm (you must haggle hard!) See the “MAPS” section to find out where your hotel is situated.

Getting TO/AROUND: These prices are the ones fixed by the local Sinai government. The fixed price sticker for each type of taxi should be fixed in clear view on one of the windows, but may be hidden. They are about 4" across and round. Check website link above for any updates LE = Egyptian pounds; agree your price before getting in & ensure it’s the total price, not per person. Agree your currency too. In case of any problems, carry the tourist police number in your mobile, take the taxi driver’s number (side of cab) & report him. The mere threat of doing so can work wonders.

MINIBUS (fixed routes)

From-Old Market, To- Naama Bay, Price= LE 1

From-Old Market, To-Airport ,Price= LE 2

From-Old Market, To- Nabq, Price= LE 3

TAXI – WHITE BONNET

From-Naama Bay, To- Old Market, Price=LE 15

From-Naama Bay,To- Hadaba,Price= LE 15

From-Naama Bay,To- Airport,Price= LE 20

From-Old Market,To- Hadaba,Price= LE 15

From-Old Market,To- Airport,Price= LE 35 (40)

From-Old Market,To- Nabq,Price= LE 40 (45)

PEUGEOT – BLUE BONNET

From-Naama Bay, To- Old Market ,Price= LE 25

From-Naama Bay,To- Hadaba,Price= LE 25

From-Old Market,To- Hadaba,Price= LE 25

From-Naama Bay,To- Airport,Price= LE 35

From-Old Market,To- Nabq,Price= LE 45

To work out the price of the complete journey that is not listed just add the 2 or 3 legs together. I.E. from Hadaba to the airport in a taxi it would be LE 15 for the Hadaba to Na’ama Bay plus LE 20 for Na’ama Bay to the airport making a complete fare of LE 35.

Unfortunately you will never get these prices from the taxis inside the airport, they normally want at least 4 times the proper rate. To get these prices we walk the 100 yards from the terminal building up to the main road and get one from there, these will still try it on but can be beaten down to the right price pretty easily.

TEA-MAKING FACILITIES – Some hotels have them but not all. It may be worth taking a small travelling kettle. I take my own cappuccino sachets & buy mint tea out there. More hotels are realising that westerners do appreciate having facilities in the room.

TEMPERATURES – see “AVERAGE TEMPS”

TIRAN ISLAND – see “EXCURSIONS”

TOPLESS SUNBATHING – is actually illegal in Egypt, which is a predominantly Muslim country & it comes under the Indecency Laws. Hotel staff are usually all male & there are notices around several of the hotel’s pools requesting that you don’t sunbathe topless. Some hotels will actively enforce this rule. Even if they don’t (for fear of upsetting the guests….as they want the tourists trade to grow!) it doesn’t make it any more legal & can only add fuel to the theory that some hold, which is that western women are “easy”. I asked if the tourist police enforce the law on the beaches & was told that they try.

Ladies, be careful if you go out of Sharm, on trips to wear 3/4 length trousers or jeans or a long skirt & cover chest, shoulders & at least upper arms. You’ll attract unfriendly stares from the women in Cairo, Alexandria etc, plus stares & comments from the men if you’re skimpily dressed by their standards! Some people are more affected than others by this type of attention.

Conservative clothes are required for St. Catherine’s monastery.

Men will need shoulders & knees covered when visiting mosques. Comfortable footwear is essential in Cairo, Luxor or on trips where you will do a lot of walking / standing about.

Ladies of all ages will attract plenty of male attention, most of the time it's just a laugh & they don't cross the line but some will try. Be polite but firm & don’t give eye contact, wear shades!

People wear shorts & skimpy tops in the hotel grounds & around Sharm; this is expected but, again, that’s ok if you can deal with any resulting attention.

TOWELS – Most hotels provide them. There is a card exchange arrangement, i.e. you’re given cards on arrival & you exchange them for towels each day, then when you hand in the towel at the end of the day you’re given the cards back to use next day.

TRANSFERS – www.sharmelsheikhrealestate.com/maps.htm (or other maps in the “MAPS” section) will show you where your hotel is in relation to the airport & Na'ama bay etc.

members.virtualtourist.com/m/53487/1e93d1/9/ will tell you the government-stated taxi prices around Sharm (you must haggle hard!)

Here are alternative suggestions for an airport transfer:

http://www.transfers.net

www.hoteltransfer.com

http://www.resorthoppa.com

http://www.holidaytaxis.com

http://www.hotelhoppa.com

http://www.holidayairporttaxis.com

http://www.holidaytransfers.com

http://www.HolidayHoppa.com.

http://www.transfer4cheap.com

www.TravelRepublic.com

…viator.com/en/2672/price-guide/3124SSHAPTHTL

medhotels.com

a2btransfers.com

alphrooms.com

dolfentours@gmail.com

or you can contact your hotel & ask them how much they will charge to arrange one. It will be more expensive than a local taxi but will take the hassle out of haggling, which most people appreciate after a long day travelling.

TRAVEL INSURANCE - http://allcleartravel.co.uk/ may be useful for those people who have existing medical conditions. Some travel companies class Egypt as Europe, some class it as Asia or Africa. If planning to travel on day trips to Israel or Jordan, please ensure that you have the correct insurance for those countries.

TIME DIFFERENCE - http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/ Egypt is usually 2 hours ahead of the UK but may be only 1 hour at certain times of the year when they alter their clocks in April (usually the last Friday of April) & at the end of Ramadan.

TIME SHARE – see “ENTRAPMENT PLOYS”

TIPPING – see “CURRENCY & TIPPING”

TRIPS – see “EXCURSIONS”

UPSET TUMMY :- This is an emotive subject as some people will say upset tummy is due to food-related problems, others will say it's dehydration & over indulgence of alcohol / food, while another group will say it's down to not being used to the climate. Some will also say that too cool air conditioning will send the body into a kind of thermal shock. Whatever reason you choose to prefer, it seems that a certain amount of luck also enters into the equation.

The following information is not intended to replace medical advice from a qualified Dr / health care practitioner who knows an individual’s family history. They are suggestions only but some of the general tips have come from qualified nutritionists, pharmacists & Drs as well as the experiences of fellow posters. Hotels have Drs on call 24/7 & they are very used to dealing with tourists & upset tummies! Having said that, there are many travellers who have never had a problem in countless visits to Egypt.

*There are some basic tips which may help prevent it & they will also apply to anyone who is suffering from it as, whatever the cause, one still needs to rehydrate, “flush the system” & also have relief from some of the symptoms:

*Swimming pools are often implicated in the manifestation of gastric ailments; particularly Cryptosporidium contamination; dailymail.co.uk/health/article-463170/Pools-…

*Take wipes or antibacterial handwash & carry them with you as the money is truly filthy & so many people want to shake your hand. Some bugs are picked up from things / food when others haven’t washed their hands.

* There are many chemists in Sharm. The ones we've used seem very knowledgeable & helpful. UK products are often ineffective! (“Local drugs for local bugs” principle) If you feel that you have a problem that is not just a bit of traveller’s diarrhoea, whilst you adjust to the climate, ask for Antinal (antibiotic) at about £1 a packet. It’s about 5LE to an Egyptian. If you get it for 10LE you’re doing well. If they try & charge more, then walk away & go elsewhere. Some people are caught out as they are in “dire straits” when they get to the pharmacy & end up paying over the odds. Consider buying products as a “safety net” or when you’re able to spend time haggling / walking on to the next one.

*Antinal suspension is available for kids. (Web info says it’s also known as Ambatrol (nifuroxazide)Bacifurane, Nifrozid, Endiex.& Ercefuryl, but it’s Antinal in Egypt).

*Antinal’s not licensed in the UK but can be prescribed on a named patient basis. It’s considered an old-fashioned drug over here now & is used for animals since newer drugs have superseded it .

* You may be offered "Enteroquinol" which is banned in most countries as it’s thought to cause subacute myelo-optic neuropathy (a nervous disease (neuropathy) that affects peripheral nerves & the spinal cord (myelo-) as well as the eyes (-optic), leading to a disabling paralysis, blindness).

*The newer drug we use in the UK as a prophylactic & treatment is Ciprofloxacin, available from some GPs on private prescription. It can also be bought directly over the counter in Egypt.

*You may want to ask your G.P. about a private prescription for Dukoral, which is a vaccine you take orally before you travel. (It’s used for cholera too.)

*N.B. You need to haggle re: the price of anything bought in chemists. All goods have the price on, but (in my experience) in Arabic, so it’s hard to tell what it should be. If whatever you’re trying to buy seems expensive, barter hard or walk away; there are enough chemists around to find one who will play fair.

*Local peppermint tea also helps with the digestion.

*One tip from our UK chemist was to take Motilium pills with us, as they aid digestion & prevent anything lying heavily in the gut. It’s not a laxative but if you have something dodgy, it helps it to go thru (without making you rush to the loo.)

*Maybe take rehydration sachets with you like Dioralyte, available in fruity flavours from Tesco, Boots etc.

* Citricidal (Grape fruit seed extract – pills or drops) It’s available in Health Shops & there are several websites explaining that conventional antibiotics only kill bacteria. The grapefruit seed extract has been shown to inactivate viruses, yeasts, fungi, parasites and worms, as well as bacteria. It is therefore antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. Recommended 1-3 tablets a day, with or without meals & it’s ideal for travelling to places where food or drink may be contaminated. You can get the drops to put in water / soft drinks.

*N.B. Drink plenty of water when taking Citricidal as it can irritate some people’s stomachs.

*Lactobacillus acidophilus pre-biotic tablets may also help line your stomach in preparation for unfamiliar bacteria potentially found in the food out there. They optimise the gut flora balance. You can buy ones that don’t have to be kept in the fridge & ones for children. When taking acidophilus do not drink or eat anything really hot immediately after as heat kills the good bacteria. These are far stronger than the commercialized drinks like yakult & actimel, which are dairy-based, full of refined sugar & not ideal for upset tums!

*Lactobacillus is also good to take after any course of antibiotics since antibiotics strip the gut of good bacteria, as well as the bad. It rebalances the gut flora.

*You can buy Buscopan, over the counter here, which is great for stomach gripes & is used for horses with colic!

*Freshly squeezed lemon & lime juice, sugar to taste, topped up with still mineral water is a good kidney / system flush. If that’s not available, then just freshly squeezed lemon is still good.

* Avoid fresh orange as that’s hard for the liver to process.

*Aloe Vera is also a good & natural soother, for our inside as well as being a good topical aid for sunburn.

*Magi Cool will help children (google it). It’s good for itching (incl. insect bites), prickly heat, sunburn / minor burns, heat exhaustion, hot flushes, first aid. You can get magi cool in most chemists, Boots etc; & you can now get one that instantly removes the heat out of too much sunburn.

*There are also cooling patches, with a soothing gel, that relieve headaches & fevers, which may be useful for children.

* Consider carefully about hiring snorkelling equipment as nobody can guarantee how well it has been cleaned.

*Drink plenty of water, at least 1 litre per 50lbs / 22.70kgs of body weight.

USEFUL CONTACTS: – Making a complaint - http://www.cpa.gov.eg/english/contacts.htm

Tourist Police - Tel: +2 069 366 03 11

Marine Police - Tel: +2 069 360 06 33, +2 069 366 05 36

State Security - Tel: +2 069 366 03 06

Police Station - Tel: 160 or +2 069 361 19 00, +2 069 366 04 15

Ambulance - Tel: 123 or +2 069 360 05 54, +2 069 366 44 17, +2 069 366 44 17

Fire Brigade - Tel: 180 or +2 069 360 06 30, +2 069 360 06 60

Sharm International Airport - Tel: +2 069 360 11 40, +2 069 360 03 02, +2 069 360 03 49, +2 069 360 05 30

Hyper Baric Chamber - Tel: +2 069 366 09 22, +2069 366 09 23, +2 012 212 42 92, +2 012 333 13 25

Search & Rescue - Tel: +2 012 313 41 58, +2 069 366 51 41

Road Emergency - Tel: +2 012 111 00 00

Sharm Local Hospital - Tel: +2 069 366 04 25

Sharm International Hospital - Tel: +2 069 366 08 94, +2 069 366 08 93, +2 069 366 08 95

Sharm Medical Centre - Tel: +2 069 366 17 44

Sharm Laboratory (for medical analysis) Delta Sharm 102/22 - Tel: +2 010 501 16 53

USEFUL PHRASES: – see “ARABIC PHRASES”

VACCINATIONS: – see “RECOMMENDED VACCINATIONS”

VEGETARIANS & VEGANS: – see “RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS”

VISAS: - Because Sharm as well as some other tourist resorts such as Taba, Nuweiba & Dahab are on the Sinai Peninsula, a Visa is required in order to:

1) Travel out of Sinai - to Cairo, Luxor, The Ras Mohammed trip by boat, quad (taking in the blue lagoon & BBQ lunch), car or bus.

2) To leave the immediate beach area and go further out to sea. The latter means that if you want to go to some dive sites - you will need a visa.

One can buy a single entry visa on arrival in Sinai or Egypt. It's valid for 30 days.

One can obtain multi-entry visas from the Consulate in London, prior to travel. They are valid for 6m & allow a maximum single stay of 90 days. This is usually done by post (allow 7 days) or in person (allow 2 days)

Website: www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 12.30 pm (lodging applications), 2.30 am to 4.00 pm (visa collection). Email: info@egyptianconsulate.co.uk. Download a visa application form: www.theschengenoffice.com/forms/egypt.pdf

You do not need a visa to visit Mt. Sinai, St. Catherine's Monastary, sunset quad biking, seascope boat trip, Tiran Island boat trip, jeep safari, Stargazing in the desert, Coloured Canyon, Dahab, Nuweiba or Petra in Jordan (further Jordanian visa required on landing there) or Jerusalem & Dead Sea. You will need to carry your passports for the usual road checks though.

One may stay in Sinai, without a visa for 14days. Any longer and a visa is required, even if you are not venturing out of Sinai. The 14 day waiver dates back to the Camp David Treaty. Ras Mohammed National Park is the only exception to this (it's in Sinai but is not covered by the waiver) There are sometimes debates on the forum as to whether a visa is needed for the Ras Mohammed boat trip. Some poster have had their visa checked; some have been turned away for not having one. Whilst the officials don't check for one very often, it would be a shame to be the one turned away for not having a visa: tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k3… & tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k3…

Tour reps may try and "bully" people into buying a visa when you arrive at the airport and will even direct you to the visa queue. Do not listen to them. If you know that you are not planning on any of the trips listed below, simply write "Sinai only" on the back of the landing card & proceed to passport control. If the staff at passport control mention anything about a visa just say Sharm or Sinai only.

Try to buy Visas from one of the booths on the immediate left or far right as you enter the airport. They have a large $15 on the front. As many people are now taking this advice, the queues have lessened at the tour op's desk, situated between the two. The visa itself is a silvery insert which clearly states $15 on it. If you hand over £10 sterling, you will possibly get a little change in local currency (depends on the exchange rate).

If you go to the rep's desk, they will charge £13 or $18 as they add a "handling fee". Usually, you will receive your passport with the visa inserted when you board your transfer bus & pay onboard.

If you don't buy one on arrival but decide that you want one during your stay, you can arrange for the rep to get it but they will charge their rep's price plus about £5 additional handling fee. It would be awkward to sort it one's self as it would involve taxi journeys & trying to get back into the military airport.

If you intend to travel to Jerusalem or Petra, in Jordan, you don't need a visa as you enter Sinai, will be staying in Sinai & not visiting any other parts of Egypt. Then you will leave Sinai for a day & re-enter Sinai again.....still with the intention of not leaving Sinai & staying less than 14 days in the Sinai region. Border fees & a Jordanian visa will be arranged on the trips.

Transit visa in Cairo / Luxor etc- No transit visa is required if you do not leave the international area at the airport, whilst you are waiting between two flights. However, if you do intend to leave the airport & enter Egypt on a stopover before catching your connecting flight, then you must have a tourist visa or a business visa depending on the purpose of your visit.

VITAMIN B1: – see “MOSQUITOES”

VOLTAGE: – see “ADAPTERS”

WATERPARKS: –There are 2 main ones; again, the search engine will connect you to previous threads about them both:

CLEOPARK / WATERPARK - About 5mins from the centre of Na'ama, towards airport. Website is: www.cleoparkegypt.com. & http://www.cleoparkegypt.com/Aquamap.html

Height restrictions are sometimes enforced. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k149…

NEW AQUA PARK:- It’s just called the Aqua Park and it is on El Khazan street in Hadaba (Old Sharm).

It opens from 10am till sunset every day. There are 32 different slides, 9 pools and 1200 sunbeds. One of the pool areas is specifically for the younger ones with lots of activities around it. There is also a lazy river. There are changing rooms with safety deposit boxes as well as shopping arcade with restaurants & cafes. http://www.pickalbatros.com/aqua.htm

WATER SKIING: – see “WATERSPORTS”

WATERSPORTS: – Are widely available & are usually things like:- Parasailing (single), Double - max 140kg - Treble - max 140kg, Sailing lessons, windsurfing lessons - different boat trips, Windsurfing - 1hr Sailing -1 hr or 2hr, hobie cat15, Pedalo - 1hr, Canoe single 1hr or 2hr, Canoe double - 1hr or 2hr, Snorkelling equipment set rental, snorkelling item rental, Wetsuit / life jacket by the day or hr.

KITE SURFING, Nabq - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k171… post by Nana26, part way down page.

WATER SKIING - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297555-i9225-k443… “Aquatic Vibes”, based on Terrazina Beach.

Haven’t seen any jet skis; the marine life & coral are too important & jet skis are illegal in Sharm.

WEATHER – see “AVERAGE TEMPS”

WEDDINGS: - www.creativeplannersegypt.com/page4.htm & theweddingsplace.co.uk/…

WHEELCHAIR HIRE :– Available from pharmacies & may be available at some hotels. WARNING!!! The pavements have quite high kerbs in Na’ama &, both in Na’ama & Old Sharm, they can be uneven in places. Much of Na’ama Bay is pedestrianised. The pavements in Old Sharm are also pretty covered in merchandise, so it can be difficult for wheelchair users, & parents with buggies, in some instances. In general, health & safety matters in Egypt are very different from the UK.

WIFI – see “INTERNET CAFES”

WINDSURFING: – see “WATERSPORTS”

MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE RECOMMENDED VACCINATION DISEASES & HOW THEY ARE SPREAD:

TYPHOID FEVER, also known as enteric fever, bilious fever or Yellow Jack, is an illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Common worldwide, it is transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with faeces from an infected person. The bacteria grows best at 37°C -human body temperature. (Booster every 3 years; incubation time=1-10 days)

HEPATITIS A is very common in countries with poor sanitary conditions. Most people get infected during trips to less-developed countries or by direct contact with others infected with hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A virus is present in stools passed by infected persons. It can be transmitted via contaminated food, e.g. shellfish and ice-cream, as well as contaminated water and beverages. The virus can also be spread through contact with an infected person's stools through poor hygiene. Good hygiene reduces the risk of infection. Wash or peel fruits and vegetables during trips to countries with poor sanitary conditions. Unsanitary conditions can allow shellfish to be contaminated by human sewage. (After the initial course, latest info being given is that the boosters are lasting 25 years at least; research is ongoing. The Hepatitis A incubation period can range from 15 to 45 days, and is dependent on the number of virus particles consumed. Fewer particles typically lead to a longer incubation time. During the hepatitis A incubation period, an infected person is contagious and remains so for about a week after jaundice appears (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).

(Whilst Sharm can’t be classed as having poor sanitation, the workers are men from all over Egypt & one can’t be sure of their background or discipline when it comes to personal hygiene; the same as we don’t know anything about fellow guests in the hotels.)

POLIOMYELITIS, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the faecal-oral route by ingesting contaminated food or water. Poliomyelitis is highly contagious and spreads easily from human-to-human contact. It is occasionally transmitted via the oral-oral route, a mode especially visible in areas with good sanitation and hygiene. (Part of the triple jab with tetanus & diphtheria; boosters last 10 yrs. The incubation period for polio is commonly 6-20 days, with a range of 3-35 days.)

DIPTHERIA is an acute respiratory infection caused by the diphtheria bacterium, Corynebacterium diphtheriae and its toxin. This is a serious infection with a high mortality rate, even in Western Europe. The disease is mainly transmitted by droplets from the nose or throat being passed from person to person, e.g. by coughing or sneezing. Protection from the disease comes from having antibodies in the blood - which is the purpose of vaccination. The bacteria can easily be passed on by a person who shows no sign of illness, a so-called 'healthy disease carrier'. (See NOTE below) Diphtheria can also be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. The bacteria may be found anywhere, but especially in poor or densely populated areas, where some people have not been vaccinated against diphtheria, encouraging the disease to spread. (Incubation period=2-7 days, with an average of 3. Infected people are able to pass on the disease for up to 28 days)

PLEASE NOTE!! In the early and mid 1990s more than 50,000 people in Russia and the Baltic countries fell ill with diphtheria. (I have no idea if they are now routinely vaccinated against this disease. Boosters last 10 yrs; see Polio)

TETANUS, also known as lockjaw, is a serious but preventable disease that affects the body's muscles and nerves. It typically arises from a skin wound that becomes contaminated by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani, which is often found in soil. Without treatment, tetanus can be fatal. (See Polio – boosters last 10 yrs. The incubation period varies from 2-21 days, with an average of eight days.) It is wise to keep this up to date even if no travel is intended.

Edited: 08 July 2010, 15:30