Firstly, I’m going to try really hard to write this holiday blog without it sounding like a sales pitch! It’s going to be very difficult because I genuinely have come back from a cheap, value for money holiday in Egypt during the U.K.’s dreary cold and wet January.
In November 2016, I went with my mother to Marsa Alarm, in Egypt. This was my first visit to Egypt and I really didn’t know what to expect from the place or in fact the people. I had lived in Cyprus for many years and I’m very accustomed to respecting local traditions and cultures, therefore I tend to travel to other countries adopting the same ethos.
Whenever you mention that you are going to embark on a cheap little holiday to Egypt, there is always somebody with some horror story to tell. My honest advice if you want little Britain and a greasy fry up every morning then best to look towards Benidorm and the Costa’s if you want a cracking holiday which represents value for money, great food, the best snorkelling, the best level of services then definitely steer towards Egypt’s.
For my November 2016 trip I stayed at the Jaz Dar El Madina Hotel in Om El Gorayfat Bay, Port Ghalib, Egypt, which although it says Port Ghalib is about 5km’s away. In common with most hotel resorts in Egypt this hotel was part of a group of five hotels surrounding a commonly shared beach. Because it was all-inclusive you could use any of the facilities across any of the hotels, the only exception there is you are restricted to à la carte dining at your own hotel. To be honest the all-inclusive buffet food was beautiful and plentiful. The animation team at the hotel really made you feel welcome and included, I would quite often watch their evening shows and wondered how they have the energy to keep going all day. I didn’t really partake in the aqua aerobics or anything else energetic, but the team always greeted me by name and we had a good laugh. There are many Russian and German tourists that visit Egypt and actually being British they quite like us and like to spend time chatting about us and England.
The average wage of a hospitality worker is around 300 Egyptian pounds oh and that’s per month! So yes, of course they want to be tipped but actually you don’t have to tip so much as any small tip or gratuity they are extremely grateful for. They are not so keen for pound coins as it is very difficult for them to change up the coins with Egyptian banks. So, I took American dollars all in one dollar bills. On my first day I tipped the Barman one dollar and that was it I had a personal bartender, who knew what I drank and made sure I never had an empty glass and was always replenished.
Okay enough about the hotel it was fab so with the staff!
Snorkelling snorkelling snorkelling or scuba should be the real reason why you would want to come to Egypt. Less than five minutes walk through the hotel resort and you on the shared beach. Less than three minutes wade out in the water and you are swimming in some of the most beautiful coral reefs with some of the most unusual fish with sea temperatures around 24° C even in January!
So that’s my first experience of Egypt and I found myself this year Jan 2018 was some time off from work and I googled hottest sea temperatures in January. The top three hottest sea temperatures were in places like Cape Verde, Thailand and kaboom Egypt! This time if I was going to Egypt it had to be somewhere different. I looked at loads of different places and eventually found something that was gonna be a bit of fun and give me some variety.
How does this sound? 11 bars including the beach bar, heated swimming pools, 35 waterslides and six restaurants including Mediterranean, Italian, Oriental, German, English and Asian so after reading that I booked a cheap getaway to Hurghada, Egypt to stay at the Jungle Aqua Park, Hurghada.
OMG! What a place. If you wanted to book an excursion to an aqua park in Hurhada the Jungle Aqua Park is where you would pay a fortune to go for the day. I was staying there this was my manor for the week.
I don’t get stuck for words very often but even sat here writing this everything was just…… The whole holiday…… The staff…… The food…… It just all totally exceeded my expectations!
The whole waterpark was heated pools, a handful of swimming pools on the main resort were heated and it was around 24° C to 27° C in January! Evenings dropped around about 19° C for the first few nights that didn’t bother us, as we became quite suntanned a thin fleece or cardigan took the chill off and enable us to eat outside without getting cold.
Each of the six restaurants had an evening menu outside every morning, this gave us an indication of what was on the menu but actually we would either stay put in between a couple of the restaurants or hop in some form of order through each restaurant grabbing a bit of what we fancied and sitting down somewhere to eat. My partner is vegetarian and there was a plentiful selection in all restaurants and I am polar opposites found plenty of meat and fish and many many many platefuls of baklava!
Breakfasts were pretty much the same across all the restaurants with a chef station at each cooking eggs, omelettes et cetera. Lunchtimes there was always a barbecue outside offering different forms of barbecued veg and meat to put in a roll or pitta bread as well as the usual adornment of buffet meals, cheese, meats, salads et cetera.
Because of the variety and the atmosphere you could easily spend a couple of weeks at this resort and not get bored. The rooms were fantastic and we were always replenished water in fact on our first day they put a whole box of water in our room and we never ran short.
My only criticism is the beach was a shuttle ride although you could walk it and was great and safe for swimming but no good for snorkelling. We did however take an excursion out for only £30 for the day and I had my fix of coral reefs and swimming with the fishes.
I did book last minute and all in my holiday was less than £500! And I really didn’t want to leave.
So if you’re after cheap winter sun or just try grab some holiday ideas seriously give this one some consideration.
I will try to personally respond to any comments you leave here and also if you had stayed at either of these resorts let me know if you enjoy them as much as I did?
Featured Places in Egypt
- Red Sea Governorate 689 hotels
- South Sinai Governorate 638 hotels
- Cairo Governorate 434 hotels
- Matrouh Governorate 362 hotels
- Luxor Governorate 250 hotels
- Alexandria Governorate 149 hotels
- Suez Governorate 135 hotels
- Aswan Governorate 99 hotels
- Giza Governorate 68 hotels
- New Valley Governorate 21 hotels
- Faiyum Governorate 16 hotels
- Qena Governorate 15 hotels
- North Sinai Governorate 12 hotels
- Ismailia Governorate 12 hotels
- Cairo 440 hotels
- Sharm el-Sheikh 419 hotels
- Hurghada 376 hotels
- Luxor 250 hotels
- Alexandria 145 hotels
- Giza 127 hotels
- Aswan 102 hotels
- Mersa Matruh 55 hotels
- 6th of October City 46 hotels
- New Cairo 35 hotels
- Port Said 13 hotels
- Esna 12 hotels
- Ras Sudr 22 hotels
- Ras El Bar 7 hotels
- Al-Qusair 16 hotels
- Ismailia 11 hotels
- Faiyum 17 hotels
- Beni Suef 9 hotels
- Cairo International Airport (CAI)
- Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport (SSH)
- Hurghada International Airport (HRG)
- Luxor International Airport (LXR)
- Aswan International Airport (ASW)
- Abu Simbel Airport (ABS)
- Borg El Arab Airport (HBE)
- Assiut Airport (ATZ)
Places of Interest
- Sinai Peninsula 658 hotels
- Valley of the Kings 169 hotels
- Giza Pyramids 64 hotels
- Red Sea Riviera 825 hotels
- Gulf of Aqaba 189 hotels
- Ras Mohammed National Park 18 hotels
- Berenice Troglodytica 5 hotels
- Gezira Island 28 hotels
- Coloured Canyon 35 hotels
- Kitchener’s Island 73 hotels
- Pharaoh’s Island 25 hotels
- Elephantine Island 74 hotels
- Tiran Island 100 hotels
- Giza Necropolis
- Great Pyramid of Giza
- Valley of the Kings
- Great Sphinx of Giza
- Pyramid of Sahure
- Aswan Dam