If you find yourself in Sharm el Sheikh for the day, you may not have the time or ability to organise a day trip to the desert or arrange a scuba diving excursion. But if you do want to experience some of the vibrant local culture of Sharm El Sheikh, take a trip to the fantastic Old Market in the Old Town.
The Old Market is a feast for the senses. This area is a hive of Egyptian culture, filled with bright colours, bustling sounds and rich fragrant smells. In order to truly experience the atmosphere of Old Market, you need to throw yourself into the fray and haggle with vendors. This is a welcoming place for tourists, and is equally as popular with the locals.
It is incredibly convenient to get to and from the old market from the airport, so you don’t need to worry about getting lost or missing your flight. It is roughly 20 minutes away. You can either jump on a bus or grab a tax from the airport (there will be plenty around). If you do travel via taxi, negotiate the price in advance.
When you arrive, you will quickly see that it is possible to buy almost anything. The Old Market is filled with stalls selling a variety of items such as shisha pipes, lamps, clothing, jewellery and a wide range of souvenirs. The great thing about Old Market is that despite its expansion and popularity, it has maintained its authenticity. The Old Market still has the same feel as a traditional Egyptian bazaar.
The main thing you need to be aware of before making the trip to Old Market is that you will be expected to haggle. As a tourist, vendors, café owners and restaurateurs will approach you, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is how shopping works here, prices aren’t fixed so if you really want something you need to barter for it.
Here are some tips for those of you who are new to haggling. Firstly, if you don’t want to buy something, just say no and walk away. You don’t need to be rude, but you don’t have to get sucked into a sale either. Vendors would much prefer you to do this than waste their time if you don’t want to buy anything. Secondly, relax. This should be a fun and friendly experience. You may even get a drink or two thrown in for free! Finally, if you want something, set yourself a price limit and stick to your guns. If you can’t get it for that price on that particular staff, you can always try another.
You may not have a choice when it comes to the time you find yourself in Sharm El Sheikh, but if you can, head to the Old Market in the evening. The lights and atmosphere at this time are amazing. If you don’t want to shop, you can always take in the ambiance with some shisha and tea in a local café.
We hope that this has given you an idea of what to do if you have some spare time on holiday in Sharm El Sheikh. You never know, you may enjoy it so much that you come back again for longer.