A little Pharaoh away, but well worth the trip

by Ian Begley

LIKE many Irish people, when it comes to looking for a holiday my needs are simple – the sun, the beach, interesting things to see and do and a great variety of food.
Fortunately, my recent Red Sea Holiday’s trip to Sharm el Sheik, Egypt ticked all the right boxes.
Excited at the prospect of visiting a location that has proven itself to be a major player in Egypt’s vital tourism industry, I was happy to stay at the popular Ghazala Gardens.
Brilliantly positioned on the sandy shores of Naama Bay, and within walking distance of the resort’s many shops, bars and restaurants, its location for me scored a perfect 10.
The selling point, however, was that our hotel was within a five-minute walking distance to the beach – a factor that certainly made me happy.
The grounds and facilities of the Ghazala Gardens hotel were equally as impressive, featuring an impressive pool area with beautiful, well-kept gardens.
My room was very spacious, clean and aesthetically pleasing, offering a modern touch to an Egyptian interior design.
The creme de la creme, however, was my room’s ground floor balcony which extended out to the swimming pool. The only downside was that my room did not have wifi.
I was very pleased with the culinary range, which left me spoiled for choice in its selection of cuisines, from American-style buffets to Italian, Brazilian and Mexican restaurants.
Most days, and at any given chance, I made the short trek to our hotel’s private, sandy beach, which offered complimentary sun beds and umbrellas.
Getting a tan wasn’t hard in the 30-degree heat and the beach’s nearby bar was the perfect way to cool off in the hot sun.
During the evening time, when Sharm el Sheik comes alive, a trip to Naama Bay, the Old Market or Soho Square satisfied my desire for impressive restaurants, entertainment and good natured haggling.
Fortunately, these locations are only about 15 minutes apart from one another, so taxi fares won’t set you back.
One of the very interesting excursions I went on during my stay was paying a visit to the Bedouin tribe in the heart of the Sinai Desert to get a taste of their traditional way of life. During our trip, we took a short ride on a camel and climbed the nearby hills to watch the sunset and take some incredible photos.
We then made bread on an open fire, and had a buffet barbecue afterwards. Then, when it got dark, we went stargazing with an expert astronomer, learning some very interesting facts about the night sky.
The highlight of my stay in Sharm el Sheik was definitely our cruise trip to the Tiran Island Ras Mohamed, where our group enjoyed a relaxing and thrilling experience snorkelling and taking in the sun. I was amazed by the coral reefs and marine life just off these islands, dazzled by the breath-taking kaleidoscope of underwater colours that changed constantly.
Sharm el Sheikh offers plenty to see and do, too. There are all sorts of traditional crafts and souvenirs that can be bought from the many bazaars, and you’ll find no shortage of restaurants and nightclubs at every turn.
Built exclusively for tourists, the town thrives at making its guests feel welcome and exclusive with a wide range of excursions on offer to keep you occupied.
With good value for money and everything that is needed in a summer holiday, Sharm el Sheik is definitely a place that is worth visiting and revisiting.
For further information on award-winning Red Sea Holidays and how to book your Sharm el Sheikh escape, with tours and packages starting from this week, see

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