Marsa Alam, Red Sea Egypt
This popular resort is located 135 Km south of Al-Qusseir and 270 Km south of hurghada, and is connected to Edfu by a 289 Km long desert road.
Due to the proximity of Luxor and the shrine of Abu AI-Hassan AI-Shazli, it has become a big tourist centre, which avails the tourist of the many monumental sites and its exotic beaches.
Marsa Alam is a port and a resort located on
the red sea in the Eastern South of Egypt,
700 kilometers away from Cairo and 280
kilometers away from Hurghada. The city
transformed from being just a small fishing
village to become a famous sea resort and a
center for diving and sea trips as the city
contains matchless coral reefs and diving
Marsa Alam also has an airport located 60 kilometers to the North of the city and can serve more than 50 thousand passenger, which added to the huge development that the city went through. Flights from different European countries, especially Italy, come straight to Marsa Alam international airport with hundreds of tourists who chose Marsa Alam to spend their vacation. Other than more commercial cities like Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, the beauty of Marsa Alam is still untouched with the harmful effects of modernization.
Marsa Alam mainly consists of two villages: Bernice, a small city located 178 kilometers to the North of Al Qausier, which is famous for therapeutic tourism and the village of Abu El Hassan Al Shazly which has a famous Islamic center and doesn't really have anything that might interest tourists. But what about the center of the city of Marsa Alam itself?
The plan for the city of Marsa Alam indicates that by the year 2020, it will host more than 60 thousand people and the city will provide more than 17 thousand working opportunity.
The Egyptian government gave special attention to Marsa Alam during the last few years because of many reasons. The first reason is that the city has the most remarkable diving and snorkeling spots in Egypt. The second reason is the weather in Marsa Alam which is moderate all year long especially in the beginning of the winter when you can swim in the sea while other people in other cities suffer from the cold weather. The third reason is that Marsa Alam is located near the Nile Valley and near Luxor in particular which makes it possible for tourists who visit Luxor to come to Marsa Alam and vice versa.
Marsa Alam has significant economical importance as it hosts many of the key gold and marble mines in Egypt. This is besides the Marsa Alam sea port that was developed immensely over the last few years.
The Egyptian government was also able to
discover some monuments near Marsa Alam, The
fact that added a new dimension to the city.
The supreme council of antiquates was able
to discover a hall ancient town that goes
back to the new Pharonic kingdom. This is
besides the gold mines in Wadi Baheria that
was used since the times of the Pharos.
Tourist's activities in Marsa Alam
In the morning, the key word is the beach. Most tourists prefer to spend the early morning, after having a delicious breakfast, on the beach to enjoy the crystal clear red sea water, the shining sun, and the white sand of Marsa Alam.
When I reached the Qamaraya Hotel, I was amazed to view all these appealing flower and tree gardens. This place is really the paradise on earth. The gardens of the hotel are very colorful that makes one want his eyes to transform into a camera in order not to miss any of these beautiful scenes. I thought to my self that it is so sad that I don't have my fiancé with me. We would really have enjoyed this place. I promised my self that I would have my honeymoon in this particular hotel.
When I went to the beach, a lot of tourists were enjoying the sea, snorkeling and swimming, until the Italian animation team started their activities which included funny competitions between families and couples. Maybe more than 90% of the guests were Italians. I learned afterwards that charters come from Rome and Milan straight to Marsa Alam with a lot of Italian tourists.
Other morning activities in Marsa Alam include playing all sorts of sports. Most of the resorts in Marsa Alam have tennis, football, volleyball, and table tennis. There are tennis instructors that can teach advanced and beginner players. A lot of tourists spend the afternoon playing volleyball before go swimming for the last time of the day.
Diving in Marsa Alam
The most common activity in Marsa Alam is diving. This is because the red sea is in its finest shapes and colors in this amazing city. There are many diving centers in Marsa Alam that offer modern equipments that are all imported form Europe. There are also some European diving centers that opened branches in Marsa Alam. The list of the most important diving centers in the city includes Deep South, Wadi Gimal, Ocean Pro and Aquarius.
By chance, I found out that the Qamaraya hotel hosts the oldest and maybe one of the most important diving centers in Marsa Alam. It is called pioneers diving center. The center has professional diving instructors who can give lessons in Italian, English, German and Spanish. The center provides all types of diving lessons and trips. The instructors give lessons to beginner divers and professional divers. They even have special diving spots for beginners and others for more advanced divers.
The "Shaab Samadai" or the Dolphin House is the most interesting diving spot in Marsa Alam. All diving centers in the city organize one day trips to this matchless diving spot where one can view some of the oldest red sea coral formations. There is also a chance to swim besides some dolphins. This is why this spot is called " the Dolphin House". Another remarkable diving spot, but this one is exclusively for advanced divers, is the Elphinstone, which is considered one of the best diving locations in the world to view sharks.
Marsa Alam 's Night life
I was amazed to find out that there are numerous activities to be done at night in Marsa Alam. One can go shopping for example as all the sea resorts of the city have a collection of shops. These shops mainly sell gifts and souvenirs like perfumes, pharonic replicates, small statues, silver and gold jewelry, wooden handcrafts, and some Bedouin outfits and crafts. I actually bought a beautiful silver bracelet for my fiancé and its price was quite reasonable
The most important product that can be bought from Marsa Alam is herbs. There are some types of herbs which are only cultivated in Marsa Alam and the area around it and you can not find it anywhere else in Egypt. These herbs are beneficial for the health and help in curing many chorionic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
For tourists who prefer more energetic and adventurous activities, a lot of resorts and tourism offices offer interesting different tours. One can go in a tour to the desert in the Arabian style riding a camel, watching the bizarre rock formation in the desert, and then laying down and have tea and dinner in the Bedouin tent that will be waiting for you there. Taste the delicious Bedouin cooked dishes specially the grilled veal dishes. if you need to speed up the process, you can use a beach buggy or motor bicycle instead of the camel.
Another entertaining tour is to ride a horse beside the sea or in the desert. There are instructors to teach your sons and daughters how to ride young horses. Riding horses is one of the most pleasurable activities to be done in Marsa Alam in the afternoon or maybe late at night as well.
In each of the larger resorts in Marsa Alam, there are discos, bars, and different types of restaurants. The Qamaraya Hotel where is stayed had a disco that was called Ciao Marsa, which is a dance place that plays all sorts of music, especially Latin. Another interesting place is Planet Bedouin, which is a tent on the beach offering drinks and Shisha every day. The Bedouin tent also offers some types of tasty Egyptian food like Molokheya, grilled meat, Fetta, and Koshary. There is a belly dancing show two times a week in the tent.
The animation teams in the resorts of Marsa Alam never leave the guests without entertainment. In the late afternoon they organized some sort of group dancing and acting scenes. I was not able to participate off course since I knew a few words in Italian. However, I spent sometime watching them dancing together and I participated in the dances at the very end.
I was lucky because it was Thursday as this was the day the hotel organizes a beach party. The ticket for the party was for 70 Euros and it included having two drinks. Everybody seems happy and everyone mingled in group dances. I even met some of the friends I got to know from desert tour I had earlier in the day. Many resorts offer beach parties every few days to entertain their guests.
There are some points I would have to clarify at the end. First that Marsa Alam has all sorts of modern services that include communication services like international phone calls, wireless internet, and medical services as each resort has a small medical center. A tourist can also hire a car to take him whenever he wants.
I would like to say that I made my dream come true when I got married. I went for half of my honeymoon trip to Marsa Alam. After me and my wife went for a Nile cruse between Aswan and Luxor we took a private car with a driver and went to the same Qamaraya hotel in Marsa Alam. The trip took around 4 hours but it was nice as the car was quite comfortable.
Knowing that we are honeymooners, the administration of the hotel gave us a nice cozy room in a quite spot to the far west of the hotel. The room was wide and had a remarkable sea view. My wife was amazed to see the greenery and flowers of the hotel.
We spent four days there that I have to admit were among the happiest days of my life. We used to spend the morning on the beaches of the hotel and the night in the disco, Bedouin tent, and the small cafe near the hotel where we played cards and enjoyed hot drinks. At the end of our trip we took airplanes straight to Cairo. I have to note that there are many flights from Cairo to Marsa Alam and vise versa around the week.
Marsa Alam will always hold a special place in my heart. The city is marvelous for divers, honeymooners, and older people who can enjoy the calm beaches. Before leaving Marsa Alam in my last trip, I have heard many people saying that Marsa Alam will be the coming Sharm Al Sheikh, especially after many Egyptian construction companies building resorts and hotels there such as Porto Ghaleb. Although I would love to see Marsa Alam as famous as Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, I would like the city to maintain its charm of being an untouched beauty.
Hotels in Marsa Alam:
There are many hotels in Marsa Alam that can serve different tourists with diverse budgets there is:
1- Iberotel Coraya Beach Resort (5 stats)
2- Sol Y Mar Dar El Madina (4 stars)
3- Three Corners Fayrouz Plaza Beach Resort (4 stars)
4- Iberotel Lamaya Resort (5 stats)
5- InterContinental The Palace Port Ghalib Resort (5 stats)
6- Fantazia Resort (4 stars)
7- Elphistone Resort (4 stars)
8- Gorgonia Beach Resort (4 stars)
9- Kahramana Beach Resort (4 stars)
10- Lahami Bay Resort