AIBU to rain on dh's parade about taking 4 dc 's to Egypt for half term ?

(111 Posts)
FOURBOYSUNDER6 Thu 07-Feb-13 05:10:03

Dh made Last minute decision to book Hilton sharks bay resort in sharm el sheikh. Has anyone been recently? We have young boys is it ok for younger ones etc? Dc's aged 6, 5, 3 and 7 mths.... He is mega excited and wants to book but i am not sure .... Can't really afford it, I have irrational fears about dc 's getting shot, trafficked , food poisoned , too long travelling from uk..... I would love a holiday in the sun and we need one as it is long long overdue... But AIBU to just want to chill at a villa in south if France or Spain in summer where it feels so much more sensible with young children or am I being ignorant and unreasonable ? He fancies Hilton sharks bay. Budget can't stretch to mark Warner !!!! Has anyone been to Hilton and is it good or poor mans Egypt ... Why am I posting this at this time instead of sleeping !

lottiegarbanzo Thu 07-Feb-13 05:38:23

Egypt has been quite unstable recently, have you checked the current Foreign Office advice? Sharm el sheikh is probably well away from most trouble but what are you hoping to do there? I know nothing of the resort except that a friend went there for the diving and couldn't understand anyone going and not diving as, in her view, there was nothing else to do.

Living Thu 07-Feb-13 05:38:25

My understanding is Sharm el Sheikh is pretty safe at the moment but if you can't afford it you can't afford it. My main concern would be risk of instability in the rest of Egypt hitting Sharm but it's fairly heavily protected.

Personally, there are other countries where you can go and lie on a beach and why not go to one of those at the moment (am guessing Sharm's cheap at the moment because of that).

I sincerely doubt the Hilton is 'poor man's Egypt' but then my definition of 'poor man's Egypt' is probably quite different to yours.

NarcolepsyQueen Thu 07-Feb-13 05:40:26

Hep jabs :-(

LtEveDallas Thu 07-Feb-13 06:03:24

The trouble in Egypt is mostly centred around Cairo ATM. Cairo is about 8 hours from Sharm. Hurghada is about 9 hours from Sharm.

The Hilton is likely to be a huge gated complex with armed guards, as all the resorts are over there. Feb half term is a great time to go as its not too hot, but a darn sight warmer than the UK. You wouldn't be lying in the sun in France or Spain at half term smile

We are going back to Egypt this year and I can't wait!

Callthemidlife Thu 07-Feb-13 06:04:07

Depends on the season you book for, of course, but the heat I think is too much or young kids. 30 degrees is one thing, 35-40 quite another. Without the diving I really can't see why you'd bother going there (ive been there lads of times but not since having kids) Try mousses (see mn reviews) or even camping in France instead - much more fun for kids I think.

Callthemidlife Thu 07-Feb-13 06:05:57

But if you're going in feb then of course heat not a problem.

Eastpoint Thu 07-Feb-13 06:39:24

I think the only problem is that it might actually be too cold. Don't know if they have any heated pools but if they don't, you might want to take your baby a little wetsuit. If you have towelling tops for them to wear on the beach in the UK I'd take them. It isn't a very long flight & the time difference isn't too big either and the children will wake up later than normal.

Watch out for the porters at the airport charging you English pounds for the trolleys not Egyptian!

ScaredySquirrel Thu 07-Feb-13 06:55:03

You'll be fine - we were in Egypt at October half term and we were ok - we were in Cairo too!

We met a family at the airport who had 5 boys who'd been in Sharm el Sheikh or somewhere there and they'd had a fab time.

i personally can't understand why you'd go to Egypt, or any country and stay in a gated complex - you could be on any beach - but i think your dcs will have a lovely time and won't be shot. (my baby was 5 months old when we went in October)

malteserzz Thu 07-Feb-13 06:58:51

I've never fancied Egypt because of the unrest there, if you are worried you're not going to relax. I'd tell him you would rather go to the canaries or somewhere or wait till the summer when there will be a lot more choice of warm countries to visit

Alligatorpie Thu 07-Feb-13 07:03:15

I live in Egypt and I think Sharm is very safe right now.
I haven't stayed in that Hilton, but have stayed in the Hilton Fayouz in Sharm. It was ok, good value, the food was a bit samey, but you often get that in hotels.

Trazzletoes Thu 07-Feb-13 07:03:23

My Aunt-in-law has been to Sharm several times in the past year - it's perfectly safe. You can always check the FCO website to put your mind at ease.

Trazzletoes Thu 07-Feb-13 07:03:52

She doesn't dive grin

ifancyashandy Thu 07-Feb-13 07:05:49

Went further up the coast to Dahab in Feb last year. The weather was lovely and it's more 'Egtptian' than a bland gated and armed resort in Sharm. More laid back and chilled - lots of independant travellers. Lovely people and very friendly. Not a hint of any troubles.

chipsandpeas Thu 07-Feb-13 07:13:09

i was there in september - i was in the complex by the beach so cant comment on the complex thats on the other side as i never bothered going over - plenty of resturants food was good (didnt get ill) pool was clean and had a swim up bar
theres a spa on site if you wanted a rest lol there is stuff for kids to do but exactly what i dont know
hotel is right beside soho square that has more resturants and bars if you fancy getting out at the evening and they also run a bus to naama bay that costed something like 1.50 each
if you were wanting more info let me know cos i still have all the welcome stuff and will look it out tonight when i get home from work

diddl Thu 07-Feb-13 07:20:13

Well for me it would depend on if you want to see any more of the country that a hotel complex/the nearest pool/beach.

If not, then I´d take the shortest flight possible tbh!

forevergreek Thu 07-Feb-13 07:32:15

Hmm I'm not sure. I have been to Egypt several times but the unrest doesn't feel right to me in terms of taking children

I haven't stayed at the Hilton. But travel advice is currently don't leave the resort. That means as tourists no camels visits in Sinai, no visiting pyramids in Cairo as that area def isn't recommended. No visiting any areas basically in a tour book. It also recommends you aren't out if you do go out after dark ( 6pm, which is when everything opens as everyone sleeps half the afternoon due to heat)

Can you transfer trip elsewhere?

KenDoddsDadsDog Thu 07-Feb-13 07:33:30

Sharm is terrific, great for a relaxing holiday with kids. It's remote from where the issues are and a long way away.
At the moment for obvious reasons a lot of the trips to Cairo etc aren't running so if you did want to do some of that you couldn't.

KenDoddsDadsDog Thu 07-Feb-13 07:35:09

You can go out in Sharm after 6pm forevergreek.

whats4teamum Thu 07-Feb-13 07:39:06

I think the key from your post OP is "Can't really afford it". Not going to be much of a holiday if you are stressing about how much it costs.

bbface Thu 07-Feb-13 07:41:30

i personally can't understand why you'd go to Egypt, or any country and stay in a gated complex - you could be on any beach - but i think your dcs will have a lovely time and won't be shot. (my baby was 5 months old when we went in October)

Because often quite dangerous and unstable countries have sensationally beautiful beaches, but are not set up nor safe for a two week visitor with no experience of their country. Egypt a case in point, The Caribbean another one.

Pricklypickup Thu 07-Feb-13 07:44:17

I seem to be going against the grain but my worse holiday was in Sharm. My teenage dd was harrassed continuously, my ds who was pushchair age was forever having soveniers thrust in his hands by vendors then getting very confused when I was taking them out of his hands and the vendors would then shout at me about being bad mother. Whenever my dh got out his camera to take pictures, locals would swarm to try and get the camera off us and take pictures for money.

It was a very stressful holiday.

Dexidoo Thu 07-Feb-13 07:44:27

I've been to Hilton Sharks Bay twice in March '09 and Feb '11 and had a lovely time. I went with a friend and so didn't really take in kids activities, just avoided the family bar!

Accommodation and food are good and weather was high 20's. We almost cancelled in 2011 due to the political instability but there were no problems, the complex is close to airport & very secure.

PM me if you have any queries

MrsMushroom Thu 07-Feb-13 07:48:04

I am like you OP and would worry about Egypt as a destination. But don't worry about the heat as someone mentioned...we've just spent Christmas in Oz and my 8 year old and 4 year old never bothered about the 40 degree days.

ifancyashandy Thu 07-Feb-13 07:48:45

I've traveled round the Caribbean on my own. It was very safe. Hotel propaganda suggests otherwise.

And it's a vast swathe of countries that you're dismissing as 'unsafe' there! Normal people actually live and go about their business in these places. With kids and everything!

bbface Thu 07-Feb-13 07:55:20

I've traveled round the Caribbean on my own. It was very safe. Hotel propaganda suggests otherwise.



You are dismissing vast swathes of a country as 'very safe' based on one experience! Go on the foreign office website. They will give you the low down.

Bluemonkeyspots Thu 07-Feb-13 07:56:03

I don't see the point in going if your not going to be able to be able to take a trip to the pyramids while you are there.

Egypt is filed under "holidays to do when dc are older" so that we can do everything we want to in that country then tick it of our list.

Until then it's Disney/camping/euro beach holidays for us.

Fairylea Thu 07-Feb-13 08:02:21

I wouldn't go. I don't think I'd feel safe and why chance it when there are other beautiful and safer places to go?

Also I had a friend who went there with his 3 year old dd. They had a lovely time at the hotel etc but during the second week his dd became ill with a urine infection and they had to visit the hospital and he said the hospital was absolutely awful and dirty and they had no understanding of childrens nervousness at all. His dd was quite traumatised by it all, so much so they came home early.

I know I'm extreme but for this reason only I'd never travel to any country where the health standard is at least equal to our own. But that's just me.

ifancyashandy Thu 07-Feb-13 08:08:41

One experience of 6 months travelling. With no theft, bodily harm or threat.

I would not take young children to that hotel. My friend went with her little boy a few years ago. He's now got permanent kidney damage from contracting e.coli when they were staying there.

bbface Thu 07-Feb-13 08:13:51

Five month long visits to Johannesburg. No theft, bodily harm or threat.

However, i think you will agree Johannesburg is not a safe place (or you would have had you head in the sand if you think otherwise). My husband is South African and is alarmed by how relaxed holiday makers are in SA.

On the sixth visit, we were broken into and literally anything and everything of any value was swiped. We got off lightly though, there was a car hijack outside the house that Very same day.

You simply cannot extrapolate the safety of a country from one extended holiday!

CloudsAndTrees Thu 07-Feb-13 08:16:59

I go to Sharm most years, sometimes more than once, it is very safe and because I know it, I'd have no reservations about taking my children.

The heat in Feb is a non issue, it really won't be that hot at all.

There is a lot of security in Sharm, and the Hilton is a nice hotel.

All of the trouble that has happened in Egypt is miles away from Sharm, just look at a map! It's on the tip of the Sinai peninsula, a long way away from the problems.

The Egyptians are wonderful people, they are not stupid enough to wilfully damage their main tourist destination. They rely on it.

bbface Thu 07-Feb-13 08:19:44

Some are daft enough. Remember the horrific bombing in sharm?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 07-Feb-13 08:22:09

The security has improved massively in the area where that bomb went off. Cars are not allowed in that area any more unless they have special permission.

ifancyashandy Thu 07-Feb-13 08:22:17

There was a bombing in Dahab. Didn't stop me. Bombings happen in the UK...

bbface Thu 07-Feb-13 08:22:33

in 2005, bombs in Sharm el-Sheikh killed 88 people and left 150 more wounded.

bbface Thu 07-Feb-13 08:24:43

To be clear, I am not saying that I would go.

I am simply trying to offer a balanced argument.

As I have said previously, every year I go to SA. One of the most dangerous countries in the world. The key is, I know that fact and behave and prepare accordingly.

When you have children, it is your responsibility to research and know the score. When you do know the score, you can make an informed decision.

Have you ever taken all four kids travelling before?

If not, I think I'd want something a bit easier for the first time out.

In any case, if you can't afford it, you can't afford it. Your husband is a grownup, surely he understands that?

MmeLindor Thu 07-Feb-13 08:29:48

I wouldn't go.

People on here have dismissed security concerned based on anecdotal 'evidence' of their own experience in Egypt.

The FOC doesn't issue warnings lightly, which means there is a risk. It is only 'safe' because of the heightened security, not because the FOC is overreacting.

For me the questions to ask are

- would you be able to relax?

- would it limit your enjoyment of the area

- would you feel caged in?

I was in Kenya last year, which is considered reasonably safe in the parts of the country we were visiting.

The hotel and shopping centres were protected by armed guards. Our bags were checked when we entered the hotel. We were warned not to leave the hotel on foot at night and only take hotel sanctioned taxis.

This didn't make me feel safer, it caused me quite some anxiety. I was there on business. I would not have taken a holiday there and certainly not with kids because of this (and because of the extreme poverty but that is another issue entirely)

The Sinai is incredibly unstable right now -- it's not true that all the violence is in Cairo, there are jihadists and traffickers setting up all over the peninsula. There is a lot of pressure on Israel at the moment to modify its peace treaty with Egypt so that they can send in more troops, it's quite lawless at the moment.

That said, the security at Sharm will no doubt be top notch. But while it's true that most Egyptians would not want their main tourist site attacked, some jihadists would consider it a prime target.

If it were just me, I would go -- I've been to plenty of crazy places. But with a 7 month old, no, probably not -- there are plenty of similar places to go that have no threat of violence at all, so why Sharm?

lottiegarbanzo Thu 07-Feb-13 08:35:05

For February, places that might be warm, lovely and interesting, with great beaches, include Morocco, Turkey, the Canaries and Cyprus. I've been to all but Canaries at Christmas time, was mostly but needed a jumper and thought they'd all be perfect in Spring, too hot in Summer, so check temperatures but could be nice in Feb.

I once went to Andalucia in November once and it was quite cold. I don't think France or Spain would be warm enough in Feb.

cantspel Thu 07-Feb-13 09:37:04

Sharm is very safe and not really Egypt at all. It is more like Benidom but with young egyptian men hassling you to go in their shop and buy some made in china statue of Basset.

But the Hilton is in Sharks Bay which is outside of Naama bay and a lot quieter. The area between Naama and Sharks is a bit of a wasteland but you the hotel is ok as long as you dont expect european Hilton standards.

Egypt is fine for young children. I took mine for years and the worst thing that ever happened to them is one scraped his knee getting out the pool.

The Hilton is an all inclusiive hotel so once you get their you wont need to spend a lot as long as you can drink their somewhat rough spirits and gassey beer as it wont include imported drinks. Wine is ok but dont drink the white as it is awful but the rose is ok. Plenty of soft drinks, pepsi, juices (the mango is lovely) and drink plenty of water. make sure it comes from a sealed bottle. Ice is ok to use as they make it with bottled water and they wash the salads with it as well so you can eat them with out to much worry. but i wouldn't risk it outside the hotel.

charlearose Thu 07-Feb-13 10:57:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nancy66 Thu 07-Feb-13 11:01:49

I'd save the money and put it towards an amazing holiday in the summer - I thought Sharm El Sheikh was a soul-less shit hole

Fluffy1234 Thu 07-Feb-13 11:12:07

Could you not hang on until Easter for your holiday and go somewhere like The Canaries? I went to Makadi Bay, near Hurghada when my boys were 9 and 11 and was so glad I waited as they were old enough to snorkel. Plus we did some amazing trips such as a day trip by plane to visit the Cairo and Egyptian museum and went into the desert in a jeep and watched the sunset. If you do go make sure the pools are heated as otherwise you may find they are almost unusable.

cantspel Thu 07-Feb-13 11:22:36

I love makadi bay. It is much nicer than sharm and the ideal place for a beach holiday. Great snorkeling from the house reef at the fort arabesque.
Fluffy is right the pools will be freezing in feb but the sea will be warm enough
but i would still take rash vest or wet suits if you plan on doing any diving or snorkeling.

The only area i would avoid is Taba although the diving and snorkling there is some of the best in egypt.

Fluffy1234 Thu 07-Feb-13 11:24:57

I went to Fort Arabesque xxx

Just wondering cantspel why would you avoid Taba?

cantspel Thu 07-Feb-13 11:37:59

Taba is right on the boarder of Israel and right on the edge of the sinai.
An ideal place for the nutty types to launch rocket attacks over the boarder.

I was there a couple of years ago when things were a lot more stable and even then you could hear the helicopters at night that patroled the sinai and the odd round of gun fire.

There is only 2 hotels there The movenpick and Taba Hilton, both lovely hotels next door to each other and you can walk trough the movenpick into the Hilton but the Hilton has the boarder the other side of it.

Great place to stay if you want to go to Jordan as you are right on the bay of Aqaba and you can see Jordan in the distance across the sea.

cantspel Thu 07-Feb-13 11:39:08

oh and Taba airport is a hell hole and you need another holiday just to get over the experience of flying home.

RafflesWay Thu 07-Feb-13 11:40:28

We went to hiltonsharksbay a few years ago but not our cup of tea. Bit too holiday camp style for us but in fairness kids would love it. Sharm is very safe although we went to different resort on the Red Sea coast in May 2011 following the earlier troubles in Egypt and DEFINITELY noticed a less courteous attitude towards tourists. So much so that we won't be returning again and had previously been there on many occasions.

Onlymydogunderstandsme Thu 07-Feb-13 11:44:02

We went to Hilton in Sharks Bay in November last year and took our DS who was 5mo, it was fab! The staff are brilliant with the children and its very family friendly. There is a good pool area for the children as well which is shallower. No tummy upsets and the food was really nice we would definately go back.

There had been quite a bit in the news about the riots in Cairo etc just before we went but it was fine.

cantspel Thu 07-Feb-13 11:44:07

Fluffy i love the Fort, one of my favorite hotels in egypt. Not as flash as the marble monstrosities build in some places but with a charm of its own.

It is italian owned and so the standards of service are quite high and i love the fridges everywhere so you can help yourself to beers, soft drinks, water and ice cream.

I will go back one day. The Makadi Palace just further along the bay is lovely as well but has got very expensive and the house reef is not as good as the fort.

Agree with Taba airport being horrendous. We went to Taba 4 years ago as my sister has been a few times so was interested in your opinion. I think we were in Taba Heights though (?) as there were more hotels. Very quiet though and I was more nervous there then I was in Sharm.

OP I've been to Sharm three rims, once in Naama bay, once Nabq bay and once Sharks bay in the Concorde El Salam which is next door to the Hilton. Sharks bay had fab snorkelling. I never felt unsafe while there. I went while they were building Soho Square in Sharks Bay. One thing though, do your children like beaches? As the hiltons beach Is man made by cutting in to the rock so not the smoothest. Also by the Hilton and Concorde there's a big chunk of reef, this means to get in to the sea you have to go along a jetty over the reef so you're straight in to deeper water. This is def true at the Concorde and I think it's the same at the Hilton

cantspel Thu 07-Feb-13 11:57:26

You were at Taba heights which is a good 40 minutes from taba and is a purpose built holiday resort. It si very quite as it is in the middle of no where where as Taba is on the edge of no where.

Naama is pretty souless,(i have been twice staying in Nabq bay and Ras om el Seed area) great if you just want sun but a bit of a cultural desert for anything else. Wouldn't be my choice again as there is much nicer places in egypt to holiday even if you are only after the sun. Sea life and snorkling are the only reasons i might go back but as the reefs are mainly accessed via a jetty then not ideal for children.

shinyblackgrape Thu 07-Feb-13 12:18:52

We went to sharm 3 years ago - only go if you like rude, drunk, Russians.

I got bitten all over with sand flies and the food in our supposed 5 star hotel was grim. Constant recycled buffet with said rude, drunk, Russians touching everything. DH and I were super careful about what we are as the whole place was a food poisoning accident waiting to happen. I will never forget the half melted ice cream with serving spoons dropped in th that a million people fished out to use before dropping back in. On the bright side, I lost 5lbs in a week. If we had been there for 2 weeks, I would have made arrangements to come home early

I also found Sharm to be increadibly tacky. Because I became so paranoid about the food hygiene, I didn't even want to eat out - the only places there seemed to be though were McDonald's and a Hard Rock Cafe.

The pool was also freezing cold in January. I have a 10 week old DS now and I would never take him there - notwithstanding the instability.

I really would save your money.

shinyblackgrape Thu 07-Feb-13 12:28:52

Yes - second the canaries or Majorca even if you could hold out til April

Also, second what was said up post about the alcohol. Horrible. Thank god we had brought a bottle if vodka or it would have been a dry holiday too

Also, our hotel had apparently been double booked hmm. We arrived in the dead of night and were punted put to another hotel with e ergo e else on our flight. . Didn't get on to our room til 5pm the next day after much complaining. We were e cited from the other hotel at 12:00am do had to hang around with bags like displaced persons. Apparently ( from tripadvisor), this is pretty common. I wouldnpt like to have to do that with 4 children!

shinyblackgrape Thu 07-Feb-13 12:29:30

Sorry - 11:00am the next day were evicted from the hotel

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Feb-13 12:33:16

my main concern is terrorism (sorry OP!)

algeria seemed to take everyone by suprise, even oil firms that spend billions on their security

and now they are saying that North Africa is the next hot spot for AQ

and obviously we have no idea what the intelligence networks are like

sorry!!!!!

but I would not want to go there with yound children when there IS a level of risk

and airports make me wary

LtEveDallas Thu 07-Feb-13 12:54:55

If you do go make sure you book through someone like Thomson/First Choice and not online.

After you have booked if FO advice is NOT to travel then Thomson/FC will book you somewhere else to the same standard/price. If there is nothing suitable they will allow up to an extra £300 per person to book somwhere else (on top of what you have already paid).

We had this when we booked to go to Tunisa just as it all kicked off. We had looked in Sep to book for fol Aug, but the prices were too high. It kicked off in Dec and prices dropped dramatically. We booked in Jan for £1000 less than we were expecting and were told by FC that if the FO advised NO travel 8 weeks before departure date we could either cancel or find another holiday of the same type to go instead. When we pointed out that all the other Holiday Villages were dearer they told us they would subsidise us to the tune of £300 ea.

We've just booked with Thomson for Hurghada in Aug and have been told the same again.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 07-Feb-13 13:00:03

I've been to Egypt 3 times with v small children in the last 3 years (DS2 was 4 months old on one trip). It is a fantastic winter sun option, and family friendly. I would not go if there were any travel restrictions in place and as I understand it there are currently no restrictions to the resort areas of the Red Sea. But if you're not going to relax and enjoy your holiday then there's not really much point you going.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 07-Feb-13 13:01:36

Also to add - I haven't been to Sharm, we went to Dahab, which I believe is less built up, less tacky and more laid back than Sharm.

Kungfutea Thu 07-Feb-13 19:04:59

I wouldn't. A good friend was murdered in a terrorist attack on a beach resort in Sinai about 8 years ago. Terrorism can happen anywhere but its more likely now than then.

Christelle2207 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:18:45

you would be safe but youll be stuck at the hotel. the snorkelling is fab but i guess the dcs are too young for that.

Kungfutea Thu 07-Feb-13 19:19:59

Google Sinai insurgency if you want to see how unstable it is now. Sorry op, I wouldn't risk it right now.

Hissy Thu 07-Feb-13 19:27:23

Please don't go to Egypt, anyone. It's a vile country, with a uniform and everyday harassment of women: locals, forigners, covered or not. No equality, no respect for children, no real safe provision for them, a general loathing of the west, and everyone after your money or a passport.

I lived there for 3 years and would never spend a single penny there until women and children are treated as human beings, until they have a realistic sense of safety and security become a civilisation once more.

It's cheap because it's nasty. Food hygiene is a total bafflement to them, generally. Education so poor as to not know enough to make any positive impact. Western ideas of respect, equality, human rights, food hygiene, behaviour, child rearing, road safety, health, medicine, you name it, dismissed out of hand, cos they do it wrong differently. The combination of ignorance and arrogance is breathtaking. Society there is BUGGERED. By going there good money is funding a bad state.

Please don't.

EspressoMartiniToGo Thu 07-Feb-13 19:30:24

We went to Sharm last October half term. No safety issues, but then the tourist areas are clearly defined, the hotel we were in had guards and sniffer dogs at the main entrance. We stayed in sharm the whole time, we were with our dc, 9, 7 and 10 months, dh ventured off with ds for a jeep safari which they liked...but again our main reason for picking Egypt was the diving for us and snorkelling for the older dc. Just amazing.
As others have said, if you don't want to dive or snorkel then go for a different country where you can hire a car and explore.
May I recommend Andalucia - I live here and it's bloody gorgeous all year round!

LtEveDallas Thu 07-Feb-13 19:33:03

Thanks for that Hissy hmm

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 07-Feb-13 19:38:35

Perhaps that's why they're in the midst of a revolution then, eh Hissy.

Fwiw, I think it's wrong to dismiss an entire country based on the things you've said in your post.

Kungfutea Thu 07-Feb-13 19:41:54

Just as bad as people here telling the OP that Sinai is safe because they went and they were safe and because Cairo is far away.

Sinai is NOT safe. In fact, I'd feel safer in Cairo than I would in the Sinai.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinai_insurgency

Kungfutea Thu 07-Feb-13 19:44:46

And the other thing is that if there is a terrorist incident, the Egyptian authorities first response will be to try to hush it up and cover it up rather than save lives or get people treated.

When my friend was murdered in 2004 they couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery. She was killed outright but another woman who was injured died because the Egyptians didn't bother sending ambulances and she didn't get medical help.

Given the chaos in Sinai, I suspect the situation would be far worse now.

To risk it with 4 children for a bit of sun and snorkeling seems bonkers to me.

ihearsounds Thu 07-Feb-13 19:45:00

If you cannot really afford it, then how does he expect to finance it?
You go on holiday surely to somewhere that is within your financial needs.
He might fancy it, but that doesn't pay for it.

cleo78 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:57:21

I live in Egypt and have done for 8 years now. I am not a fan of Sharm to be honest, but with 2 kids I can now appreciate its 'charm'! It will not reflect the real Egypt in any way really, but I am sure if you appreciate the fact that you are in predominantly Muslim country which many people class as being under developed or developing at best, then you could potentially, have a fantastic time! Egypt is extremely child friendly in my experience.
We spent the weekend at the beach 2 weeks ago, and with a heated pool, we could spend at least a couple of hours in the sunshine, playing.
As for political based stability- who knows. I would not drive to Sharm from Cairo at the moment, but wouldnt worry about flying. Yes, terrorist attacks have happened, but the majority of issues have been arising in Cairo and hereabouts and yet I personally (thank goodness!) havent witnessed a thing. Incidents have always been pretty isolated since the beginning of the revolution, 2 yrs ago.
I am very sorry for all those people who appear to have had bad experiences in this country- I certainly dont blame you for not wanting to come back. The world is your oyster, so why would you!? Sharm and Hurghada have always been a bit of a nightmare for hassle, but now people are becoming desperate. Most of the people working in the resorts will be from elsewhere in Egypt, and will be sending any money back to their families. Hotels have had to pay off staff due to the drop in tourism. It's really sad. I wish I could say that our new government appreciate the value of the tourism industry and are trying to sort it out....

If I was in your shoes, I assume I would lose a lot of money by changing or cancelling and would just look forward to a nice holiday playing by the pool!

cleo78 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:01:27

Sorry, just re read your message and it looks like you may not have booked yet? If not, then I would either go to Dahab or El Gouna- the latter being perfectly 'safe'! Great deals to be had, and possibly the nicest weather you are going to get at this time of year.

LtEveDallas Thu 07-Feb-13 20:05:40

Hello Cleo. I'd agree with your statement * Most of the people working in the resorts will be from elsewhere in Egypt, and will be sending any money back to their families* We were in Hurghada in Aug 12 and ended up quite friendly with a lot of the 'staff' (DH always ends up chatting to locals rather than other holidaymakers). Almost all of them actually had family in Cairo, and used to travel back to them for a weekend every 6 weeks.

We went out one night (DH, DD and I) with some of the 'day workers' - we were there over Ramadan and they were having a party that evening, invited us along. They were all absolutely lovely. We had a wonderful time at a local cafe bar and DD has been emailing one of their children ever since.

We had such a great time we are going back this year and cannot wait to meet up with them again. It's certainly not all bad.

cleo78 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:13:20

Thanks Dallas! Everyone has their own opinions obviously, but it does make me sad when I hear people writing Egypt off as an entire country when they have only experienced Sharm or Hurghada! Siwa for instance, is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited (an oasis over by the Libyan border) with the most friendly people.

But in all honesty OP, if you are feeling jittery about Egypt, and all you probably want to do (with kids in tow) is ensure they have a good time, then you are probably better off not coming. Are you really going to be able to relax?

Kungfutea Thu 07-Feb-13 20:14:55

I most certainly would not go to Dahab. It is absolutely not 'perfectly safe'.

Hurghada and the other side of the Red Sea are probably much safer.

Sinai is NOT safe. People are dying. The Bedouin are running riot there, Al Qaeda also have a presence, taking advantage of the chaos and proximity to Israel.

You may live in Egypt, Cleo, but you seem a bit blinkered to the risks.

Kungfutea Thu 07-Feb-13 20:16:05

My friend was murdered not far from Dahab in Ras Al Sultan. She also thought it was perfectly safe. It wasn't.

apostropheuse Thu 07-Feb-13 20:22:15

The thought of going on holiday anywhere where I needed armed guards to keep me safe just somehow doesn't appeal in the least.

I would be looking for somewhere else OP.

BegoniaBampot Thu 07-Feb-13 20:23:52

I've always avoided Egypt with the kids. Just seems more unstable and I seem to know folk who have had terrorist experiences there more than any other place. Go to lots of far flung places so not easily put off but Egypt just gives me a bad feeling. Also, quite a few folk I know have had some serious stomach issues, V &D etc.

cleo78 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:30:37

I am certainly not blinkered to the risks thank you. And I also said that the latter (El Gouna) was 'perfectly safe', not Dahab. I said that I would choose to go to either, and I would. I would not drive, as I am used to doing, as the vast majority of issues in the Sinai have taken place on the routes that I would have previously taken. I absolutely accept that despite there being minimal 'activity' at the moment, very unfortunate incidents have occurred in the past in these areas and may well do so in the future.

I apologise if my reply sounds quite abrupt kungfutea- I do appreciate that the situation with your friend sounds beyond horrific, and it is absolutely right to give a balance of experiences.

Kungfutea Thu 07-Feb-13 20:33:39

Sinai is in the middle of an insurgency. There is no law and order and things can go pear shaped very quickly. Things are far WORSE there than they were in 2004.

I agree not to tar all of Egypt with the same brush. In fact, having lived in Israel, I have had plenty of lovely holidays in Dahab, Nuweiba and various places in between.

I wouldn't go now, absolutely not.

cleo78 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:50:48

You're right re: the general lawlessness of the Sinai Kungfutea. Currently, Dahab and Sharm have not had such issues but as a result the security is high. Again OP, are you really going to be able to relax when you obviously already have warey thoughts in your head? Thousands (the actual numbers actually astounded me tbh!) of people are still coming on independent and package holidays, and the majority of those have a peaceful holiday. But at the same time, the FCO guidlelines are there for a reason too.

Dottyspot Thu 07-Feb-13 20:51:51

Sharm is fine as long as you stay within your hotel complex or go straight to the beach. The resort is horrendous, lots of sleazy men trying to sell you stuff, throwing things into your children's hands and then trying to get money off you! The resort is really, really sleazy. We couldn't walk 2 metres along the street without being hassled. Eventually we pretended we didn't speak English ( or any other language-Finnish s a good one to say as no one speaks that!) and be really firm.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 07-Feb-13 20:59:31

It's really not all bad, and I feel quite offended at Hissy's post. My experience of Egyptian people is not like that at all, and although I've never lived there, I have spent a lot of time in Egypt and have a lot of friends that live there, both British and Egyptian.

I feel completely safe walking around Sharm alone at night, and the 'hassle' (i wouldn't actually call it that) that you get from shopkeepers is nothing compared to what I've experienced in Morocco.

cleo78 Thu 07-Feb-13 21:21:18

Having just re read Hissy's post, I am left speechless. If I believed those things to be true, I certainly would never have chosen to give birth to my children here, raise them here and pursue my career here. Egypt is certainly NOT perfect...thats why there was a revolution 2 yrs ago. When I first moved here 8 years ago, Cairo was the safest place in the World that I had ever lived in (my own perception). That situation has changed, but not to level that Hissy is portraying.

FOURBOYSUNDER6 Thu 07-Feb-13 22:20:48

OOOOH so much food for thought .... Currently reading all these posts together with dh and discussing all issues raised ! smile thank you everyone, can't tell you how helpful this is .... Really, really appreciated .... Now where can i hide dh s Egypt brochure till dc s older and seems more appealing then and where did i shove this years centre parcs brochure where were we up to on this thread ....wink

MmeLindor Thu 07-Feb-13 22:23:47

Hissy
That is an astoundingly ignorant point of view to have of a country.

I have lived abroad and find that there are always expats who see only what they want to see of a country, and never stop slagging it off when they 'escape'.

Well seeing that you can't afford it OP, I'd go ahead and rain on his parade. Not much point hankering after something he can't have, he may as well get over it or look at something he can afford for the school break. Gran Canaria, or Southern Spain is warm in February, and cheaper too.

ifancyashandy Fri 08-Feb-13 07:24:24

Can only reiterate what I posted up thread. Dahab on my own last Feb felt incredibly safe and welcoming. Yes I got 'hassled' by workers outside their bars and restaurants but no more than in, say, Spain. And it was good natured and cheeky. Not threatening. But Dahab is maybe used to solo female travellers due to the amount of low budget accomodation mixed in with the higher end hotels. I loved it.

JoanByers Fri 08-Feb-13 07:58:47

I hated Sharm, really horrible people there.

HintofBream Fri 08-Feb-13 09:00:20

We stayed at the Sharks Bay Hilton in June 2011 when there was a lot of trouble in Egypt as the revolution was getting underway. It was a quick cheapie week, made even cheaper because a lot of people were steering clear of Egypt so prices were rock bottom. At no point did we feel at all insecure. The hotel was fine, the people were delightful, and I would happily go again apart from the fact that I picked up a really terrible stomach infection, albeit probably at the airport - a hell hole - rather than the hotel. Not much of a beach, swimming from a jetty, but a huge pool, good food, excellent rooms.
If you are talking Feb Half term that's one thing, but we found the May/June half term week very hot, and I should imagine August would be intolerable.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 08-Feb-13 09:06:24

Agree with ifancyashandy that any 'hassle' is good natured and cheeky. It's not threatening or bad in any way.

I think people that object to this need to open their minds a little bit. These people are working to try and feed their families, they are not picking on you personally just for the sake of annoying you.

I know qualified doctors in Egypt that work 16 hour days as waiters and still manage to keep a smile on their faces. They are doing what they have to do to survive, and the vast majority of Egyptian people I have met are very intelligent, compassionate people with a great sense of humour.

They have a strong work ethic because they don't have the luxury option we have of claiming benefits to survive. They have a 'can do' attitude and I think there's a lot of British people that could learn a lot from Egyptian attitudes.

In my experience, Egyptians have respect for women, and especially for disabled people, in much greater quantities than I see displayed in this country.

QOD Fri 08-Feb-13 09:26:41

We stayed at the other Hilton the other side of the road, newer and a bit more secure.
Sharm dreams resort .. We were a bit worried beforehand about how you had to cross the road, grassy area in middle so you can do it in two parts, but infact there are loads of old fashioned sleeping policemen on the roads so all the traffic slowed to a crawl and you could safely cross.

We did walk over and through the Sharks bay one, one big difference we found was that yes it had the benefit of being beach front, but it wasn't actually very secure.
Anyone could walk thru the walkways and come into the hotel area although the security did chase off obvious hawkers.

We were slightly concerned before we flew (December 12) as a bomb plot had just been thwarted, but the dreams resort was 100% secure, guards at gates and no one non staff or resident could get in, no hawkers. Would leave camera and phone by pool and swim, whereas couldn't do that at the sharks.

We did get harassed at the shops, you should be ok with your dh though.

I loved it and will go again ALTHOUGH I wouldn't take my 14 yr old timid dd with me as she freaks out at the attention (I went with my mum)

QOD Fri 08-Feb-13 09:33:59

Oh oh and I've been before too with dd and mum but a secure complex where we only left for specific trips to Cairo etc, that was Hurgharda.
You have to use alcohol gel EVERY single time you handle money and before eating and you'll be fine, never a twinge of tummy trouble.

expatinscotland Fri 08-Feb-13 09:38:36

He's barking. If you can't afford it, why not look for an alternative?

BegoniaBampot Fri 08-Feb-13 09:48:07

Cloudsandtrees - have you travelled through counties like Egypt and Turkey on your own or without a male companion? You can't generalise on all Egyptians etc but to say they have more respect for women is crazy. Have you any idea what it's like to be a lone woman and have you experienced the harrassement and sexual assault which is through the roof.

niceguy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 10:25:14

People on here have dismissed security concerned based on anecdotal 'evidence' of their own experience in Egypt........The FOC doesn't issue warnings lightly

Firstly I would say that people have dismissed security concerns having been there and seen the situation first hand for themselves. And they have felt safe enough that they are now happy to recommend it to others. The troubles are far far away. The equivalent would have been for people to say "oooooh don't travel to Edinburgh, they had riots in London. It's dangerous!"

The FOC website shows clearly the parts of Egypt you should avoid. Sharm is not one of them.

Having been a regular traveller to Egypt I'd have to say that the tourist parts are safe. As for food poisoning, if you eat at reputable restaurants, drink bottled water and bottled beers then you will be fine. But I always do that when travelling anyway.

The main centre of trouble now is Tahrir Sq in Cairo where the after Friday prayer riot is almost a regular fixture. As a colleague of mine told me when I asked him how he felt about the troubles. "We wake up, we go to work, we come home. Life goes on."

The main problem I have with Sharm is there's not actually a hell of a lot to do there.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 08-Feb-13 10:26:21

I have traveled in Egypt on my own, not Turkey though. I have experienced bad attitudes for being female, but not significantly more so than I have from men in this country.

I do have a couple of female friends that live in Egypt that wear wedding rings although they are not married, so I do know that some bad attitudes exist, but I don't think that are as widespread as some believe. I don't think I have experienced the worst of it because I look Arabian, and on the whole I have had very good experiences of Egyptian people.

cantspel Fri 08-Feb-13 11:36:17

I have been to egypt many times and am one of the mad types who go in august as i love the heat.

I am not a lover of sharm. It is a purpose built tourist resort. Egyptians men come from the major cities of luxor, cairo and Alexandra to work there so there are no locals as such. You will find very few women working in the hotels and the one's that do are either european or Coptic from alex.

Naama bay is a hell hole and you are just seen as a walking wallet to be fleeced. Men will try to drag you into their shops and restraunts. i have had them try dragging my son's in so i would follow and pull at my arm. plus they will often try to lock the door once you are in the shop.
The young men who work there are sleazy and i have been touched up in a toy shop of all places when shopping alone with my sons.
These young men are not how every egyptian behaves but the tourist resorts are not full of your average hard working egyptian. They attract the more base element who are just looking to make easy money and many tourists are an easy mark.
These men are the ones who service the older european ladies looking for fun and probably make more money doing so than an the professional classes. The Egyptian economy is all squ wif as a sleazy waiter in a tourist hotel is making more in tips form stupid brits than a doctor.

I love Egypt. It is a country rich in history and culture but you wont find that in sharm or any tourist resort.

ZZZenAgain Fri 08-Feb-13 11:45:04

ML hi, Hissy had a very bad time of it in Egypt IIRC her posts about her marriage etc, certainly more extreme than the experience most unhappy expats make.

I went to Sharm in March and the water was cold. It was also, I thought, a fairly boring place for a holiday. Dh dives a lot so he quite enjoyed that aspect of it. If you don't dive, there isn't really that much to do. We have been to Egypt twice but this was before the recent civil unrest began, so we were able to travel about and I am glad we went because we are all interested in ancient Egypt and it was nice to mix the sight-seeing with some quiet days at the beach/pool. If it was just two weeks in the hotel, I wouldn't personally fancy it.

I wouldn't go there atm though. Perhaps if you travel a bit later, the Canary Islands?

Kungfutea Fri 08-Feb-13 12:17:41

I think many posters posting haven't a clue about the dangers and threats in Sinai. It's a completely different kettle of fish to what's happening in Egypt proper and far more of a threat to the average tourist to whats going on in Cairo.

There is a reason why Israelis, who used to flock en-masse to Sinai, have completely stopped coming. It's not safe - and this is in comparison to Israel, not England.

JoanByers Fri 08-Feb-13 12:18:23

Surely Israel is safer than England?

<googles Peckham crime rates>

ScaredySquirrel Fri 08-Feb-13 12:21:27

we had one bad experience in Egypt when we were there last October. We walked to the railway station in Cairo late on Friday afternoon and there were some very rowdy young men out. Nothing happened, but we felt threatened and my 12 yo dd felt scared. However, she had refused to take my advice about covering up and was wearing a skimpy sundress. I would go to Cairo again actually even now, but would just avoid tahrir square and be a bit more cautious on Fridays. I don't think the FCO website advises to stay away from Egypt.

I have been to Egypt several times. It is definitely more conservative now than it was in the past. You have to cover up. But I don't think these concerns apply to Sharm. I've been to Dahab and would also prefer that to Sharm. I do think you would be fine going to that resort with your children - they are young and would enjoy it much more than the pyramids etc anyway. The family I met with 5 young boys (I often wonder if she is on here!) had gone to the 4 Seasons and had a fantastic time.

ubik Fri 08-Feb-13 12:28:10

It's interesting about Dahab

Dp and I backpacked around Egypt nearly 20 years ago and at that time Dahab was full of junkies, i mean proper addicts. It was a very strange place, like some sort of wild west frontier. We also went to a place called Tarabin which was much nicer.

When we got to Sharm el Sheik, to cross to Israel, It was this enormous building site, with miles of beaches and huge empty hotels. It was weird.

I had stones thrown at me in Egypt.

My husband was arrested on the border coming by local ferry from Jordan, and they would not let me see him, they would not let me get my passport from him, or any money. (He had our passports and money) They threatened to deport him and send him back to Poland. After 4 hours they were able to understand that he was a British Resident, and they let him go.

I lost count of all the times I had my arse pinched, my arms stroked, my neck touched, a hand up my back inside my blouse.

I wore long linen trousers, long sleeved blouses, and a lose (out of africa style) scarf covering my hair. And I was still treated like a piece of dirt.

But, I still want to go back when the kids are older, and the region more peaceful.

I loved camping in Egypt. Seeing the sun set, and raise over the dessert was a sight to behold. And running around at night looking for cover to sneak a shower with water bottles was quite an experience.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Fri 08-Feb-13 12:45:37

The politics of the place would really put me off.

ubik Fri 08-Feb-13 12:56:55

Sunrise in the desert is truly magical. I loved the way the stray dogs would it together to watch the sun come up. It is an amazing place but Cairo is not for the faint hearted.

It's a shame - look at film of Cairo in the 1970s and none of the women have their heads covered and it looks like a Mediterranean city. Now all women appear to have at least their heads covered and attitudes have changed.

We went there on holiday (Hurghada and Luxor) a long time ago pre-kids. I quite enjoyed it, and we might have gone back, only other places are more appealing...usually France but considering a long haul at the moment, Egypt isn't on the list.

The water at Easter was cold. Pool was freezing (and that was with wet suits on), and the weather on the coast was not perfect (warm in land).

6 months after we went, there was a massacre at the Temple of Hepshetsut (sp?) near Luxor. We'd visited it, and it had seemed perfectly safe. I guess that the 60 odd people who died had thought the same thing.

I do appreciate that most of the troubles seem to be in Cairo, but I wouldn't want to go to Egypt at the moment given how women are treated and given the recent actions of some members of the police.

OP - I would second others, and wait for the summer. France of Spain would be great later in the year.

BegoniaBampot Fri 08-Feb-13 14:04:03

People say it is safe, the problem I have us that they were actually targeting tourists, it wasn't just people unlucky to be caught up in an internal conflict. Know the past government tried to really clamp down on that but not sure how successful it was and what the new government's take on it is.

As someone else said many Muslim countries are becoming much more hard line now than they were in the past. The fundamentalists seem to be gaining more power and control. I have Turkish and Malaysian friends who are worried about the changes they have seen in their countries in the past few years.

LongWayRound Thu 14-Feb-13 20:34:47

Just watching this video, and finding it hard to square with the generalisation that "Egyptians [read: Egyptian men] have respect for women" - presumably only as long as they stay indoors. On the other hand, it gives me great respect for the Egyptian women with the courage to speak out against abuse which is so deeply engrained.

As a tourist in a package holiday resort, you won't be confronted with this, but it's worth bearing in mind.

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