Monday, 04 June 2012 20:41

Need a Place to Stay While in Egypt? Check Out Villa Ashara!

Written by  Ken Ku
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Villa Ashara Villa Ashara Federico Gigante

If you ever head out to Egypt, you'll definitely want to check out Sharm el-Sheikh.  Sometimes referred to as "the City of Peace" (so named because of the many peace conferences held in Sharm el-Sheikh) is at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt and right along the coast of the Red Sea.  I'm sure most people think of Cairo or Luxor when they think of Egypt, but Sharm el-Sheikh has plenty of things to do as well.

Since the city is right along the coast, people who enjoy water sports will particularly find this area well worth a trip.  You can go snorkelling and if you're more ambitious, scuba diving.  Because of the warm water and clear visibility, Sharm el-Sheikh is an ideal place to dive.  Many of the scuba shops are right along the beach and PADI has a list of all their dive shops, dive resorts, and other recreational facilities.  There are also more than a thousand species of fish and other underwater creatures to observe in this region.  Other water related activities include: windsurfing, kitesurfing, parasailing, canoeing, and sailing.  The water lover will certainly love it here.

If you are less inclined to go out on the water, there are many other things to do as well.  Perhaps you want to spend an evening in a Bedouin campsite and share a meal with one of the locals.  Or maybe wandering around the old market where you can browse for hours looking at typical Egyptian things.  Things range from gold bracelets to replica souvenir trinkets.  You will just have to go there to see what things are offered.  One thing not to forget while doing business in these markets is to haggle.  It might be unfamiliar to some but it is often a necessary, or even expected, part of doing business.  I can't say if there is a right or wrong way to haggle and everyone has their own way of expressing this art.  Doing research into how much something costs prior to visiting a market is probably the best thing to do.  That way you have an idea of how much things SHOULD cost.

There is also the Santa Katarina monastery at base of Mount Sinai.  This is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the worlds oldest working Christian monasteries.  It is also believed that Moses received the 10 Commandments here from God.  Inside the monastery lies a collection of manuscripts, codices, art, and other relics.  The second largest library of irreplaceable art, the first being the Vatican Library.  Surrounding the monastery is a newly built city by the same name.  It has schools, a hospital, police station, post office, and many other facilities found in a modern day city.  Once you visit this monastery, you might want to check out Mount Sinai itself.

The seven thousand plus feet mountain has 3,750 steps carved out by the monks of the Saint Katarina.  The peak is also accessible via another route that is gentler and both the steps or the path will lead you to the amphitheatre named "Seven Elders of Israel".  From there you will have to ascend another 350 steps before reaching the peak where the Chapel of the Holy Trinity was built in the 1930s.  If you take the steps back down the mountain, it will lead you past the fountain of Moses and the Gate of Law among other sites.

For places to stay, I definitely would suggest the brand new Villa Ashara.  It is run by a fellow named Luigi and he most definitely will have more suggestions of places to go and things to do while you're in Sharm el-Sheikh.  I met Luigi while I was relaxing on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, at another hostel he was working at then.  Now that he's out here managing Villa Ashara, I know people will love this destination.  This hostel has both private as well as dorm rooms and a pool to cool off on those hot African summer days.

Last modified on Monday, 04 June 2012 22:12
Ken Ku

Ken Ku

A photographer/printmaker/perpetual wanderer going on a backpacking adventure around the world.  Follow my journey as I discover new places and meet new people!