Resort Ain al-Sohn in Egypt
The resort of Ain Sokhna (or Ain al-Sokhna) is one of the most interesting places to relax on the Red Sea in Egypt. It has a unique location just 140 kilometers from Cairo. For tourists, the package is almost unknown, but for fans of independent travel it is of great value.
Location of the resort Ain Sokhna
The Red Sea in the north ends with two bays. From the east, the Sinai Peninsula is washed by the Gulf of Aqaba, and from the west is the Gulf of Suez (see map to the right).
It is on the shore of the Suez Bay, 30 km to the south of the entrance to the famous Suez Canal, is the resort of Ain Sokhna.
The main advantage of this arrangement is the proximity to Cairo. From the city of Ain Sokhna to Cairo, a direct highway is laid, and between the cities only 140 kilometers (from the center to the center).
In addition, from all the resorts of the Red Sea it is Ain Sokhna closest to the second major city of Egypt - Alexandria . The distance is 350 kilometers. One-day bus excursion to Alexandria is possible only from this city. All other resorts of Egypt on the Red Sea are too far away.
The main advantage of the resort is Ain Sokhna
If you come to the central Egyptian resorts of Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh , and you dream of looking at the Great Egyptian pyramids , you will be faced with some difficulties.
From Sharm el-Sheikh to Cairo, 500 kilometers and 6-7 hours by bus. From Hurghada to Cairo 460 kilometers and 5.5-6.5 hours drive. We do not recommend going on a day trip, as you will spend most of the day on the bus. You just catch a glimpse of the sights of Cairo , and it will be time to leave again. We have to leave at 2 am, and return closer to midnight.
You can fly on an excursion by plane, many tour desk offer this service. This is not an expensive pleasure - about 200 US dollars. In addition, tourists need to arrive at the airport in advance, pass security controls and so on. As a result, the plane saves time, but not very much. This excursion starts at 4-5 in the morning. In Cairo, you will not have much time to explore interesting places in the city, it's the same "gallop across Europe."
Good ideas seem a two-day trip. In this case, the time in Cairo will be many times greater. But, in this case, you lose two days of paid "all inclusive", which is unpleasant. Look at the photo on the left that you are losing.
For example, you bought a tour to Egypt for 7 nights at a price of 50,000 rubles for two people (prices of 2015). It turns out that two days in Cairo you are worth an additional 14 000 rubles. This is the amount you paid for staying in a hotel on the AI system for two days. This is more than the price of the excursion! Agree, it's insulting.
Of course, we can consider it differently, because a significant part of the cost of the tour is the price of air travel. You can take into account and a smaller amount, but in any case, you lose paid services at the hotel.
In the case of a trip to the resort of Ain Sokhna, the task of visiting Cairo is simplified. The bus is only 1.5-2 hours away, and you can leave for Cairo after breakfast and return to dinner. The trip is quite tireless. Even buy a tour is not necessary, you can take a regular bus and for 35 Egyptian pounds to reach Cairo.
Features of the resort Ain Sokhna
For a long time, only the Egyptians themselves went to the resort of Ain Sokhna, and no foreigners were seen. But, about ten years ago, local authorities and hotel owners started a company to attract tourists from Western Europe.
With this fact, an important feature of the resort of Ain Sokhna for Russians is connected - in Russian there nobody speaks and we are not going to learn our language. For this, local Egyptians have good reasons.
Ain Sokhna is not very popular in the package tours of Russian tour operators. Let's say more, now (summer 2015) a package tour to the resort of Ain Sokhna can not be bought at all. There simply are no tours.
Hotels in the resort of Ain Sokhna are popular with independent tourists. Europeans first arrive in Cairo, live in an inexpensive hotel in the city, watch the main attractions and then go to rest on the beach on the Red Sea. It is logical that Ain Sokhna in this case is ideal - 2 hours of travel by bus for 35 Egyptian pounds.
Among Russians there are few fans of independent travel. Affected by a weak knowledge of foreign languages, a common fear of other countries - an echo of the times of the USSR, inability to work with the systems of buying air tickets and booking hotels. Our tourists depend very much on tour operators and their offers.
As a result, finding a Russian at the resort of Ain Sokhn is a huge rarity, our tourists come here only a few hundred a year.
Ain Sokhna hotels do not practice the "all inclusive" system, so beloved by Russian tourists. At the time of writing this review, only one hotel can offer AI. The reason is simple - AI is not so popular among Europeans, like Russians. This resort AI just do not need.
On the other hand, drinks, food and services are cheaper here than at the popular resorts of the Red Sea. Affects the proximity to Cairo. As you understand, neither in Hurghada, nor in Sharm El-Sheikh, do they grow wheat, rice or potatoes. All food is taken from the Nile Valley, and Ain Sokhna is closer to the agricultural centers of the country.
Europeans prefer not to buy "all inclusive", but to have lunch and dinner in a restaurant, so the prices here are affordable. But, there is one important feature.
Ain Sokhna hotels are located outside the city limits on the coasts to the north and south. From some hotels it is difficult to get to the city. For example, the hotel Regina Elsokhna Resort is located 70 kilometers from the city.
In most cases, tourists have to dine and eat at local restaurants, however, the prices here "do not break."
Along the coast there are minibuses, from which you can get to the cities of Zaafaran, Suez or the city of Ain Sokhna. The city has many interesting things, as it is not a tourist center, but a real Egyptian city. You can go to local restaurants, cafes and bazaars, see how the Egyptians live.
Ain Sokhna is a large port with a population of 45,000 people. Along the coast pass ships, and if you see in the morning from the hotel window in the distance a dry cargo ship or a tanker, do not be surprised. Active navigation does not interfere with leisure, as trade routes pass far from the shore. Sea water ships almost do not pollute, the sea here is clear and clean.
In addition to hotels, you will see many private houses on the coast. The area of Ain Sokhna is very popular as an "Egyptian dacha", to have a house near the sea for Egyptians is prestigious. Some Egyptians live here permanently, of course, if they can afford it.
How to get from Cairo
Buses to Ain Sokhna from Cairo leave from two bus stations. The first is El Torgman Bus Station, the second is Almaza Station.
The fare depends on the class of the bus. If you go on the simplest bus of economy class, it will cost 35 Egyptian pounds, further on increasing. The most expensive tickets cost 110 pounds.
There is also a second option to get there: by bus to the city of Suez, and then by minibus (an analog of our minibuses) to Ain Sokhna. It will be even cheaper. But we do not recommend this way because of its greater complexity and duration.
Hotels and Rates
At the time of publication of this review, there are 17 hotels in Ain Sokhna. 7 of them are classified as "fives", 7 as "quads" and 3 as "treshki".
The prices are moderate, for $ 50, you can stay in a 4-star hotel right on the beach. Of course, in Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh there are hotels with similar prices, but not on the first beach line.
The most prestigious hotels here are "Moevenpick Resort", "Stella Di Mare Golf, Spa and Country Club" and "Stella Di Mare Grand Hotel". Prices for accommodation in these hotels start from $ 200 per night.
Most of the tourists from Russia have difficulty in choosing a hotel in Ain Sokhna. As we wrote, Russians here are rare guests, and Russian-speaking reviews about the hotels of the unit. We have to translate reviews of the Germans, French and English. To translate the review is quite enough automatic Google translator in the browser Chrome. It is best to translate reviews of English, since the translation from English is the most understandable.
What to see and do
Surprisingly, excursions to Alexandria and Cairo in the resort of Ain Sokhna are not popular. If you think about it, it's logical, since most holidaymakers have either already visited these cities before coming here, or else are going to go, but to live already in the hotels of Cairo and Alexandria.
The name "Ain Sokhna" is translated as "Hot Springs". The city is named so from these hot springs near Mount Gebel Ataka. Excursions are arranged for these sources. In winter there is even snow, which is an unforgettable attraction for the Egyptians themselves.
The trip to the Gebel Ataka mountain is interesting, since it offers a stunning view of the bay and the valley. On the other hand, here comes out of the earth sulfur, and the smell is shocking to many tourists.
The city of Ain Sokhna is very ancient. In the caves in the mountains, letters were found nearby that mention the Pharaoh Jedar Issy, who ruled around 2400 BC. This is the 5th dynasty. Recall that the Great Egyptian pyramids were built in the 4th dynasty. That is, Ain Sokhna is almost the same age as the pyramids.
To my great regret, there are no significant ruins that would be of interest to a simple tourist. Everything found by archaeologists is very important for science and is valuable for historians, but it is not very noticeable for the layman.
The most important sights alongside Ain Sokhna are the most ancient Christian monasteries. The monastery of St. Anthony is 125 kilometers from the city, and the monastery of St. Paul is 115 kilometers away. They are often combined into one excursion. This is a local "exclusive".
Another notable place near the town of Ain Sokhna is the Suez Canal. To be honest, it's not particularly interesting, there are no grandiose locks, like on the Panama Canal, since there are no water level changes here.
It's just a long canal, through which 17,000 ships pass in a year. Of course, the Egyptians are proud of him, because this is the second largest source of income of the country, bringing to the budget more than $ 5 billion every year.
Another technical achievement that can be seen is the oil pipeline, which begins exactly in Ain Sokhna. This pipeline is a solution to two problems. The first is that not all tankers can pass through the Suez Canal, some ships are too large. The second - the channel is crowded with ships, and queues form.
To ensure that large tankers did not need to pass the Suez Canal, a pipeline was built. Ships are pestering the port of Ain Sokhna and unloading oil, which is piped to the port of Sidi-Kerir on the Mediterranean coast. There oil is poured on another tanker, which is already sailing to Europe.
This is one of the most elegant logistics solutions in the world. Of course, the pipeline is not the most interesting thing for tourists, but it is located right in the city of Ain Sokhna and there is no need to go anywhere.
Active recreation and water sports in the resort of Ain Sokhna are not so well developed. For the whole resort there is only one diving center. Windsurfers and kiteboarders here generally have nothing to do. Those who want can ride a camel or quad bike to the neighboring mountains and the wasteland.
That's all we know about the resort of Ain Sokhna. Read about other interesting holiday destinations in Egypt and useful information about this country ( links below ).
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