Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ain Sokhna

Ever since I have come to Cairo, I’ve heard people talking about Ain Sokhna. It’s the favourite weekend haunt of many of my expat friends, probably because it represents one of the closest beaches to the city.

Ain Sokhna means “hot spring" and the name originates from the sulfur springs in Gebal Ataqa, a nearby Eastern Desert mountain. It is a region that stretches from just south of Suez down the coast for about sixty kilometers, and mostly consists of a port along with a series of resort complexes, with a few independent restaurants, gas stations and other facilities scattered along the coastal road.

It’s about 1.5 -2 hours drive from Cairo on a wide and well maintained road. The scenery along the drive is a fascinating desolate brown of the dessert, but even that does not detract from the sheer magnificence of the dessert around you.

We stayed at the Stella di Mare, an upscale resort at Ain Sokhna. The facility is great, with a lovely pool and access to the beach. The blue of the water is breathtaking!

During this season, the rates are around LE 900 for a double room which is on the higher side, but I guess the resort needs to charge these rates since the business is seasonal. This rate is on half board basis and includes a buffet breakfast and dinner. The rooms are of a decent size, the food is ok, and the resort offers a lot of activities for children and adults alike. The resort also offers day packages for Cairenes wanting to do a day trip to Ain Sokhna, so you can drive down just for the day.

At the beach, Aqua Fun offers a motorboat experience, or a banana boat ride amongst other things. The banana boat is great fun and a must try! The sea bed is sandy, unlike the coral dotted sea bed at Hurgada, making it perfectly safe for the kids to run around in the water. However, if you plan on deep sea diving, Ain Sokhna is not the place for it.

There is no direct flight to Ain Sokhna unlike Hurgada or Sharm. However, it’s a very comfortable drive from Cairo. So the next time the sun seems too hot, and a weekend is looming close, just pack an overnighter, tank up the 4 wheel drive and hit the beach at Ain Sokhna!

2 comments:

Poornima said...

Hi Manisha,

I'm a freelance writer from India, right now doing a travel writing project on Ain Sukhna. May I take some help from you? All I need to know is if there are direct international flights to this resort now? Some websites say so but fail to mention where there is an airport and what are the flight connections! I need reliable info, and when I came across your blog, I thought you might have the answer. Can you post an answer on this blog ?

Best wishes,

Poornima

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