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Review date: 13th February 2009 | Author: Abdullah Anees

General Information

Country
Morocco
City
Marrakech
Time of year
November
Weather
Hot
Language
French & Arabic
Currency
Moroccan Dirham

Other Information

Koutoubia Mosque
Koutoubia Mosque
Attractions
Djemma el Fna (Square of the Dead) - The buzz of Marrakech with various performances and stalls!
Souks (Markets) - The soul of Marrakech! Every, and I mean every tourist has to go there if they visit Marrakech.
Saadian Tombs - If youíre into tombs then itís worth a visit but donít feel disappointed if you donít get time.
Koutoubia Mosque - Beautiful Mosque located not to far away from Djemma el Fna. Must see!
El Badi Palace - This palace his huge and consists of small gardens. Go there for the pictures and snap away.
Sunset in El Badi Palace
Sunset in El Badi Palace
Good Points
Weather was particularly nice with sunshine during daytime and a cool breeze during the evening. However it would be advisable to take a jacket just to be on the safe side if youíre going out for the evening. The weather was totally different to London and it was nice to get away from the cold chilly November days to a much more hotter place, I even came back with a tan believe it or not!
Marrakech has a variety of tourist attractions as listed above however actually visiting the place in person gives you the real Moroccan experience.
The variety of food available is vast, ranging from traditional Moroccan food to Chinese and even Indian! There are many restaurants in Marrakech however during the weekend its advised to book before attending the well known ones.
Many people told me that finding a bargain in morocco is really common, and its definitely true. I bought a leather shoulder laptop bag for under £10, and yes it was real leather. Marrakech has a special area called the souks where real leather is made and is also listed as a place to visit. However beware of fake materials used in some of the items you buy, as they can be deceiving to the eye. Bargaining and haggling is a technique that comes to every tourist whilst in morocco and donít be afraid to walk away if your not happy with the deal, you'll soon get the shopkeeper to lower their price and chasing after you.
I have saved the best point to last, the overall price of the holiday! Going to Marrakech was fairly cheap and cost me only £170 for a return flight and a 4 star hotel with breakfast for 5 days. I think it was a fantastic deal as the time i spent there was really enjoyable and fun.
Bad Points
Taxis overcharge even if you haggle with them your first few taxi rides will be more expensive than your last few in Marrakech.
Sales people in the souks and square are very persistent for business and will at times start to annoy you with offers. However if you tell them your just browsing with a firm voice they will leave you alone.
Some restaurants are very highly priced compared to London. Be prepared to spend anywhere in the region of up to £25-£40 per person for an evening meal in a good restaurant.
Tips & Tricks
Saadian Tombs Entrance
Saadian Tombs Entrance
Learn some phrases in French before visiting Marrakech and it will help you out tremendously. I happen to remember some of my French from school days and it helped in general conversation. Its ideal to learn general greetings along with other phrases such as: "how much?" "Expensive!" "How far?" trust me they do help!
Always carry a map when travelling around Marrakech and in the souks. If you do get lost people will helpfully approach you and try guiding you to your destination however they expect money in return.
Donít be fooled when travelling around Marrakech. Sounds obvious however there were more than a few occasions i saw tourists pay ridiculous prices to go to nearby places that are walking distance. Before getting a means of transport be it a cab or a horse & cart negotiate price with the driver and haggle it down by a third. Remember there are always other taxi's that will jump at any business so walking away from a highly priced cabbie isnít so much of a big deal. If your going in a group of 2-4 people then try flagging down a small taxi as their rates will be slightly cheaper then the big saloon taxi's.
Converting your money into dirhams is fairly easy. Your hotel reception should be able to do this for you at their rate, however its best to check other hotel lobbies for their exchange rate as they vary between the hotels at times.
Overall
I thought morocco was amazing, the people are very friendly and their hospitality is excellent. The hotel I stayed at was Kenzi Farah, which included an outdoor and indoor swimming pool, restaurant, health spa centre that also had a gym. The hotel room itself was nice and clean and the staff were very polite and helpful. The added bonus of them to be able to speak English and give tips on travelling and site seeing was a big help.
Their advice was needed when travelling around morocco as the taxis overcharge tourists, however if you haggle with them and walk away they do reduce their prices significantly. However prices of cabs change in the evening and expect to pay slightly more than daytime prices.
I would definately recommend marrakech for a small trip with friends as its enriched with culture and many tourist attractions, Just learn to haggle before you go there though!

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© Copyright Abdullah Anees 2010.