Situated on the western shore of the Red Sea's Gulf of Suez, Ain Sokhna is ideally located for twin centre holidays with Cairo. The resort offers a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere and the beautiful golden beaches make it an ideal place to unwind.
Briliant sunshine, blue skies and gentle warm breezes make Ain Sokhna a great year round destination. Whilest Ain Sokhna is close enough to the desert, its climate is balanced by its location on the coast.
St. Anthony's Monastery
one of Egypt's oldest monasteries, is located at an oasis spring, and dates back to the mid 14th century. It was founded in 360 AD and St. Anthony was one of its founders, making him one of the earliest advocates of the concept of Christian monasticism which originated in Egypt. The Coptic monastery is a unique site with exquisite wall paintings of consecrated knights and hermit founders dating back to the 6th-9th centuries. It has an elaborate library which is home to around 1,700 valuable manuscripts. Monks still live there and follow their regular daily rituals while using the Coptic language. Today it stands with fortifications for protection against attackers and is a cosy village with five churches, a mill and a bakery. The cave in which St. Anthony lived is a 2 km hike up the mountains which boasts amazing views of the Red Sea and mountainous Ain El Sokhna. If you are lucky, you could get a sight of some desert wildlife such as goats, gazelles, and eagles.
St. Paul's Monastery
Located south of St. Anthony's monastery in a place called Wadi el Deir, and is where St. Paul was buried around 340 AD. St. Paul's Church was built underground over the cave where he was buried. The monastery houses invaluable Coptic manuscripts as well. The village has three churches that date back to the medieval ages and a small community of monks also still live here.
Galala El-Bahareya & Gebel Attaqa Mountains
Galala El Bahareya is a mountain that stands 1200 m above sea level towards the southern edge of Ain Sokhna and many historians believe that this is the holy site where Moses led the Jews across the Red Sea and into Sinai. Gebel Attaqa, a neighbouring mountain is also of religious significance and stands 800 m above sea level. It has beautiful valleys or wadis as they are called, of Hougouland and Chuwaiba. Near this mountain, you can visit the hot springs that have given Ain Sokhna its name.
Port of Suez
Built in 1896, the Port of Suez is a historic port and a lively attraction for tourists. Located 40km from Ain El Sokhna, the port is divided into three ports - Port Ibrahim, New Harbour and Port Tewfik. The port receives passenger vessels and general cargo, tankers and livestock vessels. Outside the port area is a vibrant bazaar where you can shop for Egyptian souvenirs. From the port area you can catch a glimpse of the huge tankers and vessels that go through the famous Suez Canal.
Adabiya Bay is a very popular bird watching spot for bird enthusiasts. More than 200 migrating types of birds as well as more than 150 resident birds exist in this area. Lammergeir and golden eagles are residents of the Eastern desert and Sinai and are the most frequently sighted. Adabiya Bay is located 19 km south of Suez and the bay is also home to several shipwrecks.
Arabic (French and English widely spoken)
GMT/BST +2 hours
4 hours 45 minutes
1 hour 30 minutes
220 volts AC, 50 cycles. An adaptor, generally 2-pronged, is necessary.
Eating in Egypt can represent good value for money, with local meals being well priced. Hotels are naturally more expensive, but still offer good value for money.
Tipping, or baksheesh, is almost a way of life in Egypt. It is customary and appreciated to tip guides, drivers, hotel staff and your boat/dive crew.
Shops are generally open from approximately 10am-11pm year round, although may stay open until later in summer.
Banking hours are 9am - 1pm Sunday - Thursday. Many banks are open 6pm-9pm Sunday to Thursday for exchange only.
When visiting holy sites such as mosques, you may be required to observe customs such as covering your head, shoulders and legs. Please respect such local customs. Swimwear and other revealing clothes should be kept to the beach and by the pool.
Much of Egypt is desert, and as such is subject to hot days and cooler nights. Beach resorts are often cooled in the day by sea breezes, however, Nile towns can become stifling, especially in summer months. Lightweight clothing is recommended for days, although a fleece or sweater may be required during the winter months. A pullover or jacket for evenings, may also be required in winter. Shoes are not worn on board dive boats and liveaboards, so please take this into consideration when choosing which footwear to pack. Suitable clothing such as walking boots and a windproof jacket is recommend for touring itineraries.
Passports & Visas
A full 10-year passport with at least 6 months validity from the date of return is required for travel to Egypt for all British, EU and EEA nationals. British passport holders also require a visa to visit all parts of Egypt except for the Gulf coast of Sinai for stays of less than 15 nights. Visitors to the Gulf area wishing to stay 15 nights or more, or those wishing to visit other parts of Egypt including Cairo and Ras Mohammed, must obtain a visa. Visas can be obtained by contacting the Egyptian Embassy on 020 7235 9777. For up to date information on visa requirements, visitors are strongly advised to contact the Embassy prior to travel.
Cameras and video cameras may not be taken into temples, tombs and archaeological sites, or a charge may be levied. Bags over 35cm may not be taken into such sites.
Festivals & holidays
The following festivals and associated holidays are celebrated in either or all of the countries featured in our programme. During these times, resorts may be busier than usual and services may be reduced.
Muslim religious festivals may vary by one or two days. For further details, please contact the Egyptian State Tourist Office or the Jordanian Information Bureau.
Ramadan* 20 Jul - 18 Aug 2012
Eid Al Fitr** 19 Aug 2012
New Year (Hijri Day) 15 Nov 2012
Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday** 5 Feb 2012
*Dates of Ramadan and Eid Al Adha are confirmed only shortly beforehand and vary from year to year by one or two days. During Ramadan, the pace of life during daylight hours is slower and offices and shops keep shorter opening hours between sunrise and sunset. Hotels may limit facilities, and excursions and entertainment can sometimes be affected.
**These festivals are subject to change by one day before or one day after as the moon governs them.
EGYPTIAN FESTIVALS & HOLIDAYS
Revolution Day 23 Jul (annual)
Armed Forces Day 6 Oct (annual)
Christmas Day 9 Jan (annual)
Sham El Nesim 15 Apr (annual)
Sinai Liberation Day 25 Apr (annual)
Labour Day 1 May (annual)