A January 2003 trip
to Eilat by angelsil
Quote: This is my 5th trip to the Red Sea, including trips to Eilat, Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh and Dahab.
There are several pools and the landscaping is spectacular. The food was so-so and overpriced for the area. You aren't given a real kitchen, but rather just a microwave. We were very satisfied with the unit itself. It was very clean and comfortable and had a nice balcony which could be accessed from the living room and bedroom.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2003
Club Hotel Eilat
P.O. Box 4444
Unplugged features 2 main areas: A bar that is actually inside the building and an covered area across the sidewalk which features picnic tables, plastic enclosing, and heaters in Winter.
There is nothing pretentious about the bar - the focus is on cheap drinks and pub food. Happy hour lasts until 11pm and offers Draft Beers for 7NIS and cocktails for 10NIS. These are served with complimentary popcorn and a boat of munchies like olives and cheese. Sandwiches and other munchies can be ordered.
The crowd is predominantly young and the music ranges from 60's to 80's classics. Unplugged is a great place to down a few beers before heading out dancing or just to spend a night chatting with friends and playing pool. The service is friendly and quite attentive for an Israeli bar.
They can be reached by phone at 08-6326299. Their website states that they have internet connections available, but we never saw that. The Underground bar is right next door, so if you don't like the music or service at the Unplugged, you are stumbling distance to another big bar in Eilat.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 30, 2003
The Unplugged Bar
New Tourist Center
Additionally, the park offers a chance to ride in a *real* submarine (the Yellow Submarine) out to a reef wall. DO IT! It's a bit expensive, but worth every dollar (especially if they are running specials). The Oceanarium: a 'motion' ride was very cheesy, poorly dubbed into English, and really not worth the effort unless the kids are into those kind of rides.
Near the Orchid Hotel
Mall Hayam is located directly across from the New Tourist Center and is midway between the North Beach and South Beach areas. It is multi-level, with the food court and cinema on the top level. The mall is open on the weekend (Friday until 6pm and open again Saturday at noon), so no fears of being locked out over Shabbat.
Examples of stores and restaurants you can find at Mall Hayam: Swatch, Superpharm (cosmetics and pharmacy), Disc Club (like Sam Goody), McDonald's, Sbarro, El Gauchito, and Steimatky (books). Really, if you are looking for *anything* you can find it here. The only thing missing is a huge amount of souvenir merchandise. Most of the merchandise is upscale, so be prepared for prices that are comparable with the US or Western Europe.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 6, 2003
Sea Side Promenade (by airport)
The island itself is quite small and can easily be toured as part of a day trip. There are snorkelling trips out of Eilat that will take you to the reef for snorkeling, out to Pharoah's Island for lunch and a tour. Be aware, however, that the influx of tourism has largely destroyed the reefs immediately surrounding the island. You will see fish life, but very little live coral. At the current time, there is no separate Egyptian visa needed for these tours.
Alternately, you can take a ferry from the Egyptian coastline out to the island. I do not recommend this at the current time. As few tourists go this route, the boat only runs on demand and the captain was asking $20 a head when we were there. Given that the daily snorkel tours run only a few dollars more and the distance could almost be swum, this is a very big rip-off. The fortress itself has been nicely restored by the Egyptian Antiquities Organization and in current times is not swamped with tourists. On a slow day in the off season, you may even get the place to yourself. Take the time to walk around the walls and envision yourself following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, who passed the same way almost a century ago.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 26, 2003
Just South of Taba
Attraction | "Princess Beach"
Assuming, like many tourists, you have secured accomodation in one of the less expensive hotels (or hostels) off the beach, you will need to find a place to lay down your towel to enjoy the #1 attraction of Eilat - the water. I highly recommend the Southern beaches, particularly those close to the Egyptian border. A shining example of this is Princess Beach , which is located by the Princess Hotel. Princess Beach has all the amenities of the more crowded beaches in town, but with less people and more chance for relaxation and good snorkeling.
The proximity of Princess Beach to Coralworld makes it an excellent place for the casual snorkeler to encounter the world-famous Red Sea marine life. In fact, you could plan a day around a visit to Coralworld followed by an afternoon on the beach! The bathing pier will certainly appeal to all those hoping to work on their tan. The beach itself is very clean and the sand fine and well-kept. The only disadvantage to Princess Beach is its distance from the center of town. You will need to have access to a car, or be prepared to go by taxi (a short ride) or public bus to reach Princess Beach, unless you are staying in the Southern Beach area.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 9, 2003
Princess Hotel & Beach
Gulf of Eliot
However, hidden behind the tall fences leading to Kibbutz Yotvata is a very special secret--the key to the best chocolate milk in the world. Some of you may scoff at my assertions. That's okay. My husband, a chocolate milk fiend, did as well. Once he tried Yotvata chocolate milk, he quickly changed his tune. Unfortunately, there are no tours of the dairy available. So, actually attempting to get to the source of the secret is not possible. Trust us. We tried.
The border crossing at Taba is a fairly low-key affair, as Middle East border crossings go. You'll want to take a taxi from Eilat to the border, or you can take Public Bus #16. A taxi will run you in the neighborhood of 30 shekels from the airport or bus station. It is not practical to walk to the border from town. The best time to cross is early in the day, unless you are trying to meet an Egyptian bus. Be aware that the border does close in times of security issues and some holidays. Check ahead if either of these situations apply.
Your first hurdle will be exiting Israel. This is a simple matter and you shouldn't have any problems unless you have overstayed your visa or have lost your Israeli exit card. Make sure to have that card with you and out when you prepare to exit Israel. Next stop: Egypt! The Egyptian side is more chaotic and less efficient.
There are two types of Egyptian tourist visas: Sinai only and full tourist visas. The only type of visa that can be granted at the Taba border is Sinai only. It is valid for 2 weeks and is *not* valid for Ras Mohmmaed. If you are going on to mainland Egypt (or Ras Mohammed), you will want to get a full visa from the Egyptian Consulate in Eilat or at your Embassy at home. Assuming you are getting a Sinai only visa, you will fill out the paperwork and pay the fee, which ran about $20 when I last was there.
The paperwork and security process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the number of tour groups crossing and how long it takes to scan your bags. Be prepared to answer questions about where you are heading in Egypt, how long you will stay and how much money you have. If you are in need of Egyptian pounds, there is a Bank ATM inside the border post. The fee is fairly low and I recommend using it as ATMs in Egypt are hit or miss.
If you do need their services, haggle. It's expected and to do otherwise will result in you being greatly over-charged. If you would prefer to drive yourself, there is a car rental agency in the Taba Hilton. It's past the border post on the left. We used this service (the owner's name is Max) and had a great time driving around the Sinai in a Toyota Camry. Our fee was roughly $35 a day. The last thing to remember is to get your visa registered by the tourist police right away!!. Hotels will do this for you, but campers and those in youth hostels may want to do it themselves. There are numerous horror stories of people being charged exorbitant fines for not having their visas registered. Don't risk it!
Clifton, New Jersey