Places Known For

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Enontekiö

of Enontekiö Villages *Hetta (''Heahttá'' in Sami) – Hetta is the main village and administrative centre of the municipality so the names Hetta and Enontekiö are used interchangeably. *Kilpisjärvi (''Gilbbesjávri'' in Sami) – The northernmost village of Enontekiö is the location of Sana fell and a great starting point for a trip to Halti. Tripoint with Sweden and Norway in Malla Nature Reserve. *Karesuvanto (''Gárasavvon'' in Sami or ''Karesuando'' in Swedish) – The main border crossing in Enontekiö between Sweden and Finland. Other Destinations * Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park * Käsivarsi Wilderness Area * Pulju Wilderness Area * Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area * Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area Get in By plane Enontekiö airport is situated 6 km west of the main village of Hetta. Currently it is only served by Flybe airlines during spring, but numerous charter flights land throughout the winter. At present there are no air services during the summer months due to poor demand. Kittilä Airport located between Kittilä and Levi, 150 km south by road, is probably the next nearest airport within easy reach of Hetta. A bus service connect Kittilä to Hetta (see below) Alta Airport in the northern Norwegian town of Alta is 200 km north by road. Bus connections between Alta and Hetta are possible but more complicated. By car Usually people arrive to Enontekiö by car, either from the south or from the neighbouring countries, Norway and Sweden. From Norway you either enter through the border town of Kilpisjärvi by European route E8, or further east via Kautokeino by road 93. Cars are available for rent, if booked in advance, at most major airports, including Alta and Kittila. There are limited rental car services in Hetta, mainly run by local entrepreneurs – if you want to rent a car in Hetta it is best to ask for details at your hotel. Demand is low, so there is no need to pre-book; journeys must conclude in Hetta. It is possible to get someone to drive your car to where you need it. Ask at your hotel. By bus Beyond the extent of the Finnish rail network, which terminates over 300 km to the south in Rovaniemi and Kolari, the bus network coordinated by Matkahuolto is the next best way to get around. There are a number of routes north from Rovaniemi, the most import of which is Rovaniemi–Hetta service, which operates twice daily. This service connects Rovaniemi via Kittilä Airport, the ski resorts of Levi and Olos, Muonio and finally Hetta, with various stops in-between. Officially, Matkahuolto releases bus schedules for September-May and May-August so be sure to check the website for the latest timetable. The journey from Rovaniemi to Hetta takes around 4hrs 50min, and the journey from Kittilä to Hetta takes around 2hrs 30min. The Swedish bus service Lanstrafiken Norrbotten Busses provides a service from Alta to Kautokeino. From Kautokeino you can take a bus across the border to Finland with Eskelisen Lapin Linjat to Hetta, but only during the summer months of June to August. In summer there is also a service by Eskelisen Lapin Linjat between Tromsø in Norway and Rovaniemi, via Kilpisjärvi, which can be used also to reach Hetta (with quite a long wait at Palojoensuu). By bike The Eurovelo cycling route nr 7 from Nordkapp to Malta ("Sun Route", 7,409 km) comes down trough Finnmarksvidda (Finnmark), passes Hetta and continues down through Sweden. There are no biking lanes or other special arrangements for bikers up here, so there is no big advantage of the Eurovelo route, but there may be more information and tips on it than on the other options. Distances are huge but the hills are not very steep, the roads are mostly well maintained and traffic is light. Mind your clothing – even in July average temperatures are around 10°C (50°F) in some parts of the municipality. The coaches usually take bikes, so you can choose what legs to go on your own. Get around Practically there are three ways to get around in these parts of Finland. Either by your own car, by taxi or by bus, which runs one or two times every day from Rovaniemi. Bikes are useful in the summer and can be taken on the bus. Then of course, trekking is one of the reasons to come here. There is lot of nature to be explored by foot, ski, bike, canoe or similar means. Snowmobiles can also be rented (but are restricted to marked routes). See thumb Wilderness areas, national parks and nature reserves in Enontekiö. (File:Enontekiokonatura7.png) thumb Palsa swamp in Enontekiö. (File:Iitto swamp.JPG) Views and nature. Large part of the area is beyond the treeline. *


Phitsanulok

commerce and transportation hub. Many travellers will at least pass through Phitsanulok on way to and from the North. The city itself is not the most exciting or prettiest place in the world, but it can be useful for stocking up on supplies, and Phitsanulok is a great starting point for exploring the ancient Thai capital of Sukhothai. The local Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT) office is at 209 7-8 Borom Trailokanat Rd, a few streets south of the train station (walking, 5-7 min) (08:30-16:30 daily). History The city dates back to the 10th century when the Khmer ruled this region. Formerly, the city was named Song Khwae, meaning two rivers, as it was located between the Nan and Khwae Noi River. The original location of Song Khwae city is at Wat Chulamani. Around the year 1357, king of Sukhothai, Phra Maha Thammaracha Lithai, decided to move the town to its present location. Since then, Phitsanulok served as a strategic border town ruled by members of the royal family. During the Ayutthaya Period, the town played a larger role as a buffer town between Ayutthaya, the capital city, and the northern kingdom. Following an administrative reform by King Borommatrailokkanat, it had served as the capital city for 25 years. After that, the town was downgraded to a strategic border town. It has played a major role in blocking the invasion of Burmese troops. King Naresuan the Great, who ruled the town in a capacity as Crown Prince, mobilized troops from Phitsanulok to fight against the Burmese who then ruled over the Siamese Kingdom, and reclaimed independence in 1584. Phitsanulok became a strategic town in coping Burmese invasion again in 1775 in the Thon Buri period. During a tough battle, the Burmese army commander requested the appearance of a Thai commander, Chaophraya Chakri, and predicted that he would become a king. Chaophraya Chakri was later crowned the first monarch of the Rattanakosin period, King Rama I the Great of the Royal House of Chakri. Phitsanulok was upgraded to be a circle called Monthon Phitsanulok in 1894 in the reign of King Rama V. Now, Phitsanulok is a province. Get in By plane Nok Air offers regular flights between Phitsanulok (PHS) and Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) (50 min). Bus 4 runs to the airport, as do tuk-tuks, for about 10-20 baht. By train There are several daily services north to Chiang Mai and south to Bangkok. Both take about 6-7 hours. By bus Extensive bus services connect Phitsanulok with Chiang Mai and Bangkok. As Phitsanulok is a major transportation hub, there are also regular services to the northeast. Phitsanulok is about 390 km from Bangkok. Buses take 5-6 hours for the journey. The return trip can take as long as 7 hours, depending on the Bangkok traffic. The bus to Chiang Mai takes 6 hours. The main bus station (16.819 100.279) is 2 km east of the train station just off Singhawat Rd (a 60 baht tuk-tuk ride). From there buses leave for Chiang Mai, Tak (via Sukhothai), Khon Kaen and Bangkok, as well as the surrounding provinces and to the towns within the province. You can reach the bus station by tuk-tuk, or hop on the bus on one of the stops downtown, for instance on the broad road passing south of the Topland Plaza Hotel (a little west of the hotel). Bud stops and buses have signage in Thai only. Get around Public buses serve the town and there is no shortage of tuk-tuks and taxis. Bus 1 serves the route between the central bus station and the train station in the town centre, and leaves from the short road leading from the highway to the bus station. Decent motorcycles (Honda Wave, etc.) can be rented from the shop near the central bus station, at prices somewhat higher than the Chiang Mai standard (starting ~200 baht) See Phitsanulok is not well-known to foreign tourists and thus has retained the charm of a typical, larger Thai city. Unfortunately, most of the older parts of the city were destroyed in a disastrous fire decades ago. * Commons:Category:Phitsanulok Province


Bethlehem

is administered by the Israel Nature & National Parks Protection Authority bus station''' is also a great starting point to '''get to other cities in the Palestinian territories'''. Located at the bottom floor of the bus station are numerous "Serveeces" (Palestinian Sheruts) that drive to cities such as Hebron , Ramallah and Jericho. '''Battir''' — a settlement some 5km west of Bethlehem is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as '''Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem''' WikiPedia:Bethlehem Commons:Category:Bethlehem


Zimbabwe

WikiPedia:Zimbabwe Dmoz:Regional Africa Zimbabwe Commons:category:Zimbabwe


Florence

Commons:Category:Florence Wikipedia:Florence Dmoz:Regional Europe Italy Regions Tuscany Localities Florence


Burma

interactions with the British Empire defined the nation's modern boundaries and laid the foundation for Burma's turbulent modern history. The dynasty was quite expansionist, fighting multiple wars and extending Burmese territory to its largest size in history. As the Wikipedia lacks comprehensive information regarding Burma, improving this article would be a great starting point. There's some information in the article History of Myanmar. --Confuzion (User:Confuzion) 00:05, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC


Buenos Aires

and locals alike. They often include dinner, a great show, dance lessons, and a few complimentary drinks. The dancers are all professionals and bent on putting in their best shows every single night. These shows start around dinner time, but can go well into the night. They can be a great starting block for the rest of your crazy night in Buenos Aires. * Commons:Category:Buenos Aires Wikipedia:Buenos Aires Dmoz:Regional South America Argentina Provinces Buenos Aires City


Vancouver

places where you could theoretically ski in the mountains, windsurf in the ocean, and play a round of golf all in the same day. Surrounded by water on three sides, and crowned by the North Shore mountains, Vancouver is a great destination in itself, as well a great starting point for discovering the area's many outdoor activities. Vancouver is a major sea port on the Pacific Ocean, and a base for many Alaska Cruise Ships (Cruise ships) in the summer. It has the same name as another city in the region, Vancouver, Washington (Vancouver (Washington)) (USA (United States of America)). Climate WikiPedia:Vancouver dmoz:Regional North America Canada British Columbia Localities V Vancouver Commons:Category:Vancouver


Morocco

a sea breeze at '''Asilah''' or lovely '''Essaouira'''. The blue-washed town of '''Chefchaouen''' is an old time travellers' favourite and a great starting point to explore the impressive High Atlas Mountains. Climb '''Jebel Toubkal''', the highest peak in North-Africa, passing lovely adobe villages and exploring the gorgeous Ourika and Amizmiz valleys on the way. The stunning panoramic view from the top will make it worth every bit of your effort to get there. Other praised hiking routes lead through the beautiful Ameln Valley in the Anti-Atlas and the wooded Rif Mountains in the very north. Hop on a camel back for a trip through the golden '''Sahara sand dunes''' at Erg Chebbi, near Merzouga. Spend the night in a desert tent, under the incredibly starred sky. Somewhat less easy to reach but therefor also less crowded are the dunes of Erg Chigaga near M'hamid. On your way to the desert, make sure not to miss the stunning '''Todra gorge''' near Tinghir. The ancient fortified city of '''Aït-Benhaddou''' is another must-see sight. Although rainstorms damage the mud-brick kasbahs time and again, this mostly abandoned village remains an impressive sight and has been the décor for a range of movies, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. Do Tours Marrakech can make a good base for exploring the High Atlas or for organizing one to four day '''Sahara treks'''. Hammams There are two types of Hammam (steam baths) across Morocco. The first is the '''tourist hammam''', where you can go and be pampered and scrubbed by an experienced staff member. As these are promoted only to tourists they are the more expensive option with pricing usually around MAD150 for a hammam. They can not be technically referred to as a proper hammam, but they are nonetheless enjoyable, especially for the timid. Your hotel can recommend a good one. The second option is to visit a '''"popular" Hammam'''. Popular hammams are the places where the locals go. Ask the staff at your hotel where they would go. At the popular hammams, you do it all yourself. To make the most of a popular hammam, you need to take a scrubbing mitten (available cheap in the Souks), a towel, and some extra underwear (otherwise, you will be going home without any, as it will be sopping wet). Popular hammams are often only identified by tiles around a door and entrance way. If you do not speak French or Arabic, it could be a daunting, or at least a very memorable, experience. Men & women have either separate session times or separate hammams. '''Nudity in a popular hammam is strictly forbidden''' for men, so be prepared to wear your underwear or a bathing suit. For women, you'll see some wearing underwear and some going naked. Whilst in a popular hammam, you may be offered help and a massage from another person. It is essential to remember that this '''massage is nothing but a massage''', with no other intentions. Sexual contact or presumption of sexual contact does not occur in these places. If you accept a massage, be prepared to return the favour. Normal entrance prices for a popular hammam are MAD7-15, a scrub will cost around MAD30, and a massage another MAD30. Buy Money thumb MAD50 banknote with the casbah of Amerhidil, near Skoura, in the background (File:Morocco 50 dirhams.jpg) The local currency is the Moroccan dirham for which the ISO 4217 code is '''MAD''' (sometimes symbolised as Dh or Dhs or DH or درهم or the plural form of دراهم or Dhm). It's divided into 100 centimes (c). As of September 2013: *USD1 MAD8.44 *€1 MAD11.12 *GBP1 MAD13.16 There are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, 1, 2, 5 and 10 dirham coins, although coins smaller than 20c are rarely seen these days. Banknotes are available in denominations of MAD20, 50, 100 and 200. While the dirham is the only currency officially accepted in Morocco, some hotels may accept your euros and US dollars unofficially. '''Money Exchange''': It's illegal to take more than MAD1,000 of local currency out of the country, so you can't buy dirhams outside of Morocco. By law, exchange rates should be the same at all banks and official exchanges. Make a note of the exact rates before you go to make sure you're getting a fair deal. Don't expect to see many banks in the ''souqs'' or ''medinas'', although in larger cities there are often an ATM near the main gates, and even one or two inside the large souqs (if you manage to find your way). You may also encounter "helpful" people who will exchange US dollars or euros for dirhams. Unofficial exchange on the streets outside souqs or medinas doesn't seem to exist. Besides banks and dedicated exchange offices, major post offices provide exchange, and work until late hours. There are several exchange offices in Casablanca airport. Make sure you keep any receipts, as this will make things far easier when exchanging any left-over dirham back to your own currency before leaving - official "Bureau de Change" won't change money without a receipt, even if you originally withdrew the money from an ATM. '''ATMs''' can be found near tourist hotels and in the modern ''ville nouvelle'' shopping districts. Make sure that the ATM accepts foreign cards (look for the Maestro, Cirrus or Plus logos) ''before'' you put your card in. Try to have as much small change as possible and keep larger bills hidden separately. What to buy? Apart from classic tourist souvenirs like postcards and trinkets, here are some things from this region that are hard to find elsewhere, or even unique: * '''Dates''': MAD10 for an orange box seems an adequate price after some bargaining. * '''Leatherware''': Morocco has a really huge production of leather goods. Markets are full of mediocre models and designer shops are hard to find. * '''Argan oil''' and products made of it such as soap and cosmetics. * '''Tagines''': Classic Moroccan cooking dishes made of clay will improve oil water based meals you make if you plan to bring Morocco to your kitchen back home. * '''Birad''': Classic Moroccan tea pots. * '''Djellabah''': Classic Moroccan designer robe with a hood. Often come in intricate designs and some are suited for warm weather while other heavier styles are for the cold. * '''Carpets''': Genuine handmade Berber carpets can be purchased direct from the artisans who weave them. If you go to small villages, such as Anzal, in the province of Ouarzazate, you can visit the weavers, watch them work, and they will happily serve you tea and show you their products. If you're looking for T-shirts, consider designer items by Kawibi—they look much more inspiring than boring traditional set of themes. They are available in duty-free stores, Atlas Airport Hotel near Casablanca and other places. What not to buy * '''Geodes''': Pink and purple dyed quartz are widely sold along with fake galena geodes which are often described as "cobalt geodes". * '''Trilobite fossils''': Unless you are an expert, you will most likely be buying a fake. Bargaining Remember that bargaining (haggle) in the souks is expected. It is not really possible to give an accurate indication of how much to start the bargaining at in relation to the initial asking price, but a general idea would be to aim for approximately 50% off. Prices are set on a daily, even hourly, basis, depending on how much has been sold on a given day (or period of hours), while also reflecting the vendor's personal estimation of the potential client. The souks are often a good reflection of the basic economic principles of supply and demand, particularly with regard to the demand side. If a lot of products have been sold by a particular merchant he she will raise the price, and may refuse to sell any more products for the rest of that day (or for days) unless the price is much higher than usual. If there are many tourists around prices go higher and bargaining even small amounts off the asking price becomes quite difficult. In addition, the seller will generally inspect the client, whose dress and possessions (particularly if the potential client sports an expensive Swiss watch, camera, etc.) are usually the main indication of how high the price may be set above the usual. However, the potential client's attitude is also taken into consideration. Taking all this and other factors into account (such as the time of day, day of the week, season, etc.), initial prices may be up to 50 times or more in excess of normal prices, especially for more expensive items, such as carpets. '''Carpets''', however, are a very specialized item and it is necessary to have at least a cursory understanding of production techniques and qualities. If possible, an ability to distinguish between hand-made and machine-made carpets, hand-dyes, and the like is helpful to avoid being utterly duped. '''Bargaining is an enjoyable experience for most vendors''' and they prefer clients that don't appear hurried and are willing to take the time to negotiate. It is most often actually necessary to give reasons why you believe the price should be lower. The reasons you might give are limited only by your imagination and often lead to some very entertaining discussions. Common reasons may include: the price of the item elsewhere, the item not being exactly what you are after, the fact that you have purchased other items from the stall store, that you have built a rapport with the vendor after discussing football and so forth. On the other hand, '''if there is little movement in the price after some time, the best advice is to begin leaving''', this often has the result of kick-starting the bidding anew, and if not, it is likely that the merchant is actually unwilling to go further below a given price, however absurd. It is also important to '''show a genuine interest for the workmanship''' of the product for sale, no matter how uninterested you may actually be in what you are buying. This does not, however, mean that you should appear over-enthusiastic, as this will encourage the vendor to hold his or her price. Rather, it is important to project a critical appreciation for each article object. Any defects are either unacceptable or a further opportunity to bargain the price down. You should take caution to never begin bidding for unwanted items or to give the vendor a price you are unwilling or unable (with cash on hand) to pay. Try to avoid paying by credit card at all costs. In the event you do pay by credit card, never let it out of your sight and demand as many receipts as possible. There is typically a credit card carbon copy and an official shop receipt. '''Never tell a vendor where you are staying''' and ''''never tell a vendor how much you paid for any other purchases'''. Just say you got a good price and you want a good price from him or her too. And, above all, never be afraid to say 'No'. It must also be said that, as is true for buyers, not all sellers are actually very good at what they do. A vendor that is completely uninterested or even aggressive is unlikely to give a good price. Move on. Eat thumb Casablanca's ''souk'' (File:Casa didier55 009.jpg) Moroccan cuisine is often reputed to be some of the best in the world, with countless dishes and variations proudly bearing the country's colonial and Arabic influences. Unfortunately as a tourist through Morocco, especially if you're on a budget, you'll be limited to the handful of dishes that seem to have a monopoly on cafe and restaurant menus throughout the country. Most restaurants serve dishes foreign to Morocco considering that Moroccans can eat their domestic dishes at home. Apart from major cities, Moroccans do not generally eat out in restaurants so choice is generally limited to international fare such as Chinese, Indian and French cuisine. Traditional cuisine * '''Couscous''' made from semolina grains and steamed in a colander-like dish known as a ''couscoussière'' is the staple food for most Moroccans, and is probably the best known Moroccan meal. It can be served as an accompaniment to a stew or ''tagine'', or mixed with meat and vegetables and presented as a main course. Almost all Moroccan restaurants uphold the tradition of serving couscous on Fridays. * '''''Tagine''''' (or ''tajine''), a spicy stew of meat and vegetables that has been simmered for many hours in a conical clay pot (from which the dish derives its name). Restaurants offer dozens of variations (from MAD25 in budget restaurant) including chicken ''tagine'' with lemon and olives, honey-sweetened lamb or beef, fish or prawn ''tagine'' in a spicy tomato sauce. There are many variations of this dish. * A popular Berber contribution to Moroccan cuisine is '''''kaliya''''', a combination of lamb, tomatoes, bell peppers and onion and served with couscous or bread. * A popular delicacy in Morocco is '''Pastilla''', made by layering thin pieces of flakey dough between sweet, spiced meat filling (often lamb or chicken, but most enjoyably pigeon) and layers of almond-paste filling. The dough is wrapped into a plate-sized pastry that is baked and coated with a dusting of powdered sugar. A MAD3-5 serve of ''harira'' or ''besara'' will always include some bread to mop the soup up and will fill you up for breakfast or lunch: * Moroccans often elect to begin their meals with warming bowl of '''''harira''''' (French: ''soupe marocaine''), a delicious soup made from lentils, chick peas, lamb stock, tomatoes and vegetables. Surprisingly, among Moroccans harira has a role of nourishing food for "blue-collars" rather than a high-flying cuisine. * Soups are also traditional breakfasts in Morocco. '''''Bissara''''', a thick glop made from split peas and a generous wallop of olive oil can be found bubbling away near markets and in medinas in the mornings. Many cafes (see Drink) and restaurants also offer good value '''''petit déjeuner''''' breakfast deals, which basically include a tea or coffee, orange juice (''jus d'Orange'') and a croissant or bread with marmalade from MAD10. Snacks and fast food Snackers and budget watchers are well catered for in Morocco. '''Rotisserie chicken''' shops abound, where you can get a quarter chicken served with fries and salad for around MAD20. '''Sandwiches''' (from MAD10) served from rotisserie chicken shops or hole-in-the-wall establishments are also popular. These fresh crusty baguettes are stuffed with any number of fillings including tuna, chicken, ''brochettes'' and a variety of salads. This is all usually topped off with the obligatory wad of French fries stuffed into the sandwich and lashings of mayonnaise squeezed on top. You may also see hawkers and vendors selling a variety of '''nuts''', as well as steamed '''broad beans''' and BBQ'd '''corn cobs'''. Drink Although a predominantly Muslim country, Morocco is '''not dry'''. Alcohol is available in restaurants, liquor stores, bars, supermarkets, clubs, hotels and discos. Some Moroccans enjoy a drink although it is disapproved in public places. The local brew of choice carries the highly original name of Casablanca Beer. It is a full flavored lager and enjoyable with the local cuisine or as a refreshment. The other two major Moroccan beers are Flag Special and Stork. Also you can find local judeo-berber vodka, mild anise flavored and brewed from figs. '''Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal even if you drank just one beer''' As a rule, do not drink tap water at all in Morocco, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of minerals than the water in Europe. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for travellers from places such as Europe, drinking the tap water will usually result in illness. Generally this is not serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it is enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available. Popular brands of water include Oulmes (sparkling) and Sidi Ali, Sidi Harazem and Ain Saiss DANONE (still). The latter has a slightly mineral and metallic taste. Nothing with a high mineralization produced (so far?). Any traveller will be offered mint tea at least once a day. Even the most financially modest Moroccan is equipped with a tea pot and a few glasses. Although sometimes the offer is more of a lure into a shop than a hospitable gesture, it is polite to accept. Before drinking, look the host in the eye and say ''"ba saha ou raha"''. It means enjoy and relax and any local will be impressed with your language skills. Note that a solo woman may feel more comfortable having a drink or snack at a pastry shop or restaurant as cafes are traditionally for men. This doesn't apply to couples though. Sleep Hotels in Morocco are a matter of choice and fit every budget. Classified hotels are 1 star (simple) to 5 star (luxury), and are classified as an ''auberge'', ''riad'', rural ''gîtes d'étape'' or hotel. Stays usually include breakfast, and many include dinner. Places to stay '''''Auberges''''' are found in the country or in rural small towns, and are built in the traditional mud (''kasbah'') style, many with wood burning fireplaces and salons or roof terraces for taking meals. Auberge are very comfortable, small and usually family run and owned. In Marrakech, Essaouira and Fes or anywhere there is a medina (old city), small hotels renovated from old houses are called '''''riads'''''. Riads are usually small (about 6 rooms or less), clean and charming, often with to a lovely walled garden where breakfast is served on an inner patio or up on a roof terrace. Riads are usually too small to have a swimming pool, but may have what is called a tiny plunge pool to cool off in during summer months. Some riads are in former merchant houses or palaces and may have large opulent rooms and gardens. '''''Gîtes d'étape''''' are simple country inns and hostel style places, where mountain trekkers can grab a hot shower, a good meal, and have a roof over their head for one night. Desert bivouacs are traditional nomad carpeted wool tents with a mattress, sheets and blankets. You can shower at the auberge where you will also have breakfast. Otherwise there are the usual more modern hotels or equivalent found anywhere in the big cities and larger towns around Morocco. On the lower end of the budget scale, HI-affiliated '''youth hostels (Hostels)''' can be found in the major cities (dorm beds from around MAD50) while the cheapest '''budget hotels''' (singles from around MAD65) are usually located in the ''medina''. These hotels can be very basic and often lack hot water and showers, while others will charge you between MAD5 and MAD10 for a hot water shower. Instead, consider public ''hammams'' as there are quite a lot of them in the ''medina'' and in rural areas. Newer, cleaner and slightly more expensive budget (singles from around MAD75) and mid-range hotels that are sprinkled throughout the ''ville nouvelles''. Many hotels, especially those in the ''medina'' have delightful roof terraces, where you can sleep if the weather's too hot. If you don't need a room, you can often rent mattresses on the roof from MAD25. For those looking to '''camp''', almost every town and city has a campground, although these can often be some way out of the centre. Many of these grounds have water, electricity and cafes. In rural areas and villages, locals are usually more than happy to let you camp on their property; just make sure you ask first. With the exception of large high end hotels, expect the hot water supply in hotels to not be as stable as in more established countries. In Marrakech, MHamid, near Ourzazate and possibly other places, the hot water temperature varies dramatically while you take a shower. At most places, both in cities and in the countryside, you have the possibility to sleep on the roof or terrace. This will normally cost you MAD20-25 and you're provided with mattresses and a warm blanket. Just ask the receptionist in the hotel auberge gite. If you wan to ask in French, which works fairly well, you can say ''ca sera possible de dormir sur la terrace, s'il vous plait?'' Often you can bargain on the price and if it's more than 30 dirham you should bargain. Learn Most foreigners looking to study in Morocco are seeking either Arabic or French '''language courses'''. All major cities have language centres, and some will even arrange homestays with an Arabic-speaking family during your course. Cope Some Moroccans that you meet on the streets have come up with dozens of ways to part you from your money. Keep your wits about you, but don't let your wariness stop you from accepting any offers of generous Moroccan hospitality. Put on a smile and greet everybody that greets you, but still be firm if you are not interested. This will leave you significantly better off than just ignoring them. * '''''Faux guides'' and touts''' congregate around tourist areas and will offer to show you around the ''medinas'', help you find accommodation, take you to a handicraft warehouse, or even score some drugs. While these men can often be harmless, never accept drugs or other products from them. Be polite, but make it clear if you're not interested in their services, and if they get too persistent, head for a taxi, ''salon de the'', or into the nearest shop - the shopkeeper will show the faux guide away. :The best way to avoid Faux guides and touts is to avoid eye contact and ignore them, this will generally discourage them as they will try ''to invest'' their time in bothering another more willing tourist. Another way is to walk quickly; if eye contact happens just give them a smile, preferably a ''strong'' and ''beaming'' one rather than a ''shy'' one meaning ''no! thanks'' (they are very clever in judging human emotions and will bother you if they feel a weakness). The word ''La'' (Arabic for No) can be particularly effective, since it doesn't reveal your native language. Just another is to pretend you only speak some exotic language and don't understand whatever they say. Be polite and walk away. If you engage in arguing or a conversation with them, you will have a hell of time getting rid of them, as they are incredibly persistent and are masters in harassment, nothing really embarrasses them as they consider this being their way of earning their living. *Some of the more common tactics to be aware of are as follows. :Many '''Faux guides''' will pretend they are students when they approach you and that they just want to practice their English and learn about your culture, invariably if you follow them, there is a big chance you will end up in a carpet or souvenirs shop. A variant is they will show you an English letter and will ask you to translate it for them, or will ask for your help to their English speaking friend cousin relative etc abroad. :Expect to be told that anywhere and everywhere is 'closed'. Invariably, this is not the case, but a con to get you to follow them instead. Do not do this. :Do not accept 'free gifts' from vendors. You will find that a group of people will approach you accusing you of stealing it, and will extort the price from you. :Always insist that prices are fixed beforehand. This is especially true for taxi fares, where trips around a city should cost no more than MAD20, in general, or be done on the meter. This cannot be stressed enough. In ALL situations (including Henna tattoos) always agree on a price before! :When bargaining, never name a price that you are not willing to pay. :At bus train stations, people will tell you that there have been cancellations, and that you won't be able to get a bus train. Again, this is almost always a con to get you to accept a hyped-up taxi fare. :In general, do not accept the services of people who approach you. :Never be afraid to say no. *'''Drugs''' are another favourite of scam artists. In cities around the Rif Mountains, especially Tetouan and Chefchaouen, you will almost certainly be offered ''kif'' (dope). Some dealers will sell you the dope, then turn you in to the police for a cut of the ''baksheesh'' you pay to bribe your way out, while others will get you stoned before selling you lawn clippings in plasticine. * '''Ticket inspectors''' on trains have reportedly attempted to extricate a few extra dirham from unsuspecting tourists by finding something 'wrong' with their tickets. Make sure your tickets are in order before you board, and if you find yourself being hassled, insist on taking the matter up with the station manager at your destination. * '''Moroccan toilets''', even those in hotels or restaurants, could lack '''toilet paper'''. It is worth buying a roll (French: "'''papier hygenique'''"). Try to learn at least a phrasebook level of competency in French or Arabic (Spanish may help you in the North - but not largely). Just being able to say ''"Ith'hab!" or "Seer f'halek"'' ("Go Away!") may be useful to you... Many locals (especially the nice ones who are not trying to take advantage of you) will speak limited English. If you can at least verify prices in French with locals, you could end up saving a lot of money. What to wear You won't need high and heavy mountain boots unless you go in coldest time of the year like February: it's quite warm in the country even when it's heavy raining in November. Even in medinas, streets are paved if not asphalted—just be sure your footwear is not toeless in medina, as it may be dirty or unsanitary. For trekking in valleys, low trekking shoes will be likely enough. For a desert trip to dunes, ensure your pockets can be easily shaken out as sand gets in there very quickly. Time Morocco operates Daylight Saving Time. In 2015, it will begin again at 02:00, Sunday, 26 April and end at 03:00, Sunday, 27 September. Stay safe Overall, Morocco remains a relatively safe place; however, homosexuality is criminalised and is punishable by up to 3 years in prison in both Morocco and Western Sahara. Gay and lesbian tourists should be self-aware and careful. In 2014, 70-year-old British (Great Britain) traveller Ray Cole was prosecuted and imprisoned for four months after police searched his mobile telephone (mobile telephones) and found incriminating photographs. He is now sleeping on the floor of an overcrowded Moroccan prison filled with hardened criminals, despite interventions of the UK Foreign Office and a British member of parliament on his behalf. Like any country, Morocco has its share of problems. Many can be easily avoided by following common sense. Avoid dark alleys. Travel in a group whenever possible. Keep money and passports in a safety wallet or in a hotel safety deposit box. Keep backpacks and purses with you at all times. Make sure there is nothing important in outside or back pockets. There is some intolerance for public practice of non-Abrahamic religions and non-Sunni denominations. Women especially will experience almost constant harassment if alone, but this is usually just cat-calls and (disturbingly) hisses. Don't feel the need to be polite — no Moroccan woman would put up with behaviour like that. Dark sunglasses make it easier to avoid eye contact. If someone won't leave you alone, look for families, a busy shop, or a local woman and don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are so inclined, you could wear a ''hijab'' (headscarf), but this is not necessary. Morocco can be a liberal country and many Moroccan women do not wear headscarves. However, women should ''always'' dress conservatively (no low-cut tops, midriffs, or shorts), out of respect for the local culture. In cities, women can wear more revealing clothing, but as a general rule they should follow the lead from local women. Locals will also assume that Moroccan women venturing into ''ville nouvelle'' nightclubs or bars alone are prostitutes in search of clientèle. Foreign women entering such places will be not be so considered but will be thought of as approachable. Be careful about being drugged, especially as a solo traveller. The common and easy-to-make drug GHB only lasts 3 hours and is undetectable in the body after 7 hours, so if you are attacked take action immediately. Hustlers can be a big problem for people travelling to Morocco, and Tangier in particular. It's often difficult to walk down the street without being accosted by somebody offering to give you directions or sell you something. Your best bet is to politely refuse their services and keep walking, as all they are after is money. There are some legitimate tour guides, but your guide will receive a commission on anything you buy while you're with them, so don't let yourself be pressured into purchasing anything you don't want. '''Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly illegal''' even if you took just one beer. In certain places, hustlers will do their best to intimidate you, and they can be very clingy, insisting that you give them money or offering their 'services'. Don't be intimidated by this; usually a firm "No" does the trick. Some of them can get nasty and abusive but before it gets to that stage walk towards a shop or crowd. Most Moroccans would immediately tell the person off if they see that you are being harassed. Generally, western women should not travel to Morocco alone to avoid problems. Armed fighting in the disputed areas of the Western Sahara is less frequent now, but clashes between government forces and the Polisario Front still occur. Don't wander too far off the beaten path either, as this region is also '''heavily-mined'''. Stay healthy General concerns *'''Inoculations''': No particular inoculations are needed for Morocco under normal circumstances, but check with the US's Centre for Disease Control (CDC) travel web pages for any recent disease outbreaks. As with most travel, it makes good sense to have a recent tetanus immunization. Consider Hepatitis A and B inoculations. *'''Food and Drink''': Avoid uncooked fruits and vegetables that you can not peel. Avoid any food that is not prepared when you order it (i.e. buffets, etc.). Usually fried and boiled foods are safe. Some travellers have also had problems with unrefrigerated condiments (such as mayonnaise) used in fast food outlets. *'''Water''': It is advisable to drink bottled water (check that the cap is sealed - some people might try to sell you tap water in recycled bottles). Be wary of ice or cordials that may be made with tap water. Some hotels provide free bottled water to guests and its wise to keep a supply in your room so as not to be tempted with tap water. *'''Shoes''': Keep your sandals tevas etc. for the beach. Moroccan streets double as garbage disposal areas and you may not want to wade through fish heads and chicken parts with open-toe shoes. *'''Malaria''': Present in the northern, coastal areas of the country but not a major problem. Take the usual precautions against being bitten (light coloured clothing, insect repellent, etc.) and if you are really worried see your doctor about anti-malarial medication before your departure. Medical help Pharmacies are denoted by a green cross, usually in neon. They sell medicines, contraceptives, and often beauty and related products. Medical treatment can be obtained from self-employed doctors, clinics and hospitals. Most general practitioners, specialists, and dentists are self-employed; look for signs saying "Docteur" . An average doctor’s check-up in a city costs between 150 and 300 dirhams. In general, the quality of their work is decent, but you can try to ask some locals for advices and recommendations. There are few English-speaking doctors, though French is widespread. Medical care can be difficult or impossible to find in rural areas Government hospitals are cheap and okay for minor injuries and minor problems, but they tend to be very crowded and for anything serious, a private clinic is generally preferable. Treatments in private clinics will be quite expensive and travellers will be required to pay for any treatment received up front. Respect *'''Greetings''' among close friends and family (but rarely between men and women!) usually take the form of three pecks on the cheek. In other circumstances handshakes are the norm. Following the handshake by touching your heart with your right hand signifies respect and sincerity. *'''Left hands''' used to traditionally be considered 'unclean' in the Muslim religion and Amazigh nomadic cultures, as they used to be reserved for hygiene in toilets. As in many cultures it could be considered impolite to shake hands or offer or accept something from someone with your left hand, more so is giving money by your left, so try to avoid that. While left-handed people may get an occasional exclamation, and local children may get pressured by parents to use their right in traditional societies, most people will understand if you do your own business with your left hand. * '''Elders''' Moroccans still have the tradition of highly respecting their elders and the sick. If someone who is handicapped, or older than you is passing, then stop and allow room for them. Or if a taxi arrives and you are waiting with an elder, then you should allow the older person to take precedence over you. Tourists are not held to these expectations, but it improves regard for tourists in Morocco when they adhere to the same traditions. Connect Telephone '''Public telephones''' can be found in city centres, but private '''telephone offices''' (also known as ''teleboutiques'' or ''telekiosques'') are also commonly used. The international dialling prefix (to dial ''out'' of the country) is 00. All numbers are ten digits long, counting the initial ''0'' and the whole number must be dialled even for local calls within the same area code. You can get a prepaid card (Télécarte) for public phones (MAD5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dirhams). The rates are very reasonable. Eg for the Maroc Telecom card it is MAD0.50 min to any phone in most Western European countries, MAD3 min to Eastern Europe and North America, and mobile phones in Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway. Useful numbers :Police: '''19''' :Fire Service: '''15''' :Highway Emergency Service: '''177''' :Domestic directory: 160 :International directory: 120 :Telegrams and telephone: 140 :Intercity operator: 100 Mobile The GSM '''mobile telephone''' network in Morocco can be accessed via one of two major operators: Meditel or Maroc Telecom. Prepaid cards are available. More information on available services, coverage and roaming partners are available at: GSMWorld. It is very easy and cheap to buy a local GSM prepaid card in one of the numerous phone shops showing a Maroc Telecom sign. The SIM card (carte Jawal) costs only MAD30 (€3) with MAD10 (€1) airtime. The rate is national: MAD3-4, to Europe ca. MAD10, SMS MAD3. The card is valid 6 months after the last recharge. Post The Moroccan postal service is generally reliable and offers a ''post restante'' service in major cities for a small fee. You will need some identification (preferably your passport) to collect your mail. Items shipped as '''freight''' are inspected at the post office before they are sent, so wait until this has been done before you seal the box. Don't leave postcards with the small post office at Marrakech Airport as they'll never be delivered, despite taking your money for postage stamps. Postboxes on streets seemed to be a more reliable means to send postcards. Email & internet Moroccans have really taken to the internet. '''Internet cafes''' are open late and are numerous in cities and smaller towns that see significant tourist traffic. Rates are about MAD4-10 per hour and they are often located next to, above, or below the ''telekiosque'' offices. Speeds are acceptable to excellent in the north, but can be a little on the slow side in rural areas. Most internet cafes will allow you to print and burn CDs for a small charge. Moroccans have also really taken to 3G coverage. There is excellent access to email and the internet via Mobile Phones and it is relatively cheap. There is 3G access throughout the mountains and in the desert, as well as in all cities. WikiPedia:Morocco Dmoz:Regional Africa Morocco Commons:Category:Morocco


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