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Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

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Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

Hi. I am planning on visiting Marrekech in early 2018 with my family.

I just have a few questions.....

1) What is the transportation system like? Eg is there a tram system in place so you can hop on & off depending on your stop (eg as in Istanbul?)

The reason I ask is that I always get ripped off by taxi drivers so have zero faith in them anymore and would prefer to use a means of transport that leaves me less likely to be scammed.

We dont plan on travelling outside the city, just want to enjoy 4 days in one main location - and will be looking at excursions/activities/places to visit within the city.

2. Hotels. What is the 'best' central location that we can use as a base? Ideally one that we can walk to most of our destinations like bazaars, mosques, cafes etc.

I'll be honest, I've been spoilt by Istanbul & kind of hope every destination is so user friendly!

Thanks all!

22 replies to this topic
california
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1. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

Well...the Djemaa el Fna is the "bicycle spoke" with which everything around Marrakech spins.

If you plan your "base of operations" around the ancient medina...technically...you'd never need a taxi.

The narrow confines of the "ancienne medina" makes it very conducive to walking.

Additionally...the square is relatively small...offering you more than its fair share of "visual treats", things to do, and sip a mint tea in the plethora of café terraces which surround the periphery of this open air street carnival/theater.

Additionally...you could also do the unlimited HOHO bus tour. Hivernage and Gueliz (the more, modern European side of the city) are covered...as well as the Palmeraie (the vast, "Sahara Desert" type location) situated on the northeastern outskirts of the walled medina.

Taxis...even then...you should be able to facilitate your travels around this city relatively cheaply..."just as long as you insist that the taxi man puts on the meter!"

Personally...I've never paid more than MAD 30 to travel anywhere within the city.

However...our illustrious experts and locals...simply make the convincing, valid argument "don't open that door!

Yea...you're so right! There's nothing more so irritating and aggravating than knowing...knowing...that that "thinly smiling...cunningly malicious taxi guy" is lifting extra cash from your hard earned wallet.

Anyway...by most Western standards...you'll still be getting a fairly good bargain.

Thankfully...though...most of Marrakech's beauty can easily be discovered, while aimlessly wandering around under foot.

Dove Canyon
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2. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

I too am planning a trip to Marrakech - and like the poster above suggests, I chose to stay in the main square, Jemma El-Fnaa.

High Wycombe...
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3. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

Salam Spot boy

Nice to see a familiar name from the Istanbul forum! Like you I truly enjoyed Istanbul and wish to try Marrakech around Xmas, my advice for you is to stay in a riad rather than a hotel.

Good luv planning the trip bro!

california
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4. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

Definitely...I absolutely second that recommendation regarding the "riad hotel" experience.

There's nothing quite like that "One Thousand and One Nights" terraced courtyard...with cooing songbirds... gurgling water fountains...and hushed, relaxed, peaceful vibe...which will forever change the way you approach the "standard" hotel experience.

Enjoy!

Marrakech, Morocco
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5. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

the Marrakech tramway is not yet operational, there are buses but not used much by tourists

if you stay in the Medina then you can walk most places anyway

small taxis should use their meters, although many will try not to!

United Kingdom
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6. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

Thanks for all your replies.

Some very useful tips and advice to get me started.

WS Dennis!

Re: taxis. I don't begrudge them earning a living.... But when cash is tight, (yes, even in the West it is!!) then it is painful when you are royally scammed by unscrupulous taxi drivers using underhand tactics.

I think I'll take mrocbounds advice & look at the central location.

Finally...a Riad is a fancier hotel? I did see some hotel options with Riad in the title but assumed it was just a name!!!

Edited: 29 July 2017, 10:34
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7. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

Just a side note.

I know Morocco is a Muslim country, and I'm Muslim so would prefer to avoid alcohol/nightclubs/stag doos etc.

Is this easy to do in the touristy bits, where I expect to spend most of the time?

california
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8. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

Definitely... you'll quite easily be able to avoid the whole alcohol/nightclub/party scene.

In fact...the "wild side" is there... however...it's usually discreet, not aggressively in your face, and someone has to go out, while proactively searching for it.

Most of these type establishments will be either in Hivernage (the upscale European side of town)... Gueliz (a "rough urban chic" district)...and points further afield... kilometers outside town.

Anyway... riads.

Well sir... you've made an excellent choice!

Please step up to the front of the line and collect your prize!

You'll love that traditional Arab courtyard style fondouk with the lattice balconies...scent of Jasmine wafting in the air...the birdsong...the soothing water fountain.

All of these special elements really enhance the overall experience, ambiance, and enjoyment when they're blended together so magically.

Many come in all shapes and sizes...some cater toward the upscale budget...still others offer a more "down to earth" and rustic charm.

However...you really can't go wrong with any choice or decision.

Check the reviews...set your budget...and see what aesthetically appeals to you...and simply make that reservation!

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9. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

Really appreciate your response Mrocbound.

I'm working on a very tight budget with regards to flights & accomodation but desperately want to visit Marrakech.

Once I get an idea of places to see/visit & where they are in relation to transportation I'll feel less nervous.

Edited: 30 July 2017, 05:20
california
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10. Re: Just a few 'newbie' / nervous 1st time traveller questions

(Deep breath)

Everything"s gonna be fine!

Honestly...Marrakech is such a great "value" destination.

Of course...there's no shortage of "helpful individuals"...tourist shops...and restaurants who would be happy to relieve you of "hard earned" salary...but...never mind...you'll easily find many pathways which will help you enjoy a fun...entertaining...and yes...inexpensive holiday.

Maybe check out some of those "discount airlines" like Easyjet and Ryanair. Usually...they offer some ridiculously cheap airfares from the United Kingdom (and Spain...if you happen to have a layover). Just trying to cover all the bases...BTW.

Again...most of "Marrakech's sites" are located within the northern and southern sectors of the ancient medina (the entry fees are amazingly cheap).

Additionally...the beauty of this incredible caravan city can, largely, be discovered, simply, by taking those slow, relaxing strolls through the labyrinthine alleyways of the ancienne medina, getting "up close and personal" with all the craziness and excitement of the Djemaa el Fna, and leisurely sipping a sugary mint tea from the elevated terraces surrounding the square (all free...I might add). Well...truth be told...the mint tea's gonna cost you MAD 8-12. But...still an excellent value.

The Menara Gardens (which...are actually...more of a large olive plantation...with associated water basin...and Pavilion) are located southwest of the city...near the airport.

Also...the Agdal Gardens (similar in style...but less crowded) is located further south. Beautiful trees...gently blowing in the breeze...and enormously tall palm trees are framed by the rolling foothills and looming presence of the Atlas Mountains.

You'll enjoy the sublime natural beauty of this wonderful outdoor setting...while still maintaining possession of your wallet.

Riads...there's literally a "thousand a one" boutique riads situated throughout the medina (some closer to the square than others).

However...you'll definitely find "something special" that you'll like! Personalized...quaint...and beautifully charming...all can be found very inexpensively!

Personally...I've always rhetorically wondered...how can such an amazingly exotic, colorful, culturally unique, ethnically different and funky city...be so cheap!

For sure...once there...you'll say (while smiling, shaking your head), "Wow...just wow."

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