Have any of you ever been there, if so please tell me all about the great things you can do there. The last thread on it was a couple of years ago and didn’t get many of the cool kids input. More input, less chat please.
Went and mostly enjoyed it. Although it was literally about three weeks after 9/11. Was watching a football match on telly in a local café when George Bush came on at half time and basically said that America was going to bomb everyone. It got a bit awkward after that and we drank up and left smartish.
The soukh is good, but you will be plagued to death by people trying to rob you or, as in our case, ‘guide’ you to places where you can be robbed.
My mate also got food poisoning.
Hold on - I HATED Marrakech.
doesn’t sound great so far
How long are you going for? I had a love/hate thing with the place. I think we were there slightly too long, could have probably done it all and been satisfied in 4-5 days.
There were definitely some sketchy moments where I felt unsafe, people trying to guide us to places we didn’t want to go as mentioned above, dodgy geezers in the Medina that were 100% after nicking stuff or ripping us off. Lots of being harangued, but I guess it’s to be expected when you’re a white tourist in such a place. We also got very lost a bit further out near the palace, and were spat at/had litter thrown at us and someone pinched my girlfriend’s arse.
Wasn’t as great as I imagined for vegetarians either, my dreams of falafel & houmous were obviously misguided. Was essentially tagine & cous cous for a fortnight.
Having said all of that, I was really glad I went, just not sure I’d go rushing back now it’s ticked off the list? Some of the architecture and the places we visited were beautiful. The tombs were cool, the Ben Youssef Madrasa Islamic school was lovely. My favourite part of the holiday was maybe the Jardin Marjorelle (Yves Saint-Laurent gardens) which was very beautiful and tranquil compared to how crazy the rest of the place is. Had a great lunch in there. The soukhs in the Medina were a total adrenaline rush. The Jemaa El Fna square actually felt safer at night bizarrely, it really comes to life after about 8 or 9pm. I loved watching all of the Gnawa musicians and storytellers, lots of great sights and smells.
It was also the hottest place I’ve ever been, and peaked at about 44/45 degrees on a couple of days which was a struggle. My girlfriend struggled with having to cover up and trying to be respectfully dressed in that heat.
Been multiple times. It’s great, but not my favourite place in Morocco. I like Essaouira and Rabat out on the west coast more- much more relaxed and people don’t hassle you in the same way. Casablanca is pretty dull. Tangier is OK but kind of seedy. Fez is the main city I haven’t been to, but it’s supposed to be beautiful.
Brush up on your French and you’ll be fine. Most people are bilingual French-Arabic (and some trilingual with Amazigh). If you’re wondering why I’m not suggesting learning more Arabic it’s that it might not be much help to you. Moroccan Arabic is very different to other countries’ varieties, and people from the Middle East struggle to understand Moroccans.
Any book or cd you get will probably teach you Egyptian Arabic, which everyone understands from TV or formal Modern Standard Arabic, which will make you sound like you’re reading the news. So people in Morocco will understand what you say, but reply in a way that bears no relation to what the book taught you.
Oh also, ASAP go to a pharmacy and get some Intétrix tablets. They’ll protect you against food poisoning and diarrhea. They don’t mix well with booze, but Morocco’s not exactly a boozy place. Alcohol and bars aren’t illegal or anything, this isn’t Saudi Arabia, but bars are really seedy and where creepy old men hang out. Most people prefer to go to all-night cafes.
Also for transport check out Grands Taxis. They’re small minibuses that go along set routes (both within town and to other towns/airports etc) and drop you wherever you want. You share them with a couple of other passengers and they’re dramatically cheaper.
You can do it in 2-3 days, and I wouldn’t hang around any longer than that. The main square is great at night, lots of great pieces of history/architecture, and the soukh’s good for a long wander. Brace yourself to be constantly pestered and ffs avoid anyone trying to be your friend that wants to lead you to their uncle’s tannery. Best way to haggle - walk away.
I preferred Essaouira (which I’m glad somebody else has posted so I could C+P its spelling) and the mountain villages around Toubkal.
Also I recommend these things: msamen. Big fried cheesy pancakes you can buy from street stalls
I went when I was a student (did a charity hitchhike) and enjoyed it apart from the parts where I was followed by packs of teenage boys and men whispered stuff in my ear as they went past. Don’t know if you’re going with a woman or not but it can be really intimidating and scary if you’re a woman walking anywhere on her own at any time of day.
When I went (2009) you could eat well at the places on the Jemaa el-Fna for about £4 and there’s loads of stalls there serving fresh orange juice and garlic snails (actually delicious).
There are a few tours you can do from Marrakesh bus station - I went on a day trip to Ouarzazate which was nice, and my friends went to the Ouzoud waterfalls one day and saw some monkeys and goats standing around in trees.
Hated it. New town was quite boring and I get a bit freaked out when I lose my bearings, so the Medina was utterly horrifying.
Jamah al Fna at night and garlic snails were good. Essaouira was pleasant but there wasn’t enough wind when I visited.
My mate went recently and said if you don’t mind it being busy, the city is great. Also a lot of nice stuff in the surrounding area e.g waterfalls and stuff.
I’d like to go at some point!
I’d actually really like to go again now I have a guy to stand next to and more than 20p a day spending money
So avoid people and eating anything seems to be the takeaway from this thread.
I’ve been to Fez, which has the biggest Medina in aaalll the world or something. Best way I found to get directions somewhere was to ask people who weren’t offering to give you directions, otherwise you end up being corralled down some alleyway by a bunch of bored teenagers who will mug you.
Basically what everyone else said…
A week, but for whatever reason it was as cheap as (or not much more expensive than) a 4 or 5 nights. I suppose I’d rather be somewhere else than at home or at work for extra couple of nights and hopefully we can get a day trip to essouria and the mountains. It’s next month so it’s going to be absolutely baking. We’ve been considering it for ages, now that we’ve finally booked it I’m still not sure about it
I should’ve copied and pasted it too
I honestly found Marrakesh the most stressful experience I’ve had on holiday. I’m sure it’s lovely if you’re the right kind of person and can deal with the street culture, but it was way too much hassle for me. Spent a lot of time in the hotel rather than the town.
I’m really glad you mentioned those tablets.
I hear some of the taxi drivers are a bit reckless, I was hoping to go to the mountains so it should make it kind of exciting (I’m not sure if those grand taxis will go that far, I’ll need to check)
I can find that sort of thing difficult and stressful too. Are they likely to take a firm no or shake of the head?