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Old 06-11-2006, 10:57 AM   #1
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Hey guys, I´ve decided to head to morocco here next week with a few friends and have a few questions for anyone who has been there. First of all, from all the research that I´ve done, I´ve come to the conclusion that it is just best to completely bypass tangier by getting on the first bus/train out of there. At this point we are going to be there for 5 days and have pretty much decided to stay 2 days in Fes and two in Marrakesh.

Other than that what would you recommend for one last day in Morocco, I was thinking possibly Agadir because I´ve read they have pretty nice beaches.

My main question is where is the best way to stay in these cities? It would seem booking hostels online would be crazy because they are known for their haggeling, and if you book online it´s like 70 euro a night. So in these cities, where is a good part of town to stay? Also, if you´ve been, does anyone have recommendations of hostels or hotels that give good deals?

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Old 06-11-2006, 11:50 PM   #2
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We stayed with a family in Casa, so I can't help you out with accommodations suggestions. I have heard wonderful things about Agadir, so it would probably make a nice stop for you, and yes, try to get out of Tangier as quickly as possible.

The train station is very near the port, just aim purposefully in that direction and try not to get sucked into a conversation with any of the people standing around outside the port gate (when we were there, they weren't allowed into the port, but that was several years ago), who will try to take you to the souq, to the store of their uncle... One fellow was quite aggressive with us, even walking through the line to the ticket counter and haranguing us that he had a cousin in Casa who could show us around - he finally left us alone when I phoned our host...

After that, the ticket counter guy came over and invited us out for tea, to apologize for the other guy's behaviour. We went, and had a great time - 95% of the people you meet will be wonderful.


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Old 06-12-2006, 01:19 AM   #3
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I would also recommend skipping Tangier with the small amount of time that you have.

I think that two days in Fes and three in Marrakech would be more sensible. Travel is slow and I think you would be rushing yourself by going to Agadir too.

If you're paying 70 euros in Morocco you're either staying in a five star hotel or getting ripped off. I stayed at the following two places (both pretty cheap) which were okay but most places in Morocco are hit or miss anyway.

Fes
I stayed at the Hostelling International affiliated hostel and it wasn't too bad. I shared a room with too single beds. The place was clean and although not a great nights sleep it had a nice courtyard to socialise with other travellers. It was quite a way from the old medina however.

http://www.hihostels.com/dba/hostel096133.en.htm

Marrakech
I stayed at Hotel Ali. It was cramped and the ventilation not great. The best thing was it was right on the main square with a terrace on the top where you could socialise and take in the views.

http://www.hostelz.com/hotel/45901-Hotel-Ali

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Old 06-22-2006, 05:43 AM   #4
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wow Morocco was pretty intense. I figured I´d post a brief deal on my adventure since i didn´t see much else on morroco here when i searched earlier... I could be wrong though.

Anyway, as suggested we first went to Fes and then made our way to Marrakech. When i say intense, i mainly refer to Fes because i don´t think i could imagine a harder city to deal with. As soon as we got off the train we were bombarded by taxi drivers who wanted to take us to a hotel or whatever. I´ve always heard that when you are in Morocco there are ¨unofficial guides¨ that will try and show you the city. Once we got by them I thought that we in the clear after we got past the train station and people trying to ¨help¨us there but i was so wrong. At first it was almost impossible for us to walk in a group alone without a ¨guide¨hassling us to show us where to stay, offering drugs or telling us that it is impossible to see the city without a guide and they are the best, cheapest or coolest in the city. People coming up to you and offering help wasn´t the problem. The problem was that theses people wouldn´t leave us alone. They would follow us around until we physically had to push them away (last resort), got in a cab, or just ignored them for long enough (one guy it took about 20 minutes). Anyway, the guides seemed to let up once we got into the Medina (old city) but the there were still a few in there towards the gate that were just as annoying. All in all I probably got offered pot at least once every 30 minutes... from either these ¨guides¨or from the people in their shops.

I don´t want Morocco to sound that bad though. One of the guides flat out told us that it wasn´t very touristy at this time of year and that he was pressuring us so much because he had no other potential customers to hassle. Anyway, other than the people who wanted money from us or wanted to help us in exchange from money Fes was great. It was a blast haggling with the shop owners and the kids there were very cool and easily amused with a digital camera. Another positive of Fes was it was unbelievably cheap. We stayed in a hotel for 5 euro a night and would get 4 course meals on rooftops for like 7 euro. When we didn´t want to splurge we could get a sandwich with fries, tea and bread (very filling) for like 1.5 euro.

Overall I would say that Fes was a decent city, but the hassle of dealing with these guides almost ruined the experience for me.

On the other hand Marrakech was a fantastic city. It was obviously much more touristy but that made it much more fun as well. Occasionally we would meet people who would want to ¨help¨ us but they were easy to deal with, having just come from Fes. Really the only part of Marrakech that we explored was the Medina but that was enough. They had a huge souk and haggling here was much more fun than in Fes. Because it was touristy, the food and such was a bit more expensive than Fes but still a great deal coming from Europe.

We stayed there 3 days and just got back to Granada. I wish i could have stayed in Morocco longer and seen some of the other cities they have to offer but I just didn´t have the time. I hear great things about Agadir and i think Chechaouene.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:20 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for your report! We're hoping to head there in the spring if all works out. Sounds amazing (albeit slightly annoying!). I'm really glad you came back to share!
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:42 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your experience! As you said, travelling Morocco can be really draining! I'm really sorry if we didn't warn you enough about the heckling...

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Old 06-24-2006, 01:23 AM   #7
 
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Thanks for the post, I'm headed to Morocco in sept, should come in handy. Any particular tricks you found worked better for getting rid of guides? I've heard suggestions of speaking unknown languages etc, I'm thinking of pulling out a good SARS cough impression...
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Old 06-24-2006, 11:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by O-Face@Jun 24 2006, 01:23 AM
Thanks for the post, I'm headed to Morocco in sept, should come in handy. Any particular tricks you found worked better for getting rid of guides? I've heard suggestions of speaking unknown languages etc, I'm thinking of pulling out a good SARS cough impression...
[snapback]127834[/snapback]
We did try this kind of tactic but this just kind of led them into guessing where we were from. One of my friends I was with speaks french, spanish and a bit of german. Since most people there speak french or spanish, he tried speaking German with many of the guides. It worked decently until we ran into a guy who spoke pretty much everything. He kept spouting off phrases in all kinds of languages. We had to get into a taxi to get away from the guy.
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Old 06-25-2006, 03:05 PM   #9
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We had a similar experience with the "guides" - we had decided we wouldn't give them an idea where we were from (Canada and the US), and just kept saying "No" as they went down the list. Finally the guy got really mad and said he knew that we had to be from Israel (this was immediately post Gulf-War I) and accused us (Israel) of starting the war and then started threatening us (I'm going to tell my friends over there that you're Jewish and only here to destroy our country. Your blood will flow through the square...) and all sorts of nastiness and continued harassing us until we got to the train station, bought our tickets (there was a brief retreat to civility (Oh, you're going to Casa, I have a cousin in Casa he can show you around!) then back to the hard sell until we called our friend and started talking to him.

If we had to do it again, we'd either say "Canada" up front, or only speak in Lithuanian (but we didn't know that language then...)

In contrast to this guy, every other person we met there was charming, gracious and hospitable - the ticket seller at the train station even took us out for tea before our train, to apologize for the other guy's appalling behaviour.

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