April 25, 2018

4 days in Marrakesh Morocco

Visited Marrakesh March 2018, used my frequent flyer miles and took a flight from from Dallas Texas to Madrid Spain and onwards to Marrakesh


Safety in Marrakesh Morocco In general, I found Marrakesh to be a very a safe city. Nevertheless, taking general safety precautions you can never get it wrong.

Money The local currency is the Moroccan dirham (MAD). At the time of writing this 1 US Dollar is equal to 9.12 MAD.

Scams:  I don't shop, no scams, I was hoping someone would try to lure me into their shop, that never happened either. Marrakesh is easy to navigate and I didnt have to ask for directions, no scams there either.


Airport to Hotel, my Hotel arranged for a taxi for 20 euros, on the way back I got a taxi and we agreed for 100 MAD and the driver charged me 150, so yes I was scammed for 5 USD.



Where to Stay in Marrakesh Morocco The city has a remarkable choice of places to stay. Hotels, hostels, riads or dars in Marrakesh Morocco offer plenty accommodation options. Riads and dars are old grand houses transformed into hotels and inns. They usually have gardens or open courtyards and represent examples of astonishing Moroccan architecture.



I stayed in Dar Daoud for 3 night, it was USD 100 for 3 nights 4 Days with breakfast included. Dar was 5 minutes walk from Jemaa El-Fna square.


Marrakesh is divided into two different parts: the Medina, the historical city and Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle, the new and modern European district.


Day I


Arrived in Marrakesh Airport, all tourist have to fill out immigration Arrival forum, expect long lines, the whole process is relatively easy. Once outside the airport I located my Cab driver, he had the Riad sign, and off we went through the streets of  Marrakesh, he dropped me off to one of the entrance to the city square, cabs are not allowed after 12 Noon in the jemaa El-Fna square. My hotel all in one receptionist, chef and tour guide was there to walk me rest of the way.


After check-in and a nice cup of mint tea, I got a map of the city from  the reception and was off to explorer. I walked through the old souks and arrived at jemaa El-Fna square, it was still early, evenings and night time is when the square comes alive, with 100's of food vendors selling traditional Moroccan food, Juice stalls, Artists performing, dances, snake charmers and thousands of people. This square is the highlight of Marrakesh nightlife, its one of the biggest squares in Africa.


From the square, I walked past all these horse drawn carriages to Koutoubia Mosque. The Koutoubia Mosque is not only at the epicenter of Moroccan culture, it is an architectural marvel that has influenced structures in Rabat and Spain since the 12th century. I took a few photos and made my way back across the street to the hop on hop off bus stop. Got the info I needed to take the bus  From there I headed back to the square, There I found an ATM next to a pharmacy. Got local currency and was off to get an early dinner. Found a seafood vendor as I am not into eating meat and got a delicious meal for under $10 USD with mint tea.





Henna Tattoo at the  jemaa El-Fna

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Above picture of the Souq.


DAY 2

I had stayed late out the night before and slept in, the breakfast gets over at 10:30 AM, I dragged myself out of the bed by 10 for some delicious Moroccan pancakes. Still was feeling jet-lagged. After shower it was close to noon, I took off to see. Jardin Majorelle, Over a course of 40 years, the famous French painter, Jacques Majorelle worked on bringing this mind blowing garden to life. Later, the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent stepped in to finish the process.

Caught a cab for 3 USD, and I was at the entrance of the Garden, there were very long lines to buy the ticket and get in to see Jardin Majorelle, now I am not a big fan of long lines or big crowds, so I saw my cab driver and headed back to the Riad. The cab driver wanted to show me the clubs in the European district, I declined, not my thing.

Long lines outside Jardin Majorelle

At the Riad, I was checking online for a sunset camel ride, my Riad (hotel) reception dude told me He'd hook me up for the Palm grove camel ride for half the price. So after a few minutes this other Gentleman shows up, We walked though a maize of narrow streets, there was an SUV waiting and and I was off to the palm Groves.Cost 25 USD.



I did ride the camel, but mostly walked alongside the camel, later was Invited to mint tea and riifa (a Moroccan version of a crepe, a dough flattened and folded over, then cooked in a frying pan) at a Moroccan Berber family house. Its not free you are expected to tip the family.



Day 3

I had caught up on my sleep and was over the jetlag,  after breakfast went the hop on bus, cost 20 USD. Spent all day exploring Marrakesh. Both the historical city and the modern European district. There are 2 Hop on Hop off lines, red and blue line, I went on both.





Bab Agnaou and Saadian Tombs was my last stop of the day


Those who love history should include the Saadian Tombs in their Marrakech itinerary. The tombs were created for members of the Saadi dynasty, including Saadian Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour Eddahbi and had been lost to the sands for centuries, until they were discovered in 1917. The entire area is decorated with beautiful tiles, carvings, calligraphy and other splendors.



Shopping: Now I don't shop but if shopping is your thing, Don’t miss to visit Medina Souks shops sell anything from famous Moroccan spices to traditional kaftans, bargain letter shoes, jewelry and and other junk. I walk through the Souks is quiet an experience and highly recommended.



City View
There are several rooftop cafes around jemaa El-Fna square, Pick one and enjoy the experience, now I highly recommend this.


Day 4


Another late night and another struggle to getup, after breakfast, got the day to a start, walked through the Souks, had a nice lunch was off to the airport and was headed to Barcelona.

3 comments :

  1. Arvin, I just love your taste for places you travel to! They are definitely the places I would love to visit. I've just been starting out exploring South East Asia and I hope to visit more places soon. I will be referring to your post and reading it again to help with my itinerary should I be visiting Marrakesh!

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  2. Do you have any tips about how international travelers, especially women, can stay safe in other countries and avoid some of the scams you alluded to? I'm very jealous of the places you travel to but often fear for my safety in other countries

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    Replies
    1. Its always a good idea to check with travel.state.gov on the safety, basically use common sense precautions and you wont have issues.

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