As well as the changes in time from GMT to daylight saving in Spring and Autumn it is as well to be alert to the fact that 'daylight saving time' is suspended during Ramadam. This is a moveable religious event with the start and end announced the day before the beginning of Ramadam. Confused? So were we and so was Easy Jet. On July 21st 2012 the Airport clocks were set at Ramadam/ local time, Easy Jets website gave the flight times at Ramadam time, however the check in desk gave the flight as Daylight Saving time and so we missed the flight, along with other passengers from other flights. We had to pay £50 penalty for a new ticket!
We stayed here for three nights. Riad Lorsya is beautifully renovated and very well located, just a few minutes walk from the main square.
There are two suites and two rooms, well-decorated. The dinner offered on the first evening was the best one we had in Marrakech.
Nice riad, welcoming hosts, good location five minutes' walk from the main square, good value for money.
I will recommend it to all my friends
The train journey from Tangier to Marrakech is one of the best I've been on. You can't purchase tickets outside Morocco, but we had no problem buying them on the day. The trains are comfortable and spacious and very cheap (the 10 hour trip cost about £20, imagine that in the UK!?)
We met some interesting characters on the train, who were eager to talk to us and help us when it came to switching trains. Perhaps the best thing though is that you get to see the countryside and small towns along the way that you would normally be flying over! Well worth the slight more effort involved!
On a recent trip to Marrakech I became tired at being fleeced by all and sundry. This was especially true of taxi drivers who will use your geographical ignorance to charge more than you would pay for a similar length of trip in a London Black cab if you're not careful. And they tend to get quite aggressive if you have the neck to negotiate – even though you're doing so nicely. Thus I resolved to make a planned trip to Cascades d'Ouzoud (well worth it by the way) by public bus rather than taxi. In most ways this was a good way to travel – all Moroccans, no tourists, rooster in cage on roof, altogether much more interesting than a more tourist-oriented option.
What I discovered, though, is a vast difference in condition of buses. Some look quite together and well, if creatively, maintained. The one we got on was falling apart – and that's by Moroccan standards. It's typical to see some quite creative repairs on Moroccan cabs and buses but this thing had repairs on top of repairs to the point where it was hard to tell what was holding what together. It seems the same buses tend to do the same journey times day in day out. We were on the same bus on the way back two days later (it was later in the day but this made sense as it was the return leg of the journey). This time the dilapidation started to show up big time. The windscreen shattered, showering everyone at the front in glass and, ten minutes later one of the side windows fell out. Even the locals were a bit perturbed by the state of the bus in question! If this kind of thing worries you it may be best to go to the bus station a day before you plan to travel. Find the bus that's going where you are headed and talk to the driver or ticket man to ask if the same bus will be running at the same time the next day. If the bus looks sufficiently knackered that you don't think you can stomach a trip in it you can then change your plans accordingly.
In the end we all got back in one piece but it wasn't a trip of the feint of heart.
We don't normally go for city tour buses but this was definitely worth it. We paid 260 dirhams (about £18) for two tickets valid for 24 hours that allowed us to jump off/on the tour bus along the route.
The main reason why we recommend it was that one of the routes took us out to the Palmeraie area (palm trees, camels etc) which we would not otherwise have seen.
Red bus just off the Jemma El Fna square on Av. Mohamed V.
We thought it would be a good idea to rent bikes for a day and venture out to the Palmerai. Unfortunately, after cycling what seemed like the right number of kilometres in the requisite direction, we found nothing except for dusty building sites. Our time (and money!) would have been better spent catching a petit taxi to the palmeraie, or probably better, to one of the beach clubs to relax, rather than getting stressed out as motorbikes and cars whizzed past us, churning up dust. Not recommended!
We rented our bikes from a motorbike parking spot near the Hotel Ali, which is near the Place Djemaa Al Fna.
If it's daytime, and you are travelling within the medina or the New Town, insist the meter (le compteur) is on. It starts at about 1 dirham 60. If they say it's broken, tell them to stop and get out. There are lots of other taxis.
The only ones you negotiate with are the Grand taxis. Petit taxis only take three people. Taxis can be difficult to get during rush hours, 8 - 9.30, 12 - 2 (that’s when they change over drivers too) and 5 - 6.30.
At night, they charge 50% more. Rides in the medina are generally about six dirhams, from the New Town to the medina generally about ten dirhams.
Make sure you have small change.
Getting a taxi from the medina to the airport on the meter is about 25 dirhams, but getting one from the airport to the medina is negotiable. Published tarif is about 60 dirhams, but you may have to pay 100, depending on number of people and amount of luggage and time of day.
After that, how much you tip is up to you.
Clean, comfortable, cheap and quick way to the coast, especially if travelling alone or in small group. 3 coaches a day leave from next to Marrakech railway stationn. Book at least an hourr before to ensure a seat. It was 65 dh (4 quid) one way at end of 2006. Takes 2.5 - 3 hours.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn next to Casablanca's train station and then caught the train down to Marrakech. It was cheap and also really interesting. They run old French trains, which are in carriages for eight people, and we struck up conversation very easily.
Casablanca, Marrakech train stations
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