Marrakech, Morocco is definitely a place to go if you’re looking for a complete cultural switch. We got a great deal with Riad dar Mimouna which is a beautiful place in the old part of the city, and located down a quiet street yet a close walk to the Souks and other places of interest. If you’re planning a trip, staying in the Medina (old town) is definitely preferable for a true Moroccan experience.
Riads are traditional Moroccan houses, that offer good prices and hospitable service, whereas the new part of town supplies more generic chain hotels and shops. Its ok if all you want to do is sunbathe by a pool, but why go to Marrakech if that’s what you want to do?
We planned our trip dates to coincide with the Marrakech Biennale, a festival dedicated to contemporary Visual Art, Literature and Film. We could either pay for individual days, or for the entire 5 days which enabled access to performances, debates, talks and screenings. Since we only wanted to attend a select amount of performances we decided to pay per day. We got the chance to attend talks by the highly acclaimed author, Ben Okri discussing his favourite poem; the very charismatic and hugely hilarious journalist, Jane Bussman pointing out the bullshit of Mass Media; and watched comedian, Ruby Wax take on the stigma of Schizophrenia.
The overwhelming thing about Marrakech is that nothing is for free, everyone wants your money. So if someone approaches you, and offers to show you parts of the city, I advise you to kindly decline as money will be expected in return. However, when you’re walking around the souks you’ll easily part with your money because EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, I was like a magpie eyeing up everything that glitters. When it comes to paying for things, bartering is customary but ensure you keep it friendly and fair on both sides!
Another thing to watch out for, if you’re heading to the Atlas Mountains do not get out of the taxi if you’re prompted to go inside a shop. You should tell the driver that you do not want to buy anything, otherwise you may feel pressured into buying unnecessary things once inside. By all means stop to enjoy the scenery on the way, but not to buy another, albeit, lovely set of ceramic plates!
The Atlas Mountains are beautiful, and provide the binary of the red city against white topped mountains; the array of colours do not end there so head to the main square for exotic spice stalls, dried fruits, elaborate dress and dyed leather goods.Author : Shing Lin Yoong Website : www.theculturemap.com
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.