Wednesday, February 27, 2019

14D11N Morocco Itinerary For Less Than RM4,500 Including Flights

For the sake of travelling to Morocco, I gave up the opportunity of receiving angpow (red packets) for this year Chinese New Year. Oh well, it doesn't matter cause trip to Morocco is absolutely one-in-a-life-time opportunity. And I got to unlock another continent - Africa cause Morocco is situated on the North Africa.

Since I received quite number of messages asking me about my trip to Morocco, hence I decided to summarise everything into a single post. Besides an excursion tour to Sahara Desert which is a must, my trip covering 5 major Moroccan cities - Marrakech, Fes, Chefchaouen, Rabat and Casablanca. And guess what, my friend and I spent less than RM4,500 each which including flights as well. To be honest, we didn't expect that cause initially, we thought we're going to spend around RM8,000 when seeing those organised tour packages are charging at least RM10,388 for 11D8N.

14D11N Morocco Trip Cover

Good news to all Malaysian! 
Beginning 2018, Malaysians can now visit Morocco for up to 90 days without having to go through all the hassle of applying visa cause it's visa-free. What are you waiting for? Hurry up and include Morocco in your bucket list. 

Flying From Kuala Lumpur to Casablanca
Our flight depart from Kuala Lumpur at 7.30 pm via Saudia Airlines and the journey to Jeddah takes approximately 9 hours. Within the first flight, we're served with two in-flight meals and surprisingly, they were quite good. For economy class, each passenger is entitled to carry two pieces of luggage with not exceeding 23kg. Airfare wise, we managed to book a return ticket for the price of RM1,833 through Go To Gate website, instead of Saudia official website itself.

Morocco Saudia Airlines 03

Morocco Saudia Airlines 04

Airport Essentials:
1) Sim Card - There are two network operators available in the airport; Orange and Maroc Telekom. We got the latter one - 7GB prepaid sim card for 150DH (approx. to RM67) but we felt being scammed cause after that, we found out from blog that some of them got for 50DH only. It's okay anyway cause the most importantly, it works and we can connect even in the middle of desert. 
2) Money Changer - Moroccan dirham is a closed currency which means it can only be bought and sold in its own country. Hence, bring along other currencies like Euro, US dollar, British Pound to change in Morocco. My friend and I exchanged a small amount at the airport for immediate expenses like buying sim card and train ticket. Then only we changed a lot in Hotel Ali of Marrakech. 
In Casablanca Airport, €1 = 10.65DH
In Hotel Ali of Marrakech, €1 = 10.755DH

Day 1&2: Marrakech (2 Nights)
From Casablance Airport to Marrakech, go to the basement of the airport and you can buy the train ticket on-spot. You have to buy two separate tickets; the first one takes you to the local city train of L'Oasis station. Align from there and change to another platform before hop on another train heading to Marrakech. The total cost for both tickets are 130DH for second class and 200DH for first class. We chosen the first class cause it's more comfortable and the seats are guaranteed than the  one in second class. Bear in mind the journey from Casablanca to Marrakech takes approximately 3 hours plus. To know more about the train schedule, you can check out ONCF train website.

Morocco Loasis to Marrakech Station

In order to get to Medina or the Old City of Marrakech from the train station, we took taxi. Most of the taxi drivers in Morocco will demand more like 100DH to rip off the foreign tourists especially and some even refuse to turn on the meter but we managed to bargain for the fare between 20-30DH. 

Stay in Marrakech: Riad Al Mamoune
Room Rate: 49 per night for a double room incl. breakfast (Approx. to RM235)
When comes to choosing accommodation in Morocco, forget about those typical hotel. Try to book and experience Riad, a traditional house with an interior garden or inner courtyard built in the center of the building.

Morocco Marrakech Riad Al Mamoune 01

Things To Do & See in Marrakech:
1) Djemaan El Fna Square
Morocco Marrakech City 03

2) Koutoubia Mosque
Morocco Marrakech City 05

3) Majorelle Garden
Combined ticket for Majorelle Garden + Museum + YSL Museum:180 DH (Approx. to RM80)
Morocco Marrakech Majorelle Garden 01

4) YSL Museum
Morocco Marrakech YSL Museum 01

5) Bahia Palace
Admission Fee: 70DH (Approx. to RM31)
Morocco Marrakech Bahia Palace 01

Day 3&4: Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour
We signed up for 3D2N Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour from the Riad we stayed. You can opt for 2D1N Zagora Sahara Desert Tour if you are pressed for time but for us, we would like to venture more deeper than rushing here and there. 

Merzouga 3D2N Price
Per Pax
Approx. to RM
Shared Group
800DH
358
Shared Group (Private Room/Tent)
1,00DH
446
Shared Group (Upgdare to Luxury Tent)
1,600DH
715
The tour includes ground transportation services in air-conditioned minibus, 2 nights accommodation (first night in a traditional hotel and second night in a Berber camp), breakfast, dinner, camel ride and other administration for the 3 days. 

The tour departs at 7am with the pick-up from our Riad. From there, we crossed the snow-capped of Atlas Mountains for a quick phototaking, and then to Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, which listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a tour around the complex. Shortly after that, we continued with our journey to Ouarzazate, a home to Atlas Studio where many popular and famous Hollywood movies have been filmed here such as Gladiator, Prince of Persia, Indiana Jones, Cleopatra and the latest HBO hit dramas, Game of Thrones. Later in the evening, later in the evening, we arrived at Dades Valley and this is where we will stay overnight in a traditional hotel and enjoyed a traditional Moroccan evening meal. 

Morocco Ouarzazate 02 Kasbah Ait ben Haddou

Morocco Ouarzazate 01

On the next morning right after we had our breakfast, we continued our journey to Todra Gorge, a series of limestone river canyons for another tour with an English speaking tour guide (Be prepared to give tips to them at the end of the tour). But of course, nothing beat the main highlight of this tour when finally we stopped at Merzouga, a small village sitting on the borders of the Sahara desert. Here, we started with our camel-riding in the middle of the desert with the sun slowly moving across the sky. The journey took almost an hour and half riding to our tent situated in the heart of the desert. At night, we're served with a traditional Berber dinner followed by a small gathering by the campfire. 

Morocco Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour Camel Ride 01

Morocco Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour Sunrise

Morocco Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour 4X4

It's truly one unforgettable experience where we camp under thousand of stars in the middle of the desert, woke up to a beautiful golden sunrise and ended our Sahara tour with exhilarating 4X4 jeep ride (this one not included in part of the tour and additional of 100DH being charged).

Additional Notes of The Sahara Desert Tour:
1) You can bring along your luggages/backpacks and this will be placed in the minivan while you are going for desert tour. Just pack light or even better, don't bring anything cause there's no toilet within the camp side, unless you take the luxury package. My friend and I did "our business" next to the palm tree. Hahaha... Plus, it's dark at night, it's not like someone going to see what you are doing right?
2) Don't forget to lock your belonging before leaving to the desert. You can bring along those valuable items like money, passport, camera and handphone while doing camel-riding. And guess what, you can charge your handphone in the camp. Wow, super high-tech nowadays.
3)  Since lunch is not included for the tour package, the driver brought us to those restaurant where the lunch set cost between 110-120DH (approx. to RM49-54). Kinda expensive but no choice.
4) The driver just did his duty as minivan driver and he will not guide us during the tour. Hence, be prepared to give tips to those freelance English-speaking tour guides and they already set the price. For example, tour for Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou request for 30DH per person and Todra Gorge for 25DH per person.
5) On the final day of the desert tour, we're given option either to do camel-riding or taking 4X4 jeep ride from the camp to Merzouga. If taking camel-riding, we need to leave at 6am and miss the sunrise whereas for the 4x4 jeep, we can view the sunrise and only leave the camp at 8.30am but additional charge of 100DH (approx. to RM45) 

Day 5&6: Fes (2 Nights)
From Merzouga to Fes, we booked the shuttle service along with the Sahara Desert Tour from the Riad we stayed in Marrakech. A single trip from Merzouga to Fes costs 250DH (approx to RM112) and the journey takes almost 6 hours with a short stop for lunch break. Upon arrival at Fes, the driver dropped us at CTM Bus Station which consider to be New City of Fes. In order to get to Old Town, we took taxi and the fare was about 40DH. 

Stay in Fes: Riad Verus
Room Rate: 575DH per night for a double bed room incl. breakfast (Approx. to RM257)

Morocco Fes Riad Verus 01

Morocco Fes Riad Verus 02 Breakfast

Things To Do & See in Fes:

1) The Blue Gate of Fes - Bab Bou Jeloud
Morocco Fes Bab Bou Jeloud Blue Gate 1

2) Fes El Bali - With more than 9,000 narrow alleyways and passages, getting lost in this ancient walled medina is unavoidable but it's fun when you found the one caught your heart. Besides Djemaan El Fna Square of Marrakech, I feel that this place is an ideal place to shop for souvenirs. 
Morocco Fes Alleyways 01

3) Chouara Tannery
Morocco Fes Chouara Tannery 1


Day 7&8: Chefchaouen (2 nights)
In order to get to Chefchaouen from Fes, we took CTM bus for 75DH (approx. to RM34) and the ride took almost 5 hours. The bus from Fes to Chefchaouen departs four times daily; 8am, 11am, 4.45pm and 11.15pm. Remember the driver dropped us nearby CTM Bus Station all the way from Merzouga, we took the opportunity to buy the bus tickets earlier rather than on the day itself cause it sold out pretty fast. By the way, before you get into the bus, don't forget to check-in your luggage first (sounds like taking plane). Not sure how they calculate but they charged our two luggage bags for 5DH. 

Morocco Fes CTM Bus


We arrived in Chefchaouen Main Bus Station (Gare Routiere) which is almost 30 minutes walk to the medina and this is where our hotel located. Hence, we decided to take taxi for 10DH.

Stay in Chefchaouen: Hotel Koutobia
Room Rate: RM170 per night for a double bedroom incl. breakfast
The one with least expectation turned out to be one of the best stay we ever experienced in Morocco. We're upgraded to a quadruple room with private balcony facing the mountain view.

Morocco Chefchaouen Hotel Koutobia 02

Morocco Chefchaouen Hotel Koutobia 01

So what we do and see in Chefchaouen? We bought some typical souvenirs in the old city of medina and we're really enjoyed the shopping experience here as it is more relaxed. We even took almost thousand of photos at each and every corner of this Morocco's blue city. In Chefchaouen, everything is all about blue. To end our day, we went to Aladdin Restaurant for its magnificent overlooking the square from the terrace. 

Morocco Chefchaouen City 01

Morocco Chefchaouen City 02

Day 9: Rabat (1 night)
From Chefchaouen, we took the local bus to Rabat. You can opt for CTM bus but then, it only departs at 7am and we felt it was too early for us. In terms of bus fare, of course local bus is cheaper than CTM which costs 80DH only but it took longer hour to reach Rabat. Local bus departs five times daily; 6am, 7.30am, 8.15am, 9.15am and 12.45pm. 

Majority of the main bus stations in Morocco are located quite distance away from the old city and medina. Same goes to Rabat. So when we arrived in Rabat Main Bus Station, once again we took taxi and the taxi fare was 5DH per person.

Stay in Rabat: Dar Mayssane 
Room Rate: 880DH per night for twin bed room incl. breakfast (Approx. to RM393)

Morocco Rabat Dar Mayssane 01

Morocco Rabat Dar Mayssane 02

Since we only have less than 24 hours in Rabat, we can only pick one or two attractions and we chosen; Kasbah of the Udayas which located less than 10 minutes walk from our accommodation. 

Morocco Rabat Kasbah of the Udayas 01

Morocco Rabat Kasbah of the Udayas 02

Day 10&11: Casablanca (2 nights)
We went back to Casablanca by taking train from Rabat. The journey took less an hour and we bought the first class which cost 69DH (approx. to RM31). Rabat Main Train Station (Gare Rabat Ville) located not far away from the old medina - less than 10 minutes walk. Casablanca is our final stop before bidding goodbye to Morocco. Unlike the rest of the cities we've been, luckily Casablanca Main Train Station is situated not far away from the medina and we don't have to take taxi anymore. 

Stay in Casablanca: Hotel Central
Room Rate: RM159 per night for twin bed room without breakfast

Morocco Casablanca Hotel Central 01

When in Casablanca, one shouldn't miss out visiting Hassan II Mosque. Besides being the larges mosque in Africa, it is claimed to be the 5th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest minaret at 210 metres. 

Morocco Casablanca Hassan II Mosque 01

Morocco Casablanca Hassan II Mosque 02

However, shopping experience in Casablanca is unpleasant one. I would recommend you to do your shopping in Marrakech, Fes or Chefchaouen earlier before heading to Casablanca. 

Morocco Fridge Magnets
Fridge magnets cost around 5DH to 20DH. The cheapest we found in Chefchaouen for 5DH.

Moroccan Food
Moroccan Food
Talking about Moroccan food, don't forget to try their local dishes such as tagine and couscous which can be found in majority of the restaurants and eateries. Tagine is the popular slow-cooked Moroccan stew which takes its name from the traditional clay or ceramic dish it's traditionally cooked in whereas couscous is a steamed grain served with variety of vegetables. Besides these two, we also got to try kefta - meatball tagine with poached eggs drowned in ample of tomato sauce.

When dine-in in a restaurant or eatery, the price of the food is expected to be around 40DH to 80DH depending on the popularity of that particular place. For example Cafe de France of Marrakech which is popular for its terrace overlooking the old medina, the price of the pizza costs 80DH whereas a nearby small eatery with no terrace costs around 40-50DH. Initially my friend and I were expecting to spend €15 per day each for food but because almost all our accommodations came with hearty and heavy breakfast (except for the one in Casablanca), we saved up our money for lunch and only spent for dinner. By the way, Moroccan served bread for free. 

Last but not least, don't forget to try Moroccan Whiskey, I mean Moroccan mint tea. 

Total Expenses
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
€/DH
RM
Air Fares
Saudia KL – Casablanca - KL

Accommodations
Marrakech – Riad Al Mamoune (2 nights)
Fes – Riad Verus (2 nights)
Chefchaouen – Hotel Kotoubia (2 nights)
Rabat – Dar Mayssane (1 night)
Casablanca – Hotel Central (2 nights)

Excursion
3D2N Merzouga Desert Tour
Add: 4X4 Jeep Ride
Add: Tips to Tour Guides (DH30+DH25)

Transportation
Casablanca Airport to Marrakech
Merzouga to Fes
Fes to Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen to Rabat
Rabat to Casablanca
Train to Casablanca Airport
Taxi

Admission Fee
Majorelle Garden, Museum + YSL Museum 
(Combined Ticket)
Bahia Palace

Food and drinks

Others
7GB Prepaid Sim Card
Luggage Storage (DH3+15)
Laundry

-


€49
DH575
-
DH440
-


DH800
DH100
DH55


DH214
DH250
DH75
DH80
DH69
DH43
DH116


DH180

DH70

Dh774


DH150
DH18
DH20

1,833


235
257
170
197
159


376
45
25


96
111
34
35
31
19
52


80

31

356


67
8
9


TOTAL
4,226
Exchange Rate €1(RM4.80) = 10.755DH as at February 2019
So, RM1 is roughly around DH2.24


I guess that's pretty sum up about my trip to Morocco. In case you have any questions which I didn't manage to share here, feel free to leave your queries at the comment box and I would try my best to reply it.

P/S: I would like to extend my gratitude to two of my travel buddies, Mytravelmatez and Jeff Chuah for the advises on Morocco trip.  

4 comments:

  1. Saw your picture in Chefchaouen made me think of Santorini, as they are quite look alike…hehe
    This post is so detail, will refer your post again in future if plan to go there :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Morocco is an interesting country to visit. Their culture. The colourful architecture. I wouldn't mind going. Hehehe.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for this post. Morocco looks amazing!

    Do you think it would be safe for solo female to travel to Morocco? Do you find that you need to haggle a lot, or else you get ripped off? I ask because I am terrible at haggling -_-" and of course in event I can't find anyone to travel with me... i'll have to consider going by myself. Thanks heaps!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for the postcard! Just received it and you have answered my question in advanced! Totally foreseen what I was going to ask you. Thanks again :)

    ReplyDelete

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