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Marrakech, the ‘Rose city’, has been recently voted as the favourite travel destination in the world; and surprisingly it is actually perfect for solo travel. Marrakech offers a multitude of exciting activities — from exploring the gastronomical delights of Moroccan cuisine to walking in the famous Yves Saint Laurent gardens, there is something to do for everyone. Despite its reputation as a conservative country, Marrakech is inviting and welcoming. Well, as long as you stay vigilant and use common sense — which you should do regardless of where you travel. Here are some tips to guide you on your solo trip to Marrakech.

1. STAY IN A REPUTABLE RIAD

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A riad is something in between a house and a palace, usually with a garden in the centre. Traditionally Moroccan, most riads have now been converted into boutique hotels, usually with 6-10 rooms. A riad is the most convenient option as it is located inside the Medina where all the action is. Not only are you just steps away from all the main attractions, you get to feel and experience the unique culture of Morocco. But first, always remember to check the reviews on TripAdvisor! Morocco is one of the places I would actually avoid staying at Airbnbs and hostels. Usually, riads are quite competitively priced and there are options for all budgets. Airbnbs and hostels have a lax safety record in Marrakech. I personally had a friend encounter men pretending to be police officers knocking on the door of an Airbnb. Using their quick wits, they managed to stay away from trouble by pretending not to be able to speak English!

2. BOOK YOUR TRANSPORTATION WITH THE RIAD

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I’ll be honest, the Marrakech airport is not the best in the world. After clearing immigration (which seems to take an eternity), you will be bombarded with taxi drivers trying to offer you their “best” prices. There is an advisory warning tourists against touts and that it’s against the law, but alas, no one will use the meter. Rewind. You will face none of this if you book your transportation from the airport to your accommodation with your riad. Most riads have an option for transportation at about $15. Take it. Not only will you be spared the frustrations of haggling, you won’t need to pay a small boy to take you to your riad. The medina is infamously confusing with its winding roads and sudden dead ends (fun fact: it was designed like this to trap potential invaders). Imagine dragging your suitcase along the cobbled streets while fending off attacks from touts and trying to find your way all at the same time. Don’t be stubborn, just arrange for transport with your Riad to stay safe and happy.

3. HIRE A GUIDE

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There is no way around this. Marrakech simply does not have a good public transport system. For any day trips you might want to do, hire a guide! Ask your riad to recommend one for you or look for one yourself on TripAdvisor. Pick one with good reviews, I have seen some admittedly hilarious reviews regarding guides getting involved in brawls and tourists being hauled along to the police station. Even when exploring the medina, consider hiring a guide. The souks are impossible to navigate and your guide will explain the intricate history of Marrakech to you. If you’re lucky, your guide might take you to meet some of the local leather tannery workers or to witness a leather auction.

4. DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS

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What did your mother tell you? It’s still relevant. If you are Asian, be prepared to hear an orchestra of clumsily pronounced ‘konichiwas’. People will come up to you and prod you, ignore them. Do not ask for directions, you’re expected to pay afterwards, do not accept free samples or tokens of friendships. Do not even take photos of animals when their owners are watching, you will be expected to pay for it. Especially as a solo travel you might be considered an easy target but just walk away. I believe in you.

5. GET A MAP

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The medina is a labyrinth, its narrow walkways tease and intrigue. While it is certainly very fun to get lost and then get found; Marrakech punishes the directionally challenged. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to ask for directions in Marrakech without paying someone for it. The best solution is to download google maps for offline use or alternatively, get a real, old-school map. This prepares you for any battery death or unforeseen phone accidents as well. It’s never fun to be lost, but it’s even more frustrating in Marrakech.

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Image copyright: zoomteam / 123RF Stock Photo

Sadly, due to the influx of tourists, many things in Marrakech have been monetised. I would say that Marrakech feels much safer than other parts of Morocco that I have been to, simply because of the fact that there are more tourists and the locals know the importance of the tourism industry. However, this also means that many people you encounter on the street are less genuine and basically are after your money. Nevertheless, I’ve met so many friendly Moroccans who have made my trip there so amazing. We are still friends up to this day. I hands down loved, loved LOVED my trip and I would go back in a heartbeat. Marrakech is a magical place and I hope you’ll be up for the next flight there too!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Hi, I’m Lynn and I’m a travel addict. I like shiny things (aka luxury travel), photographing animals and ticking places off my bucket-list even though I hope not to die so soon. If you liked this article, do visit my website at www.thetravelynn.com. Follow me @thetravelynn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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*All images were taken by thetravelynn.com unless stated otherwise