1 Rick's Cafe Ever since the 1942 movie made 'Play it again, Sam' a popular quip - even though the line doesn't feature in the film - people have flocked to Casablanca hoping to experience some of the film's romance and intrigue. Most would have been sorely disappointed by the fact that there was no Rick's Cafe. On March 1 last year, however, Casablanca finally got a Rick's Cafe - albeit one owned by an American woman. Kathy Kriger is a former US diplomat and entrepreneur from Portland, Oregon, who secured US$1 million from US and Moroccan investors to recreate the fictional cafe, complete with piano player. It's located near the port, between Mosque Hassan II and the medina (traditional market). Go to the website, and listen to As Time Goes By at www.rickscafe.ma . 2 Mosque Hassan II Soaring above the city on the western shore, the 200-metre minaret of Mosque Hassan II is the world's tallest and the building is the world's third-largest mosque (the two largest are in Saudi Arabia). Although it's immense, impressive and imposing, perhaps the most remarkable feature of this mosque is that non-Muslims can go inside during morning visiting hours. Completed in 1993, after five years of construction on reclaimed land, its many features include a retractable roof. It can hold 25,000 worshippers inside and another 80,000 outside on the esplanades. A 40-minute guided tour is a bit expensive at about $120, but you can just go inside and marvel at the best of Moroccan craftsmanship without hiring a guide. The beauty of the place is hard to put into words. 3 Medina Located in the oldest part of the city, the medina is tiny compared with those in Marrakesh and Fes. However, for those bold enough to explore it there are some deals to be had - as well as opportunities to be 'had'. The motto of Moroccan salesmen must surely be 'aim high', because quite often the price you'll be given for something will be several times what a local would pay. There's also a new medina for those less bold. Note that it's considered an insult to enter a shop and not at least make an offer, no matter how low. That said, the quality and beauty of the craftsmanship of many items are remarkable, and if you find something affordable that you like then grab it. Shipping to Hong Kong is easily arranged for larger items. Few places in Morocco, even banks, will accept or exchange Hong Kong dollars. Take US dollars, or ATM and credit cards. 4 All aboard the Marrakesh express Modern electric trains make for a fine way to get around, whether you take the 40-minute ride to the capital, Rabat, or the three-hour trip to Marrakesh. The Casablanca-Voyager train station is conveniently located and quite charming (except, of course, for the touts who gather in the parking lot). Knowing how to buy a ticket in French is handy, but the agents can usually speak enough English to complete the transaction. A cheaper second-class ticket will get you an unreserved seat in an air-conditioned compartment for eight people, but spending a little more will ensure you and a friend bag reserved seats together in the less-crowded, first-class car. 5 Beaches Although the shoreline of Casablanca is rocky and mostly taken up by the mosque, heading north or south will bring you to some sandy beaches. Whether you're looking for a secluded beach or a well-developed area with lots of recreational activities, you'll find it. About 28km to the north is Mohammedia, where the sandy beaches are surrounded by a casino, luxury hotels, a yacht club, racecourse and coastal golf course. The best way to reach the farthest beaches is to hire a grand old Mercedes taxi, but again beware of inflated prices and be prepared to bargain. The best city beaches are in the trendy Ain Diab area at the end of Boulevard de la Corniche. 6 Marabout de Sidi Abderrahmane A few kilometres south of the Ain Diab beach area is a rocky island where there is a marabout (holy shrine) and a small settlement, which can be reached on foot at low tide. Non-Muslims may not be allowed into the shrine, but nevertheless when the sun is setting the light is spectacular. This is where a holy man was said to have received miraculous powers, and many sick people visit his tomb in the hope of being cured. 7 Central market Although there are lots of restaurants to suit all pockets in Casablanca, much of the credit for its outstanding meals goes to the fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables. The central market is the place to go to enjoy the sights and smells of the ingredients and is a must if you're staying in a self-contained place with cooking facilities. Flowers also make up a good part of the market. Once you've whet your appetite, across from the market on Rue Chauoia is a tightly packed collection of cheap (less than $50) and quite delicious places to eat. 8 Parc de la Ligue Arab Casablanca's biggest park is French by design, but the flora is pure North African. An ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, it's an attractive area for a walk, to enjoy a strong coffee, sip Moroccan 'whiskey' - actually Chinese green tea with sprigs of mint and lots of sugar - or have fun at the Yasmira amusement park. And don't forget the neglected Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur, an unexpected sight in this Muslim city. It's been deconsecrated, but its art deco architecture is still largely intact. 9 Place Mohamed V Every town in Morocco seems to have a central road or square named Mohamed V. In Casablanca, Place Mohamed V is the best site to see Mauresque architecture, a blend of French and Moroccan styles inspired by art deco. The buildings here are lovely, especially the Grand Poste (1918), Palais de Justice court house (1925) and the old police headquarters, called the Ancienne Prefecture (1930), with its clock tower. There are also some traditional Moroccan buildings, such as the Banque d'Etat, and the central fountain, which is illuminated at night. You can book a half-day tour of the city here at the tourist information office on 98 Boulevard Mohamed V, just a short walk away. 10 Places to stay One of the most entertaining things to do in Morocco is search for a place to stay. Far from being an inconvenience, this is a fine way to see some of the most beautiful riads (garden hotels) and other expensive properties in any city. Casablanca has an abundance of hotels ranging in price from a few US dollars a night to several thousand. Even if you can't afford to stay in them, the staff are generally willing to show you around in the hope that you might check in. One of the best places on the cheaper side of the tracks is the well-maintained Hotel Paris in the pedestrian zone off Rue Prince Moulay Abdallah. A room with shower, TV, air-conditioning, phone and balcony should cost less than $500 a night. A cheaper alternative, with an amazing old lift, is the Hotel Plaza ($200 to $300 a night). Most rooms have balconies with a view of the medina, with Mosque Hassan II in the background.