Why you should visit Dahab (Egypt)

Why you should visit Dahab (Egypt)

2 October 2011 | By Lavanya

Topics: Egypt, Places, Travel Advice

 

Most people don’t usually associate travelling in the Middle East with calm, tranquility and hippie beach towns. While this is fairly an accurate picture there is but one exception- Dahab in Egypt. It’s been often compared to a small Thai town, quite unlike its big brother – the touristy and over-priced Sharm el Sheikh.

Restaurants in Dahab

Restaurants in Dahab

Catering to hippies and backpackers for over a decade, Dahab previously a small Bedouin fishing village is today a popular destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts with today more than 50+ dive centers scattered around the town.

We got to Dahab after a hectic and extremely hot 8 days of temple hopping around the south of Egypt and were looking forward to this break. Just getting off the bus we could immediately sense the relaxed, laid back vibe of the place. After quickly checking in to our hotel, we left to take a walk around the place. Soon we bumped into many other travellers who helped show us around and they all had a similar story – They’d come here planning to visit for about a week or so but never left as planned, some had even been here for months on end.

Good meals with great views!

Good meals with great views!

Most of the restaurants are lined up along the boardwalk right by the beach. Of course the prices here aren’t all that budget-friendly by average Egyptian standards, but you can still find a good meal for about 25-30 E.P (4-5$). For us, the best part was that all of them had wi-fi and even when we went there just for breakfast we could laze around there for hours until late afternoon without anyone bothering us. Warning: Dahab can make you very very lazy, so much that you start thinking twice about the necessity of leaving it to head to Cairo even if it is just to see the Pyramids.

Blogging away at my favourite Chinese restaurant in Dahab

Blogging away at my favourite Chinese restaurant in Dahab

But Dahab isn’t all just beach side cafes, there are plenty of activities you can get involved in and try out here to keep yourself occupied and still be seeing and doing new things.

Diving and snorkeling: I’m no expert diver, heck I can’t even swim! But I can tell you this, the Red Sea is definitely a good place for diving and snorkeling and Dahab has plenty to offer in this category. Dive centres usually attached to a hotel are chocoblock along the boardwalk and you only have to take your pick. I would advise you to shop around before choosing a centre as prices often differ. Pawel did his PADI Open Water diver certification here and if you wish to know, we went ahead with Penguin Dive Centre. You can also rent out gear for snorkeling for a day and head out to any of the sites around.

Preparing for my Dive at Dahab

Preparing for my Dive at Dahab

Camel Safaris: If being a beach bum isn’t your thing and you prefer the desert terrain, most hotels will also arrange for desert safaris either by camel or even further off by 4x4s for a day and night. We’ve had our share of desert safaris travelling earlier in Jordan and Dubai, so decided to skip this one while here.

Dahab, Egypt

Dahab, Egypt

Horse riding: Who doesn’t want a picture of themself riding a horse by the beach at sunset? (Ok maybe that’s me cause I skipped this one too. The laziness effect I spoke about earlier). But you will find plenty of Bedouins with their horses offering rides. Think 40 EP for an hour is the average cost. And remember the backpacker mantra – there is no such thing as a fixed price.

Horse riding by the beach

Horse riding by the beach

Mt.Sinai: The site revered by Christians and Muslims alike is often a must-do for visitors in Egypt. You will find scores of people heading up that mountain at night to view the infamous sunrise. Check out our website for the post about our trip to Mt. Sinai soon.

View form Mt. Sinai - revered site for both Muslims and Christians

View form Mt. Sinai - revered site for both Muslims and Christians

These are few of things you can do while at Dahab if you’re one of those that need to avoid feeling like they’ve wasted their vacation doing nothing at all. Although with the exception of one dive, I did pretty little else apart from reading and writing, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It’s definitely makes for a great short week break from work for people living in UAE or closer parts of Europe, to enjoy some sun and sand without the hassle that the rest of Egypt offers.

One of the many cats around Dahab

You'll always have a cat for company anywhere in Dahab

Getting here: Take a bus from Cairo Gateway( 9 hours) for about 70 – 90 EP. The nearest airport is Sharm El Sheikh about 100 km away.

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6 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Nikhil says:

    Reminds me of Goa! How’d you say Dahab compares to it?

    • Lavanya says:

      Hey Nikhil. Well it actually did remind me of Goa too when I was there. Though compared to Dahab, I think Goa is much more commercialised/crowded. So its probably like how Goa was a few yrs ago… and since most people head to Egypt to see other sights they often skip this place (unlike how it is with tourists in India and Goa).
      Add to that with the recent revolution in Egypt there are even lesser tourists than before, so it was even better. helped with great deals for rooms! :)

      • Nikhil says:

        Nice! Looks like Egypt is a complete tourist package. Hope you guys saw Tutankhamun’s treasure at the Cairo museum. I’ve read it’s magnificent.

        • Lavanya says:

          Well yeah I’d say it is!
          Yeah Tutankhamun’s room and the Museum itself on the whole was really nice though it could be better organized I felt. You’ll see when you go to Egypt! :)

  2. I really did enjoy Dahab as well!

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