Looking for a break from your fast-paced monotonous routine? Do your body and mind need to be reconnected with a pure, simple life, away from all the stress? If you feel this longing and need for a relaxing escape, Dahab is the magical destination you seek. Pack your bags, and set off on a life-changing journey.
Dahab is the Arabic word for gold. Upon arrival, it is clear why this former Bedouin fishing village, the indigenous tribes from the area, carries its name. According to an old Bedouin saying, once you visit Dahab you will inevitably return one day. The saying is easily believed, as once you step out into the fresh breeze, lay eyes on the golden dunes, stroll along the crystal clear blue sea, gaze up at the cloudless and sunny sky (equally as enchanting at night), and take in the stunning spectacle of glittering mountains, you will instantly fall under the spell of Sinai’s lesser known jewel.
Located in the south of the Sinai Peninsula, at just about the midway point between the major tourist destination of Sharm El-Sheikh (around 80km to the south), and another popular but smaller town, Nuweiba (just under 70km to the north). Some have said Dahab gets its name from the vast golden dunes that scatter the shores, yet whatever the origin of the name everything in Dahab emanates a golden warmth the glittering and shinning waters, smiling people, picturesque landscapes, and delectable fine or rusticcuisines.
Here are some absolute must-sees for when you decide to journey into the sweet simplicty and natural beauty of Dahab.
How to get there?
In form with the hidden treasure style of Dahab, it takes a little time and patience to get there, as with most things that are worth it in the end. While Dahab has no local airport (a factor that keeps the area guarded from overcrowding) it can still be easily accessed by flying into the Sharm El-Sheikh airport. From there, rent a car or take a bus for about an hour to reach Dahab. If you have the time and want to save the money, Dahab is equally accessible by bus which can take anywhere from 8 to 11 hours, depending on traffic and routine safety measures along the road. Taking a bus can be even more enjoyable than the time-saving flight, as the road also offers incredible views and landscapes of the sun rising between mountains. Driving a personal vehicle is also a great option if possible, it can take about five hours.
Windsurfing in the Lagouna
What to do?
There are all kinds of water sports: windsurfing (for which Dahab is world-renowned), kite-surfing, banana boat, pedal boats, and even glass boats. All these activities, and more, can be found in the Lagouna. Or take it easy: go snorkelling in the fascinating Red Sea, take a horse or camel ride along the seemingly unending beaches, go on a Safari, enjoy hiking, some yoga, or indulge in a massage. Finish your day while watching the sunset, spend the night and BBQ, then fall asleep under the stars, truly content.
Scuba diving and snorkelling are among the top activities in Dahab. There are many diving centres offering courses for beginners starting from 300 EGP, and also courses for advanced levels as well. The famous spots for diving are the lighthouse in the Masbat region, the Blue Hole (about 4km north of Dahab) and Abu Galoum, among other closer spots like the Three Pools and the Canyon.
The Blue Hole and Abu Galoum (photo: sinaivoyage)
Where to stay?
Just like everything else in this paradise, there’s a wide variety of accommodations to satisfy every type of traveller, depending on your needs, budget and personal preference of the mood of your stay. There are camps where you can stay in huts or tents, for those seeking an adventurous and outdoor experience, just as there are 5-star luxury hotels for those who want to pamper themselves and be treated like royalty during their vacation. There is also the option to take advantage of the best of both worlds in a boutique hotel, such as those found along the Masbat promenade with prices starting from 15 EGP to 180 EGP per person in a single room. Prices vary based on inclusion of accommodations such as access to Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, in-room WC, and pool or private beach access.
Dinning and night life
Dahab offers all sorts of international cuisines. Restaurants decorate the seaside, or you can opt for a cultural dining experience sitting on Bedouin style rugs on the beach or in the mountains with nothing but tasty BBQ and an awe-inspiring setting on the beach.
In Dahab you will not find any up-scale clubs or wild parties, although you can find some local pubs in the Masbat area. Dahab is not a socialite destination like what one might find in Sharm El-Sheikh. In Dahab, you can instead enjoy an evening walk around the promenade and make a visit to Bedouin handicraft shops.
Dahab will receive you and give you refuge, while you can leave all the worries from your hectic life behind. Imagine turning off your phone and any number of technological devices that typically dominate your life. Leave the formal-wear and exhausting beauty regimes back home. No need for sleeping pills in Dahab, as you can allow yourself to be lulled to sleep with the motions of the tide. You will find yourself in a paradise where tranquillity and calm are the status quo, and you will feel anxiety simply melt away. Join the several people who have already relocated their lives to Dahab to fulfil the “happily ever after” fairy tale dream, even if only for a short while.