I have not met anyone who did not like Dahab. Literally meaning “gold” in Arabic, Dahab can be best described as the “Goa of Egypt”. Though I usually hate describing one destination with the other, my readers in India can relate to this statement the best. For us Indians, Goa is the place where we can let our hair down and relax, and Dahab in Egypt offers the same comfort. Charmingly laid-back and extremely beautiful, the sun-kissed beach town is the perfect place to enjoy a bit of local Bedouin life, go on a camel desert safari, or explore the underwater wonders of the Red Sea. Presenting the top 5 reasons to skip the resort lifestyle of Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurghada, and head to Dahab, the “Goa of Egypt”.
1. Dahab is surreally beautiful
The Sinai Peninsula of Egypt is a triangle of wilderness where the ocean meets mountains, and Bedouins still call the deserts, home. It is of high Biblical importance (Moses received his 10 commandments here) and the Red Sea is a diver’s paradise. An Egypt trip usually conjures up images of ancient pyramids, Pharaohs, and magnificent temples and most people overlook the country’s magnificent coast. Egypt’s Red Sea has some of the most colourful and healthiest reefs in the world and honey coloured mountains tumble into the deep blue sea. Dahab’s coastline is spectacularly beautiful especially during sunsets and on star-studded nights when the monstrous silhouettes of mountains against the glittering sea cast a spell.
2. Dahab has lots of sunshine and a laidback charm
The sun always shines on Dahab. It is a dry, desert coastline which may have a few overcast days in a year, and hardly any rain. There is plenty of Vitamin D for everyone, anytime and even in winter, when the nights are cold, you can get by wearing a t-shirt during the day. When I compared Dahab to Goa, I was not exaggerating and this sunny beach town indeed has a very pleasing laidback charm. It does not have the hustle and bustle of other major tourist destinations in Egypt and the locals are neither pushy or aggressive to get business. Dahab’s transformation from a Bedouin desert outpost to hippie beach town has been quite pleasant and still now, it is a backpackers’ haven. The little city has the local Bedouins and expat community living peacefully and they work in harmony in maintaining the environment of their region. Here you will find the magical combination of friendly Bedouin children, the magical Sinai desert, stunning hikes, beach yoga classes, weekly crafts bazaars, and nearly everything under the sun which makes life more sublime. Humble homes line the back roads of Dahab and the main boulevards blaze with Arabic lanterns, shisha cafes, colourful Bedouin cushions, and open-air seafood restaurants.
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3. It is a perfect holiday destination for families with kids
Dahabians and Egyptians simply love children. Egypt is an extremely children welcoming country and there are plenty of things to do for kids in Dahab. Though the main bay may be more suitable for the older kids, the shallow sandy Lagoon is a great place for the little ones to toddle around. Our 2 years old, Akash loved splashing in the clear water there and the waves were gentle enough for him to maneuver alone. The clear water made little fishes visible to him, and our little boy had the most delightful time lying flat on his belly to watch them swim away. Older children and teenagers will love the water sports found and diving along the bay and there are plenty of shops offering safe activities. Day trips to the mountains is also an exciting option for them, and you can opt for camel rides, quad biking, and staying at a Bedouin camp.
4. Dahab suits any travel style; it can be active, relaxing and a mix of both
Whether you are looking for an active holiday or a relaxing getaway, Dahab works for all. The beautiful beaches of Dahab and the clear aquamarine water are simply relaxing. You can easily spend a day or two rejuvenating on a sunbed on the beach with a book, music, and tall sweating glasses of freshly squeezed juice. The sunshine makes the seawater warm enough for a refreshing dip and you return to your daily grind feeling with recharged batteries. Evenings bring blood-red sunsets and the mountains glow gold. You can hop on one of the pick-up taxis, ramble into the main boulevard of the town and spend your evening at the countless local eateries, shisha cafes, and seafront restaurants. The active travelers can choose from an array of adrenaline pumping activities like diving, snorkeling, water sports, quad biking, canyon hikes, and trekking to the Moses Mountain at St. Catherine’s monastery. You can also explore the Bedouin gardens in the valleys of the Sinai mountains.
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5. Dahab suits all travel budgets
For us Indians, Egypt is a very affordable foreign destination. With numerous airlines, including some low-cost ones like FlyDubai and Air Arabia flying into Cairo from India, this ancient country should not be overlooked. The number of Indian world travelers has exploded over the years and we are more open to newer destinations and offbeat experiences. However, I have noticed that until today, most Egypt travel itineraries for Indians revolve around the classical route. This is as good as it gets because the highlights can be covered in that trail, with the only exception of skipping Sharm-el-Sheikh or Hurghada for Dahab. The most important reason behind my suggestion is because Dahab is way more affordable, beautiful, and friendlier than other resort towns of Egypt. The locals are non-aggressive business owners and here you can get the taste of real Egyptian hospitality, without the annoying, “Hello, my friend! Come look in my shop.” There are plenty of accommodations available in Dahab and they range from luxurious to beach shacks. So, you get all the plus points of the Red Sea, stunning underwater life, excellent diving schools, and excursions which do not break the bank.
P.S – This blog post is part of the expat series called the Cairo Chronicles. In every post, Maverickbird will try to focus on a new theme, emotion, and beauty of an expat life in the exciting, maddening city of Cairo.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE