Since Egypt’s 2011 revolution, tourism has declined dramatically, making it a very cheap destination to travel. If you’re a sea lover, it’s hard to skip by Dahab without wanting to stay forever. This is why it’s a hotspot for expats (particularly European).
Dahab, a small town on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula, was formerly a Bedouin fishing village but is now well known as a diver’s paradise. It’s busy enough to warrant tourists, expats and a variety of restaurants but isn’t a place that feels crowded and overwhelmed by tourism. Ifyou’re a digital nomad, it has everything you need – cell phone reception, wifi, a good view and plenty of activities for your downtime. With year-round sunshine and a chilled vibe that is contagious and enticing, Dahab makes it all too easy to fit right in, and difficult to leave.
Co-working is slowly becoming more prevalent in Dahab, so, at the time of writing, there are only two places that are specifically dedicated to co-working.
- CoworkInn: A place dedicatedto bringing digital nomads together, CoworkInn has daily, weekly and monthly rates for use of the space, wifi, tea, coffee and drinking water. Accommodation rates are quite expensive, but if you have the funds for it, it does make traveling to work pretty damn easy. CoworkInn also holds various events such as movie nights and offers free Arabic lessons on Tuesday nights.
- Mojo co-work cafe: This cafe (pictured below) has recently been revamped under a new German co-owner and is open at 8 am and closes somewhere between 9 and 11 pm. Wifi is reliable and fast, there are power boards for charging your equipment and air-conditioning when the heat gets too much. Mojo doesn’t charge for using the space, though it is expected that you order food or drinks there – it is a cafe, after all. Drinking water is free, food is freshly made and delicious andthe coffee is probably the best you’ll find in Dahab.
1. El Salam Hotel & CoworkInn: CoworkInn has partnered with El Salam Hotel to provide the complete package – accommodation together with the co-working space. Packages are available for 14 days, 1 month and 3 months. Rates vary depending on whether you’re after a single or double room.
2. Long- or short-term rentals: Dahab Real Estate offers rental accommodation with affordable daily, weekly and monthly options. Buddha House often has apartments available to rent starting from 1,300 EGP ($75 US) a week!
3. Hotels: With tourism in Egypt still recovering, hotel prices are ridiculously low, and you can easily find a hotel with a swimming pool for less than $20 US a night.
Fun Things To Do in Dahab
Dahab offers so many fun, adventurous, cheap or free things to do in the area. The upside is that there is always something to do during your downtime. The downside is that it’s so enticing you might never get any work done.
Scuba diving: If you have always wanted to learn how to dive, are wanting to do some good, fun dives or are hoping to get a higher certification, this is the ideal spot. With a variety of dive companies to choose from, it’s the cheapest spot to dive in the Red Sea, and there are many beautiful coral reef dive sites in the area.
Freediving: Generally speaking, Dahab is popular for its free diving and Sharm El Sheikh for its scuba diving. The Blue Hole (a 110m-deep hole blockedoff from current) is the perfect training ground for free divers. With many companies around, it’s hard to know which is reliable. Dahab Freedivers came highly recommended to me by my first coach and has highly skilled and trained instructors.
Kitesurfing: Most expats in Dahab were drawn in by either the diving or kitesurfing, given its world-class, reliable
Hiking: Other than diving, hiking to St. Catherine Monastery is the most popular activity in the area. There is also a lot of other hiking in the area with an entire mountain range to the west of the sea.
Snorkeling/swimming: Bring your own or hire snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel and fins for around 50 EGP) and get in the water. Dahab has warm water temperatures all year round and stunning coral reef line right at the coast of the town.
Yoga: A few different hotels offer yoga classes in the peak season. During the low season, you can count on classes at Coral Coast Hotel. There’s also a gym in the Lighthouse area and other fitness classes at various hotels.
Great Places To Eat in Dahab
Despite being a small town, Dahab has a great variety of local and international cuisines. In the Lighthouse area, these were some of my favorite places:
- Box Meal: Asian wok dishes for under 100 EGP.
- Red Cat: moderately priced Russian food with a variety of soups and salads.
- King Chicken: cheap roast chicken meals (with rice, salad etc).
- Athanor Cafe-Pizzeria: decent pizza, pasta, pancakes and other desserts for relatively cheap prices.
- Zanooba Slow Cooking: slow-cooked comfort food with Western and Eastern options. Must book in advance, given all dishes are prepared and slow-cooked over 4 to 6 hours daily.
- Mojo co-work cafe: freshly prepared sandwiches, wraps and salads with wholemeal bread.
- German Bakery: cheap omelettes and a variety of bread and bakery options.
- Shark: if you want to treat yourself, come here and enjoy a rich seafood, grill or steak menu. Expect to pay upwards of 200 EGP per dish.
So, How Do You Get To Dahab?
The easiest way to get to Dahab is to fly to Sharm El Sheikh (100 km from Dahab). From there, you can take a bus to Dahab for 20 EGP ($1 US). Alternatively, you can negotiate a taxi price, but this will be quite pricey.
Alternatively, from Cairo, it’s a 10-hour bus ride (check www.go-bus.com for updated pricing). If coming from Israel, cross the Eilat-Taba border and take a bus from Taba to Dahab. The bus departs at 3 pm daily and costs 50 EGP.
What About a Visa For Dahab?
If you’re flying into Cairo, you can pay for a one-month visa on arrival for $25 US. If you’re flying from elsewhere directly into Sharm El Sheikh, you will receive a stamp for the Sinai area only. This allows for travel between Taba and Sharm El Sheikh freely for 15 days. You can also purchase a one-month visa for $25 US from the airport. If coming from Taba, the process is a little more complicated, so check out this guide with up to date Egypt Visa guide for more information.
So, what are you waiting for? See you in Dahab!