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Dahab is slowly becoming a digital nomad hot spot for water sport lovers. If Cairo is too busy for you, you’ll love Dahab, a hippie paradise located in the Sinai region of Egypt. I loved Dahab so much, I extended my trip twice. Here are ten things you should know before visiting Dahab, Egypt.
How to Get to Dahab
The Stress Free Option: Flying to Dahab
There are a few different ways to get to Dahab. The least stressful option would be to fly from Cairo to Sharm El Sheikh and then take a taxi to your hotel. Buy your flights in advance for the cheapest prices. Flights can easily double in price if you book same day. Sharm El Sheikh is about an hour from Dahab and transfers start at around $20 if you find a good local taxi. The taxis on Viator are sometimes triple the price.
The Cheapest Option: Bus from Cairo to Dahab
The cheapest option would be to take the bus but it is also the longest. Expect for the bus ride to be about 8-9 hours. The most well known bus company is Go Bus . It’s best to buy your tickets in advance because they may sell out. The seats are pretty cramped and not luxurious in the slightest. In addition, a routine checkpoint stop can easily be extended a few hours if there’s an issue with someone on your bus.
The Last and Most Expensive Option: Private Transfer from Cairo to Dahab
From Cairo, the drive is 6.5 -8 hours but can easily become longer due to the numerous army and police checkpoints you’ll have to pass through. You can catch a taxi/personal transfer from the airport but it will cost around $260 or more. Make sure your driver has air conditioner before paying.
Dahab is a Freediving and Scuba Diving Mecca
Dahab is nestled on the Red Sea and known for its vibrant coral reefs and copious amounts of aquatic life. Naturally, it has become a paradise for free divers and scuba divers. Ocean lovers come here to hone their diving skills, gain additional scuba diving certifications, and explore the Red Sea. Certifications are cheaper here than the USA, UK, or Australia but also promise really good training. Scuba Seekers has been voted as one of the best diving shops in the world and their prices are affordable.
The infamous Blue Hole is also located in Dahab. The Blue Hole is a bucket list item for most scuba divers. People come from all over the world to dive it. It’s also the deadliest diving spot in the world. Over 150 divers have died here in the past few years. Ras Abu Galum, The Canon, and Lighthouse are some popular diving spots in Dahab.
Is Dahab-Sinai Safe?
The Sinai region has a very interesting history. It’s located between Israel-occupied Palestine and mainland Egypt. Israel occupied the Sinai region for 15 years. In 1982 it was returned to Egypt after the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. Naturally, there is still some tension there. There has also been ISIS-backed extremists in the area that has led to violence. I’m not telling you this to scare you. Consequently, think it’s important to know the reasoning behind the numerous checkpoints and police activity.
Wifi and Electricity Outages in Dahab
If you’re going to Dahab to be a beach bum, choose a hotel or Airbnb with good windows or a balcony in case the wifi goes out. In contrast, if you’re a digital nomad who relies on reliable wifi, Dahab may be a challenge. Firstly, electricity is about 70% stable. Wifi even less. I recommend bringing your own hotspot. Buying a local SIM card is a must. Do not rely on wifi at your hotel or AirBnB. Therefore, a power bank is a must and a battery operated fan will do you well.
Co-working Spaces in Dahab
There’s a growing digital nomad community in Dahab. If you need to get some work done you have a few options. You will have to test out their wifi and they are not immune to power outages.
- El Co Working Space – super clean, quiet, and the owner was very friendly. Plus they have air conditioning!
- Everyday Cafe – Lots of cake options, amazing staff, good views
- Mojos Co Work Cafe
Join the Dahab Digital Nomad facebook community to learn about up and coming events, housing options, and get togethers.
Restaurant and Food Options in Dahab
There are a plethora of restaurants to choose from. The restaurants on the strip are much more expensive than the ones 2 blocks away from the ocean. Honestly the food off the strip taste better as well. Restaurants I recommend are:
- Happy Land Cafe and Restaurant – Friendly but not overwhelming staff, great food, great snorkeling location, cute swing
- King Chicken – local dishes, affordable
- Pattaya.tahi dahab – Decent thai food
- El Dorado – Great pizza and vegan options (skip the soup), beach access (lots of rocks, bring water shoes)
You can also order delivery. The easiest way to do that is to find a decent delivery guy. Most restaurants do not offer delivery in-house.
There’s a Chinese restaurant on the main strip called, The Kitchen. Trust me on this. Walk on by and do not stop. The food was horrendous.
If You Can See a Police Officer, Don’t Take Photos
I had to learn this the hard way. Years of traveling in West Africa taught me not to take photos of police stations, embassies, etc but Egypt takes a step further. For example, when I hiked Mt.Sinai, I began taking photos while standing in line. It caused a pretty big scene with people yelling at me from all different angles. I had to go to police desk and show them that I deleted the photos. It could have been a lot worse but luckily, I was with native Arab speakers.
They take this seriously because extremists may see those videos on social media and then be able to identify, kidnap, or harm active police officers, military officers, and their families. So learn from my experience. Do not take photos or videos if there are police or military members around. This includes military checkpoints, security checkpoints at major attractions, and the airport. Lastly, don’t even think about bringing a drone to Egypt.
Where to Stay in Dahab
Dahab has a plethero of housing options including resorts, hotels, and hostels. Keep in mind that an 4 star hotel in Dahab may feel more like a 3 star hotel. Make sure to read all the reviews. Even some of the nicer places still deal with power outages. I suggest staying in Assala, Lighthouse, or the Eel Garden neighborhoods. Staying in the middle of everything such as in Mashraba is way too busy for me.Plus, some of the vendors can get a bit annoying after a few days. Staying too far from the Beach would also be a big nope from me because most of the fun stuff is near the beach. The surrounding area has cheaper accommodation, food, and groceries but its not the most tourist friendly. In addition to that, it would be a pain to get to the beach, dive centers, and kitesurfing spots evryday.
How to Get Around Dahab
Dahab is pretty small (for a native New Yorker) but if you’re staying for an extended amount of time, I suggest renting a bike. Make sure to shop around to ensure you get the best rate. If you’re staying for a month or so, it might even be cheaper to buy a bike. Walking around Dahab can take quite some time. I stayed in Assala and loved how quiet it was but it took almost 25 minutes to get to my dive center every day.