Dahab, meaning “gold” in Arabic, is a laid-back beach town known as a diver’s paradise and the perfect spot to chill out for a few days (or more) without worrying about where you’re going next. The sun-kissed South Sinai town is also a great place to get taste of the local Bedouin way of life, or hop on a camel and ride off into the desert sunset. Ready to kick back and relax in Dahab? Here’s the scoop on what to see and do and how to best make your way around.
You’ll most likely be making your way to Dahab via Sharm El Sheikh International Airport. From the airport, you can either take a taxi straight to Dahab, or take a taxi to the bus station and then hop on a bus to go the rest of the way. The bus is your cheaper option, and haggling over a price to go straight to Dahab can be a fine art not all can master, so we suggest just getting the taxi to the bus (agree on a price before you go anywhere and aim to spend around EGP 60). The buses depart almost every hour with travel time to Dahab being 90 minutes. The ride will cost about EGP 20.
Dahab is small enough that you can mostly get around on foot or by bicycle. Places to rent two-wheeled transportation are plentiful, or can often be hired from many hotels and travel agencies in town.
To make getting around easier, it’s helpful to know that Dahab is divided into two main parts: new and old. The new part is known as Dahab City and the older part is generally known as Masbat, although it’s comprised of three sections itself: Assala in the north, Masbat in the middle, and Mashraba in the south. The old and new are connected by both a road and a seaside promenade.
If you’re not walking or biking there are a plenty of old pick-ups roving around that operate as local taxis. If you’re going to take one, always agree on a price before you get in, as well as on a drop-off point. Some drivers will try to take you for a ride (so to speak, and not in a helpful way).
Whether it’s diving or snorkelling, the reefs surrounding Dahab are renowned the globe over for their abundance of must-see marine life. Three popular snorkel sites in town include the Lighthouse, Canyon, and Eel Gardens. Just outside of town you’ll find the Blue Hole and Ras Abu Galum. The Blue Hole is a mecca for divers who flock there to explore the underwater sinkhole that has become one of the most popular dive sites in the world. But take note, the Blue Hole is best saved for experienced divers, though there’s some fantastic snorkelling on the outskirts. Ras Abu Galum is a national nature reserve and one of the top diving and snorkelling spots near Dahab.
After being under the sea, you might want to spend some time on top of the water; an easy thing to do in Dahab. Since there are nearly 270 windy days a year in Dahab, windsurfing and kitesurfing are worthwhile activities to try while you’re hanging out in town. Head to the Laguna area at the south end of Dahab’s main strip where you’ll find several spots that rent equipment and offer lessons.
If you’re on the hunt for souvenirs, finding something to buy (and haggle over) isn’t hard in Dahab. You’ll find a high concentration of shops along the main boardwalk where you can do some (polite) bargaining for anything from jewellery and T-shirts, to spices and crafts.
You can’t be in Dahab without seeing some of the surrounding desert, something you can do atop a gently swaying camel. It’s a good thing camels move slowly — you’re going to want to soak in the scenery. You’ll be passing by colourful canyons, imposing cliffs, and pretty oases, all worthy of your next Instagram post. Depending on the excursion you book, the trip often includes a ride in the mountains, and lunch or dinner courtesy of some friendly Bedouin locals who know how to prepare a feast.