How I Found Paradise in Dahab Sinai
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
Sinai never stops to provide miracles where you least expect them. After leaving Ras Al Satan we continued our journey southwards to Dahab. I immediately fell in love with this hippie village radiating pleasant vibes. It's a cool mix of people appreciating their gem at the Red Sea - locals as well as foreigners who found a new home with a much better view. Dahab means "Gold" and indeed it feels like a treasure you've found there.
Only after spending two weeks in a chill resort (here you can read the previous Sinai post) we wanted to explore what else Sinai has to offer. It wasn't our plan to go to Dahab. The minute we've entered Dahab I enjoyed the laid back vibes, the seemingly million choices of food and the typical most sincere Beduin hospitality. Dahab used to be a fishing village and has today a population of 15K. Everyone knows each other and are in the same boat to make the visitors make feel safe and welcome.
Food choices are refreshingly original since a lot of foreigners have opened places and offer their foods from home. I actually ate one of the best Bortsh (Russian soups) I've ever had! On the Friday market everyone is meeting and you can buy home cooked deliciousness right on the promenade. Lots of people also offer their skills they know from home varying from yoga, dance or foreign languages. Everyone simply does here what they love and are free.
Dahab is overloaded with amazing activities in case you don't want to just sit at the beach and get high. If you are into diving then Dahab is your spot. There are dozens of professional diving clubs taking you to the most breathtaking places the area has to offer. The marine wildlife of the Red Sea around Dahab is considered world league. It's amazing how the sea compensates for the lack of vegetation in the landscape. You take your snorkel and an underwater jungle full of life with exotic animals opens up in front of your eyes of mind blowing dimension.
25 min drive from Dahab there is the world famous Blue Hole. It's a circle shaped submarine sinkhole with astonishing coral reef and fish. It's around 100m deep and a famous spot for free divers due to deep access right from the shore and lack of current. It's also the deadliest diving site in the world claiming over 150 lives. The beauty of this place is nuts. Fully intact reefs into every direction. The whole equipment can be rented at the restaurants nearby.
If you made it to the Blue hole you can also decide to catch the boat and swing by Ras Abu Galoum and/or Blue Lagoon. The first place is a very secluded natural reserve probably providing the best snorkling in the area. The latter is where I stayed eventually 5 days - a kite paradise. It's a flat crystal-clear blue lagoon with steady winds where you live from sunrise to sunset. The place is so beautiful that it hurts. The accommodations there are very spartan (15 USD per night with breakfast) because everything needs to be transported there by boats or through a one-hour jeep ride through the desert. A kite course in the Blue Lagoon costs around 250 EUR and can be done in around 3 days. If you want to rent equipment afterwards in order to train your newly acquired skills it's 50 EUR a day. I will most definitely do it the next time I will visit Sinai. It looks so badass.
There are also quite impressive hikes in the mountains behind Dahab. The most famous one is probably the climb of the Mount Sinai to see when the sun touches the mountains at the same place where Moses allegedly was given the 10 commandments from God. However, there is also the first long distance hiking trail called the Sinai trail. It is 550 km and is supposed to take 42 days. Eight bedouin tribes support its infrastructure. There are also several very rewarding day trips where you can visit e.g the beautiful Coloured Canyon.
"Low-key, laid-back and low-rise, Dahab is the Middle East’s prime beach resort for independent travellers." says the Lonely Planet Guide. Following a revolution, a military coup and an airliner bombing - these circumstances have effected the touristic development of Dahab. Now Dahab seems to be celebrating a comeback. Many people fear that Dahab will become like Sharm El Sheik in 10 years and the present magic will be vanished.
However, firstly Dahab is a Bedouin village and only after it's a tourist destination. The reason why this place is magical is because of the limitless hospitality of its Bedouin hosts who give their hearts to protect it and enable us to do there what we love and be free. Shukran.