With access to the beautiful coast of Red Sea, Dahab stands out as a stunning destination in Egypt. Unlike those big cities like Cairo or Luxor in Egypt, Dahab is a much more relaxing place and is sparsely populated.
In fact Dahab is the only place where I experienced less harassment in Egypt from people selling tourist packages and other unwanted distractions. After spending a combined week in Cairo and Luxor, I was starting to hate my time in Egypt as those places were extremely hot (i was there in the summer) and filled with tourist traps. Since Egypt’s economy was facing a stark challenge right after their Spring revolution with tourist traffic just falling off the cliff, locals were trying their best to attract you with their overpriced tour packages. But me as a solo traveler I wanted to discover Egypt on my own terms.
I went to Dahab for the following reasons:
- Escape from the tourist nightmare situation in Cairo
- Relax by the beach
- Scuba dive and snorkel on the Red sea
I heard the corals are spectacular and untouched. Dahab is also the perfect place for pursuing Scuba certifications – Beginner to Advanced to Deep Dive.
Many hostels located in Dahab offer free accommodations if you sign up for a Scuba certification course with their in-house instructors. Most instructors are from England (some diving schools are run by British). So if you plan to get certification, plan to allocate sufficient time to do all the classes, exams and some free dives. You also need 24 hours to recover from decompression before you fly out from Egypt again.
The scuba diving certification courses in Dahab is the cheapest in the world (2nd would be in Ko-Tao in Thailand). I was offered the beginner certification for $200 including boarding and breakfast. Advanced certification would run into $400.
Dahab is also known for its local Bedouin tribe community which is dispersed throughout this region. Many of the travel agencies and restaurants in Dahab are run by Bedouin people. The restaurants offer a relaxing atmosphere with seating on the floor where you can smoke some Shisha. There are tours where you can go out and stay in the Bedouin camp.
For finding a good diving school I recommend going with Penguin Divers club or Octopus Divers. They both offer free boarding with certification courses (at least they did back in 2017). Make sure that you start the diving course as soon as you get to Dahab so you still have some free time to relax.
The one downside with staying in Dahab is the lack of good cafes and high speed Internet. Be sure to try breakfast or lunch at Raplh’s German bakery. They have some decent iced coffee and wifi internet. Watch a late night movie with some imported British beer at the terrace of Tea Garden Cafe.