Dahab is slowly becoming a digital nomad hot spot for people who love water sports. If Cairo is too busy for you, you’ll probably love this Red Sea beach town. It’s a hippie paradise located in the Sinai region of Egypt. I loved Dahab so much that I extended my trip twice. Although I loved my experience in Dahab, I wish I had known more before visiting.
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Is Dahab-Sinai Safe?
The Sinai region has a fascinating history. Knowing it will help you understand why things operate the way they do. It’s located between Israel-occupied Palestine and mainland Egypt. Israel occupied the Sinai region for 15 years. After the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty In 1982, it was returned to Egypt. Naturally, there is still some tension there. There have also been ISIS-backed extremists in the area that led to violence a few years ago. Nevertheless, the Sinai region is safe, with a large police and military presence.
If You Can See a Police Officer, Don’t Take Photos
I had to learn this the hard way. When I hiked Mt.Sinai, I took a few photos while standing in line. It caused a pretty big scene with people yelling at me from all different angles. I was sent to the police desk and had to show them proof that I deleted the photos. It could have been a lot worse, but my local friends were able to smooth things over.
They take this seriously because extremists may see those videos on social media and then be able to identify, kidnap, or harm active police and military officers or their families. So, skip the embarrassment and 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.
How to Get to Dahab
The Easiest 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 the same day. Sharm El Sheikh is about an hour from Dahab, and transfers start at around $20. The taxis on Viator are sometimes triple the price.
Most of the flights from Cairo to Sharm El Sheikh include a long layover, so you can use this time to relax or do a quick layover tour to see the pyramids!
The Quickest 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 taxi has an air conditioner before paying.
The Cheapest Option: Bus from Cairo to Dahab
The cheapest option would be to take the bus, but it is also the longest. Expect the bus ride to be about 9-10 hours. The most well-known bus company is Go Bus. Buying your tickets in advance is best 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.
Where to Stay in Dahab
Dahab has many housing options, including resorts, hotels, and hostels. A 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 Mashraba, is too busy for me. Plus, some vendors can get a bit annoying after a few days. Staying too far from the Beach would also be a big nope for me because most of the fun stuff is near the beach. The surrounding area has cheaper accommodation, food, and groceries but is not very tourist-friendly. In addition to that, it would be a pain to get to the beach, dive centers, and kitesurfing spots every day.
I stayed at El Dorado Lodge and Restaurant. I loved it because of its semi-private beachfront. The owner is Italian, and they serve great pizza. It was on the quiet side of town, and I felt very safe as a solo female traveler.
How to Get Around Dahab
Dahab is pretty small (for a native New Yorker), but renting a bike will improve your experience. Like everywhere in Egypt, you must haggle for a good price. Make sure to shop around to ensure you get the best rate. If you’re staying for more than a month, it might be cheaper to buy a bike. Dahab is very walkable. I stayed in Assala, but my daily walk to the dive center took 25 minutes.
What to do in Dahab: Freediving, Scuba Diving, and Kite Surfing
Dahab is nestled on the Red Sea and is 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 in the USA, UK, or Australia, and the training is some of the best in the world. I dove with Scuba Seekers, which has been voted one of the world’s best diving shops. You can also explore windsurfing and kitesurfing at Dahab Stars, an Egyptian-owned club.
The infamous Blue Hole is also located in Dahab. 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 popular diving spots in Dahab.
Here are a few other activities to do in Dahab. It is truly an ocean lover’s paradise.
Wifi and Electricity Outages in Dahab
If you’re going to Dahab to relax, choose a hotel or Airbnb with good windows or a balcony. It will surely come in handy when the wifi goes out. Yes, I said when because it surely will. Dahab may be a challenge if you’re a digital nomad who relies on reliable wifi. Firstly, electricity is about 70% stable. Wifi even less. I recommend bringing your own hotspot and buying a local SIM card. Do not rely on receiving consistent Wi-Fi at your hotel or Airbnb. It is essential to bring a power bank and battery-operated fan.
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 further away from the ocean. Honestly, the food off the strip tastes better as well. Restaurants I recommend are:
- Happy Land Cafe and Restaurant – Friendly but not overwhelming staff, great food, excellent snorkeling location, and a 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 also a Chinese restaurant on the main strip called The Kitchen. Trust me on this. Walk on by and do not stop.
Co-working Spaces in Dahab
There’s a growing digital nomad community in Dahab. You have a few options if you need to get some work done. Make sure to test their wifi, and remember that they are not immune to power outages. Here are a few of my favorite spots:
- El Co-Working Space was clean and quiet, and the owner was amiable. Plus, they have air conditioning!
- Everyday Cafe has many cake options, fantastic staff, and good views.
- Mojos Co Work Cafe
Join the Dahab Digital Nomad Facebook community to learn about upcoming events, housing options, and get-togethers.