Dahab - the Best Place to Be While in Egypt
May 22, 2019
by Aleksandra Haliciu
With its millennial monuments and rich history, not many of you would describe Egypt as a ‘bohemian’ country really. Frankly speaking, I believe Egypt to be the most abundant country in terms of historical heritage that I have been to so far. And since the economic and political sides of the coin have not done well in the past years and keep on being unsteady, the country’s glorious identity seems to have been long forgotten. But, when one takes a careful look, the place that is still considered today to be one of the cradles of civilizations – still rings a bell in the mind of every one of us – as the proof of something beyond our understanding, magnificent. Let us face it – places like the Valley of the Kings, Karnak, Memphis, Abu Simbel, the Pyramids with its complex hieroglyphs and the so-called curse of the pharaohs – who can turn a blind eye to all these? Who can say that they don’t invite their curiosity and want to learn more? Well, I have been thrilled when finally I made it to Egypt, and four months couldn’t have passed faster. I have explored and discovered as much as the time allowed me to, and eventually came back for more.
Originally a Bedouin fishing village, ‘Dahab’ literally translates (from Egyptian Arabic) into ‘gold’. It is the place where one arrives after so many hours of travel (8 -10 hrs from Cairo, depending on the checkpoints yet one can fly directly to Sharm and avoid the long hours in the bus) and wonders whether is part of the same country. Not far from Sharm el-Sheikh (around 90 km), Dahab has won its prestige because of its opening at the Red Sea (facing no other than Saudi Arabia), its Blue Hole – as one of the most dangerous diving site in the world as well as a completely different vibe – hippie bars and restaurants,its dozens of diving centres, hotels and a libertine culture that is new to the region. Add to that the historical Mount Sinai and St. Catherine Monastery – said to be one of the oldest working monasteries and you will get a fuller picture.
Nature and Spirituality
For all those nature-lovers out there, I have some good news – there are plenty of places for you to enjoy here, and I don’t mean the water activities ( although it is one of the cheapest places where you can get your diving certificate). Besides the trips to the Catherine Monastery and the trek up on the Mount Sinai (must do!), there is a really breath-taking nature reserve you should definitely check-out – Ras Abu Gallum – a Bedouin camp that also has lots of cottages that are possible to rent. Waking up in a place like that really makes you wonder why do we people have to complicate our lives so much with unnecessary things? When all we really need is peace, harmony and a simple lifestyle. Then, of course, one is surprised also about the variety of yoga classes, meditation and pranayama sessions, that some of the hotels are offering ( try Coral Coast).
Living in Dahab gives you a very laidback attitude, where one takes every moment as it is and smiles at it just to maybe keep it for a bit longer. Walking along the beach, sipping a coffee in front of the sea, or simply biking around and enjoying the mountain breeze – Dahab it is at a crossroad – between the mountains and the sea. In terms of accommodation – there are plenty of options – you can choose from luxurious resorts to a budget hostel or even an Airbnb studio. Then, in what food is concerned, you will find it difficult to choose the restaurant (there are so many) and just go where it smells more inviting. Last but not least, and probably the only (basic but) rough lesson I have got from my last trip was the tap water – do not drink it nor cook with it. Other than that, you are free to enjoy the golden bohemian breeze of Dahab – and please do it for me too.