Student Travel Guide to Egypt: Dahab, the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula 

When you think of Egypt, the first places that often come to mind are the Sahara Desert, the Pyramids of Giza, or perhaps, the River Nile. However, Egypt has a lot more to offer than the crowded tourist sites of its historical kingdom and the bustle of modern life’s complexities in the country’s capital of Cairo…

Away from Egypt’s mighty history preserved in stone and the glory of the Nile River sailing through Cairo, sits another historic and glistening body of water, the Red Sea. Once primarily known as a Bedouin fishing village, Dahab has transformed into a bohemian utopia fit for backpackers, beach-babes and buccaneers. 

With the backdrop of the Sinai mountains, the Red Sea, and the South Sinai Desert, this coastal village is well-worthy of your next Instagram post and is a destination not to be missed! Here are eight reasons why Dahab, Egypt should be your post-covid destination: 

1. The laid-back atmosphere

With plenty of beach cafes and loungers with immaculate views of the Red Sea, there are enough spots to relax and soak up Egypt’s 365 days of sunshine (except for the odd overcast day, of course). Here you can spend hours reading, writing, drinking Bedouin tea and swimming in the warm clear waters. If you’re tired of sunbathing, stroll through the unique markets and shops and have a go at haggling for a bargain on your souvenirs.

A view of the Red Sea from one of Egypt’s stunning beaches

2. Affordability  

A major positive of taking a trip to Dahab is it won’t break the bank. An average meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs £3 and a pint usually comes to around £1.50. You can hop on the back of a taxi pick-up truck for under £1 if you need to get around town and excursions and activities are incredibly cheap too, in and around the area.   

3. Natural beauty 

Just walking around town, you will get to experience the impressive mountain range of the Sinai Desert, as well as adoring the sparkle of the Gulf of Aqaba and the purple haze of the mountains of opposing Saudi Arabia, which share the same body of water. Visit the nearby Wadi Gnai, where there is an abundance of colourful canyons, mountains, waterfalls and sand dunes. 

If you’re interested in religion and history, take a trip to the city of Saint Catherine and gaze upon the monastery where Moses talked to God in the miracle of the burning bush. Alternatively, you could climb Mount Sinai which is believed to be the location where Moses received the Ten Commandments.  

Tip: If you want to encounter the phenomenon of snow in a desert, try visiting in January. I was lucky enough to travel to Saint Catherine at this time and had a snowball fight in the desert, due to its 1,600m elevation above sea level.

A picturesque view of one of Egypt’s sunsets

4. Dahab diving and snorkelling 

The Red Sea is home to 300 hard coral and over 1,200 fish species, making it one of the best diving and snorkelling locations in the world. For a chilled and cheap view of the spectacular beauty of the underneath world, rent snorkelling equipment out along the beachfront in Dahab. For around £1 for the afternoon, you will not be disappointed! If you are more experienced, however, you can enjoy freediving at Dahab’s Blue Hole.  

Yasmin enjoyed exploring the Egyptian waters during a snorkelling trip

5. Other thrill-seeking activities  

There are plenty of other activities in and around Dahab, such as:

  • Windsurfing
  • Desert safaris
  • Riding a quad, camel or horse
  • Camping in a desert

In other words, you will never be bored!  

Camel riding is a popular outdoor activity in Egypt

6. Live like a local  

For any budget, accommodation in Dahab is available in hotels and camps, but for a more culturally immersive trip, why not rent a house and live like a local?

You’ll probably find yourself in the Bedouin area where goats and kittens roam free, and playful barefooted Bedouin kids greet you. One morning I left the house to find a newborn goat on the path, bleating into the dry air, so you never know what you might find! 

Wild animals roaming the Egyptian streets

7. Stray animals  

If you love animals, this is the place for you! Tucked around every corner are friendly dogs or a litter of kittens, so if you’re leaving pets at home, you’ll have many companions to keep you company while you’re away.  

Yasmin holding a stray cat she encountered on her trip

8. The cuisine  

For dining experiences, there are many options to choose from due to the large European community and visitors from around the globe. Try Bedouin classics and Egyptian food, as well as finding comfort in all your familiar favourites such as Indian, Italian and the classic American burger.

Ali Baba’s Restaurant in Dahab

How to get there

The fastest and cheapest way to get to Dahab is by flying from London to Sharm-el-Sheikh and then getting a bus into the town. The bus takes about 90 minutes and costs just under £1. 

Happy travels!   


By Yasmin Turner  

Featured image: Yasmin Turner

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