First off, let me start by saying I am a bit of a princess !! But even I can diversify when needed
I was VERY shocked to find Dahab on a TA list of horrible places to go.
Back in 2000 I went to meet an old school friend from England that was visiting in Israel and staying in a Hostel, I do not do Hostels and quickly convinced my friend to spend the night in a Bed and Breakfast with me. Her plan was to spend 3 weeks in Dahab and I would go with her for the first week. Prior to leaving I had purchased an invaluable book called the budgets travel guide to Israel and Egypt. It use to be available for every country you could think of - not sure if it is, still in print.
Anyhow, it became quite obvious to my old school friend that I hadn’t seen in 7 years that I was'nt the type to 'slum it' so to speak, and she warned me I was in for a bit of a journey.
Back then, there where only 2 ways to get to Dahab from Taba the Israel / Egyptian border. One was car, (I do not drive) the other "Dahab Taxi" and she told me in no uncertain terms it would probably be for me, an un-enjoyable experience !
Well, looking back I would cal it an adventure, at the time I may of had other words to describe it !!
The 2hr ( if I remember correctly) trip was something alright, it involved loud haggling with some men sitting in a dirty shack for a price for the ride,to Dahab, while your bags sat in dirty sand. Eventually a very crude un air-conditioned “mini-van” arrived and packed you in like sardines. And your bags ? Piled on the vans’ roof and tied down, to later get covered in dirt along the non existent road !
The first mini-van I got in to, I had to get out of, because it was just impossible to breath in it. The second van, I got VERY lucky with only 2 other people in it – However, I think I might have paid the driver extra to stop him cramming people in , I cannot remember. The ride to Dahab was an experience, the van flew down the roads and although the red hills looked dirty, stark and uninteresting on the ride back it all seemed quite beautiful, with stunning ocean views, below the roads.
Your Attitude can make or break a trip. Mine had obviously improved because by the end of the week, I started to see the beauty in the terrain !
Upon arriving in Dahab, I checked into a B&B and settled in. The room seemed clean, and my friend had told me beforehand to bring a bed sheet and pillow case, although they where not needed once we got there.
Well, the next morning I awoke at 5am to find 2 of the biggest coach roaches I've ever seen sitting on the walls. Well here is where I have a HUGE problem, I have a completely irrational fear / Phobia of cockroaches ( I know, wrong country to visit !) I flew out of the room and never went back in. My friend packed up my bags and I spent the next 2 hours sitting on the beach watching the sun come up shaking and crying !!
Later that morning after recovering from the ordeal I ventured out to look for a cockroach free room on a budget, the locals laughed at me when I said, no cockroaches – I’m terrified of them !!
I ended up finding a beautiful place for 30 (something !!) not sure if it was Canadian dollars or Egyptian pounds - it was 7 years ago !!
After that I never once saw a cockroach but I still got weary when the sun went down. And every night before bed, I would pull it in to the middle of the room and empty a can of Raid (yes they sell it in Egypt) in a circle around my bed !!
So my point is: Even with me being a Princess, I still enjoyed myself.
The Red Sea was stunning and made snorkeling an endless past time
The Egyptians are EXTREMELY CLEAN, kind, proud people. It amazed me that in the middle of the desert, you could see the Bedouin people wander around in these pristine white clothes that looked like they where just picked up from the dry cleaners !! Every morning you would see the town people, and business owners WASHING down the streets and SWEEPING them. There was nothing dirty about the place. It was my own irrational fears of cockroaches that made some moments challenging.
Since my visit in 2000 I am sure Dahab has changed, it is probably more accessible and modernized. Yes, there are cockroaches, but I think they are more of an outside insect in the Desert, than there because of dirt.
After all is said and done, Traveled in the right way, Dahab is far from being the "A Horrible place to go....