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Just back trip report

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Just back trip report

Tips

*Take lots of English cash as the exchange rate is hugely better in Egypt - eg 9.2LE = £1 when we arrived compared with 7.5LE = £1 in the UK.

*Take any desired liqueurs or uk spirits as only Egyptian equivalent of common spirits available eg gin, whisky, vodka. We also were unable to find any good wine, despite a couple of attempts at more than £7 per bottle – maybe someone else can recommend some?

*Quickly learn how to say no thanks in Arabic! (“La shukran”)

*Take shower gel and liquid soap as ordinary soap doesn't lather well in salt water showers.

*If you're bothered about such things make a mental or actual note of how much your restaurant order should come to when you order it - we found several restaurants weren't good at adding up accurately.....

Report

Not sure where to start and how much to include – there’s so much I could say! But hopefully this will give a flavour and you could ask if you want any more specific detail.

We really enjoyed our time in Dahab. We were mainly diving but we did other things such as snorkelling, Mt Sinai trip, Quad Biking. We would have done Coloured Canyon too but it was closed all the time we were away due to flooding would you believe (if you are going there in the next week or so check that the Coloured Canyon they’re taking you to is the actual one, not some other Canyon which is coloured!).

The good:

I’ve never been to Egypt or even Africa before and didn’t really know what to expect. I don’t know how typical Dahab is of other places, but we were pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone was, and how safe it felt. Every time we went diving we just left our bags out in the open with the dive crates and it was always assumed they would be safe – and they were.

On one dive trip to the south our driver realised he had someone else’s keys with him so he just flagged down the next random driver going in the opposite direction and asked him to take the keys back to Dahab for him! Imagine trying that in the UK!

Everyone seems to enjoy having a laugh and shopkeepers, restaurant owners and hotel receptionists will all tease you – this really surprised me, they have quite a cheeky sense of humour. In one shop the assistant was even pinging me with elastic bands when I had my back turned!

I suppose it’s all relative to what you may have seen elsewhere, but given the travel time to Egypt from the UK compared with say the Caribbean or Thailand the coral and fish life is really good. Easily accessible from the shore in Dahab and on the many available trips. We went to Ras Abu Gallum by camel and Gabr el Bint by boat and would recommend them both. People said camel rides were awful but we really enjoyed the experience – and the landscape is magnificent. If you really can’t bear being on a camel and fancy a good snorkel trip and some dramatic scenery, get to the Blue Hole and just walk northwards along the coast (you will be passed by camels) and you will end up at Ras Abu Gallum after an hour – 1.5hrs. It is pretty flat and if you do it early in the morning and/or in the afternoon the heat shouldn’t be too punishing (it’s nearly always accompanied by a breeze). But do do it somehow – it’s a beautiful trip. We dived but the snorkelling would be good in both spots too.

And of course no dive trip to Dahab would be complete without visiting the Thistlegorm. The dive boat was pretty awful (too many people, horrid loos and no liferafts) but the crew and the catering were great and the wreck itself just fantastic. There is so much to see we would definitely do it again if we went back.

We dived (and did our Advanced Open Water qualification) with Sphinx Divers – I can’t rate them highly enough, especially our instructor Hamada – they were professional, thorough, safety-conscious yet good fun and flexible.

Our favourite snorkelling spot was Eel Gardens to Lighthouse – thanks to whoever it was on TripAdvisor who suggested this! (MUCH better than the Blue Hole, quieter and much cheaper too).

Mt Sinai – the dawn is beautiful, though it is hard work getting up there! And it was cold on top waiting for the sunrise (as everybody had warned it would be) – they reckoned about 5 degrees. The walk down the harder way (steps) is picturesque and worth doing too – though I ended up with stiff legs for the next day or two! I was grateful for my torch on the way up and my hiking stick on the way down. If I were to recommend this trip to anyone else I would say to try to do it on a day when the monastery is closed (Thursday night and Saturday night) as there will be far fewer people – and in my opinion (even though I am a practising Christian) the monastery was just not worth visiting. If you are a diver the sunrise Mt Sinai trip will take 2 days out of your diving schedule – the day before because of the altitude and the day after as you’ll be worn out!

Quad Biking – I hadn’t really thought I’d do this but hubby persuaded me and it was good fun. We visited a nearby oasis (Wadi Qnai) which we wouldn’t otherwise have seen, which was interesting. The promised 2 hour trip was more like 1.5 hours from the time you actually got on the quad bikes but as it costs about a quarter of the price of quad biking in the UK (without the deserts!) you can’t really complain.

Milkshakes! Yes they deserve a heading of their own in Dahab! Each place seems to vie with the next to do the best milkshakes – which are usually almost undrinkable due to the amount of ice cream served in them – yummy! The best ones we found were at Funny Mummy (drinkable from the start but still ice creamy), Same Same and the Fixed Price place. DON’T waste your time on milkshakes at El Dorado, Blue House or Sakkara – the latter claimed to have an expert milk shake maker but hubby said the chocolate one was just like Nesquik! Prices from 14LE to 18LE.

And of course the weather – how nice to get up every morning and not doubt that it’s going to be a sunny day! There is nearly always a wind of varying strength but this was welcome to make things bearable – we very rarely felt too hot or too cold (the trip to Mt Sinai being the possible exception on both counts).

The indifferent:

Food – sadly, although we are both “foodies” we struggled to get excited by the food. If you are a carnivore my advice would be to stick to chicken and seafood in Dahab – in our experience the red meat was really tough. We only worked this out after quite a few disappointing meals! We tried mixed grills, shish kebabs, lamb ribs, beef bourgignon – all tough, greasy and/ or gristly. The only real success stories were:

Tota bar – did a surprisingly good deep fried calamari (served in a basket) and if you go on Sunday night when you get two main courses for the price of one this is quite a bargain. (about 45LE)

Blue House Thai – Penang curry with chicken or shrimps (prawns) was lovely. Red curry not so exciting. Be prepared for a long wait as they are currently short-staffed. (main courses 40LE for chicken or 65LE for seafood including rice)

Same Same – lovely chicken curry with coconut, and the shrimp (prawn) curry with coconut was even nicer! (about 50LE and 75LE respectively)

El Dorado did very nice pizzas – I had shrimp (really was shrimp not prawn) with blue cheese, and hubby had spicy pepperoni. Their tiramisu ice cream is also a lovely end to the meal and is enough to share between two. Can’t remember the prices.

Funny Mummy did really nice, big, cheap chicken burgers with lots of mayo. (only 24LE each)

Chicken kebabs were nice at most places.

We did try to eat local dishes, honest!

The starter salads were usually nice, and the fixed price place does an exceptionally good Seafood soup.

Be aware that during nearly all meals you will be joined by multiple cats – I think it was only on the boat trips that we weren’t! Many restaurants have anti-cat water sprays available.

The bad:

Although they worked hard to keep the sea front promenade and the main shopping drag clean, if you deviated from it you soon became aware of rubbish – piles and piles of the stuff and lots of bin bags torn open with contents spilling out in the road and on the pavements. The wandering goats and cats don’t help of course but it was really quite shocking the filth just lying in the streets. No wonder there are so many flies. I’m amazed that people can live with it all just lying around – and labour doesn’t seem to be a short commodity. This was also the one down side to our trip to Ras Abu Gallum – all the plastic bottles along the shoreline. Come on Dahab, clean up your act!

All in all

We had a great holiday, very relaxed with plenty of sunshine, and if we were looking to recommend somewhere particularly to divers Dahab would definitely be on that list. We’ll probably go back there at some point. If you’re off there soon I hope you enjoy it too!

Bristol, United...
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1. Re: Just back trip report

Hi rogzog.

I trust you and your husband are well.

Thanks for your entertaining and informative trip report. As someone else who has recently returned, I can confirm that it is very accurate and really gives a true feel of the Dahab experience.

Where are you off to next?

Take care, DrMike.

UK
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484 posts
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2. Re: Just back trip report

Thanks very much DrMike.

We're off to St Croix next, in US VI (would have preferred Dominica but couldn't get reasonable flights or connections). I've no idea what it will be like and I'd never even heard of it before I looked for somewhere quietish to book to be honest, though someone on our minibus on the Mt Sinai trip was wearing a Dive St Croix cap!

What about you, where are you off to?

R

Bristol, United...
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3. Re: Just back trip report

Hi Rogzog.

I've been to the BVI, which to all intents and purposes is the same group of islands as the USVI. They're beautiful and some of the out islands are simply stunning. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time.

We're off to Bequia in the Grenadines in a fortnight. The diving and snorkelling aren't on a par with Dahab, but the people are wonderful and the Caribbean vibe is so laid back it's untrue on this island.

Since this is obviously a Dahab forum can I just re-iterate what you said about the locals in Dahab. Whilst there is some gentle, fun hawking, the whole place feels very safe and there's none of the real hassle that you get in a number of other Egyptian destinations I could mention.

Take care , DrMike.

Northampton
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4. Re: Just back trip report

Hi there,

We are going to Dahab for 6 days over the Christmas period. Was wondering if you could recommend an agency or office to book excursions through??

Many thanks,

Rosey

UK
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5. Re: Just back trip report

Hi Rosey

I did some research before we left so I had an idea of the going rate for tours I was interested in

eg

http://www.dahab-info.com/safaris/index.html

Though it is bewildering (even in Dahab) that some things are quoted in Euros and some in LE.

You can also book trips in advance this way if you wish, though we found it useful to have the flexibility of deciding before each day what we fancied doing (eg if you're diving, the Thistlegorm trips only run certain days). Once in Dahab there are many tour operators, and your own hotel will no doubt offer trips (though if it's one of the more prestigious hotels they will probably charge prestigious prices... - where are you staying?). Otherwise, King Safari (near Funny Mummy) seems to have a good spread. Don't forget that if you're willing to book more than one trip you should negotiate a discount!

If you have a particular trip in mind I can tell you the current "rack rates" - though be careful to check what is included (eg lunch, any extra visa etc)

Enjoy your holiday!

R

Copenhagen
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6. Re: Just back trip report

Great report and thanks for sharing your experiences in Dahab.

jerusalem
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7. Re: Just back trip report

great report! thanx

New York, USA
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8. Re: Just back trip report

Thanks for such a fun, informative trip report, especially the recommendations. Made me miss Dahab even more!

Travelbug08

UK
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484 posts
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9. Re: Just back trip report

Hi there

Thanks for the thanks!

One thing I should perhaps have included - what I would do next time that I didn't get around to doing this time:

- having a meassage - at 100-150LE for an hour it was foolish not to have fitted at least one in! Various types available from lots of different places

(Would have been ideal after the Mt Sinai trip!).

- overnight desert trip - we did pre-book to do this but there was a mis-communication which meant we missed it. I would love to have seen the sunset, stars, sunrise and experienced the quiet.

- failing that, a Bedouin evening meal in the desert - from about 85LE including transport seems a bargain and gives you a taste of something different (metaphorically and literally!).

So there you have it.

I'd still love to hear from anyone who found any good local wine (with its name and price for future reference - yes we do intend to return!)

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Just back trip report

Hello there,

just wondering what clothing i should take for the sinai walk? i will be there in a week. i think it may be around 5 degree then too? Thanks in advance

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