Dahab, Egypt

Some cravings are easy to fulfill. Jump in the car and head to the beach. Buy a train ticket and check out a new city. Others need a little planning, but as long as you have a passport and a credit card, you could be in Rome, Sydney, or Vancouver next week. And then there are those with obstacles. The visa process in Bhutan is exhausting. It takes how many flights to reach Lombok? Difficult, but not a deterrent. But there are some destinations that need to be shelved for the time being. Political instability and safety do matter. Especially if you’re carrying an unpopular passport. So, for now, some cravings remain dreams.

Photo: Dahab Paradise
Photo: Dahab Paradise

Dahab, Egypt is the type of place you plan to visit for two or three days, and then end up staying a lot longer. It’s a beach town on the Gulf of Aqaba with exciting windsurfing and scuba diving spots. Plus a hippie vibe. And a view of Saudi Arabia. Spend the day in the water, and the evening sitting on a carpet with a hookah and a strong coffee.

But back to those water sports that drew you here in the first place. The Blue Hole is considered one of the most spectacular–and most dangerous–diving spots in the world. It’s an incredibly deep submarine sinkhole with an arch leading out to the gulf. Divers, who underestimate the location of the arch, dive deeper and deeper trying to find it. There are other sites for those not willing to risk their lives though. Dive the SS Thistlegorm wreck, a British vessel that was carrying tanks, jeeps, and motorbikes when it was bombed by the Germans during World War II. Or dive around the well-preserved coral reefs of Ras Mohammed farther south. Snorkelers prefer the colorful fish of the shallow Three Pools. And the windy gulf makes Dahab an ideal location to learn about tacking and jibing while windsurfing. You’ll be dominating the waves in no time.

Photo: Dahab Paradise
Photo: Dahab Paradise

After spending the day in the very salty water, you’ll need a comfortable place to relax and recuperate. North of town, Dahab Paradise has a pretty perfect setting. Golden mountains in the background. U-shaped buildings overlook the pool. The water is right in front of you. Rooms have reclaimed antique wood furniture and paper lanterns. Palm tree gardens surround the property. The open-air Fardousse Restaurant serves seafood: Red Sea shrimp, calamari, and grilled fish. A comfortable Bedouin sitting area extends the living space so you can relax under the stars at night. With a glass of Egyptian sparkling wine.

Ready to start planning? Thought so. Unfortunately, Dahab, and the rest of Egypt, may have to wait a little while. But keep dreaming. You’ll get there eventually.

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