Planning a Trip
Dahab is divided into two main parts: new and old. The new part, now referred to as Dahab City, is to the south and is where the high-end hotels are. There is also a large lagoon that offers a range of conditions ideal for beginner and expert windsurfers.
The older part of Dahab is a kilometer or so north, connected by both a road and a seaside promenade for pedestrians and bikes. Known generally as Masbat, this older section of Dahab is more properly divided into Assala in the north, Masbat (the oldest section) in the middle, and Mashraba in the south. The length of the entire town is around 4km (2 1/2 miles).
The East Delta bus arrives at the bus station in the new part of Dahab. From here it's usually possible to catch a taxi into Masbat for LE10 ($1.80/95p) or so, depending on your negotiating abilities. Beware of the friendly assistance of the boys in the jeeps -- they'll demand an exorbitant amount when you get to your destination, and friendly negotiations will quickly turn to outright bullying.
By Bike -- The long brick walkway along the edge of the water that links all three sections of old Dahab as well as the newer portion of Dahab City is fairly bicycle-friendly (though the pedestrians won't be if you don't take care and ride reasonably), and the traffic through the rest of town is pretty tame as well. The scale is perfect for biking, too. You can get anywhere in town in 15 or 20 minutes, and most places in 5.
Bikes can be rented at various places around town. None of them rises much above a rusted old clunker, and asking prices -- LE10 to LE15 ($1.80-$2.75/95p-£1.40) per hour or LE80 to LE100 ($15-$18/£7.40-£9.25) per day -- tend to be a little excessive. Bargain them down, though, and be happy with what you get. I like Sam's, below the Ali Baba hotel, or Desert Divers just around the corner.
By Foot -- Most of Dahab, certainly if you stay in the old Masbat area, is eminently walkable. I recommend detouring around the town, in fact, and using the coastal walkway to get to where you're going.
By Taxi -- Taxis are available, but they tend to be exorbitant in their demands for money. Fortunately, you only need motorized transport to get outside town, to the Blue Hole for a day's snorkeling, for example. In this case, hire one of the jeeps that cruise about looking for passengers. Drivers of these vehicles, however, tend to be ethically disadvantaged -- make sure to nail down every aspect of the ride before leaving. This includes not only the price but the drop-off point and whether he can pick up other passengers. Fail to specify these last two points, and you risk finding yourself jammed in with half a dozen new friends and dropped off somewhere only distantly related to your intended destination.
Increasing numbers of businesses offer Wi-Fi access, which means that road warriors who aren't afraid to tote the laptop to the beach will be able to lounge in the sun while staying in touch with the office, but Dahab hotels and restaurants on the whole remain behind the wired curve. Fortunately, there are several excellent Internet cafes right on the promenade. Expect to pay around LE5 to LE10 (90¢-$1.80/45p-95p) per hour.
Online Internet, Masbat (tel. 012/4017001), on the second floor of the building on your left about 10m (33 ft.) after you cross the bridge with the sea to your right, has eight Internet stations and good bandwidth. It's open daily from 10am to midnight; the rate is LE7 ($1.25/65p) per hour. Soul Iwona, Mashraba (tel. 069/3640987), just past Lakhbatita heading north and right on the walkway, has six PCs, space for a laptop, and a whole lot of fresh air from the sea. It's open daily 10am to midnight; the rate is LE6 ($1.10/55p) per hour.
Dahab's not short on hole-in-the-wall travel agencies that can book your side trips to St. Catherine's or arrange for a few nights in the desert. Embah, Masbat (tel. 069/3641690; www.embah.com), is an amazingly efficient full-service travel agency right in the middle of Dahab. They can book plane tickets, bus tickets (with 24-hour notice), and day trips, as well as more extensive diving and sightseeing trips. You can even pay by credit card (Visa only). Daily 9am to 7pm. See the "Active Vacation Planner" for other recommended companies in Dahab for diving, windsurfing and kitesurfing, and desert treks.