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Marsa Alam vs Dahab - recommendations needed

Discussion in 'Red Sea' started by nk84_b, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. bvbellomo

    bvbellomo Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: United States
    129
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    My choice is the Tillis, deep South route. But I don't go until June.
     
  2. Adr1an

    Adr1an Photographer

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    If doing it with the transfer bus from a tour operator then indeed it's 2 hours (maybe even more) as the bus will only go to Dahab after leaving everyone to their Sharm hotels (and it can take a while). However Sharm to Dahab is 1 hour max if you arrange your own transfer from Sharm by taxi. (the airport itself is very close to Sharm's Dahab exit and there's no security check when leaving Sharm). It's not that expensive, going rate is about 35$ per car.

    That would be a resort based holiday which couldn't be more different to hanging out in Dahab :) For diving if you're not on a LOB you depend on a group being formed to do Elphinstone (so they can charter a boat for the day) and depending on season that may happen or not. But I agree that during the high season this will get done a couple of days per week at least, so any decent dive center will get you on the boat.

    When it comes to hotels clearly Marsa is better then Dahab, particularly these days.

    One other thing to consider however is the cost of getting to Marsa compared to Dahab. The difference may be irrelevant for someone coming on an expensive inter-continental flight from the US, but for us Europeans it's one thing to get to Dahab and back for 120 euros or so and quite another to fork out 400-500 euros for a seat on a Marsa charter.
     
  3. JustSurfaceInterval

    JustSurfaceInterval Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Germany
    16
    12
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    Ah! i see now: we are comparing holidays booked as a package (Flight, Transfer, Hotel = me) to every single bit booked separately, correct?
    So the difference is that for us everything was included in the package, especially the tranfer.
    For the Sharm - Dahab route, i would definitely prefer a transfer where i can be sure that the car will not break somewhere in the mountains near some old camel bones...:eek::D

    The Elphinstone trip was fully booked every day, as well as the early morning zodiac.

    But i agree, Dahab is more for people wanting to go out and fee the night, even if this compromises the first dive of the day.:drunks:
    Putting the equipment on a carpet on high street to gear up and go to the entry point throught the terrasse between the tables of the restaurant is an experience you can only have in Dahab, i think.
     
  4. Tippytoes12

    Tippytoes12 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    1,071
    488
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    We went to Dahab with about the same level experience as you have, got a private guide and did two sometimes three dives a day. Getting as much diving experience as possible is really important for a diver like yourself.I personally would leave a LOB for a year or so. A lot depends on thé stage you are in your personal life, we had just paid off our house when we learned to dive and because we both loved it we prioritized diving over other leisure activities.
     
  5. Adr1an

    Adr1an Photographer

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    Not really, I actually went to Marsa on a package just like yours, bought from TUI. What I'm saying is that for Dahab you can very easily tailor exactly what you want and even change bit by bit as you are going trough it. Plus you can go from dive center to dive center every 10m or so. And so on. It really is a lively place even if you're not into drinking late into the night :D
    Cannot compare this to Marsa where you get out of your hotel after dinner only to discover that no cab will pass in 30 minutes and you have to dig up on the internet a few "taxi services" with overinflated prices or pay the front desk rate of 12E one way to Port Ghalib. Only to discover a few minutes later that Port Ghalib is a tourist trap of the worst kind. And you cannot get to Marsa on your own, unless you buy separate charter tickets from a big travel agency (which of course makes no sense unless going on a LOB).


    That, plus being able to go from tourist prices to Egyptian prices by walking 100m, plus being able to just hire a cabbie to go to St Catherine's and Mount Sinai at 5 AM in the morning on a whim and so on. Plus being able to actually get there real cheap, which makes shorter diving trips economically viable.

    The only disadvantages for Dahab (that I can think of) are 1. Lack of up-to-date higher end hotels (without a proper renovation Le Meridien will soon look like a Famagusta hotel from the Varosha area if you know what I mean) and 2. The fact that the location can be windy in the winter. (definitely less sheltered then Sharm). But the windy bit also applies to most of Marsa in winter.

    This being said, I totally agree that you can select a good hotel in Marsa close to the airport, enjoy a 10 mins transfer and be done with it, doing nothing but diving with a good dive center located on the premises or very close (there are quite a few in the area). It's just not my kind of thing :)
     
    JustSurfaceInterval likes this.
  6. nk84_b

    nk84_b Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Germany
    7
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    First of all, thanks for all the feedback.

    I think I've made up my mind and I will go to Sharm or Dahab with direct flights from Berlin. Flights are way cheaper than Marsa and as many of you suggested (and myself as well) I will do a LOB when I get some more diving experience.

    I'm also not keen on the idea of doing Marsa land-based since there is nothing else going on and I might be kind of bored being on my own in a hotel 24/7 while Sharm/Dahab seem to have cafes/places to hang out outside of the hotels as well.

    Now the question is choosing between Dahab and Sharm - I will stay there for a week and already thought about splitting my time between the two but given the transfer I might end up losing a day which is not ideal. I would like to dive Ras Mohammad in Sharm but also the dive sites in Dahab seem to be great too. Any advice?
     
  7. Adr1an

    Adr1an Photographer

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    Sharm is a big place with several areas of interest but taxi is cheap (be prepared to haggle hard) and the public minibuses (blue and white) are even cheaper. It wouldn't really be a problem to split time between Sharm and Dahab (most taxi drivers in Sharm will take you to Dahab if you offer 500LE, even if they will initially ask much more) just keep in mind that the road between them has a few spots where it goes to about 800m high so it would be wise to plan the trip without diving that morning.
    What flight options do you have from Berlin for going directly to Sharm?
     
  8. nk84_b

    nk84_b Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Germany
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    From Berlin EasyJet flies 2 times a week directly to Sharm.

    Not diving on one of the days because of the transport, I effectively lose one day that why I thought to base myself on one place for the whole week...
     
  9. Adr1an

    Adr1an Photographer

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    If you plan correctly that's not going to happen :) If you go straight to Dahab, dive there for 3 days (do just 2 dives the last day in Dahab with last dive ending at 15.00 ), then leave next day at about 10AM in the morning you can be in Sharm before 11.30 AM and you'd still be on the safe side with over 19 hours passed before going to 800m altitude . It's a 1 hour ride in a cab, maybe slightly more if the car is really tired and the altitude part is relatively short.
    Then you can check into your Sharm hotel and still have time to do one dive that day, if you arrange it in advance.

    This way you can check out both places and see which one you like more :)
     
  10. Dan

    Dan Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
    5,764
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    I have been to Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh, Marsa Alam (Brothers, Daudalus & Elphinstone). Diving wise, I like Elphinstone since it is the only place in the world to see the OceanIc Whitetip shark swimming with pilotfish.

     

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