The beauty of underwater life, which is the subject of documentaries, and the opportunity to see many places on the same trip thanks to its different location, the Red Sea should be at the top of your travel list.
Thanks to the everlasting sun, the waters of the Red Sea are 20 degrees even in January. No wonder that the striped fish it hosts also has exotic names such as parrots, lions and Picasso.
The Red Sea stretches between Africa and Asia. The Sinai Peninsula, on the other hand, hangs from the top. On the other hand, the Gulf of Aqaba, stretching between Sinai and Jordan, where the best underwater diving opportunities are located, is one of the richest diving environments in the world. Between the Sinai and the civilization stretches an area of 36,000 kilometers wide, consisting of red cliffs and inhabited by Bedouin tribes. These mountains are believed to be the place where the Burning Shrub is located and Moses received the 10 Commandments.
As a result of this geographical structure, accommodation opportunities are limited to coastal towns only. Of these, the town of Sharm is the largest, spreading over 20 kilometers of coastline at the southern tip of the peninsula. It resembles a Mediterranean town full of hookahs. In the northern corner, there are Taba Hills with magnificent views of Arabia. Between these two is the Bedouin village of Dhahab, which suddenly appears before you. Here, bohemian hotels belonging to small and local businesses are lined up around a magnificent bay. Due to tour packages, most visitors are usually located in just one center. However, transportation between the centers is quite easy. On the roads that cut through the mountains, magnificent views, including Bedouins traveling with their camels, await you.
The wealth of the Gulf of Aqaba
When it comes to diving spots, the Gulf of Aqaba stands out as one of the richest addresses in the world, feeding Sharm-el-Sheikh, Dhahab and Bi’e Taba. Most centers have their own reef. Rent for snorkeling gear is also very reasonable. However, when you go out by boat, you are guaranteed to encounter more magnificent views. Boats from Sharm hotels go to Tirana Island every morning. This island is a submarine land connected to Saudi Arabia. Waterworld in Taba Hills runs daily tours to Farun Island near the border with Israel. The possibility of seeing sea turtles here is quite
high. Although dubbed the “Goa of the Red Sea” due to its bohemian backpacking crowd, the fishing village of Dhahab has a much closer identity to the real Egypt than the nearby tourist centers. Especially the area where the lighthouse is located is very suitable for diving at all levels, but the Blue Pit with a depth of 90 meters is only for experienced divers. Especially Ali Baba is one of the must-see places.
Explore the wrecks
The ships, most of which were bombed and sunk during the war, await those who dive to see the sunken deep in the Red Sea …
Within the framework of the route you have determined, you can dive into the important wrecks of the Red Sea. One of the newest shipwrecks in the northern part of the Red Sea is Ghiannis D., located from the Sha’ab Abu Nuhas reef and sunk in 1983. Crashed into coral reefs while transporting timber from Croatia to Saudi Arabia. This reef, which hosts four different shipwrecks, is actually quite dangerous for captains.
The Rosalie Moller wreck is one step ahead of the surrounding wrecks due to the rich variety of fish. Launched in 1910, the ship reached the Red Sea in 1941 to transport coal to British soldiers, but was sunk into blue waters by German aircraft bombs. The Kingston wreck has been in the depths of the Red Sea for over 100 years and is ideal for easy diving. The reason for the sinking is again coral reefs. Although no wooden parts remain from this 78-meter-long steamship, steam boilers are still resisting. Since it has been underwater for over a century, hard and soft corals have formed on it.
Thistlegorm is undoubtedly the most impressive shipwreck of the Red Sea. Thistlegorm, a transport ship carrying supplies to British troops in World War II, is a 126.5 meters tall giant. He made his first voyage to Egypt and sank in 1941 by German aircraft bombs. It was discovered in 1955 by Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Cultural crossroads: Taba Hills
Whether you dive or take photos … You will definitely find an activity that suits your interests in this geography.
The location of Taba Hills, just south of the Israeli border, makes it a cultural crossroads. While walking on the dark beach of the town, it is possible to see Saudi Arabia from the point of Waterworld, Jordan from the point where Inter Continental is, and Israel to the north of the point where the Hyatt is. If taking pictures doesn’t satisfy you, Jordan’s city of Aqaba is just a 45-minute ferry ride from Taba’s marina. Keep in mind, this is a non-customs area and prices are fixed, so you won’t have the stress of bargaining. Eilat, Israel’s center in the Red Sea, is 32 kilometers away by road. Visa fee must be paid at border crossing. Ra’s Mohammed National Park (20 minutes from Sharmel-Sheikh) summarizes the essence of Sinai on a small piece of land stretching like a finger at the southern tip of the peninsula. Here, mountains, dunes, salt lakes, hundreds of fish in glassy waters, tropical plants and magnificent views of Sharm await you. Hundreds of indentations and protrusions host deserted beaches. When you go around 16:00, close to its closing, it is possible to come across an area that belongs to you completely. 10 minutes south of Taba Hills, you should spend a quiet day in Castle Zaman, the extraordinary summer resort center. This place, which looks like a ruin on the hill from a distance, is actually a 10-year-old eco-hostel and slow-food restaurant. Dishes in Pharaoh serving tajins take at least 4 hours to cook. Therefore, it is useful to order in advance. But its white sandy beach, a freshwater pool with water coming from a nearby oasis, and the basil lemonade while waiting for you to feel the time is absolutely beautiful.
In pursuit of the Burning Bush on Mount Sinai …
Camel rides on the beach may sound too cliché; however, an authentic trip on the paths accompanied by Bedouins is definitely something to be experienced.
Are you keen on history? Then it is worth reminding that Sinai is home to the famous Burning Shrub. This thorny bush, believed to speak to Moses, grows in the 6th-century St Catherine’s Monastery located at the foot of Mount Sinai. (This place is 90 minutes by car from Dhahab, closed on Fridays and Sundays). Here you can stay overnight and attend the dawn ritual with the monks, or combine your visit with a grueling night walk to Mount Sinai and watch the sunrise at the point where Moses received the 10 Commandments.
The early setting sun, the late rising moon, and the desolate desert make Sinai a paradise for stargazers. Just 25 minutes from Naama Bay in Sharm, Paula Müller’s telescope will show you the pharaohs of Jupiter, the craters of the Moon, and the Milky Way that covers the sky like a tulip. Camel ride can be included in the trip along with the Bedouin meal.
Jordan is almost a stone’s throw from Taba Hills. Moreover, if you were to go to Amman, you would be further away from Petra’s gorgeous pink stones than you are here. Ships going to Aqaba (you can book at your hotel) depart from Taba Hills every morning at 06:30. There is a two-hour bus ride from Aqaba on the Col Highway. On the route is the famous Wadi Rum of Lawrence of Arabia. Camel rides on the beach may sound too cliché, but an authentic tour of the footpaths accompanied by Bedouins is definitely something to be experienced.
Bedouin Safari Dhahab
It is a family-run company that owns Bedouin Lodge and they can organize camel tours from two hours to two weeks. Two-day Yoga Safari or Camel Course Safari, which will teach you how to ride a camel in three days, are the prominent options.
“How can you go to Egypt and return without seeing the Pyramids?” Are you afraid to face your friends who will say? Don’t worry, Cairo is only 1 hour away from Sharm by plane. If you set out with a guide, it is possible to squeeze in your limited time a quick tour of Giza, a visit to the Egyptian Museum and Khan el-Khalili bazaar.
Keep in mind …
It is forbidden to fish and hit camels!
Fishing is prohibited on the beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh; however, all Bedouins catch it, so all the fish you eat in Sinai will probably be local and fresh. Sina is also famous for lambs, so choose lamb instead of beef from Cairo. A true Egyptian breakfast consists of falafel, beans, pita bread, coffee or tea; Try it once. Camels are only available for Bedouins and tourists, but they are a fun way to see the desert. Once you get on, make sure you are well settled before you riot and never hit him. Camels are intelligent creatures and it is strictly forbidden to hit them. As long as you follow these rules, they will gladly carry you to the top of Mount Sinai.
Food & Drink and Accommodation
This place sets the standards in the Sinai region. It is certain that you will get the privacy you desire for the price you pay in the huts lined up from the hill to the east. Not to mention flawless service (700 employees per 200 rooms), plenty of free activities, and a phenicular service from the beach to the lobby.
The owner of the place is Inter Continental; however, this is an individual restaurant located in the elegant part of Taba Hills. And it serves Chinese and Thai dishes that are many times more delicious than the hotel’s buffet. Green curry chicken is delicious.
Bars / Clubs
A classier place than Pacha, down the road, Little Buddha is the closest to the stylish city bar concept. For delightful chill-out music, successful cocktails and delicious sushi, be sure to try this place.
Having a more intense atmosphere compared to Na’ama Bay, the Old Market is also cheaper. Spices, organic massage oils or camel hair rugs, it’s all here.
Concorde Hand Salami
This giant creature with 725 rooms offers excellent sports services. Large rooms are arranged in site order. The “infinity pool” overlooking the Tirana Islands is just one of five pools in the business.
Tucked away at the southern end of Lakhbatita Dhahab coastal road, this restaurant is run by an Egyptian gentleman and his Italian wife. This is one of the restaurants where you can eat both thin dough pizzas and lamb meatballs in one sitting.
You have to choose between the pub area, the popular terrace and the Bedouin cedars on the roof. Favorite of divers and foreigners who live here.
A clean, stylish and pedestrian shopping street. It ends up on the coastal road. There is whatever you look for, from Bedouin covers to Sphinx shaped bathtubs.