New Year in Sinai

Published on January 02, 2017

Up until December 26th, we didn’t have a concrete plan for this New Year’s Eve. Our friend Tamer told Joseph that he’s DJing in Dahab on the 30th, and being huge fans of his music, we couldn’t miss out! So, we did some quick research and decided to stay a couple of nights in one of my favorite Egyptian cities, Sharm el Sheikh, before going to Dahab with Tamer and our friend Haitham on the 30th.

On the 28th at dawn, Joseph and I headed to the airport after having pulled an all-nighter, to avoid missing our flight. After we landed, we took a cab to our hotel, checked in and slept right away, waking up around 6 – just in time to freshen up and head to the restaurant for dinner. We had chosen a hotel in Naama Bay because it’s Sharm’s hotspot, with countless cafés and shops, and a couple of clubs along a long promenade. So, after dinner, we went for a walk down the promenade, where one of the shopkeepers, trying to get us to buy something, gave us each a Pharaonic bookmark with a couple of Pharaonic kings and hieroglyphs. By pure luck, the one he gave me had King Tut and his wife; which is such a coincidence because Joseph’s nickname is King Tut! After like half an hour, we headed to my favorite spot in Naama: New Panorama. Built on a mountain (or hill?), this café has different layers where you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the city. After a couple of hours of some delicious hookah and drinks, Panorama’s show was starting, which consisted of extremely loud music, a belly dancer and a Tannourah show, which we really weren’t in the mood for, so we decided to pass by a Sharm favorite: Pacha. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any parties that night, so we went next door to Bus Stop. It was completely empty, which was in our favor, because the bartender, Ahmed, had his full attention on us. He turned out to be such a nice guy, well informed, and funny. After a couple of hours, we were quite hungry, so we went to the Italian restaurant in the hotel for some pizza and pasta before calling it a night.

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The next day we slept in, waking up around 1 pm, so we chilled for a couple of hours before the 2-hour massage we had booked the day before. I have to say, the massage was very mediocre and in retrospect, was a huge waste of time and money; but no need to dwell on the past. After the massage, we had another dinner at the hotel before going to one of the cafés in the promenade for some hookah and tea. After some time, a friend of Joe’s met up with us for like an hour before going to the Pacha party, but we decided to call it an early night as we had to check out the next morning.

After breakfast, we packed our bags and left them at the reception after checking out and went to the beach for a couple of hours. Sunbathing in December was one of the best parts of the entire trip! We were literally in our bathing suits and feeling warm, in December! After the beach we got hungry again, so we found a restaurant overlooking the beach that served different cuisines, so we decided to try it out. After lunch, we went back to the reception to get in some hours of work before Tamer and Haitham’s flight arrived. When they arrived, we got into a cab to meet them on the way to save time; after all, Tamer was playing that night! And now that we were leaving Sharm, we were excited. It’s quite unfortunate how much it’s deteriorated; especially that it really was my favorite Egyptian city. Anyway, we arrived at our charming hotel in Dahab, Acacia Hotel, where the party was happening – so convenient! The four is us hurriedly showered and changed, then met up back in Joe and I’s room for a speedy and compressed pre-gaming session, before we headed to the party, ready for action. The DJ before Tamer was OK, but once Tamer started playing the crowd went wild! And when he played his last song, they wouldn’t take it and started unanimously screaming “One more track! One more track!” over and over, until he gave them what they wanted – and boy, did they lose it! The party’s vibe overall was amazing and everyone was having a great time.

On the morning of New Year’s Eve, we woke up starving, so we went to a famous bakery for some sandwiches and pastries. The atmosphere in Sharm el Sheikh is incomparable to Dahab’s. Dahab is much more peaceful, even though it was just as busy. After breakfast we strolled down the promenade overlooking the beach and headed back to the hotel to freshen up before going to the hotel’s beach bar for some beers. Around 9:30 pm, the hotel’s New Year’s party had already started, and we could tell that we wouldn’t like the music – we also weren’t in the mood to party – so we made a spur of the moment decision to go to Nuweiba for the night, just an hour away from Dahab. Within an hour we were packed and on the way to our camp, Ananda. When we arrived, we were shocked by the peaceful atmosphere. The sky was filled with stars, and the mountains behind the camp were breathtaking. The camp staff helped us set up a fire by our huts, and we set up our music and drinks and had possibly the most fun and relaxed New Year’s, falling asleep at dawn.

When we woke up, we couldn’t believe our eyes! Nuweiba truly is a piece of heaven on Earth. What a place! The calm sea, the gorgeous sky filled with dancing clouds, and the mountains behind the camp and across the sea made it an unforgettable scene. We had a delicious breakfast with our feet in the warm sand and the sun kissing us warm, completely in awe of the beauty surrounding us. Then we had just a couple of more hours in this Eden before we had to head back to Dahab so Joe and I can pack, check out and head back to Sharm for our return flight.

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Sinai has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, offering a lot of variety. Your stay can range from your own sleeping bag and/or tent, or huts and (quite primitive) chalets in any of the relaxing Bedouin camps on the coast, to a beachfront 5-star luxurious hotel. If you want to relax and have some peace and quiet in nature, Nuweiba is the place for you. If diving's your thing, or you want to learn, then Marsa Allam's the place to go; even though there are countless diving places in Sinai, Marsa Allam is known as the best. If you want an active nightlife, Sharm el Sheikh is your wingman; and if you want a mix of everything, Dahab would be the winner here! Basically, whatever you're into, chances are you'll find your own favorite gem in the treasure that is Sinai.