“I will return.” Those were the words that I had played over in my mind when I left the Red Sea back in 2016. At that time, I was visiting from Jordan and I had no idea that my next visit would be from the shores of Egypt.
Both Jordan and Egypt are wonderful places to visit, and you can access the Red Sea from either countries. There is a difference though between which side you access it from, and this post covers Egypt vs Jordan and the Red Sea.
The Red Sea is bordered by several countries, most I would not suggest visiting unless you have access to them. The countries that are the most popular for tourists would be along the north shore- Jordan, Israel and Egypt.
The Red Sea, which is a salt water inlet in North Africa is a magnificent place, and I would not mind going back, again. The waters are a clean azure blue, and are great for those who like to snorkel, scuba, or cruise along the water.
I had visited three cities along the Red Sea- Aqaba in Jordan, and both Sharm El-Sheikh and Dahab in Egypt. All of them were great places, but I found both of the Egyptian towns safer and more pleasant, especially for a solo female traveler.
— Aqaba, Jordan —
We were told by our guide not to hang out at the public beaches of Aqaba for our own comfort and safety. While in the town of Aqaba, I felt fine walking with another male traveler, who was tall and German, but I did get many stares. Aqaba is on the border of Saudi Arabia, and it is not as casual with Western travelers as the Egyptian sea side towns.
Do not get me wrong, Aqaba was fantastic and I suggest that you check out the town while in Jordan. Just make sure to stay at an international hotel, such as the Double Tree Hilton, that has a private beach and snorkeling. You will be more comfortable, and not have any issues. If you are with a tour group then you will be fine at a local hotel. It is only if you plan on staying in Aqaba on your own that you should consider an international resort hotel.
I had visited Aqaba with G Adventures while touring Jordan. They had set up a relaxing day on a private yacht with a BBQ lunch and snorkeling. I even got to drive the yacht for awhile, it was an amazing experience and hence the reason for my return
— Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt —
The sea side town of Sharm El-Sheikh was unlike any other city that I had come across while in Egypt, and it was remarkable. It was clean and spread out with beautiful resorts, and great water recreational spots. For my review and photo journal of Sharm El-Sheikh, please visit – SHARM EL-SHEIKH | EGYPT’S REMARKABLE RESORT TOWN
I had visited two towns along the Red Sea, small Dahab and the larger Sharm El-Sheikh. Both were very different from each other, but each visitor friendly and accommodating. If you are planning on visiting the Red Sea, I would suggest seeing it from Egypt first, just to get your feet wet.
On my visit to Sharm El-Sheikh, I had taken a day boat tour along the Red Sea. There are plenty of tours that will take you for a scuba adventure, and you can book online or at your hotel. I booked my trip online through Viator, and felt I had chosen the coolest one.
Our boat stood out amongst all the others, and looked like an old pirate’s ship. It was large, comfortable, and very fun. Plus the international cuisine lunch buffet they served on board had many delicious options.
Cruising along the Red Sea was just as beautiful and relaxing as I remembered it. Although I skipped on the snorkeling just so I could lay out on deck and eat ice cream, I very much enjoyed my day. At one point, I was placed in a net hammock and swung out over my beloved Red Sea!
If you are looking to snorkel, Ras Mohammed is the best place for it since it is a National Park in Egypt. That was my original destination for snorkeling, but my trip was canceled, and I opted for the day cruise on the Pirate ship. I still want to visit Ras Mohammed, and that will give me another excuse to return to the Red Sea.
— Dahab, Egypt —
Dahab, a former Bedouin Fishing village turned into a tourist destination, is very different from Sharm el-Sheikh. This backpacker casual town is popular with those who want a low-key vibe, and are more seriously interested in water recreation sports, like wind-surfing. It is charming, friendly, and a relaxing town.
If you are looking for a delicious and casual place to eat that serves alcohol, I recomend Kwanza Restaurant & Café. It is located along the shopping district and is an open air restaurant. This place is very friendly with a relaxing vibe, and a gorgeous view of the Red Sea.
So, Jordan vs Egypt when it comes to visiting the Red Sea? It is hands down – EGYPT! Although I had a wonderful visit in Aqaba, I had a nicer time in both Sharm and Dahab. Mind you, this opinion is coming from a female American traveler, who tends to wander the world solo. I do feel that many Western travelers will agree with me on Egypt being the best of the two!
The world is big and I want to have a good look at it, before it gets dark …– John Muir
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