Taba – one of the best resorts in Egypt.

Taba Resort in Egypt.

The Egyptian resort of Taba raises the most doubts among Russian tourists. Every second negative review of the hotels in Taba begins with the words: “We drove from the airport 4 hours, very tedious” or similar expressions. Indeed, this resort has its bright “pros” and “cons”. In this article we will analyze them all in detail.

Warning. As of mid-September 2021, due to the pandemic coronavirus, land border crossing in the Taba Eilat area is temporarily closed to tourists. More precisely, it is only partially open to Israelis.

The basic idea of the resort of Taba

The city of Taba is located in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula directly on the border with Israel (see map of Egypt with resorts).

Map of the resort and surroundings

Just 13 kilometers northeast is the resort of Eilat, but it is already in Israeli territory. Fifteen kilometers across the Strait is the city of Aqaba in Jordanian territory. Also across the strait is the town of Haql, and that is Saudi Arabia (see map to the right, click to enlarge).

From this good location comes the only big “plus” of the resort of Taba. From here it is most convenient to go on trips to Israel and Jordan. Tourists go to Jordan to see the city of Petra (see photo). In Israel, the popular destinations are Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.

In 1969, during the “Six Day War,” the entire Sinai Peninsula was occupied by Israel, but by 1982 the Israelis had returned Sinai to the Egyptians. This applied to the entire peninsula, with the exception of the city of Taba. Israel did not want to give it back, and it was only in 1989, by decision of an international commission, that Taba was returned to Egypt.

Taba never became a fully Egyptian city, and the dependence on the neighboring city of Eilat remained. Electricity and water here still come from Israel, which, by the way, increases the cost of recreation at this resort.

Features of the resort of Taba

The first thing most tourists complain about is the meager food at local hotels. There is nothing surprising about this, because there is no food grown in Taba.

If you look at the photos of landscapes of Sinai Peninsula on the left, you will not see fields of wheat or flood meadows. Sinai is an almost lifeless desert.

All agriculture in Egypt is concentrated in the valley of the Nile River, and food is brought from the valley to the resorts of the Sinai Peninsula. Taba is further from the river than any other resort in Egypt, and the problems of food here are more acute than in Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab or Nuweiba.

Another feature. Taba has its own international airport, but flights from Russia do not fly here and never did. Tourists have to travel by bus from Sharm el-Sheikh 220 kilometers about 3 hours. Given that the bus takes tourists to hotels closer resorts Dahab and Nuweib, the journey takes up to 4 hours or even longer. Looking around during this trip is boring, you will only get scenery like in the photo on the left.

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However, the airport is still useful for Russian tourists. First, there is a Duty Free store. Recall that imported alcohol in Egypt you can buy only in these stores, only once, only within 48 hours of arrival. If you forgot to do it in Sharm el-Sheikh, then in Taba you can take advantage of this opportunity.

Secondly, if you want to go on a tour to Cairo or Alexandria, it is better to buy a tour with a flight on local airlines. It takes 40 minutes to fly to Cairo and 6 hours by bus, feel the difference. Most importantly, don’t forget that you’ll need a full Egyptian visa to travel to Cairo, not a “Sinai stamp”.

One of the hotels in Taba

The second thing tourists complain about is the almost total lack of entertainment at the resort of Taba. There are no discos, there is almost no animation in the hotels. The reason for this is simple – the resort is adapted as a “reference point” for excursions to Israel or Jordan.

Travel agents use for such resorts the phrase: “A place for a quiet family vacation. Apparently, they mean that if you die of boredom, then immediately the whole family.

There are no water parks and or rides here. There is nothing to do at the resort Taba with children. Local travel agencies offer to go for entertainment in Sharm el-Sheikh, but is there a sense to go 3 hours by bus for an Egyptian water park or a disco?

There is only one local tourist attraction in Taba. Here is the island of Pharaoh, and on it the fortress of Saladin. You can also go on the usual excursions in Sinai, but about that later.

Hotels and Rates

At the time this review was updated (April 2021), there are 20 hotels in Taba. Only one “Helnan Taba Bay” is classified 3 stars, the rest are 8 “fours” and 11 “fives”.

Hotel building

Taba resort is developing very slowly, due to restrictions on utilities from neighboring Israel. Neighboring Israel’s Eilat is several times larger than Taba and there are more than 50 hotels.

Prices for holidays at the resort of Taba is quite high. If you compare with the cost of travel to Sharm el-Sheikh, the tours in Taba are 25-50% more expensive. It affects a large distance, as a consequence, expensive transfers. High prices for food, water and energy also contribute to an increase in the cost of tours.

The conclusion is obvious.

You should go to Taba only if you have planned a tour to Israel or Jordan. If you’re interested in a beach vacation and entertainment, there are many more interesting resorts in Egypt.

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What to see and do

Taba has its own historical landmark and one unique attraction for tourists. The attraction is called the Salt Cave. This cave is built artificially from the salts of the Dead Sea. If you do not want to go to Israel at the Dead Sea, or if you have no money for this excursion, the salt cave will serve as a good substitute. It is believed that being inside the cave is very good for health and cures many different diseases.

Saladin's Fortress on Pharaoh's Island

A historical attraction is “Pharaoh’s Island” and “Saladin’s Fortress”. See the photo on the right.

This fortress has been standing here for a long time. Guidebooks indicate that the first fortifications here were built by the Phoenicians, which is quite plausible. The current version of the fortress was built by the Crusader knights in the 12th century. In those days it was the southern border of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

In the 13th century, Taba was conquered by Egyptian troops, and later Jerusalem was taken. The Egyptian Arabs were then led by Sultan Saladin, better known to us as Saladin. The fortress is named after him.

An excursion here includes a boat ride to the island, a tour of the fortress and the local museum, and some snorkeling and snorkeling time. The cost of the tour is $50.

Between Taba and Nuweiba is the “Zaman Castle” (see photo). It is not an ancient structure, but a modern construction, which was specially erected here for tourists. This place functions as a restaurant with a swimming pool and souvenir store.

An interesting place near Taba is “Colored Canyon”. It is closer to the resort of Nuweiba than Taba. The length of the canyon is about 5 kilometers.

European tourists are perplexed as to why it is called “colored. We are used to really different colors – blue, green, purple. Here almost all the surroundings are sandy in color, but with many shades of different rocks of stone.

The place is beautiful, but most tourists expect something more. This is the second most popular excursion in Taba. See photos in the small gallery to the left.

Tourists go here by bus, but the last part of the distance to the canyon is done by jeep. The canyon itself is hiked. A simple bus ride and tour of the canyon costs about $50. At the end of the hike you will visit the oasis and have a chat with the Bedouins. For added safety, tourists are accompanied by a jolly guy like this (see photo).

During the summer months, dolphins come to the Taba area, which becomes another attraction for tourists. Whale sharks also show up here, but not every year. Their appearance depends heavily on the weather conditions. Recall that whale sharks feed on plankton and are not a threat to humans.

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If you love diving and whale sharks come here, then consider yourself lucky, quickly take your scuba gear and dive in. Such a chance may come once in a lifetime.

The resort of Taba is a golf course, which is popular with tourists from Europe, but the Russians are not in demand. In promotional leaflets like to mention the fact that Taba has a casino. Gambling business in Egypt is not limited in any way, and there are casinos in many cities, including Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.

Road to Taba resort from Sharm el Sheikh

Many tourists cross the border and visit the neighboring Israeli resort of Eilat. There are more stores and shopping is more interesting. In Eilat there is an oceanarium “Underwater Observatory”, an amusement park, an exhibition of ice sculptures, a botanical garden and a theme park “King `s City”.

To be honest, compared to the resort Eilat, Egyptian Taba looks pale, if not more. Go back does not even want to go back.

Russians can visit Israel without a visa, but to cross the border in the area is charged 107 Israeli shekels there and 400 Egyptian pounds back.

Another popular excursion is a trip to the monastery of St. Catherine and Mount Moses, such trips are arranged from all the resorts of the Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt’s most explosive resort.

Explosions in Egypt are periodically rumbling, but Taba in this respect is unique. There have been two major terrorist attacks.

Bus after attack

In 2004, on October 7, there was an explosion in the local Hilton Hotel. Thirty-four people were killed.

In 2014, there was another explosion at the border crossing with Israel when a group of tourists from South Korea were here. This time 2 people were killed and 14 were injured.

There is nothing surprising in such a sad statistic. Israel is next door, where they are used to explosions, no matter how awful the phrase may sound.

However, we should not consider Tabu a “hot spot”. For example, in Sharm el-Sheikh there was only one terrorist attack in 2005, but three bombs exploded simultaneously, killing 88 people. According to the number of attacks Taba is indeed a record holder, but in terms of victims this resort is by no means in first place.

It is important and useful to know

– The list of troubles that can happen in Taba is exactly the same as in other resorts. Read our articles “Deceptions of tourists in Egypt” and “What is not allowed in Egypt;

– In Taba everywhere accept dollars and euros, even to change money here is not necessary. However, if you’re going on excursions or traveling by yourself somewhere, you may need Egyptian pounds. Read our review “Money Exchange in Egypt.

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Have a great holiday in Egypt, and read our articles about the country (links below).

Taba – one of the best resorts in Egypt.

Egypt. About this country from ancient times we know a lot of very interesting facts. For example, many people know that the country is located in the northeastern part of Africa, occupying at the same time the Sinai Peninsula, which is located in Asia. Most of the territory of the country – the sun-burned deserts, which are occasionally colored with blooming oases. In addition to the deserts, Egypt is famous for the fact that it is washed from the east of the Red Sea. The length of this sea from north to south is more than 1,000 kilometers. Unlike other seas, because of the ring of deserts surrounding it, no river flows into the Red Sea, so its water is special. It is quite clear and its warmth is preserved as in winter and summer. On the coast of the sea built beautiful resorts, which will be discussed below.

Taba - one of the best resorts in Egypt - Photo 2

Taba – one of the best resorts in Egypt.

To date, Egypt is known to most travelers as a welcoming country. In this regard, the resort industry in Egypt is growing every year, improving conditions for vacationers. Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada – all these tourist centers of Egypt are known around the world, and popular hotel brands have already managed to build a number of their hotels in this hospitable country. The most famous of them are Hyatt, Marriott, Sofitel, Radisson SAS. As it was noted, the recreation industry is developing broadly every year.

Taba - one of the best resorts in Egypt - Photo 3

Taba – one of the best resorts in Egypt.

More recently, construction began on a chain of hotels on the southeastern coast of the Sinai Peninsula. The main part of a network of hotels is a resort complex Taba. I must say, this area is not chosen for nothing. Taba has a small airport and sandy beaches next to the built hotels. The place for recreation is fenced on the one hand with mountainous terrain, and on the other – the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba. Currently built and operated the following hotels: Marriott Beach Resort Taba, Radisson SAS Resort Taba, Sofitel Taba Heights, Sol Y. Thanks to these hotels many tourists from all over the world can plan long term vacations. There are different kinds of recreation and entertainment for the masses of tourists.

A must-see in Taba

Taba - one of the best resorts in Egypt - Photo 4

A must-see in Taba

Lovers of exploring the underwater world will love the waters of the Red Sea. There you can fully engage in diving and snorkeling. In the waters of Taba the underwater world is beautiful and diverse. Being newly founded, it has its own advantages. For example, coral reefs are close to the shore, and on the sands of the shore you can safely walk without specially designed shoes. Another place for lovers of underwater research can be the island of Pharaoh. This is where the coral reef is located. Anyone wishing to get acquainted with it, as well as with the island itself can do it by making a trip to the island of Pharaoh on a boat with other tourists. Such trips occur regularly. The island itself is very beautiful. It is surrounded by steep shores and there is a guard post, which was built during the time of the pharaohs. Nowadays, the outpost exists as a museum that reminds you of Egypt’s past.

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Light and music performances

Taba - one of the best resorts in Egypt - Photo 5

Light and music performances

In the evenings, there are light and music performances on Pharaoh’s Island. At this moment, the walls of the current museum glow with a variety of lights, which makes the former fortress unusual against the backdrop of nature and the Gulf of Aqaba. Because of the not-so-broad size of the bay, the lights of Ireland and Israel are visible at night.

St. Catherine Monastery

Taba - one of the best resorts in Egypt - Photo 6

St. Catherine Monastery

Those who do not like underwater adventures can explore the Monastery of St. Catherine, located on the Sinai Peninsula. Built in the sixth century, the monastery has never been destroyed in the history of mankind, which seems surprising. History says that the Prophet Muhammad commanded the local Muslims to guard and protect the building. Moreover, at his command, it is exempt from paying taxes. Near the monastery grows a mythical blackthorn, which for 3.5 thousand years has never withered. The monastery itself belongs to the Orthodox community.

Taba - one of the best resorts in Egypt - photo 7

St. Catherine Monastery

However, the main feature of the resort built in the village of Taba is close proximity to Israel and Jordan . Many tourists visiting Egypt wish to travel to these countries, in order to visit their attractions. Travelling from Taba to these countries will be much cheaper and reduce the necessary time of the trip. Thus, the trip will not spoil your mood and will not be a burden. Taba village has become another one of Egypt’s great places for recreation and travel tourists from many countries. Its nature, historical sites each year beckons more and more people to visit. In addition to the resort Taba will be a good helper to save time and money tourists traveling to Israel or Jordan. As mentioned, they also have their own attractions. A visit to Taba, the tourist is not only a good rest, but also get a lot of impressions that are not forgotten.

Taba - one of the best resorts in Egypt - Photo 8

St. Catherine Monastery

So welcome to another resort corner of Egypt, where you can well and profitably spend your days of rest.

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