Alternative Christmas & New Year in yoga holiday in Egypt

“Spend Christmas and New Year in sunny Dahab, where as well as doing yoga you can scuba dive, snorkel or trek in the desert.”

Highlights

Stay in a beachfront hotel with views of the Red Sea | practice yoga with highly qualified instructors | optional massage, Reiki sessions and beauty treatment | optional excursions including desert safaris and sea kayaking | diving and snorkelling available

Description of Alternative Christmas & New Year in yoga holiday in Egypt

On this alternative Christmas and New Year yoga holiday, you’ll head to Dahab, Egypt, where, as well as learning, or brushing up on your yoga practice, you can also dive or snorkel in the Red Sea, hike up Mount Sinai, explore the desert by camel, jeep or on foot, or just relax by the pool and have a massage. This holiday is also great for singles - it’s easy to meet people and Dahab is a safe place for solo female travellers.

Formerly a Bedouin fishing village, Dahab, meaning “Gold” in Arabic, sits on the Sinai Peninsula’s south east coast. It has a huge amount to offer tourists, from coral reefs bursting with life to gorgeous beaches to a waterfront filled with lively restaurants and cafes. And surrounding the town are vast expanses of desert and mountains. It’s warm throughout the year, and the relaxed atmosphere makes it an ideal location for a yoga holiday.

Your accommodation:
The Dahab yoga holidays take place in a charming well established hotel situated on a quiet beachfront a short distance north of Dahab's Asallah village. The hotel is a small and friendly with simple but comfortable rooms.

All rooms have A/C with either a balcony or terrace, en-suite and either sea or mountain views. Sunra Yoga is now delighted to offer the addition of three stunning superior rooms. The swimming pool has the best poolside views in Dahab, from where you can see the whole bay, the stunning scenic mountains behind you and Saudi Arabia in the distance in front of you.

The hotel has a magnificent custom built yoga room making your yoga practice special & inspirational. It is built into the foot of the mountain in the grounds of the hotel giving it a cave like ambiance, which is perfect for yoga practice considering yogis have been meditating in caves since yoga started over 4,000 years ago.

Daily brunch is included in the price. There is a restaurant serving a reasonably priced and wide range of middle eastern and European dishes, vegetarians & vegans are well catered for.

There are many restaurants in Dahab with every cuisine imaginable served, from falafels to hummus, barbecue grilled fish and meats, fresh pasta to sushi. The prices are very reasonable and you will be recommended to the best places.

This holiday works well as a taster for yoga newbies, but also provides old hands with a chance to develop their skills further. Classes are based on the gentle Sivananda style, which focuses on breath, stretching and meditation. They’ll revitalise and de-toxify your mind, body and spirit, as well as clean your lungs and strengthen your heart.

There are two Sivananda yoga classes per day, each lasting 90 minutes with one free day per week. Sivananda is a soft, gentle style of Hatha yoga. Each class incorporates pranayama, asanas, stretching, and meditation and is tailored to the individual needs of each student. We have highly qualified professionals to take care of you, and people have been known to change their lifestyle considerably after spending just one week with us.

Daily Schedule:
Day 1 - Arrival, meet & greet
Day 2 - 08:00 Yoga class, 9:45 Brunch. Introduction to holiday & Dahab. Free time. Relax by the pool, have a treatment, swim in the sea or participate in one of Dahab's many water/land based activities. 17:00 Yoga class, Meditation & Chanting
Day 3 - 08:00 Yoga class, 9:45 Brunch. Free time. 17:00 Yoga class
Day 4 - 08.00 Yoga class, 9.45 Brunch, 10.45 Optional trip to Three Pools. 17.00 Yoga Class
Day 5 - Free day, no classes
Day 6 - 08.00am Yoga class, 9:45 Brunch. Free time. 17:00 Yoga class. Optional Desert Dinner/Meditation (minimum 4 people)
Day 7 - 08.00am Yoga class, 9:45 Brunch. Free time. 17:00 Yoga class
Day 8 - 08:00 Yoga class, Brunch and departure
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Please note that Christmas Day & New Year's Day will be the scheduled days off.

Optional activities:
These include diving, snorkelling, riding a horse or a camel, wind or kite surfing, sea kayaking, hiking in the mountains or visiting Moses Mount at Mount Sinai. You could also go on an excursion into the desert with a Bedouin guide. The Bedouin have a very similar lifestyle to that of yogis, and it’s an enriching experience to spend time with them and get an insight into the way they have lived for hundreds of years.

Treatments:
Apart from the yoga, you can also book a full body massage, a perfect compliment to yoga!

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Check dates

2019: 20 Dec, 21 Dec, 22 Dec, 23 Dec, 24 Dec, 25 Dec, 26 Dec, 27 Dec, 28 Dec, 29 Dec, 30 Dec, 31 Dec
2020: 1 Jan, 2 Jan, 3 Jan, 4 Jan
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Responsible tourism

Alternative Christmas & New Year in yoga holiday in Egypt

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

The hotel where our guests stay is Egyptian owned. The most important difference we make is in the intention and ability we have to cooperate and learn from our hosts. Cultural exchange and respect is fundamental to our program as yoga is a spiritual and moral exercise for the wellbeing of all. We give what is lacking in most mass tourist activities—ie. an aid for travellers to get to know the culture in which they are visiting in a down to earth and real way. We pay our workers fairly and encourage travellers to follow the protocol for a Muslim, tribal culture.

Within the Hotel we have a system of waste disposal. Waste is separated into food waste, plastic waste & non recycle waste. Food waste is collected by local Bedouin women to feed their livestock, goats, sheep and camels. Plastic waste is also collected by an entity who then sells onto a recycling plant in mainland Egypt. Other waste is collected by local authorities and disposed of.

Energy: All our lightening uses energy saving bulbs and local government have recently installed solar powered lampposts along the streets. Guests are advised to limit AC use and hot water heaters, to only when they need it and for limited times. Housekeeping staff are briefed to switch off all AC’s & water heaters when guests are out of the room.

Travelling with respect: The hotel is locally owned by a Bedouin Sheikh and his family, built on lands belonging to their ancestors. Lease fees are introduced directly into the local community and distributed between family members. By avoiding major hotel chains whose profits disappear out of the country, opting for locally owned hotels for your holiday ensures that the money you pay benefits the local economy.

We are proud to state that the vast majority of our staff are local, originating from the mainland Egypt or the Sinai Peninsula. We provide in-house training to all new members of staff, encouraging inexperienced locals by offering an opportunity to start a career in the hospitality or dive industry.

The local Bedouin culture is still predominant in Dahab and within the hotel. Our Bedouin tent has a constant source of Bedouin tea on the fire and it a welcoming area for guests to meet the locals. The aesthetics of the Hotel and grounds are in harmony with the surrounding nature and with locally inspired decoration, keeping rooms simple and serve local cuisine to ensure that guests really get a feel for “Dahab” when they stay with us.

Community

We know where to find all things local and we support/ recommend our neighbours, spreading tourism income to those most in need. All day trips are organised by locals as they have the best knowledge of the desert and surrounding areas. All the restaurants we recommend are run and owned by either Bedouin or Egyptians, the choice is huge and varied.

We offer local people good working conditions, a fair wage, and empower them with training opportunities. We have been working with many of these employees for years and have an excellent working relationship with them

We work to create good relationships between tourists and the local community and have taught them how to engage & give the best service to our Western guests. We teach our guests some basic Arabic on arrival and just a simple hello and goodbye to the locals is greeted with the biggest smile.

5 Reviews of Alternative Christmas & New Year in yoga holiday in Egypt

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Reviewed on 13 Dec 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Being in a relaxed and friendly place.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go diving as well as doing yoga. Make the most of the beautiful location by taking trips to the Sinai Mountains and St Catherine's Monastery.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, many people benefitted locally from the environmentally friendly hotel and tourism trade.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic experience!

Reviewed on 31 May 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Hike to Bedouin Village - I arranged locally outside of the tour operator trip.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If enjoy flow yoga and do regularly do not chose this yoga trip - do not do desert trip - takes you within walking distance of hotel, not 'desert' !

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


No.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Hotel - basic as advertised, but clean & good service generally. Yoga - not great experience, prefer flow yoga - great for absolute beginners, felt add on trips where rip off & would have missed out on sessions if not attended trips.

Read the operator's response here:

I always recommend people to do the Bedouin village trip and am happy to point them in the direction of people who can take them.

The main purpose of the desert trip is not to "see" the desert as we go at night but to Meditate in the supreme silence of the desert which is what we do and then to have dinner cooked by local Bedouin in their traditional style.

The holiday benefits local people hugely. As previously mentioned the desert meditation/dinner is totally run by local Bedouin. We employ locals for all our transportation needs, excursions and the hotel is owned by local Bedouin. Most of the employees at the hotel are locals.

If someone doesn't want to come on a trip we still offer them their scheduled class.

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Dahab is a beautiful place and provides plenty of opportunities for activities, whether in the desert or by the beach. The people in the group were great and we made some great friends during the week.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


n/a

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Not too highly, unfortunately. As a single traveller, the price of the yoga package is fair. But as two persons travelling together, we effectively paid twice the amount for our room. The room was extremely basic (which we expected - the description of the room was "simple but comfortable") but also dirty and dingy (the room had not been thoroughly cleaned in a while - bathroom floor was dirty, shelves were dusty; the shower was old and rusting; the mosquito grid over the window was hanging off; sheets were washed but old and stained; the room was lacking even the most basic amenities like hooks to hang wet clothes). If we had booked the hotel without the yoga package, we would have paid EUR42 for our Double Mountain View A/C. But having both paid the same price for the yoga package, we effectively paid the equivalent of EUR94 for this room. I need to emphasise that the hotel location, gardens, pool, yoga room and especially the staff are wonderful. So we were surprised and disappointed at the standard of the room, considering the price we paid for it.
Due to the flexibility of the yoga package, new people arrive every day to join the course. In addition, outside people are able to drop in for classes. This means that the level of the classes does not progress. Sadly the main yoga instructor did also not encourage individual growth during the week, making the classes very rigid and rather adapting the level to the lowest common denominator than letting people choose their own level of practice. We were very lucky that there was a guest instructor teaching the afternoon classes while were there, from which we benefited far more.

Despite these disappointments, we enjoyed our holiday since Dahab is a beautiful place and the people made it a very fun week, both the local people and other people in the yoga classes. I would not, however, recommend this particular yoga package to other people. Several people from my yoga community in London (and from my mother's yoga community in Munich) were very interested to hear what it was like and I have had to tell them I do not recommend it.

Read the operator's response here:

I make a very special effort on first teaching a person to evaluate what I think they need to progress in their practise. I don't discuss it as it would take too long with a largish group such as yours, but it is none the less happening and you were in no way an exception. You may have heard me mention that the practise of hatha yoga is primarily to develop the mind, is for self enquiry, the physical benefits being secondary. Unfortunately in the west there tends to be far too much focus on the body therefore, in my opinion often missing the point. Had you voiced your grievances with me I would have been only too happy to discuss them and tried to give you what you wanted.

As for the room. Again, had you mentioned it to me I would have done my best to improve matters. Regarding the price, this includes over and above the room cost, your classes, transport to and from the airport, the cost of the yoga room hire, myself and the team organizing excursions etc for you and doing our best to give you an enjoyable holiday, hopefully meeting your needs. I am glad you liked Veena's classes and other things. Wishing you and your mother all the very best for the coming year.

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Getting fitter and healthier through some great yoga. Snorkelling over the coral reef at Dahab, making new friends, waking up in the morning to a view of the Red Sea and Saudi Arabia in the distance, relaxing and chilling out. Many good
memories!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Always wear sunscreen! Wash your hands after handling Egyptian money.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Definitely benefited local business owners and taxi drivers. But I was told by an ex-pat that the 'local' Bedouin are prohibited from working in the tourist industry and that many of the hotel workers were from the Nile Delta region. But generally yes the locals were very welcoming.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very very good : )

Reviewed on 31 Aug 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The hotel staff and locals were very friendly. I chose to learn to dive whilst there too which was fabulous!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Ensure women take and wear appropriate clothes (it is a Muslim country and bare chests, shoulders and legs will offend and promotes an unhealthy view of white women). It is NOT a yoga retreat as the hotel is not solely accommodating yoga. There is also a dive centre attached and also the pool is open to non-residents who bring their children with them! If you are after a true retreat this is not the place for you.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Not sure that it did benefit local people? It did not minimise impacts on the environment as we all drank bottles and bottles of mineral water as the local water is not safe to drink. Also, there are no local facilities for recycling - Egypt is certainly behind in this regard.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was good but not great. I wanted a quiet, peaceful retreat and to practice and improve my yoga. The yoga teacher was not one of the regular teachers I understand (check this before you book if you want Barbara or Monica as they take leave in July/August). He did not teach us but showed us how to do the postures but his eyes remained firmly shut for almost the entire class! Almost every class there was a posture that only he was doing whilst the rest of us opted out - he was totally oblivious! He encouraged us to do postures that are not suitable for beginners despite being told that one of our group was a beginner! When I said that I had a sore back from the previous day he told me that I should just push through it and carry on!! I said that I thought I hadn't done the posture properly and wanted him to check me and he replied that my soreness wasn't down to the yoga! (and never did check any of our postures). On the other hand, his meditation was fabulous - definitely his strong point.

I ended up doing my open Water Scuba Diving Course as it turned into that sort of holiday - a 'do it' rather than a relaxing one! I would not book this holiday again - it lacked any cohesion as no-one seemed to be running things from the yoga/hotel point of view. Not all the things indicated in the brochure are available - the Bedouin dinner ("there are not enough of you for that"), yoga on the beach ("no, it will only be in the yoga studio") and yoga under the stars (the teacher was not aware of this at all when he was asked).

Read the operator's response here:

Point 2: You should have received an info pack in advance which includes dress code.
Re accommodation - I see your point and this is why we call it a Yoga Holiday on the website and state that you will be staying in hotel. We also state in the info-pack that there is a dive centre attached. We do now offer a Yoga Retreat as a separate holiday in a different location. I'm sorry for any mis-understanding on this point. If there is something you think I should change/re-write in our advertising please let me know.
However, having run the holidays there for many years now, I have to say I find the yoga room extremely peaceful as I do the hotel in general which is why I have remained there.

Point 3: With both these issues I'd say there is a lot going on behind the scenes that you would not be aware of as a tourist on a week's holiday there. I would say it hugely benefits local people as it gives them work which they wouldn't otherwise have. The local people of Dahab depend on tourism for their livelihood. Us being there offers them work at the hotel, driving taxis, selling their wears, plus all the work the diving creates for locals. More and more Egyptians are becoming instructors and by law each dive centre has to employ a certain ratio of instructors. The issue of re-cycling is huge in Dahab and we (ex pats mainly) have been working very hard with the government to try and put re-cycling in place, it is just beginning to happen, but it is very difficult when you are up against people who don't see it as necessary.

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