There’s no city like Cairo. No city where the sugar cane juice is always on tap. Where Shawma, Koshary, Fried Cheese Sandwich’s and Pigeon can be bought on nearly every corner. Where the beats blast so loud from speakers jerry rigged to scooters that the reverberations shake ones inner ear to a blissful nausea.
It’s a city that is content in its craziness. It moves twice as fast as New York. It is polluted with the smoke of burning waste, and full of reckless driving. It has a glorious history, and if you know Mahmoud, Moustafa, Ahmed, and Mohamed then you know just about everyone. And it’s because of these things, the chaos that is somehow comfortable, that I keep coming back.
During my most recent trip to Cairo, I found my home away from home. That being, the coolest hostel in Cairo and perhaps the coolest hostel in the world. Unlike the countless other hostels I visited around the city, this hostel was completely bed bug free, and thus got an automatic 3 stars from me. And so, when I venture back to Cairo tomorrow, I am definitely staying there again.
This Runaway Retreat is Dahab Hostel.
In terms of being in the middle of the action, and getting your food fix, few can compete with Dahab’s location. It is ideally located in the heart of Cairo in Talaat Harb. It’s just a few blocks from the Egyptian Museum as well as the infamous Tahrir square of the January 25th protests. So, once you’ve worked up an appetite museum hopping or throwing rocks at police, just take a short walk through the alleys to Felfela, a popular food joint that serves up everything from Foul and egg falafels to hamburgers. But if Koshary is your craving, Abu Tareks famous Koshary is just a few blocks away.
Another huge draw of this hostel and one of the main reasons why I love it so much is its rooftop setting. It is high up on the 8th floor and commands a panoramic view of the city. From here, you can enjoy the skyline, the Nile river, and the protests from a safe distance. The constant breeze helps keep the noise and air pollution to tolerable level as well.
Dahab Hostel is equipped with fairly decent wifi. Although it works in most rooms, it is often very slow, so it’s best to bring your laptop out to the extensive common area. The roof top commons is so big that there are plenty of nooks to be alone if you need your privacy. Although the rooms are on the small side they are comfortable and clean. All rooms have windows, some bigger than others, and most beds are in good condition. If you are traveling alone, like I usually am, there are many cheap single rooms. In terms of hygiene, the hostel has 6 showers, 3 hot and 3 cold, and 6 much needed poopers.
Mahmoud # 1, Mahmoud # 2 and Ali are some of the best hostel staff I have ever met. They hook you up with whatever you need, always lend an ear, and rarely try to sell you stuff (and when they do, they tell you how much commission they are going to make).
During the high season, a single room goes for 8$, while a twin goes for 10$. During the low season, it is around 30% less. Although it is not the cheapest hostel in Cairo, for the quality it is the best deal around. This makes it ideal for the long term budget backpacker or expat. Check out this article on how much things cost in Cairo if you’re interested.
-The hot water holding tank is small and so getting hot water is a rarity. It’s best to take a shower during the day when it’s hot out.
-The internet can be quite dodgy, especially at the end of the month for some reason.
-The elevator often gets stuck on a floor when people forget to close the door, so you often have to walk the 8 flights.
If you’re going to Cairo, this is the place. Approved, stamped, sealed, and signed by The Runaway Guide. Just to let you know, no one got paid for this plug, I just really love this hostel and have a feeling you backpackers and runaways will too. For more info on how to get to Cairo and backpacking in Egypt in general be sure to check out Run Away To Egypt.