My parents and I needed some time to unwind and thought of visiting Dubai by land. I immediately went to my laptop and made a quick itinerary. I have been to Dubai before when I was in high school together with my family and we visited by land. So this was our second long drive to UAE. I couldn’t be more excited!
The distance from our town Al-Khobar to Abu Dhabi, UAE, is around 784km and travel time is around 7 hours. Don’t forget to prepare your road trip playlist! I always use spotify and it definitely made our scenic road trip more enjoyable. Here are some of the unique landscapes I was able to capture.
Crossing the Border
Just in case we have readers from Saudi Arabia who’s interested to visit Abu Dhabi or Dubai by road, here’s a quick run up of the things we encountered while crossing the border.
Note: Prior this trip, we have secured our Dubai 14 day visit visa which was processed by Seat Holidays. Seat Holidays is a Dubai based travel agent that our family has been relying to every time we visit Dubai. Visit visas are issued within 24 hours. In our experience, our visas were issued within 1 hour after application. Application can be done through e-mail. If you’d like to receive the same quality of service as we did, look for Stephanie.
Exiting Saudi Arabia
- First booth – The officer gave us a small ticket for the car registration.
- Second booth – Our passports were collected and stamped (Exit Saudi Arabia)
- Third booth – Verification. An officer agan collected our passports to verify if our passports have been stamped.
This was all done without going out of the car and took around 2 minutes per both. After driving around 500 meters, flags of UAE we’re on the posts and we saw a signage that says “Welcome to the United Arab Emirates”.
Entering UAE Border
- First booth – the officer asked us to park our car on the side. We went inside the building and gave our passports to one of the counters for checking. After they gave us back our passports, we went to the eye scanning room. After scanning the eyes, they stamped our visa.
- Second booth – we are asked again to go down the car. The car was inspected by the officer and women were asked to go through Women’s Inspection room. A nice Emirati woman opened our bags for a thorough inspection. She even opened our wallets and made sure she checked every corner of the bag. I was actually quite embarassed on how messy my bag was! I had toothpicks and small bills scattered everywhere. After this, she looked for the car registration and signed it.
- Third booth – payment for car insurance. Cars cost 200 AED.
- Fourth booth – Verification of all documents.
We are officially in United Arab Emirates! Now where’s the nearest gas station? I need food.
We had one stopover before exiting Saudi Arabia and another one after entering UAE border. Make sure to have your bags filled with snacks and drinks as the first gas station after UAE border is around 2 hours. You can check the google maps for gas stations along the road and plan your stop overs so that you could meet your expected time of arrival just in case you’re tight on schedule. Toilets in Saudi Arabia gas stations were unmaintained and there are actually NO toilet bowls. You have to do it in an old fashioned way. Squat in a hole and pray your pee goes to where it should be. This was probably the most challenging part during this road trip and every successful toilet break was an achievement.
Road Conditions & Speed Limit
There was a short road construction ongoing in UAE but everything has proper signs. Be careful also with radars since there are alot. In UAE, they have complete signages when you can go for 120kph or 140kph.
Road trip to Dubai can be long, tiring and sometimes thrilling since you’re surrounded by desert and gas stations are very far from each other but it’s an experience that definitely feeds a wanderlust’s soul. We arrived at night and went straight ahead to check in to our hotel which I will make a review soon. Then we had a good night’s sleep çause the next day’s going to be filled with so much exploring around Dubai. Stay tuned!