United Arab Emirates
|Language:||Arabic, English widely spoken|
|Currency:||UAE dirham (AED)|
|Hitchability:||<rating country='ae' />|
|More info:||AVP Free Encyclopedia (Russian)|
|Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots|
|<map lat='24.3' lng='54.4' zoom='6' view='0' country='United Arab Emirates'/>|
The United Arab Emirates is a Middle Eastern federation of seven emirates (states), situated on the Arabian Gulf. It has land borders with Saudi Arabia in the south and Oman to the east, while Iran is across the Strait of Hormuz to the north. Its capital is Abu Dhabi, though the most prominent city is Dubai.
Common visa facility with Oman
UAE has a common visa facility with Oman, if you obtained your UAE visa in Dubai airport and it is still valid for at least 3 weeks; then you can get a 3-weeks free visa for Oman. It's only the countries mentioned on the Royal Oman Police - Directorates - Passport & Residence website site that are benefiting from this. What that website does not mention though, is that this is only possible if you go through the Hatta border. You still need the exit-stamp from UAE even though you want the 3-weeks free visa.
I grew up in Dubai and love it for its culture (which might surprise you). It's a mix of all the worlds cultures with an overall Arabian feel... and with history. Outside the city, there is pure Arabia to explore and I wish I could take you to all of it. Hitchhiking is super easy once out of the city, to the extent that I choose which cars to hitchhike. I will say that if you came this far, you must go to Oman as well - it's what you've come to see (and be sure to go all the way to Salalah).
- In Dubai, go to the Creek (Al Ras metro stop), this is where Dubai started as a port town. The traditional wooden dhows coming from Iran, Kuwait, India and Somalia still line the quayside. Definitely a cultural experience! Find the Spice Souk and breathe in the frankincense and spices. The Gold Souk nearby is worthwhile to see such a heap of gold in one place, then take an Abra ("Open" boat) across the Creek (1 Dirham/$0.27). Find an Indian restaurant hidden in an alley and get some cheap food (shawarma!! or biriyani etc) and a fruit smoothie or chai (also 1dhs).
- The Hajar Mountains in the east are full of oases (wadi), ask your drivers for a good wadi to camp/swim in. Some wadis are dry and barren, some are lush Edens.
- In the very north is an enclave of Oman called Musandam. This is one of my favourite places on Earth, an unknown gem of Arabian fjords. Get to Khasab and pay for a dhow cruise (~150 Dhs, w/ lunch), that will take you into the fjords. You always see dolphins, and they'll probably ride the bow wave. The fjords are peaceful and you'll stop for a swim.
- 3 hours south of Dubai is the epic desert of Liwa, near the Saudi border and the start of the Empty Quarter [closer to Dubai, the desert of Badayer is beautiful]. Huge dunes. Bring water. It's quite quiet but even just a drive through here will be a lasting memory. Hopefully you'll find someone to take you off-road. If this tickles your fancy, the Wahiba Sands in Oman are also epic, and more cultural. Make your way to Falaj Al Mashayikh, NW of Jalan Bani Bu Hassan. This is a Bedouin village and any ride here will likely result in you being welcomed to their Majalis, and inshallah, a desert drive too. Wadi Bani Khalid starting ~30km N of here is another gem, follow the road through the mountain oasis.
Update: I see others are curious about the ferry from Bandar Abbas to Sharjah. I took this route completing my journey from the UK to the UAE. Originally I wanted to hitchhike a dhow, but the port I went to had security gates preventing me from reaching the dhows (Bandar Lengeh - "Dhow Port"!) [this isn't the case in Dubai or Sharjah]. I could have persevered by trying another port, but with home so close and the ferry leaving that day, I took it. I didn't have enough cash left for the ticket, so they agreed to take my passport as collateral and in Sharjah the friendly police escorted me to the ATM, I bought back my passport from the captain and they fast tracked me through security. Ferry took 13 hours, through the night. Not much to report except that it is possible. I don't know how reliable the schedule is. PS. Iran is an incredible country, the friendliest I've been to. Please see for yourself :)
- I have no experiences with hitchhiking long distances in the UAE as I got a lift directly from somewhere in Oman to Dubai. However, it seemed to me that there are enough half empty cars and people that drive for fun. In Dubai itself I did get some rides from Asian foreigners when I tried to get rides at traffic lights, however, in quite some cases I left cars quite often again at the next traffic light as they suddenly seemed to function as a taxi. North of Dubai in Sharjah leaves the ferry to Bandar Abbas, Iran. I am curious if somebody has experiences in hitchhiking a boat there.
- I hitchhiked from Dubai to Muscat, Oman and some days later back to Dubai Airport. It was very easy to get back to Dubai, but leaving Dubai was quite hard. After spending hours in Dubai I took a cab into the desert (for about 10 US$) and then tried hitchhiking along the highway towards Oman. Most people that stopped wanted some money and all those who did not want money dropped me off at the next bus station. In Oman it was easier, but I was still dropped off at bus stations all the time. I got my entire three day stay organized by some people that gave me rides and they offered me everything from food, place to sleep and tourist tours. Hitchhiking in Oman is the best way to meet locals.
- I'm also curious if somebody made it with the ferry from Iran to Sharjah (or the other way around). I tried it, but the ferry was almost a week delayed (and twice as expensive for Europeans), so I had to fly to Dubai since my Iranian visa was about to expire.
- In January 2012 I spent about a week in Dubai before I hitched into Oman. I successfully managed to hitchhike inside the city. Especially the people from India and Pakistan was very happy to help me. The big E11 highway inside Dubai city would be insane to try and hitchhike on though, unless you find a good on-ramp. Combining the (quite cheap) metro and hitchhiking worked pretty well in the city. I also found it very easy to hitchhike to Oman, I never waited more than 10 minutes, usually one of the first cars passing by picked me up. Only 1 guy asked how much I would pay. But as Felix writes, you might want to get a taxi out of the city center. I stayed with a host outside the center, so I managed without a taxi. --Jakobwithk 10:12, 16 January 2012 (CET)
- Just hitching rides: A journey from Eid to Christmas, abgefahren Blogs (article partly based on)