Sometimes, life in DXB errs on the side of full-on, so it’s nice to get away for a reality check. And nothing says “reality” quite like driving for three hours into an expanse of sandy nothingness. So, in this post, we pack an overnight bag, get a kick-arse playlist ready and head for the dunes of the Empty Quarter, AKA Rub’ Al Khali, AKA the Abode of Silence. ROAD TRIP!
Whatever name you want to call it, Rub’ Al Khali is the largest uninterrupted expanse of sand in the world. It covers parts of the UAE, Oman, Yemen and Saudi. In short, this desert ain’t messing around. Apart from major bragging rights, here are some other reasons why you should go:
It has damn good sand dune game.
Real talk: a sandy desert bigger than Texas or France is bound to have its fair share of killer dunes. We regret not packing a giant piece of cardboard with us.
You’ll see some pretty interesting places along the way.
Driving out of Abu Dhabi – after a quick pit-stop at the World’s Most Expensive Garage – you’ll eventually reach the Liwa Oasis, a 100-kilometre green belt that borders the edge of the Empty Quarter. It’s home to some 50 Bedouin villages, a heap of date palms and an odd number of hitchhikers.
A little luxury ain’t hard to find.
Qasr al Sarab translates to the ‘palace of the mirage’, but, thankfully, isn’t an optical illusion. It’s a resort housed in several sandcastle-like buildings and has a gift shop that sells camel milk chocolate. There’s nothing like chilling out by the main pool with nothing but sun above and dunes ahead.
Get up early and be rewarded with one of the best sunrises you’ll ever see – and, if you’re lucky – encounters with Arabian gazelle. Not a morning person? The sunsets are equally as stunning, where you can watch the sky fade to black as you stare at the stars and do a little Dawson’s Creek-style philosophising about your place on this crazy blue marble and why Joey chose Pacey over Dawson. Srsly, just look at these views:
And not an Insta filter in sight. #blessed