United Arab Emirates


January 5th 2012: Sharjah – Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 5th 2012: 90km (60 miles)

Driven distance total: 29’570km (18’370 miles)

We unfortunately woke up in the car a little bit early on the ferry, also due to the fact, that the engine room wasn’t too far away.

We felt a bit dizzy from the shaking on the ship and we were happy when we finally arrived. All in all it took us more then 3 hours until finally everything was done. Of course we had to go from office to office, back and forth and so on.. And how could it be different, we also had to spent quite some money. We had to pay not as expected 600$, but 697$. Additionally we paid 55$ for some port and document fees. At least we got lucky with the “physical search” of the car, which took about 2 minutes. The main reason for this was the customs person who searched our car. He was still very drunk from the night before. He was barely able to keep standing on his feet, lucky us J.

The port of Sharjah, where we arrived, lies only about half an hour away from Dubai, so we went immediately in direction Dubai. Since we have seen great commercials along the road from McDonalds, we looked for one immediately. We ate the healthy food like we didn’t have any food for daysJ.

Later on we felt like being in paradise, when we visited the Emirates shopping mall. After central Asia and Iran it was just great to spend some time in a real shopping mall. Although it is possible to ski inside the shopping mall, we skipped it;).

After it was getting dark, we settled down at a beach to spend the night.


January 6th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 6th 2012: 140km (90 miles)

Driven distance total: 29’710km (18’460 miles)

Today we enjoyed the entire day the beach life of Dubai! There are several nice and clean public beaches in Dubai, where it is also possible to take a dip in the bikini as a woman. In the city itself we were able to see everything from the burka to a mini-skirt. I (Maryse) also felt more comfortable without the scarf:-). From one of the locals we got a hint where we could refill our beer stock. In the Emirates it is officially not possible to buy alcohol (exceptionally in expensive bars and restaurants) and it is also not recommended to drink in public. The local guy sent us to a place called Ajman, approx. ½ hour from Dubai. There it is supposed to be possible to buy alcohol in shopping centers. Excited we went there but we had no success in the supermarkets! Of course we didn’t give up and asked around. After 2 hours we found the designated shop, or it would be better to say the alcohol warehouse:-). Obviously this “shop” wasn’t marked as such. We only recognized it because many cars came and went from there, and also otherwise it looked quite suspicious:-). The shop lies directly at the port and has, like at a railroad station, different booths. Behind those windows were big amounts of alcohol. (Coordinates for other Overlanders L: 55.45361 B: 25.41599). We bought 2 cases of beer and drove happy back to our overnight place at the beach, were we of course enjoyed some beers for the first time after 4 weeks:-).


January 7th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 7th 2012: 40km (20 miles)

Driven distance total: 29’750km (18’490 miles)

Since I (Stefan) managed it somehow to hurt some nerve in my back, therefor wasn’t really able to move normally, we didn’t do too much during the day. After I could move somewhat normal again, we went around lunch from our overnight beach, to the so-called kite beach. The weather is just perfect, not too hot and wonderful sunshine.

In the evening we visited the marina from Dubai. The marina for the smaller boats and yachts was not somehow in a nice idyllic area at the sea, no it was surrounded by truly modern skyscrapers. Well this is Dubai. For dinner we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at one of the nice restaurants at the marina. We (over) filled our bellies with delicious Mexican food.

For the night we returned to our beach besides the mansions of the sheiks.


January 8th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 8th 2012: 120km (70 miles)

Driven distance total: 29’870km (18’560 miles)

In the morning we started the project “India-visa”. Unfortunately this is here in Dubai quite complicated and time consuming. So we ended the project for the moment and we will try it again in Abu Dhabi or Muscat, Oman. We spent then the afternoon in the old town of Dubai, went on the local boats to cross the river and walked around the so-called souks (Shopping-areas). What is really annoying here in Dubai is the traffic system. We drive many miles, just because it is not possible turn around etc.. Otherwise they drive quite civilized:-).


January 9th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 9th 2012: 70km (40 miles)

Driven distance total: 29’940km (18’600 miles)

The day started with some maintenance of our Landrover. Around 9AM we were arriving at the Landrover shop and finally we left after 3PM. The reason for that weren’t problems with the car, but rather that we required a spare key. Afterwards was the shop closed for more then one hour and at the end all the paperwork took some more time. But at least, the Landrover is fit again.

Since we could enjoy the beach life in the past days, we didn’t do a beach visit, we paid a visit to the biggest shopping mall Dubai’s, the Dubai Mall. Unbelievable but true, there is a huge aquarium in the middle of the mall, where sharks, manatees and other fishes are swimming around. After all, the huge ice rank was also a stunning thing to see in a mall. Unfortunately we had to slow down with shopping in all the fancy shops, since our travel budget doesn’t really allow too much shopping J.


January 10th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 10th 2012: 80km (50 miles)

Driven distance total: 30’020km (18’650 miles)

As usual, also this morning was the police on a routine drive along the beach. Actually camping on the beach isn’t allowed, but it seems that the police don’t really cares about. Today they even came and asked if everything is all right and took off. Shortly after, one of the cops came back and asked for our help, since one of the police cars got stuck in the sandJ. Since they were a bit afraid that something could get damaged on our Landrover by pulling out their SUV (which is impossible ;)), they refused this action. We helped them out with strong ropes and sand sheets. Approx. one hour later the problem was solved:-). Then we went to the beach park of Dubai. It does cost an entry fee but at least they have lockable showers, where we finally got completely clean after a while :-). In the evening we had to pick up the new tire at the Landrover shop


January 11th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 11th 2012: 30km (20 miles)

Driven distance total: 30’050km (18’670 miles)

Actually today we didn’t do much more than hanging around the beach and spent some time in one of the huge shopping malls. 


January 12th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 12th 2012: 80km (50 miles)

Driven distance total: 30’130km (18’720 miles)

Another highlight in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa tower, with 828m (2720 feet) it is the tallest building in the world. The entry price would have been more then 100$ for the observation deck, because we didn’t make a reservation through the Internet! So we enjoyed the impressive tower from the ground for now. Probably during our next visit in Dubai, we can get a cheap ticket. In the evening we explored the so called “Madinat Jumeirah”, another special shopping mall. This mall has been constructed in the traditional style and contains many souvenir shops, expensive restaurants and even a boat ride à la Venice. For us it was too artificial and strange, so pretty soon we were back on our cozy beach.


January 13th 2012: Dubai – Abu Dhabi, UAE 

Driven distance on January 13th 2012: 180km (110 miles)

Driven distance total: 30’310km (18’830 miles)

Before we took off in direction Abu Dhabi, we spent 2 hours in the internet for uploading pictures and reports. We tried in Abu Dhabi to get the visa for India, but we had to give up because it was Friday, and Friday is here like our Sunday. Instead of the visa organization, we went directly to the beach in Abu Dhabi and enjoyed the lifeJ. Shortly after, there were a couple fighter jets flying around, but they weren’t here for shooting around, but just to have a small air show. It was quite nice to see the jets drawing the colors of the national flag and hearts into the sky.

In the evening we found a silent sleeping place close to a huge construction site.


January 14th 2012: Abu Dhabi – Ruwais, UAE 

Driven distance on January 14th 2012: 310km (190 miles)

Driven distance total: 30’620km (19’030 miles)

In the morning we tried again to get the India visa. Like in Dubai, we couldn’t get the visa at the embassy, we had to go to special visa office. But unfortunately we also had to give up on that day, because the visa would have been valid for only three month after issuing and we are not heading towards India before end of February. Now we have to organize the visa just before our departure.

Our goal for today is the small town Mirfa, at the north coast. The route to there wasn’t really exciting, a lot of industry, oil refineries and flat uninspiring landscape. Actually we wanted to stay overnight at the beach, but the strong wind was crossing our plan. Unfortunately the only hotel in Mirfa was 150$ per night, and this is too much for our budgetJ. We continued our journey towards west with the hope of finding cheaper hotels. We got also disappointed in the next village Jebel Dabi where there were only 2 hotels for 200$ per night.. Finally we ended up at a gas station close to ruwais, where we found a relatively windless and quiet place to sleep.


January 15th 2012: Ruwais – Mezairaa, UAE 

Driven distance on January 15th 2012: 240km (150 miles)

Driven distance total: 30’860km (19’180 miles)

After 6AM we were already awake due to the noise from the highway. Otherwise the night was surprisingly nice and quiet, even with the wind. The trip to Mezairaa led us along several camels and countless sand dunes. 

After arriving in the small desert town of Mezairaa, we looked for a hotel, for once because of the currently strong winds, but on the other hand also to get a real and stress less showerJ. Fortunately we found one of the few cheaper hotels. In the entire western region of the emirates are only very few hotels, and most of them cost 200$ or more.

In the afternoon we enjoyed a cold beer at the sun in the nice backyard of the government owned hotel. Basically it is illegal to drink alcohol, but we couldn’t resist at this perfect weatherJ.


January 16th 2012: Mezairaa – Tal Mireeb, UAE 

Driven distance on January 16th 2012: 40km (20 miles)

Driven distance total: 30’900km (19’200 miles)

After an extensive Orange Iguana deluxe breakfast :-) in the park of the hotel, we continued to Tal Mireb. There is one of the biggest sand dune of the world, the so called Moreeb Hill with a height of approx. 300m (1000 feet). We crawled around the dunes to get even more of a desert feeling. Unfortunately the wind was strong and blew some sand between our teeth and nose :-). The effort although was worth it, since the views from the high dunes were fantastic. Sand dunes as far as we could see, shimmering in the colors apricot, gold, red and brown. Close to the Moreeb Hill is a big flat area, where they have a few times per year some off-road festivities. That’s where we settled down for the night, a nice place surrounded by huge sand dunes


January 17th 2012: Tal Mireeb – Car museum near Abu Dhabi, UAE 

Driven distance on January 17th 2012: 240km (150 miles)

Driven distance total: 31’140km (19’350 miles)

The morning we spent nicely at the dunes. The trip then led us along the endless wide desert. On the way we have also seen something little less nice, the tremendously big waste area. First there were old tires as far as we could see and directly afterwards the waste area, where one truck after the next arrived.

Not far away from there was the car museum from the United Arab Emirates UAE. The museum is simply a private car collection from a sheik, which contains more then 200 cars. The museum is hard to miss, since at the entrance is a 8m (25 feet) high and oversized Landrover Defender. How could it be anyways differently, than to see the best piece of car first:-). On the parking lot there was the biggest trailer in the world, which is of course in the Guinness book of records. The trailer had several floors and was ridiculously wide and big. Since the entry fee for both would have been 25$, we were wining a bit that we are just poor travellers with a tight budget:-). And see, the guy felt bad for us and we paid only have of it. After we finished the visit, they even explained us that we could stay safely overnight at the parking, which we did.


January 18th 2012: Car museum near Abu Dhabi – Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 18th 2012: 180km (110 miles)

Driven distance total: 31’320km (19’460 miles)

It led us back to Dubai… not really because we wanted to, rather we had to because we needed to meet up with our agent for the car shipping to India. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. It is at the moment a bit up in the air and are forced to kill some time in Dubai...


January 19th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 19th 2012: 30km (20 miles)

Driven distance total: 31’350km (19’480 miles)

Todays schedule mainly contained beach and shopping mall. We go into the huge „Mall of the Emirates“ mainly because of the internet and the delicious bread.

In the evening we had planned to go to the „Barasti“ (backwards it’s Arab) bar to have some beer and something to eat. We’ve seen the shocking prices (beer, 10$ – steak, 50$), and ended up shortly after at good old McDonaldsJ.


January 20th 2012: Dubai, UAE 

Driven distance on January 20th 2012: 50km (30 miles)

Driven distance total: 31’400km (19’510 miles)

Just another beach/Shopping Mall day in Dubai...

And here some crazy facts about the Emirates: Only 20% of the 6 million population are actually locals! The rest are mainly Indians, Pakistani, Bangladeshi etc., that are here as cheap labor workers. Additionally there are half a million expats from westerner countries.


January 21st 2012: Dubai – Hatta, UAE 

Driven distance on January 21st 2012: 200km (120 miles)

Driven distance total: 31’600km (19’640 miles)

In the morning we tried to get spare parts for our Coleman stove, but the only thing we could find was a complete unit. Now we are still on the road with a half working stove. We were also looking for a new water pump for one of the drinking water tanks. Since we finally got in contact with our car shipping partner, we were able to continue in direction Oman border. The trip towards Hatta led us already for a short distance through Oman, but we simply had to show them twice our passports. Arriving there we visited the „Hatta heritage village“, which is a rebuilt, historical mountain village. The place wasn’t really that exciting.


Today the wind was so strong, that we checked out the prices at the only hotel in town. The first price they told us was 320$! Shortly after it was 210$ and then his last price 160$! We explained to him, that our budget doesn’t allow this and he went down to 130$. We refused the offer and continued, on the search for a windless spot. After some time of no successful searching we were back at the hotel and took a room. Now we have our own, really luxurious little hutJ.