When I heard that there was a ghost village in the UAE, I was at first skeptical and then disinterested. Firstly, because my belief in supernatural elements is scant at best, secondly because what would be the point of seeing an abandoned village?
But then I thought about it… When I lived in Kuwait I had the opportunity to visit the eerie Failaka Island- a place where hundreds of people packed up and left 25 years ago due to the Iraqi invasion. The town was emptied of people as they departed to flee Iraqi troops and the entire island ruined as a result of war. Nothing has been rebuilt or renovated- when you visit you see bullet holes and rubble. That was- for me- a unique experience. So I thought why not give this abandoned village in Sharjah a chance? It could be something I actually enjoy!
If you want to read theories about how this village came to be abandoned, click here. In this post I outline how to get there, in what vehicle, the experience and the Panda Rating System.
Watch the video here
We went in a regular sedan and at the Sharjah/Dubai border, we met with our driver who would take us the rest of the way in his Toyota Land Cruiser. Depending on how you choose to get there, you may have to walk for a while in the desert. If you go at midday, this may prove physically taxing due to the harsh desert climate. The walk is manageable after 3:30pm in winter.
Note: You need a vehicle to access this site. There are no public transportation options.
The following Google Maps link will lead you into the heart of the village:
You have the following options to get there:
-Park your car at one of the many desert safari operators nearby and transfer to a 4WD vehicle. I can recommend Yusuf- the guy who drove us who gives a fair price based on hours not number of people. Contact me if you need his number. I recommend arranging this in advance.
-Hire or take your own 4WD vehicle all the way into the village. It’s not a demanding drive but you should have some experience driving in soft sand.
-Drive closer to the village site but when the cement road ends, park your car in front of one of the shops nearby and walk the rest of the way into the desert. You’ll walk for around 40 minutes in this option.
-Drive along the gravelly road and stop before it becomes soft sand. Leave the car there and walk the rest of the way. You’ll walk for around 20 minutes in this option.
Remember that extreme weather conditions can transform the desert landscape swiftly and that for peace of mind, an experienced driver & 4WD vehicle is safest.
There’s something magical about being in the desert just before sunset and the fact that we were in this ghost village in the UAE, heightened the mysticism of the experience.
You can wander around on your own and snap as many photos as you want. Mind the nails and debris left behind by the original inhabitants. You’ll need to be able to walk up and down soft sand but it’s not particularly strenuous.
The sun will set right in front of your eyes if you happen to be there after 5pm in winter which I highly recommend. All in all, you only need about an hour here because there’s nothing to actually do except explore and relax. This outing could be coupled with a picnic in the area but please clean up your trash as there are no bins in the area. Oh and also no bathrooms!
Panda’s Rating System
Those with a specific interest in abandoned places will thoroughly enjoy exploring these allegedly abandoned buildings. For everyone else, I’d say you can go with the mind-set of this being an unusual spot to do sunset watching or have a picnic. It’s definitely not something I’d recommend for a first time visit to the UAE but if you’re a resident looking for something unusual to do… why not?
Fore more things to do in the UAE, click here. Have you been to the ghost village in the UAE? Or have I just put it on your list? Let me know in the comments below!