AL SILA (السلع)

We moved towards the KSA border after dinner with Luna and other travelers in Abu Dhabi. Our last stop to relax and work before crossing it was Al Sila Beach, nestled in the rolling dunes of the Arabian Desert some 350 kilometers west of Abu Dhabi in Al Dhafra. It’s an excellent spot to stop after crossing borders with Saudi Arabia. The vast stretches of the desert make it a perfect place for camping, with spots in and around Al Sila where you can pitch tents and enjoy the tranquillity of the desert under the night sky.

Not far from the town center is one of the most prized heritage assets of Al Sila — a 200-year-old Ghaf tree (known as the “Shabhana tree”), considered one of the oldest and the most giant such trees (📌24.098495N 51.751714E). It stands in the middle of a lush and gated 300-hectare forest. Access is denied to the public, and visitors can only glimpse the tree that towers over the surrounding foliage. But only from a distance.

Travel Tips
Here is a short list of practicalities from our stay in UAE. AdBlue is available under the name DriveBLue (1 l / 3 AED). We usually took the diesel at Adnoc (1 l / 2,99 AED). For our internet connection, we used an Etisalat sim card (324,99 AED – new sim with 22,5 GB / 525 Flexi mins / 28 days), then we reloaded it via the app (200 AED – 22,5 GB / 525 Flexi mins / 28 days). Sometimes, we paid exit fees (60,84 AED / 2 pax) at borders; sometimes, we did not; we did not find any system in it. Same with vehicle insurance (210 AED / 15 days), the only office you can’t bypass is on the border between KSA and UAE, but there is no office between Oman and UAE. You can spot traffic police cars rarely (officers sit in vehicles and usually play with their phones), and nobody controls insurance at the borders. We did not also pay any parking or highway fees (since we don’t have a GCC plate number). We never used any ATM because you can pay by card everywhere, but a few times, we exchanged money at GCC (1 EUR / 3,86 AED). In cities, we used the Carrem taxi app for affordable rides. We usually went to LuLu Hypermarkets for our shopping. Carrefour is also an excellent place to shop for groceries and most household goods. Pork is sold at Spinneys and Waitrose. Haircut in a good salon – 20 AED, One-hour Thai massage – 80-150 AED, Truck wash – 50-100 AED).

We usually did stock our fridge with “drinks” in Spinneys (not to be confused with the Spinneys grocery shop), High Spirits, African Eastern, and Premium Cellars – San Miguel Light (24 pcs / 0,33 l / 85 AED), Emperador Gold (1 l / 49 AED), Tanduay Rum (1 l / 15 AED), Captain Morgan (1 l / 50 AED), Bacardi Carta Negra (1 l / 57 AED), Bacardi Gold (1 l / 59 AED), Jameson (1 l / 80 AED), Jack Daniels (1 l / 90 AED).

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Parking location – Al Sila: 24.059191N 51.781947E