Who would have known that embarking on a solo journey from Riyadh to Dubai will not be just a usual (long) road trip, but an adventure filled with scenic landscapes, cultural wonders, and the joy of exploring two dynamic cities. While air travel is a common choice, my recent experience with SAPTCO Bus brought a unique perspective to the journey, offering a blend of comfort, affordability, and an opportunity to witness the beauty of the desert along the way.
It was s sudden decision, I had 2 days off (timeback) at work and I badly needed a break so a trip to Dubai became an option. I scouted for available flights, but the cheapest I found online would cost me more than a thousand Saudi Riyals so I opted to book for a bus ticket instead. I found a roundtrip fare by bus from Riyadh to Dubai and back for 380SR only. Booking thru the SAPTCO website was surprisingly simple and straight-forward. I received my eTicket copy thru email a minute after I paid.
The Departure: Riyadh to Dubai
I took an UBER ride to the Riyadh Bus Station in Al Aziziyah District. I arrived 2 hours before the scheduled departure. There were a lot of passengers at the departure hall. As I boarded the SAPTCO Bus in Riyadh, I couldn't help but feel a sense of anticipation. The journey promised not only a destination but also a passage through the vast Saudi Arabian desert. We were only 8 passengers during the trip. The bus was modern, comfortable, and equipped with amenities such as Wi-Fi and spacious seating, making the long ride ahead seem much more manageable. The bus left at 4:08PM.
The Scenic Route: Through the Arabian Desert
Leaving Riyadh behind, the landscape quickly transformed into a mesmerizing sea of golden sand dunes. The vastness of the desert, occasionally interrupted by clusters of camels and nomadic settlements, provided a serene backdrop for the journey. As the bus cruised through the desert highways, I couldn't help but appreciate the beauty of the Arabian Peninsula.
Pit Stops and Cultural Encounters: Exploring the Oasis Towns
The SAPTCO Bus made strategic stops at gas stations along the route, allowing passengers to stretch their legs and freshen up a bit. Just before reaching Al Batha border, the driver stopped for a thirty minute break so everyone have dinner at the local rest area.
Border Crossing: Entering the UAE
We reached the Saudi-UAE Border Control area at 11:40PM. First stop was the Saudi Customs. All passengers were asked to step out of the bust and take our bags to the conveyor/ Xray. There were porters and attendants helping the passengers load and unload each luggage onto the conveyor. After inspection, men and women were asked to wait in the two separate waiting areas until the vehicle inspection is done.
At 12:30PM we were lined up for the Passport Check. Each one of us was asked to approach the officer thru the window. The Jawasat Officer asked me for my profession, and he scanned my passport. We were done at 1:16AM.
Next stop was the UAE Immigration Control. An officer checked our passport, and we did Eye Scan at the counter. The UAE Customs officers checked the luggage compartment and then asked for our passports one by one. They finished inspection at 1:23AM.
Crossing the border from Saudi Arabia into the United Arab Emirates marked a significant transition. The bus seamlessly navigated the border crossing process, and soon we found ourselves on the well-maintained roads of the UAE. The stark contrast between the rugged beauty of the desert and the modern infrastructure of Dubai was a testament to the diversity of the Arabian landscape.
Arrival in Dubai: A City of Contrasts
Reaching Dubai after an overnight travel felt like a rewarding accomplishment. The iconic skyline, dominated by the Burj Khalifa, welcomed us to a city that seamlessly combines tradition and modernity. The SAPTCO Bus had not only provided a comfortable journey but also a unique perspective on the gradual transformation of the surroundings.
The entire trip from Riyadh to Dubai took almost 15hours. There’s an hour difference between Saudi and UAE.
The Return Journey: Dubai to Riyadh
As the time came to bid farewell to Dubai, the return journey with SAPTCO Bus offered a different set of experiences. The familiarity of the desert landscape was comforting, and the memories of the vibrant cityscape of Dubai lingered as the bus retraced its route back to Riyadh.
I arrived one hour before the departure time. There were only two (2) passengers waiting inside the office. The associate asked for a copy of my ticket. He then told me that I would need to pay for an additional 40 Dirhams for the driver. I asked him politely for what the additional fee was, but he didn’t reply to me. The other passengers told me they also paid and like me, they didn’t know for what it was.
There were only 6 passengers in the bus from Dubai to Riyadh. I seated in front, and there was a couple with their two small children. The bus left at 3:05PM.
We reached the UAE Immigration at 8:40PM. There were quite a lot of passengers from 4 buses waiting outside the passport hall. We waited for our driver to call us after 30minutes. The Officer checked our passport and did eye scan. We then returned to the bus and moved towards the Saudi Customs.
When we reached Saudi Customs, there was a long queue. Most bags going thru the xray conveyor were being inspected more thoroughly. The Officers asked several passengers to open their luggages. Noting that there are more prohibited stuff in Saudi Arabia, I realized that the patrol guards are required to do more stringent screening.
We spent almost 2 hours in the Saudi Immigration side. It was way past midnight when we left the UAE/Saudi border.
Finally, I could say that my trip from Riyadh to Dubai and back via SAPTCO Bus was more than a transportation experience; it turned out as a beautiful journey through contrasting landscapes, cultures, and the essence of the Arabian Peninsula. The affordability and comfort of the bus service, coupled with the opportunity to witness the beauty of the desert, made it a unique adventure that I would gladly undertake again. For those seeking a blend of adventure and convenience, the SAPTCO Bus journey from Riyadh to Dubai is a must-try, offering a fresh perspective on the enchanting landscapes of the Middle East. So, the next time you plan a trip to Dubai, consider taking the road less traveled – the SAPTCO bus might just turn your travel into an unforgettable adventure.
What makes me happy?
People. Everyone around me who believes and inspires me.
Life itself is a happy experience. The world is a happy place.
I had my own share of struggles, life was not easy for us back then but my Dad taught me how to believe in myself, work hard , be kind and to be strong. He inspired me to go out of my comfort zone. He used to tell me that the possibilities in life are endless and so I believed him.
l Iost him quite a few years ago but he has left me with so much inspiration to follow my dreams - to visit places I have only dreamt of or have seen in the movies when I was little and to do things I thought were only for the privileged few.
Wherever I go, I always remember my Dad, wishing he could see me from afar and somehow be proud of me as I have always been so proud of him. Life is short and I promised him that I would make the most of mine.
Travelling makes me happy and in all other things, I choose happiness. We all should- always..