6 things to do in the Empty Quarter or Rub’ Al Khali Desert

By Vikuotsunuo Solo

  ●   30 Apr 20


Middle East

Nature & Wildlife

Travel Tips

The Rub’ Al Khali desert, also known as the Empty Quarter, is a vast unbroken and otherworldly desert covering parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and UAE. A visit to this desert is like stepping out into another planet. No wonder movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens have been shot there. 

The desert is so vast and uninhabitable that very few people live there. It’s the perfect place for a journey away from all the hustle and bustle. If you need some adventure in your life, start packing your bags and hop on for the best escape of your life.


6 Things to do in the Empty Quarter


Experience desert camping

One of the best things to do in the Empty Quarter is to camp out in the dunes under the stars. Dine with the Bedouins and learn about their history and culture. Enjoy the most beautiful and pristine sunsets and sunrise while sipping on a hot cup of tea in the middle of nowhere. You can also get a clear view of the stars, away from all the light pollution. And if you are lucky enough, you might witness a stunning meteor shower. 

Desert camping
Desert camping


Visit Wadi Dawkah

Wadi Dawkah is a natural park of frankincense trees along the ancient incense trade route. The Frankincense trees in this park are one of the most priced incense in the world. You can get a first-hand look at how the saps are collected from the trees. Sit at the viewing gallery and take in the beautiful yet desolate valley. The park also provides a few picnic tables if you want to picnic in an oasis surrounded by the amazing smelling trees.

Wadi Dawkah
Wadi Dawkah


Test your off-road driving skills

For the more adventurous, off-road driving is on the table. Rent an SUV and head off into the dunes. The massive dunes and desert make for an exciting off-road drive. If you are not an experienced driver but still want the adrenaline rush, there are many tour operators who will gladly take you on an exhilarating ride.

off-road driving
Off-road driving


Learn to sandboard and ski

Rub’ Al Khali is a sand skiing paradise. If you’ve ever wanted to do something unique and fun, try out sandboarding and skiing. You can take in the panoramic view of endless golden sand while sliding down dunes. It’s a must-do for any adrenaline seekers looking for something out of the ordinary. Even if you are a beginner skier, there’s no need to fret. The sand is so soft it’ll cushion your fall every time.



Search for geodes

The Empty Quarter is a massive geological hotbed. The dessert is pebbled with geodes (ball of rock filled with crystals inside) of all sizes. Don your gear and go treasure hunting for beautiful geodes. If you are lucky, you can find a dozen of the rocks spread out across the massic desert. The best thing about hunting for geodes is that you can take it back as souvenirs.



Go camel riding

Going out into the desert is incomplete without a camel ride. The majestic camels are one of the few animals that can survive the harsh and unforgiving desert climate. Take a journey back into the past. Follow in the footsteps of the caravan routes of old, which have remained almost unchanged over time. 

Camel riding
Camel riding


Be sure to visit the Rub’ Al Khali desert or the Empty Quarter and experience the magical desert which has inspired many. The ever-changing sand dunes provide the perfect backdrop for a journey of a lifetime.


Vikuotsunuo Solo

A self-proclaimed adventurous foodie, Vikuo is always on the lookout for great places to eat. She prefers mountains and winters to beaches and summer. Her dream destinations are Iceland and New Zealand.

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6 things to do in the Empty Quarter or Rub’ Al Khali Desert