Al Gharbia is an oasis of stunning natural beauty at the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Within its vast edges extending between the desert and the sea, it hosts seven major cities: Liwa, Madinat Zayed Ghayathi, Ruwais, Mirfa Sila and Delma Island. Al Gharbia occupies a vast area of 60 thousand square kilometers and constitutes 60% of the total area of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is characterized by its natural resources and wealth, such as the palm trees, pearls, oil, gas and solar energy.
Al Gharbia is home to the world’s highest sand dunes and natural shores extending along 350 km, making it the meeting point of the desert and the sea. Moreover, it hosts the rarest wildlife in the UAE. It offers a variety of activities, such as water sports and desert camps under the lights of glittering stars. al Gharbia is also characterized by maintaining the values of the Arabian traditional lifestyle and culture, while succeeding in integrating it into modern luxury and amenities. Al Gharbia offers opulent hotels and resorts overlooking the sea, thus turning it into a perfect tourist destination for visitors from inside and outside the UAE, especially due to its proximity to the borders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
In light of its plans to promote the social and economic development, the Western Region Development Council has adopted an idea to develop the area that has become known today as "Al Gharbia" in both Arabic and English. In addition to its prominent position as an integral part of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, has become a place enjoying unique identity, values, culture, heritage and Bedouin origins blending with modernity, not to mention its numerous merits qualifying it to receive millions of tourists who flow to the Middle East each year.
All visitors to the UAE need entrance visas, except for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Some nationalities, including citizens of the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and most of the European union countries, are granted visit visas automatically for a 30-day period upon arrival to the airport. All other nationalities can get a 30-day tourist visa sponsored by a local hotel or a tourism company before entering the country. Visitors by land from Qatar or Bahrain need, in addition to the documents of their vehicles and passports, entrance visas to pass through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to be obtained while in Qatar and Bahrain. A travel agent can be used for getting the visas on behalf of the travelers which takes approximately a week to be issued.
Al Gharbia is located on the western side of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and can be easily reached by car from Abu Dhabi International Airport. The airport receives many direct flights from most of the world capitals as a result of the vital location of the United Arab Emirates between Africa, Asia and Europe. The journey to destinations such as the United Kingdom takes only 7 hours, Frankfurt takes 6 hours, Hong Kong takes 8 hours, and Nairobi takes 4 hours. Five and four stars hotels receive local and international visitors and their transportation from the airport directly to their hotel is usually arranged. Visitors can also drive slowly to enjoy the magnificent sceneries along the road or rent cars from any of the international car rental companies located directly in front of the airport gates. All you need is a passport and a driving license.
Al Gharbia is in the Western region of Abu Dhabi, and is a comfortable drive from Abu Dhabi's international airport. If you The Abu Dhabi Department of Transport is establishing a new airport that links Al Gharbia to the remaining parts of the UAE as to ensure easy access of visitors to all Al Gharbia cities, especially with 250 thousand visitors entering Al Gharbia through Abu Dhabi airport on a yearly basis. There is a sustainable transportation plan, under which 3 billion USD will be invested for providing short flights as a vital means for transporting tourists to their destinations and assuring the alignment with the tourism sector plans.
You can roam most parts of Al Gharbia using a normal two wheel-drive car, but if you wish to explore the whole area you have to use a 4x4 vehicle. In case you don't have a private car or any plans for renting a car, you can depend on public buses or a taxi which transports passengers to and from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest of the emirates.
Cruise journeys from Jebel Al Dhana to Delma Islands and Sir Bani Yas can be easily arranged. Two modern vessels characterized by the highest standards of safety, speed and comfort were launched in 2010, the capacity of each is about 30 to 50 cars and more than 200 passengers. They are also fully equipped to offer their services to passengers with disabilities. The two vessels make three journeys a day both ways, and the journey takes 90 minutes. Bani Yas vessel departs from a luxurious departure hall and the journey takes 15 minutes to reach the island. For adventurers and sea-riders, they can rent a fishing boat, or rent a boat for short journeys to various neighboring islands.
Abu Dhabi’s Government is currently developing the region’s public transportation network to fulfill the needs of the increased number of visitors and residents. In this framework, the main land transportation plan was developed as a part of the long term Abu Dhabi 2030 Development Plan which includes an integrated scheme that covers the whole emirate.