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Ghost town Dubai - the abandoned city in Al Madam

Updated: Jan 6

A little more than an hour away from Dubai is a small abandoned town, which is already half buried in sand. A few years ago, the ghost town came into the focus of photographers and tourists and has since than been known as the "half-buried ghost village". How to get to the ghost town and what to experience there you can read in this article.

Man in front of Ghost town Al Madam Dubai

Table of Content

1. Why was the ghost town at Al Madam abandoned?

Woman in front of Ghost town Al Madam Dubai

Nobody really knows why the ghost town near Al Madam was been abandoned. According to locals, the village was built in the 1970s - when the residents moved out is unclear.

Also the reason why they left the small town is still unrecorded. Among the locals from Al Madam, it is reported that the village was haunted by a "Djinn" and the inhabitants might have moved away because of it. A Djinn is a supernatural, invisible being mentioned in the Koran.

In 2019, the first tourists became aware of the "buried village" by chance during an off-road trip. Since then, impressive photos of the town, half buried in sand, have spread via social media and made it popular.

2. How to get to the Ghost Village in Al Madam?

Getting to the Ghost Village is not that easy - our map above shows you the location - but that's only half the battle, because the abandoned town is located in the middle of the desert.

Women and cars in desert

The easiest way to reach the half-buried ghost town is to book a tour and drive with a guide into the desert. If you want to drive yourself, you definitely need a 4x4 off-road vehicle and basic knowledge of driving in the desert - otherwise you might get stuck in a dune like we did ;-)

Camel farm in Al Madam Dubai

At the beginning, the "roads" are still passable, you will pass some camel farms on the left and right, but shortly after that the desert adventure starts.

It's best to follow the coordinates on Google and figure out the best way to drive - as I said, this is absolutely not for beginners.

We have approached the Ghost Village from the road E44, another possibility is possibly the turnoff from the E55 - since we have not tried this ourselves, we have no empirical values, but only the Google Maps view - so absolutely no guarantee. From the E44 it takes you probably 3-4km thru the desert until you arrive at the abandoned village.

Except of us (and our driver, see below), there was no other tourist at the ghost village when we came there early in the morning. For us it was a truly magical experience to wander alone through the abandoned houses.

Women in desert ghost city al madam

In the ghost town, you get a pretty good impression of what life must have been like here a few decades ago. In a few houses there are even remains of furniture.

Woman in Ghost Village in Al Madam

Besides some residential houses, there is also a mosque right at the beginning of the village, which you can also visit.

Mosque ghost village Al Madam

We personally did not feel creeped out, but there are reports from tourists who claim to have felt vibrations in the abandoned village :-)

3. Does the Ghost Village in Al Madam charge admission?

The Ghost Village in Al Madam near Dubai is free of charge, which means you don't have to pay an entrance fee - means the tour is completely free of chaarge, unless you book a tour guide. We had a tour guide rather involuntarily, because we got stuck with our car in the dunes. You can read about how that happened in the "off the record" section below.

4. Accommodation options near the Ghost Village

If you want to escape the hectic stress of Dubai city for a few days and visit the Ghost Village in a relaxed way, we recommend you to stay 1-2 days in Al Madam.

We came across a super nice resort 15 minutes drive from the Ghost Village that we can absolutely recommend to you.

The Al Badayer Retreat Hotel is visually an absolute highlight, the staff is extremely friendly and you can spend a great time there. In addition they offer some outdoor activities and a falcon show takes place regularly directly within the hotel, which we liked very much.


Off the record

As mentioned above, we got stuck in a dune during our desert adventure. Actually, we wanted to be in the Ghost Village by dawn, but unfortunately nothing came of it - instead, we walked a kilometer back thru the desert, looking for someone who could pull our car out of the sand.

Luckily for us, a camel farm owner was already awake early in the morning and was feeding his animals. He then called a friend of his, who not only pulled our car out of the sand, but also kindly drove us directly to Ghost Town, so that we finally got our photos :-)

Here are a few impressions of the "rescue operation" - just swipe to the right.


Have you already been to Ghost Village in Al Madam? If so, how did you get there? Feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments below this post or via the contact form!


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