From Dubai to Paris in a GTI

From Dubai to Paris in a GTI

I am Clément, 24 years old, from France. Because of Covid and the bad situation that was happening in my country, I decided to move to Dubai in January 2021, with the purpose of finding a job.

I am Clément, 24 years old, from France. Because of Covid and the bad situation that was happening in my country, I decided to move to Dubai in January 2021, with the purpose of finding a job.

After 2 months, the French lady that was in charge of the hostel where I was staying, offered me to join the activity.

One year later, in January 2022, I undertook a journey to Saudi Arabia for 8 days with my car (BMW Z4). This is when the idea of driving more started to cross my mind. Of course, I would not do it with a Z4 but I was thinking that if I find a good car and I make sure that it's possible to cross all the borders, maybe I could join France by land.

When coming back to Dubai, I checked first if there was a way to do it, and I realized on Google Maps that there was a road. 

I left this idea apart for some months as many of my friends told me that it was not a good idea.

In April 2022, I started to look for a flight to come back to my country as I was missing my friends and family. The idea of doing it by land crossed my mind again and after some days thinking, I decided that it could be an amazing experience. The process then started, I tried to get as much information as possible before leaving to be sure that I would not get too much trouble on my way. 

Once done, I needed a car, I sold my BMW and started my research. As my budget was around 25k dirhams (, I didn't have so many options and I was a bit worried as it's not easy to buy a car in great condition for this price. But the morning of the 21st of April, I found an announcement of a guy selling his Golf GTI mk6 from 2012. I contacted him, met him, found out that the car was comfortable and had been perfectly maintained, so I bought it for AED 26k.

After being sure at the garage that the car was ready, I decided to leave Dubai with it, the 23th of April.

I took with me suitcases and mostly all my stuff from Dubai as my plan was to stay in France the whole summer, and I left alone.

The first day was the one I drove the most : I joined Jubail, in Saudi Arabia (900km). Some friends that I met during my first trip were waiting for me there. I stayed with them for 2 days before going to Kuwait. Until then, I didn't face any issue, except that the weather was a bit sandy. I stopped in a garage in Kuwait city to make sure that everything was ok : I just needed some more engine oil. Then, I left Kuwait to go to Iraq. 

I have been told that I would get a visa on arrival when reaching the border so I went there without any special document, except the Mulkiya, the insurance of the car and my passport. Unfortunately, they didn't allow me to cross the border, telling me that I needed a special authorization from the embassy of Iraq in Kuwait city, especially if I wanted to cross it with my car. So I drove back to the capital, went to the embassy and asked them for a visa. They told me that it's not easy to get, and that it would be much easier for me to join Iraq through Saudi Arabia. I opened Google Maps and realized that the closest border from Saudi Arabia to Iraq was 600km from where I was, but I had no choice. So I went back to Saudi Arabia.

After 300km driving, I stopped in a Mc Donald's to get wifi and met a local guy that asked me where I was going. After letting him know about my trip and my plan, he told me that I will have a very bad surprise at the border (Rafha) as it is closed. He told me that only one was open but it was 600km more from where I was. At the same moment, I received a message from a guy at the embassy in Kuwait where I was earlier, telling me that he could manage to get permission for me to go to Iraq. So I drove back again, entering Kuwait again, going to the embassy again. After hours of waiting, I had my visa.


Then, I joined the Iraqi border (where I tried to enter a few days before), and they let me cross. As you can imagine, it was not commun for them to see a French guy crossing this border, especially with a white golf GTI with a Dubai plate number. So I had to answer several questions before they let me in (it lasted around 8 hours). 

Hopefully, I have an Iraqi friend of mine (Mohammed) that lives in Baghdad. I was calling him every time I was facing a hard or annoying situation. The first night, I slept in the place of a friend of Mohammed that lives in Basra, close to the border. The next day, I took my car to join my friend in Bagdhad. This is when electronic issues happened. During my way to the capital, all the signals illuminated, I couldn't see how fast I was driving... all the needles of the dashboard were at 0. Then, it came back to normal... So I thought that it was just a quick issue and that I didn't have to worry.

Unfortunately, after staying some days with Mohammed, I left for Mosul one night before to go to Turkey, and the electronic problems happened again. I couldn't start the car when I woke up. Calling Mohammed "Hi, do you know someone in Mosul by any chance that could help me?" ; "Yes", he said. And after some minutes, a guy who knows about cars (because i don't) came and he fixed my Golf telling me that it shouldn't happen again. 

So I left Iraq, ready to go to Turkey.