Abu Dhabi


Abu Dhabi, which means “Land of the Gazelle” in Arabic, is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The city is the second largest man-made island in the world and is about 80 miles from the most popular city in the UAE, Dubai. From sand dunes to natural islands, from cool oases to lavish resorts, from desert to gardens, Abu Dhabi offers various activities for every traveler. Compared to Dubai, Abu Dhabi is slightly expensive, very traditional, and more peaceful. With the gorgeous skyscraper buildings, the spectacular mosques, the colorful gardens, the beautiful beaches, the city has a significant prominence in the UAE.

These photos are from a short visit to Abu Dhabi on our way to Abu Dhabi airport on July 24, 2018.

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, UAE
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Quick Facts and Tips

  • Make sure you have valid passports, visas, travel insurances and documents.
  • Carry international driving licenses if you plan to rent a car.
  • Airports: Abu Dhabi International Airport or Dubai International Airport, whichever is convenient. Commute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi:
    • By bus: 2-3 hours ride, costs less than $10, may have to wait up to an hour.
    • By Taxi: Nearly 2 hours drive, costs upwards of $80.
    • Other options include Uber and Careem (a local taxi service). Careem is less expensive than Uber for shorter distances and Uber is less expensive for longer distances.
  • Best Time To Visit
    • November to April: High season, best time for exploring the outdoors and to avoid the extreme heat. Be prepared for the big crowd.
    • May to August: Low season, best time for budget travelers, be ready to fight the extreme heat.
    • September to October: Shoulder Season, best time for the beach
  • Clothing
    • Weather is warm throughout the year, so pack lightweight casual t-shirts, pants, shorts, sundresses, capris, long skirts, swimsuits, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. Keep cardigans or shrugs for covering shoulders.
    • For Desert Safari: Pants, shorts, or capris, and t-shirts or blouses (preferably no skirts or mini shorts). It is better to wear open shoes, flip flops, or sandals to avoid sand getting into shoes.
    • A light jacket for the cool winter mornings and evenings.
  • Dirham is the official currency of the UAE. Money exchange can be done at licensed exchange offices, banks, and hotels with your passport. Credit and Debit cards are commonly accepted in Abu Dhabi, but it’s better to keep some amount of Dirham for tips and pay at local markets and smaller shops.
  • There are dress codes on mosques and some of the beaches.
  • The weekend is Friday and Saturday. Traffic is much lighter on the weekends.
  • There is absolutely no shortage of hotels in Abu Dhabi. Depending on your budget and point of interest, book the appropriate hotels.
  • For the best prices, avoid luxury taxis, use the regular taxi cabs (Uber is another option too). You can ask the price for your destination and also check if there is a meter in the taxi.
  • You can rent a taxi or book Hop On/Hop Off Buses to get around.
  • During the holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking, smoking and partying are prohibited in public places between sunrise and sunset.
  • How many days: one or 2 days to cover the major attractions.
  • Abu Dhabi’s Top Attractions
    • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: The largest mosque in the UAE, beautiful architecture built with marbles, elements of gold and other precious stones.
    • Emirates Palace: A luxury resort that looks like a fairy tale castle.
    • Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: Ferrari-branded theme park for speed and adventure.
    • Louvre Abu Dhabi: Global Culture & Art Collection museum on Saadiyat Island.
    • Qasr Al Hosn: A historical landmark and oldest stone building of Abu Dhabi.
    • Corniche Road: A 5 miles long seaside promenade.
    • Yas Waterworld: A family entertainment Waterpark
    • Abu Dhabi’s Heritage Village: An authentic replica of a typical Bedouin village which gives an idea of Emirati life before the oil boom.
    • Etihad Tower: An Observation Deck for skyline views of the city.
    • Saadiyat Island’s Sandy Shore: A long white sand beach with all facilities.
  • Best things to do
    • Book any of Abu Dhabi city tours
    • Go for an evening Desert Safari, Camel Ride and Sand Boarding with BBQ Dinner.
    • Go for a Kayaking tour on Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Mangroves.
    • Chill out at a long, white sand beach on Saadiyat island.
    • Walk along the seaside promenade Corniche Road for extensive views of the Persian Gulf and the city skyline.
    • Get thrilled at the Ferrari Theme park
    • Book any boat tour to view the city’s skyline.
    • Spend a full day at the beach at Yas Island.
    • Splash around to cool off at Yas Waterworld waterpark.
    • Enjoy a 360 degree view of Abu Dhabi at Jumeirah at Etihad Tower.

12 replies on “Abu Dhabi”

Thanks for posting these beautiful buildings.

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