This vibrant city whose name means “Land of the Gazelle” has everything to offer to the modern traveller. From culture to thrills to fine dining to short getaways and beautiful historic structures, it is hard not to be overawed by what you see here.
An Abu Dhabi tour can be whatever you’d like it to be. Come with an open mind and this city will make your pulse race faster or skip a beat, as you witness its stunning heritage structures.
This capital of the United Arab Emirates was once created when a wandering tribe was led by a frisky antelope into a land with a few swaying palms, huts and a ruler’s fort. Today, it is a cosmopolitan fast-paced city that has much to offer to tourists all around the globe.
Located on the north-eastern part of the Persian Gulf, this island city is just a few metres off a mainland which consists of many suburbs. In the east, it shares its borders with Oman, in the south with Saudi Arabia and in the northeast, with Dubai. Al Ain, a major part of Abu Dhabi is to be found near the magnificent Hajar mountains. Abu Dhabi’s western region has over 50 villages, with Zayed City as its capital. Over 200 islands make up Abu Dhabi’s main territory and the more prominent ones are Sir Bani Yas Island, Saadiyat and Al Futaisi.
Abu Dhabi normally has sunshine with almost no rainfall. April to September are its hot months. October to March are cool months with January and February being its coldest months.
Sometimes, between April to September, sandstorms take place, lowering the visibility. But overall, the weather is pleasant and almost everywhere you go will be air-conditioned.
Tip: Hot months mean there will be hotels going cheaper everywhere and with air-conditioning, it means you can have a comfortable stay.
Today, Abu Dhabi is a far cry from the rustic island that was discovered years ago. It still is rooted in a traditional Emirati Arabic culture. While there are skyscrapers and malls and beaches and gardens and parks, there are also many mosques. Abu Dhabi strongly promotes its heritage and traditions.
From Arabic poetry readings to dancing to music recitals. From camel riding to dhow sailing. You will get a finer understanding of its cultural significance if you take time out to sample these original delights.
Many local men dress in a full white shirt with a red and white checked headdress and women wear black long robes with a headscarf.
The official language here is Arabic, but most people speak fluent English, Hindi and Urdu.
The first stop on any Abu Dhabi tour should be the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This stunning landmark boasts of a capacity for 40,000 worshippers, the world’s largest hand woven carpet and beautiful domes with gold-plated chandeliers. This is the only mosque women are allowed to visit on this land, so it is a must-see. Especially during Eid, when it has about 41,000 devotees.
The Corniche is another must-see on your Abu Dhabi tour. This stunning waterfront has many fun options – you can go sunbathing, play with your children in designated areas, cycle or walk through a dedicated pathway, or go wake-boarding, surfing, snorkelling, cruising and even kayaking through its natural mangroves.
The Yas Island’s Yas Marina Grand Prix Circuit is one more stopover in any Abu Dhabi tour. Witness an exciting competition or get in the driver’s seat and do it yourself.
When travelling with family, no Abu Dhabi tour would be complete without a visit to the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World. And also go to Yas Waterworld for a bit of drenching, screaming action.
For more thrills and adventures in an Abu Dhabi tour, head to the Warner Bros world. It has enough and more to keep the whole lot of you entertained and ecstatic.
If culture is your thing, the Louvre, Abu Dhabi, has a world-class travelling collection and also an international museum experience.
You can also take a cab to the Heritage Village at Corniche. It offers you a glimpse of the desert life and promises to rewind and give you an idea of what Abu Dhabi was like. Plus, you even can shop for souvenirs or watch artists who are weavers, spinners and metalworkers.
Abu Dhabi tourism also offers a fascinating shopping experience. All shopping is tax-free so you can buy all you like. Go from luxurious brands to high street wear to souk-like shops that sell everything from local art and craft to carpets and perfume.
All in all, your stay in this city of delights is full of nature, culture, heritage and tradition that also embrace modern living. It is a rare contradiction so find, you will find yourself pleased or pleasantly surprised at every turn.
English and Arabic
• For women travelling to Abu Dhabi, we recommend clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. Beachwear is tolerated on beaches as long as you wear your clothes or wraps the moment you are out of the water. PS: Ensure the wraps are not just sarongs and avoid bikinis.
• Also, when partying, wear a shawl over whatever you’re wearing for your journeys to and fro.
• If you are going to a mosque, you will have to wear a headscarf and be fully covered.
• Drinking in public is a complete no-no. Do not buy liquor from a wine store as a tourist because you don’t have a liquor permit. Drinking at bars and restaurants is okay.
• Displays of affection between men and women are strictly taboo.
• Entering a mosque with shoes on is prohibited. So, make sure you carry something you can slip in and out of.
• Driving under influence is a punishable offence.
• Like Dubai, eating, smoking and drinking in public during Ramadan is prohibited.
So, head over to Abu Dhabi with SOTC for memorable Abu Dhabi holidays that gives you a peek into high-flying lifestyles.