Where: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Who: Mr & Mrs Wanderlust
When: Feb 2015
What: Mr & Mrs Wanderlust's Anniversary Celebration!
Abu Dhabi houses federal government offices, is the seat of the United Arab Emirates Government, home to the Abu Dhabi Emiri Family and the President of the UAE, who is from this family. Abu Dhabi has grown to be a cosmopolitan metropolis. Its rapid development and urbanisation, coupled with the relatively high average income of its population, has transformed Abu Dhabi to a larger and advanced metropolis. Today the city is the country's center of political and industrial activities, and a major cultural and commercial centre, due to its position as the capital. Abu Dhabi accounts for about two-thirds of the roughly $400 billion United Arab Emirates economy.
Abu Dhabi is home to important financial institutions such as the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the corporate headquarters of many companies and numerous multinational corporations. One of the world's largest producers of oil, Abu Dhabi has actively attempted to diversify its economy in recent years through investments in financial services and tourism.
Abu Dhabi is the fourth most expensive city for expatriate employees in the region, and in 2014 was the 68th most expensive big city in the world.
If money is not so much of a factor, this is probably the easiest way, from DXB to Abu Dhabi international airport, may take less than an hour, but sometimes it is also a hassle going from one airport to another which may also cut or take another 3-4 hours of your time.
The main bus terminal and long-distance taxi stand (cnr East Rd & Haza’a bin Zayed St) is south of the centre. The large buses near the taxi stand leave for Dubai, while buses for the rest of the emirate run from the left (south) side of the building. From 6.30am to 10pm daily buses leave every 10 minutes for Al-Ain (Dh10, two hours) and Dubai (Dh15, 2½ hours). Buses for Liwa (Dh15, 3½ hours) leave every hour; you need to change at Tarif for Madinat Zayed where there’s a connection to Liwa. The last bus leaves at 9pm.
The best bus service between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is the Emirates Express (800 4848) jointly operated by Dubai Public Transport and Abu Dhabi Public Transport. These new, large, comfortable buses depart 24 times a day, from 6.20am until 11.40pm, seven days a week (Dh15 one way). Buses leave every 20 to 40 minutes, taking two hours. These buses are best if you have luggage. Pick up a comprehensive bus timetable from the bus station.
Abu Dhabi has dozens of car-rental agencies, from big international companies to tiny local operations. The former may charge slightly more but you get peace of mind that there’s going to be a spare in the boot and 24 hour help if you need it. Europcar offers the best combination of low prices and efficient service in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi is a developed city which means that you will never run out of hotels from the luxurious to regular star hotels. Keep in mind though that Abu Dhabi is one of the reported cities by Forbes that has high cost of living, so make sure that you have a planned budget because even simple meals can be costly to a tight-budgeted traveler so make sure to do research just to avoid any disappointments.
*Mr & Mrs Wanderlust only did a day trip at Abu Dhabi so we won't be able to provide any reviews.
1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
As Rihanna aptly demonstrated, months ago, if there’s one place you have to visit in Abu Dhabi then that place is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The religious building is an imposing structure of outstanding beauty, and will not fail to overawe even the most discerning of visitors. Oh, and for the stat-happy, it also boasts the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, chandelier and dome.
**PROTIP: There is a strict dress-code and conduct inside the mosque and is strictly enforced, so unless you follow their dresscode (Mr actually did, yet because his tattoo is showing, so he was required to wear men's traditional condura) While women are actually required to wear their traditional abaya (robe) and shayla (headscarf).
2. Stroll the Coast and visit the Heritage village
An epic four-mile promenade with many places to stop off and enjoy a picnic. You can stroll the entire length in an afternoon.
You should also get to the heritage village which still displays traditional house designs since the early ages, as well as their boats, and other ancient artifacts in their museum.
3. See the leaning tower Capital Gate of Abu Dhabi
The Leaning Tower of Pisa might be famous the globe over for the angle it protrudes from the ground, but it isn’t the world’s most lopsided structure. That title belongs to Capital Gate, which topples sideways an astonishing 18 degrees, making it a visually stunning landmark while also being perfect for some hilarious perspective snaps. 18 Degrees, the iconic restaurant at the Hyatt Capital Gate, is also well worth a visit.
4. Withdraw some Gold
Ever unsure what your current account balance is? Worry that you won’t be able to withdraw that extra note to pay for your evening out? Well the ATM at Emirates Palace doesn’t have any bank notes, it dispenses gold. Take your visitors down there to get a photo of the ridiculously opulent machine in action, or if you’re feeling brave even have a go yourself.
5. Go to a bus tour
It might be a little bit cliché admittedly, but if your guests’ time is limited and you want to get around as many of the sites a possible then a bus tour is probably the best option for them. Big Bus Tours know the city as well as anyone, and provide an entertaining one day jaunt around Abu Dhabi’s most popular sightseeing spots.
6. Go on the nearest Desert for a safari
An absolute must for tourists, a desert safari offers all the elements any good adventure needs. Accommodation and customs from local Bedouin communities is matched perfectly with superb food, entertainment and exploration to make for a great time out in the sandy wilderness. Just don’t wander off into the desert on your own.
7. Ride the world's fastest roller coaster
It’s no surprise that Formula Rossa is the main attraction at Yas Island’s Ferrari World, because there is a very good reason for that. The roller coaster is the fastest one on the planet, so for theme park fans and adrenaline rush seekers this is a must do, as the thrill of the ride is worth the ounce of terror it induces. It also makes for a pretty good brag for your visitors when they return home.
8. Drive like a pro race driver
Of the modern constructions, Yas Marina Circuit is probably the most iconic and beautiful in Abu Dhabi, making it an excellent visit for you and your guests. However, for the full experience of what this globally renowned racing track has to offer, why not get in a car and follow in the footsteps of your F1 heroes by completing a couple of laps? You can hire a supercar to get round as quickly as possible – with the Aston Martin GT4 being a particular favourite – or simply bring your own car to the track and see whether it has the horse power to compete with lap times set by your rivals (for the day).
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