After 3 nights in Dubai over New Years, we headed to Abu Dhabi. You can get a coach or taxi to Abu Dhabi. My taxi it should take roughly an hour and cost between 200AED and 250 AED depending on where you are. The hotel “fixed price” taxis are slightly dearer.
Abu Dhabi is aka as “father of gazelles” because it was discovered as a result of spotting gazelles going to springs for water.
We had three nights in our hotel, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr. You can read about my stay here. After a busy three nights in Dubai, once we checked into our hotel in Abu Dhabi, we headed to the private beach to catch some rays and chill out.
On the second day, after breakfast, we headed to Ferrari World. The hotel was selling tickets for 280 AED however we booked our tickets online through TripXtours for 245 AED per person. The standard ticket doesn’t include some activities like Kart riding or Ferrari Experience.
Ferrari World/Yas Hotel put on complimentary shuttles to and from the main hotels.
Ferrari World is an indoor amusement park. As well as showcasing all their cars and how they are made, the park has several rides and activities for all ages. There are plenty of places to eat too. We tucked into some Masala Dhosa and Pau Bhaji (not what you expect in a theme park) The park has 4 big thrill rides which is one of reasons we paid a visit. Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi has many world records and at the park you can experience the Formula Rossa (world’s fastest rollercoaster) and Flying Aces (world’s highest rollercoaster loop).
We were there on a Friday around 1pm and it was not busy. We waited a maximum of 5 minutes for the rides. It takes around 4 hours to walk around Ferrari World and go on the rides. There is plenty for kids to do including several shows and I feel it is more value for money for them.
If you are going to spend the whole day here and go for all the shows and rides then the 245AED is justifiable. For adults just wanting to go on the rides we thought it was quite pricey. Ferrari World is attached to Yas Mall which has 100’s of shops.. The food is cheaper here so it’s worth eating before entering. If you want that Instagram friendly shake visit Black Tap.
Half Day City Tour with Desert Rose Tourism
On the third day we booked a Half Day City Tour with Desert Rose Tourism. We were picked up at 945 am. Our tour guide was called Abu and he enlightened us with a lot of useful information.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Our first stop was the Grand Mosque. The tour guide had the appropriate clothing for those who didn’t however if you turn up on your own the Mosque provide you with appropriate dress wear.
The Mosque was named after Sheikh Zayed and took over 10 years to construct ( 1996-2007). The last president wanted a place that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world.
It has 4 Minarets on the corners and is topped with 22 carat solid gold. The marble was brought from Macedonia in Greece. The Mosque has the largest hand knitted carpet in the world from Iran and 7 Swarovski chandeliers from Germany.
There is a Solar/ lunar calendar. The Kuran is ready 24 hours a day by different people in respect of their previous President who is buried at the graveyard.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a must see when you visit Abu Dhabi. The art is modern and beautiful and the whole design is breath-taking. Abu said no one knows the price of the Mosque because it was a gift to the public and to be honest I couldn’t even imagine what it would cost. You can no longer go right inside the mosque so you cannot walk on the carpet but you still get a good view of it. There are many photo points around positioned in key areas.
The Mosque is just beautiful and the architecture is breathtaking. There is a bit of a walk to the Mosque because the security/queues are all underground so ensure you wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated.
Other stops in the tour included:
- Heritage Village
- Drive through Corniche and a quick photo stop a beautiful view of the Abu Dhabi sky scrapers
- Date Market ( this was a shop within the market that sold all date products). There were a few in the same area
- Iranian Market (this was more of a marketing place than an actual stop. They had lovely rugs however staff were there to sell you whatever they could).
- Drive past Yas World
Rather than a bus tour, we chose this tour because it felt more structured, informative and covered the sites we wanted to see. and informative. The tour was supposed to be a Half Day however we were out for the most of the day. We got back at 4pm and a couple had to make their own way back during the tour because it was taking much longer than stated on the brochure. It is always hard when you are a small group and have individuals who take longer than advised at each stop. We must have lost a total of an hour throughout the tour on just waiting. The tour provides you with complimentary water.
Some interesting information we learnt from Abu, our tour guide
-The Law states you have to work so there is no unemployment in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. You have to be able to support yourself and if you do not have a job within 4 weeks of losing your current job you get deported
–The population for the 7 Emirates is around 9.5 million and only 1 million are the local Emiratis
– There are four types of Emiratis: Politicians, Private Business (Rotana, Hilton, Jumeriah etc), Government Workers ( they all have senior roles within the government) and the Bedouin (nomads who provide camel milk which apparently is more expensive than oil)
– A few years ago all Government Workers received 100% pay rise and I think they recently got another one too. No one actually knows how much they earn.
– Education up to University Level (including overseas) is free. Medical is free too. For everyone who is not an Emirati, the employer provides this.
-No foreigners are able to become a citizen of UAE (well no one knows how to anyway). Even if your working in the UAE and you have a baby there, this baby will not be able to stay here.
– Camels are all imported from Sudan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Australia
– There are 120 date varieties. You get male and female date trees. The reason dates are pricey is because they need to physically pollinate the male flower to the female one. Apparently the dates do not mature and ripen as well naturally.
–There is a shop that sells cheap booze and pork in the centre of Abu Dhabi. Who would have thought?
** I received a reduced price ticket for the tour however all opinions are my own and honest**
After we got back to the we caught a couple of hours of sun. This was our last night in Abu Dhabi and I feel there is so much more to see and do.