I’m finally on my way back home after an amazing 10-day trip to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and The Maldives with friends (can anyone guess what flight I’m on? I’ll even pass along a prize to the winner…). Now that I have just a few hours left in the air, I figured I’d bang out a quick Abu Dhabi trip report.
This was my first time visiting UAE, and I’m glad I cut my Abu Dhabi stay drastically. Originally I had planned 2 nights/3 days in Abu Dhabi, and at the very last minute, I decided a 12-hour “day trip” would be sufficient – and it sure was.
Getting there: If you’re considering a day trip from Dubai like I did, allow yourself 90-minutes each way by car in normal traffic and/or a ~$60 taxi fare. One thing that surprised me about UAE in general was that taxis are so damn reasonable.
If you haven’t made your way over to Abu Dhabi yet, here’s a few things you can see and do to capture what the city has to offer in just a day:
1. Visit the Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is truly a spectacular site that’s open from 9am – 10 pm daily. Admission is free and so is parking; there are also plenty of taxi cabs near by if you don’t have access car of your own. The dress code is strictly enforced (see image below). I was dressed pretty conservatively (sweater and long pants), and I was still given a traditional robe to cover up with (abaya).
2. Check Out the New Etihad Towers
Take a moment to swing by the Etihad Towers for some nice panoramic views of Abu Dhabi. Located right across the street from Emirates Palace Hotel, Etihad Towers is the perfect spot for a mid-day lunch break. My friends and I chose to have “a lunch with a view” at Quest, on the 63rd floor. There was a 3-course fixed price menu for about ~$50 per person. Each table is located in a private room with floor-to-ceiling windows and superb service.
3. Visit Emirates Palace Hotel
If you want a taste of the UAE luxurious lifestyle, take 10-20 minutes (at most) to stroll through the Emirates Palace Hotel. You’ll see lots of Lamborghini’s, Ferraris, and Bentleys parked out front. They even have a “Gold ATM” inside… just incase you need to stock up on your supply, of course.
4. Spend Time at Ferrari World
If you’re looking for a thrill, a break from the heat, or perhaps you want to ride the world’s fastest roller-coaster inside the largest indoor amusement park on Earth, be sure to check out Ferrari World, a Ferarri-themed amusement park. We tried to make it to Ferrari World at the end of the day, but unfortunately we were unaware that the amusement park closed at 8 pm that evening. The was a major bummer because it looked like a cool place to have fun.
5. Stay at Hyatt Capital Gate
We spent one night at the Hyatt Capital Gate to make it easier to get to AUH the next morning for our flight to the Maldives, and wow what a cool stay it was! The Capital Gate building is a futuristic and modern architectural wonder with its awesome “leaning” design. Even if you don’t have a chance to spend the night, be sure to stop for pictures of the building as you drive by it.
That pretty much sums up my visit to Abu Dhabi. Like Singapore, I honestly believe one day in Abu Dhabi is enough. What about you? For those who have also visited Abu Dhabi, what else would you recommend?