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Abu Dhabi - Manhattan of Middle East

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Abu Dhabi, the capital and the second-most populous city of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) after Dubai. It is the largest and richest Emirates in the U.A.E."Abu" means father in Arabic and "Dhabi" is the Arabic word for gazelle. Abu Dhabi means "Father of Gazelle." The name came because of the abundance of gazelles in the area.

Country: United Arab Emirates Emirate: Abu Dhabi Area: 375.3 mi² (972 km²)

Population: 1,482,816 (2020)

Time Zone: UTC + 4 (UAE Standard Time)

Currency: UAE Dirhams (AED)

The city of Abu Dhabi is located on an island in the Persian Gulf, off the Central West Coast, just 140 kms (83.3 miles) from Dubai. Most of the city and the Emirate reside on the mainland

and connected to the rest of the country. It is the country's center of politics and industry, and a major culture and commerce center. According to safe city index 2019 Abu Dhabi ranked 28th safest city in the world.

Abu Dhabi is a stunning place to visit, simply being there will expose you to the unique aspects of cultural, visual and natural life you’ll simply not find elsewhere. There are a lot of places to visit in Abu Dhabi, these are some of the places to start the adventure.

Places to Visit

1) Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - This is the largest mosque in UAE and 7th largest in the world, can hold over 41,000 worshipers. There are four minarets on the four corners of the courtyard which rise about 107 m (351 ft) in height. The courtyard, with its floral design, measures about 17,000 m² (180,000 ft²), and is considered to be the largest example of marble mosaic in the world. It is named after the late President of UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al- Nahyan.

2) Louvre Abu Dhabi - This is the largest art museum in the Arabian Peninsula, located on the Saadiyat Island district with artworks from around the world are showcased at the museum, with particular focus placed upon bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art.

3) Qasr Al Hosn - The Qasr al-Hosn is a historical landmark and the oldest stone building in the city of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. This is an 18th century Palace and fort.

4) Emirates Palace - A luxury five star hotel, the majority of the suites are furnished in gold and marble. The main primary building houses an expansive marble floor and a large patterned dome above, picked out in gold. Emirates Palace Hotel installed the bullion ATM in its lobby as the first permanent gold vending machine in the world. The hotel also featured in many movies like Fast and Furious 7 and The Kingdom.

5) Ferrari World - Ferrari World theme park brings the thrill of Formula One racing to Abu Dhabi and is one of the city's top things to do.There's also a collection of Ferrari's cars, with models dating back to 1947, and a Ferrari factory tour and Ferrari knowledge game show for true car nerds.

6) Yas Island - Yas Island is one of Abu Dhabi's top luxury hotel destinations, with stretches of sandy beach that are perfect for spending the day sunbathing. This area is also home to the Yas Marina Circuit, which is where Abu Dhabi's Formula One racing takes place every year. Sun seekers should beeline straight to Yas Beach; adrenaline fans can book a Formula One experience at Yas Marina Circuit; and shoppers should head straight to Yas Mall, the city's premier shopping destination.

7) Heritage Village - Abu Dhabi's Heritage Village is an authentic replica of a typical Bedouin village that gives visitors an idea of Emirati life before the oil boom. There are exhibits featuring traditional day-to-day objects, workshops where you can watch craftspeople demonstrate Emirati metalwork and weaving skills, and displays introducing visitors to local agriculture and the pearl diving trade-the main economies here before oil was discovered.

8) Al Jubail Mangrove Park - This is one of the latest attractions of Abu Dhabi. The aim of the park and mangrove walk is to provide cultural and ecological information on the trees which have been in the region since the early days of the emirates, while focusing on the protection and preservation of the natural environment and all the wildlife connected to it.

Desert Safari - The most popular day trip or overnight trip from Abu Dhabi city is a desert safari to the south of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, either to the beautiful Liwa Oasis, which lays right on the edge of the Empty Quarter, or to the Al Khatim Desert near Al Ain.

Shopping: UAE is popular for its shopping bargains. Just like its sister city Dubai; Abu Dhabi is popular for shopping malls. For Arabic crafts, "Women's handicraft Center" on Karama street is a good place to look for. Variety of shawls, rugs, textiles, incense, spice and crafts can be found in World Trade Center Souk.

To pick up classic Arab style gold jewelry, head to the Gold Souk inside Madinat Zayed Shopping Center, where you'll find dozens of gold vendors.

Religious Sites: U.A.E. is very tolerant nation and has many religious sites. Other than Muslim religious sites there are many other religious sites to visit.

Food and Dining: Abu Dhabi is modern and cosmopolitan, offering wide range of cuisines from around the world. Lebanese, Chinese, Thai, Mexican. If you are interested in trying some Arabic cuisines then Mandi (Arabian Chicken and Rice) is a must.

Hotels: Abu Dhabi has vast number of hotels ranging from budget hotel to luxury hotels. For first time visitors, the Downtown area, near the Corniche, is a good choice and has a wide variety of hotels. If you're after a resort-style stay, check out Saadiyat Island.

Luxury Hotels: Emirates Palace, Jumeirah Etihad Towers, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal and Qaryat Al Beri.

Mid-Range Hotels: Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Holiday Inn, Sofitel Corniche.

Budget Hotels: Al Jazeerah Royal Hotel, Park Rotana

Transportation: Getting around Abu Dhabi isn't hard, there is public transportation operating throughout the city. Pay a single fare or buy a weekly or monthly pass.

Taxis: Taxis are available throughout the city and run by the TransAD, starting fare with Dhs 4.

Money Exchange

The currency of UAE is UAE Dirhams (AED) and it is accepted in all Emirates. The UAE bills are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Also, there are 25 fils and 50 fils coins and 1 Dirham coins.

Major Currencies are accepted for Exchange. Below are the exchange rates:

To and From the Airport

Abu Dhabi International Airport is 16.5 miles east of Abu Dhabi city and second largest airport after Dubai International airport in UAE.

  • Public Transport: The air-conditioned bus to and from the airport and Abu Dhabi city is both economical and comfortable mode of transport. The lower curbside outside Terminals 1 and 3 and outside Terminal 2 The Cargo Building The Police Complex

Timings: Every 40 minutes, 24 hours a day. Cost: One-way fare is AED 4. Transfer time: Travel time to the city is approximately 45 minutes; it could vary depending on traffic.

  • Taxi: You will find at the clearly signposted taxi pick-up area at the lower curbside outside Arrivals Hall for Terminals 1 & 3. Here, you will easily spot our fleet of 6-seater black Mercedes Vitos.

Meter Starting Fare (Flag Fall) – AED 25.00

Rent A Car: All car rental offices are open 24 hours a day

  • Avis

  • Dollar

  • Hertz

  • Europcar

  • Thrifty

  • PaylessCar

  • Fast Rent A car

Tips: There are no liquor stores or liquor are not sold openly. It is still served in hotels and nightclubs.

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