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DescriptionAdmittedly, Abu Dhabi is drastically different from what many imagine it to be, but that's only because it exceeds most imaginations. It's a luxurious beach vacation with 200 natural islands and 400 kilometers of coastline. It's an adventurer's dream with falconry and dune bashing. It's a posh sanctuary of high-rise towers, glittering palaces and high-end shopping. And it's a historian's playground with the world's largest mosques, desert camps, and oases. One of the coolest things about this Arabian haven is all of the ways available for you to explore all it has to offer-hot air balloons across the desert, helicopter excursions, and bus, camel, and boat tours. Whatever you choose to do in Abu Dhabi, rest assured that this will be a vacation filled with adventure and culture.
Melting Pot of the Middle East09/20/13
The Middle East – an Arab Nation; most Americans immediately think DANGER at the word of it. That is sad. Not even I could say what I was getting myself into, but what I did know was that danger was the last thing on my mind. Come on, Abu Dhabi, Dubai – this is the melting pot of the Middle East. I don’t think there is anywhere in the world where you can sit down for a cup of tea and hear Arabic, English, Hindi, French, Korean, Thai and French all within an earshot of each other. There is no travel guide you could ever read that could prepare you for the experience; it can only happen once you engage with the local community.
Abu Dhabi is very family oriented for cultures of all sorts. It is easy to take day trips to other cities through the country (like Dubai & Al Ain). You MUST make a stop a the country's largest Mosque, where all are welcome, but ladies you must wear the proper coverings and they will provide for you, Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Abu Dhabi, is slightly more consevative than Dubai, however, a female traveling alone would have no problem getting around on their own. In fact, I have loved it there so much, I have been 6 times more since my first visit.
Hospitality is amazing
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I found that if curious and you ask, people love to tell you about their culture and why they do the things they do.
I found it mystic and soothing to walk through the streets during prayer time and hear the prayers over the speakers throughout the streets.
Food – you can get everything and anything you want. The only type of restaurants I didn't see was South American or Mexican flavor.
I was disappointed the hotels were hesitant to send you to the true local eateries, but then again I feel hotels around the world are always hesitant on that topic.
Camel Races – there is no race track, but is a long 5k (distance depends on the race) long chute through the desert. Paths along each side of the chute and you drive along the side of the camels to watch the race. It is amazing to see. *Note, it is not something women normally go to...I was the only one there.
On my quest to find something special for my husband I found myself at the Souk and wondered into a traditional Arabic men’s clothing store. The man barely spoke a word of English and started to apologize to me for it. I said to him that I am the one who should be apologizing for not speaking a word of Arabic…and we hit it off. After finding my special gift (beautiful cuff-links) I starting asking him details about the clothing men wear, what it is, how to accessorize etc. He was excited to show me everything (and without trying to sell me anything) Before I left, he told me to wait as he walked into the back room and returned with a head scarf. Very carefully he wrapped it over my head and insisted I take it, telling me that the next time I come back to his country to stop by again.
Unexpected Restaurant – Ponderosa Steakhouse
Petrol – full service and costs about 75 cents a liter
Tap Water – I drank it. Is is safe? I didn't get sick from it and no one told me not to drink it.
Beaches – beautiful and clean, but you have to pay to enter. Worth it though. ($1.50)
Shopping – better than anywhere I have ever been in the world! Most stores give you the option to pay in your currency if you are using credit card.
Driving – easy, highways are in great condition, traffic in the cities get congested. There is a lot of construction, so you will find the main roads marked well, but the side streets you better know where you are going because they aren't marked at all. I never used a map getting from city to city.
Food – expensive at the hotels. Cheap on in the local eateries…very cheap. I ate lunch for under $2.00.
Crime – hardly any. I was surprised to hear that people actually leave their cars and houses unlocked in the city!
Ketchup – I have no clue why they serve it with everything, even my pizza.
English – spoken almost everywhere and most people will approach you in English.
Dress – Dubai you will see everything expect for bun hugger shorts. Abu Dhabi, you want to keep your arms and legs covered. The further remote you get, the more you want to cover, including your head. Al Ain, I wore long sleeves, long pants and a head cover and wish I had wore more.
News – great world coverage
Smoking – everywhere…yuck.
Dining Service – that of something between American and European service. Mainly seat yourself, unless the place takes reservations.
Visit Again? - definitely! My curiosity has been sparked me to want to see more of this area of the world.
Waiting for a flight??09/15/13
Even as a girl alone I would go, people are friendly and very helpful in perfect English!! And it's soooo clean out there!! ;-)
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
Arabian Nights Village
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Yas Marina Circuit
Mezlai Restaurant, Fine Dining Emirati Cuisine, at Emirates Palace
Date Souk at Al Mina Fruit & Vegetable Market
Mina Fish Souk
Abu Dhabi Corniche
Al Ain Zoo
Arabian Wildlife Park
Hili Fun City
Abu Dhabi is approximately 75 miles from Dubai – another Jauntaroo destination. The roads are quite good and by bus it takes about 90-120 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
[AED] UAE Dirham
Abu Dhabi International Airport [AUH]