Tag Archives: Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Fun for all the Family

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series The Emirates

Although Dubai is currently the most popular Emirate, the capital Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a tourist destination in its own right.

This Emirate has plenty of rides and slides for the thrill seekers. Most of these are located on the man-made Yas Island, an up-and-coming entertainment destination. It boasts Abu Dhabi’s state-of-the-art Grand Prix circuit, the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi five star hotel, and theme parks. Ferrari World is a car lover’s dream. The car-themed amusement park is complete with a tyre changing show, a junior Grand Prix, a Ferrari gallery and even a play area designed as a car wash.

Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi. Photo © Michael Schindler

Yas Waterworld is the Emirate’s popular water park, an exciting adventure for everyone’s inner child. It is family-friendly, with a wave pool, vertical drops, a surfable wave sheet, a water fortress for young children, and group rides and slides, which cater to single riders and couples.   

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is Abu Dhabi’s colossal monument and its most visited attraction. Of course, it’s a frequented place of worship, but the Fatimid and Ottoman inspired landmark, constructed of Macedonian marble and furnished with mosaic tiling, attracts masses of tourists. Non-Muslims are granted access to all areas of the grand mosque, making it an enlightening insight into the architecture and religious customs of the Islamic faith.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, photo © Chris Mills

Another heritage site for tourists to visit is Qasr-al-Hosn. Being the oldest building in Abu Dhabi, it was originally a watchtower and was later converted into a fort by the royal family, who also resided in the Qasr-al-Hosn. Locals regard it as the symbolic birthplace of the Emirate. Those who want an experience of Abu Dhabi’s traditions should visit as there are plenty of artefacts on display presenting the region’s history.

Qasr-al-Hosn fort. Photo © Hsien-yang Tseng

Anyone in need of retail therapy can head down to one of the various shopping centers that Abu Dhabi has to offer. Between the two most prominent ones, Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall, everyone’s shopping needs are catered for. Marina Mall has an ice rink, a Cineplex and many big brand stores.

Abu Dhabi is also a great place in which people can shop big names. The children’s play area “Kidoos” is perfect for families, and parents can continue shopping whilst their children enjoy hours of supervised fun. Arguably, the number of malls means that there is a risk of Abu Dhabi being compared to Dubai, its neighbouring Emirate which dominates the tourism industry in the region. However, the air-conditioned malls do provide a way for people to escape the intense heat and cool off.

Some may be surprised to find that the business orientated capital would have so many family friendly tourist attractions, but there are plenty to visit, making Abu Dhabi the perfect holiday destination.

Featured image © Ross Ruck

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The Emirates: An Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series The Emirates

On the south east border of Saudi Arabia, bordering Oman and sharing the Persian Gulf with Iran, Qatar and Bahrain, seven emirates occupy an area of 83,600 sq. km formed mainly of dune and oasis-filled desert, rocky mountains and fertile plains. This small union of states, well-known for being home to one of the most luxurious destinations in the world — Dubai — has an interesting, perhaps less well known, story.

When I first visited Dubai in 2011, I remember being astonished at how young the city seemed. When I saw the remains of the old city wall, built in 1800, I thought to myself, that isn’t old at all. I wondered how this city, certain vistas of which made it look as if it had been plucked from a sci-fi film, had sprouted up in the middle of the desert. So I’ve decided to find out more about the tax free United Arab Emirates (UAE), where an estimated 7.8 million of the 9.2 million residents are expatriates, where alcohol is only permitted in certain buildings, and where you can allegedly leave your designer handbag unattended in public and nobody will touch it. Continue reading

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