Abu Dhabi, located to the south of the Persian Gulf, is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Abu Dhabi is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and west and the Sultante of Oman to the south east. The population is estimated at 1.5 million, of which 80% are expatriates. The ruler of Abu Dhabi is Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the ruler of the UAE.
Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s largest producers of oil and is considered to be the wealthiest of the seven emirates in terms of per capita income and GDP. At one point, falconry, pearling, camel herding and date production constituted most of the local economy. In recent years, Abu Dhabi’s economy has become diversified to include tourism, real estate and financial services.
The city of Abu Dhabi offers a wide selection of entertainment options. These range from golf courses, shopping malls and spas to cultural activities such as desert safaris and camel riding. Visitors to Abu Dhabi will find a variety of ethnic cuisines available, including Japanese, Italian, French and Persian.
Arabic is the official language of the UAE but many workers come from the UK, Pakistan, India and other Asian countries. Consequently, English, Tagalog and Urdu are widely spoken.
The official currency of the UAE is the Dirham, which is abbreviated to AED (1$ = 3.68 AED).
Religion and customs:
The religion of the UAE is Islam. Abu Dhabi is generally conservative, but is nevertheless tolerant when it comes to dress codes. As a sign of respect for local culture and customs, both women and men are advised not to wear revealing clothes in public places. Alcohol is only permitted in hotel restaurants and pubs.
The climate of UAE is sunny and warm year round. An increase in temperature and humidity occurs between the months of May and September, with temperatures averaging over 40°C (104° F). Sand storms are a common occurrence during these months and can drastically reduce visibility. Cooler weather is typical from November through March.
Points of Interests
Abu Dhabi Corniche:
Abu Dhabi Corniche is considered one of the city’s most picturesque sights. With its landscape walks, play areas and milieu of modern buildings overlooking the beach. The Corniche is considered a favorite spot for expatriates.
The Abu Dhabi government has recently opened a public beach at the Corniche. Visitors will enjoy designated swimming areas, refreshment and snack outlets, sun umbrellas, toilets, beautiful gardens and a volleyball pitch. To ensure visitors’ safety, floating fences extend 40 m into the sea and trained life guards are positioned in surveillance towers to monitor swimmers.
This luxurious seven- star hotel is located to the east of the Breakwater on a 1.3 km stretch of sandy beach. Emirates Palace is one of the touristic attractions in the capital. Located 9 km away from hotel.
Al Hosn Palace:
Also known as the ‘White Fort’, Al Hosn Palace is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi city. It was built in 1793 and became the residence of the ruling sheikh. The Culture and Heritage authority is in the process of restoring the old fort and building a museum on its grounds.
Located next to Al Hosn Palace, the Cultural Foundation of Abu Dhabi encompasses the National Library, the National Archives and the Institute of Culture and Art. The Cultural Foundation organizes and hosts many events, including concerts, film festivals and art exhibitions. Local and international artists often display their work at the exhibition centre and crafts and language workshops are available throughout the year. Located 5 km from hotel.
As the name suggests, the Heritage Village displays traditional Bedouin life style. Located 11 km away from hotel.
Women’s Craft Centre:
Situated off the airport road, the Women’s Craft Centre displays a variety of handcrafts, including weaving, embroidery, sewing and basketry. Visitors who are interested in buying genuine traditional handcrafts will find plenty to choose from here. Located 12 km away from hotel.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque:
Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the third largest mosque in the world. It was named after the father and founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The mosque exemplifies majestic Arabic style architecture with its exquisite floral marble design. The mosque can accommodate 30 000 worshipers and has four minarets. The floor is covered with the finest Persian carpets and the mosque’s seven chandeliers are covered with copper and gold. Although only Muslims are allowed to enter mosques, Sheikh Zayed Mosque has become a main tourist attraction for all religions. Located 20 km away from hotel.
It has become a common practice in Abu Dhabi to develop natural islands into residential communities, complete with stunning beach front houses and leisure and touristic activities.
Al Saadiyat Island: Located to the north east of Abu Dhabi, Al Saadiyat Island has become popular with tourists for its mangroves reserves, esteemed museums and thriving arts district. This world class cultural destination will house a Guggenheim Museum for contemporary art, a Louvre Universal Museum, a performing arts centre, a maritime Museum and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum.
Yas Island: Another famous attraction, Yas Island offer race tracks signature hotels and the Ferrari theme park.