A taste of the high life…
Once seen as the staid cousin of dazzling Dubai, Abu Dhabi is shaking off this image and embracing change. Adding to its plethora of opulent shopping malls, luxurious hotels, green parks and elegant boulevards, the city has embarked on some grand projects to attract further visitors. Investment in Saadiyat Island and its Guggenheim and Louvre Museums are planned to open in 2011. Unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi has maintained some of its Arabic charm and enjoys a slower pace of life with many residents continuing to wear traditional cloaks and headscarves. Classic hotels provide stylish accommodation and private sandy beaches; glitzy shopping malls offer designer labels; the al-Maqtaa Fort and Sheikh Zayad Mosque give the city gravitas. Abu Dhabi may be rich but it’s certainly not complacent.
A visit to Abu Dhabi is a taste of luxury. Excellent hotels, designer shopping, attractive boulevards, and plenty of entertainment facilities make the emirate a great holiday destination. You may not be able to take the vast wealth away with you when you leave, but you can certainly sample it while you’re there.
When to Go?
The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is between November and February when the temperature ranges from around 20 - 27°C. From April temperatures start to climb, peaking in July and August to around 34°C. Days cool slightly in September and October but it’s not until November that they drop to really comfortable levels.
How to get there?
Direct flights operate to Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) from London and Manchester, and there are connecting flights via various airports in Europe and the Middle East. It is also possible to go to Abu Dhabi via Dubai and then travel by coach, which takes around 1.5 hours. Al Ghazal taxis are available from Abu Dhabi Airport and take around 40 minutes. They cost around Dhs 75. Bus route 901 runs to the city every 30-45 minutes.
Take a walk along the wonderful Corniche. The waterfront walkway stretches for miles and is a great place to stroll in the evening and see the Abu Dhabi residents enjoying their leisure time. Go to Khalifa Park; it cost a staggering $50m to build and boasts an aquarium, a museum, as well as delightful gardens. For something a bit more energetic, book yourself onto a Desert Safari in a 4x4. It’s a rather touristy experience but lots of fun.