Starting your day with a strong cup of Arabic coffee in Abu Dhabi city sounds good does it not? The capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a beckoning you with the traditional MARHABA (meaning welcome). It has a backdrop of both the modern and the ancient. It nurtures a perfect balance between the traditional heritage and the glitzy modern infrastructure which make it very attractive.
This city is home to many a record: it houses the fastest roller-coaster and the tower that leans the most being some of them. Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi is a major tourist attraction. Abu Dhabi is at a distance of about 170 km from Dubai in the south-western direction.
This capital city is an example of the rich Emirati culture and is one of the richest cities on the planet. It presents sights of white-domed mosques, the absorbing peace of the Corniche and other beaches, speedy Formula I races, and traditional camel races on burning sand dunes. For an exciting, yet a quiet and peaceful holiday, Abu Dhabi is a great place to turn to.
A half-day Abu Dhabi city tour is the best way to get to see this jewel of the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi City Tour
This tour of Abu Dhabi city transports you through the best that it can offer: Jebel Ali Free Zone, the prized Corniche, Breakwater Point and the Al Husa Fort. The tour ride is on a comfortable coach and the tour that lulls you to sleep and it takes about 6 to 7 hours to complete the sightseeing trip. The city tour of Abu Dhabi along the waterfront skirts you through many wonderful sights starting with the world’s largest man-made port.
We start the Abu Dhabi city tour at the Jebel Ali Free Zone is a free economic zone close to Dubai. This place is the regional hub for some of the largest corporations of the world. It is a unique ecosystem that helps to reduce cost while increasing opportunities for growth and revenues. This free zone houses a business community that offers never-before business growth chances and access to the world market. More than 1.5 lakh people are employed here.
The next stop is at AL Husa Fort which is the home of the original rulers of the Arabian land. There is a fascinating tale behind this fort. It was built by a Baniyas tribe Sheikh who wanted to protect the water in a well that was found near here. Eventually, the ruler of the land also built his palace here. In the half hour stop at the palace, one gets an idea of the grandeur of the life of the Arab rulers.
Next, the drive is along the Corniche which is a beautiful curved stretch of a length 8 km. It includes walkways, children’s play areas, restaurants and cafes, the Corniche Beach and cycle and pedestrian pathways. The drive gives stunning views of the high-rise buildings along the waterfront. The sandy beaches are white and beautiful. It is a popular recreation spot for the locals.
Located near the Marina Mall, the Emirates Heritage Club is the next stop of the Abu Dhabi city tour. This club is home to the headquarters of the sailing department. In addition, there are a number of diving clubs that function here. There is also a visit to the Heritage Village that is maintained by the Heritage Club.
The Heritage Village takes you back in time and it is the right occasion to experience traditional Arabian life. A pre-modern encampment, a souk a mosque and a traditional oasis can be enjoyed here. A little heritage village houses artisans involved in pottery, glass-blowing and traditional spinning and weaving. Tourists can buy attractive souvenirs to take home. There is also a shop that sells ancient spices and herbs and even handmade soaps.
The next stop of the city tour is at the Cultural Foundation of Abu Dhabi. Housed in a fort, this is a centre for arts and learning and a source of beauty and joy for the residents of the emirate. It is the main venue in the town for all theatre, arts and literature. This is the place where poetry clubs and piano classes go on. The high-ceilinged building is a beautiful place to explore.
The Women’s Handicraft Centre is the best place to see and shop ethnic goods. It is basically a museum and a showcase for local arts and craft. There are many buildings that house women artists engaged in weaving, concocting oils, making local dresses, and doing silver thread work. Ensure that you do not wear your slippers inside any of these workshops and photography can be attempted only with permission. Women can be seen doing henna painting on the hand. The tour stops here for about 30 minutes.
The last stop of the Abu Dhabi city tour is at the Emirates Palace Hotel. Located at the end of the Corniche, it skirts the borders of the Arabian Gulf. It is a picture of grandeur and beauty. It provides luxury accommodation, serves international cuisine and is a blend of the traditional and the modern. The hotel is embellished with glass, silver and gold mosaic designs. The pavilions in the hotel offer spectacular panoramic views of the sea.
The Abu Dhabi city tour is pleasantly interrupted by (an unending) supply of mineral water and soft drink refreshments as well as a lip-smacking international-cuisine lunch at the appropriate times.
How to Reach Abu Dhabi
Being Etihad’s home ground, Abu Dhabi fields some of the best airports in the world. There are many major airlines from different parts of the world that connect to Abu Dhabi. There are buses from Dubai that can reach you here.
The best time to visit Abu Dhabi would be the time from December to February. This is the peak time when there would be many tourists like you visiting this city. During this season there would also be many open Christmas and art & craft markets.