The Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque has 82 white-marble domes, possibly the largest hand-woven carpet, and a courtyard that can accommodate 41,000 worshippers!
Get exquisite carpets from Carpet Souk, at the right end of Mina Road. Search for the one with a higher number of knots per square inch, and don’t forget to bargain.
Head to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi for Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, which accelerates from 0km/h to 240km/h in 4.9 seconds. An F1 experience, anyone?
Flirt with fiery spices at Hot Plate. Ask for the hammour tikka and chicken biryani, but ensure you let them know how much spice you can handle!
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Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is an exciting amalgamation of cultural heritage and modern exuberance. Needless to say, you can expect an action-packed calendar of things to do here and a melange of experiences to soak in. Welcome to one of the richest cities in the world and remain dazzled.
1. Make Love to the Famous Abu Dhabi Skyline
Despite its numerous offerings, Abu Dhabi still leaves scope for moments of leisure and relaxation. Head out for a stroll or rent a bike to ride along the Corniche waterfront. Stretching along the north-west shore of Abu Dhabi, Corniche overlooks the spectacular high-rises on the opposite bank. Alternatively, request a boat ride to view the high-rises that line the Abu Dhabi sky. It is going to be love at first sight, we promise.
2. Check Out Modern Structures Sheltering Ancient Traditions
Sometime during the 1930s, when oil was first discovered in the land, Abu Dhabi began its journey of transformation from a quiet fishing village into one of the six wealthiest cities in the world. And the makeover shows in its architecture, especially religious places.
Visit the uber-modern Sheikh Zayed Mosque—a perfect harmony of Mameluke, Ottoman, and Fatimi designs, with motifs from another past. The structure of the mosque, which took about 20 years to build, is replete with intricate carvings, mosaic floorings, and astounding glass-works that will surely leave you breathless. The mosque is open to non-Muslims and guided tours are available.
Plan your trip to the city during the holy month and partake in its spiritual fervour. Find meaning in Suhour and Iftar feasts, and lose yourself in the cultural festivities that promise to brighten up your spirits . Non-Muslims may face some restrictions during this time, but the culinary delicacies you can indulge in during evenings will adequately make up for it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch how Ramadan slowly transforms the Abu Dhabi life into a world of richness of a completely different kind.
4. Get On The Wild Side
The Abu Dhabi skyline today is filled with modern structures—the Capital Gate, Baynunah Towers, The Landmark, ADIA Tower, the Aldar Headquarters Building and Etihad Towers. But competing with these in a contrasting space are the wild mangrove forests surrounding the city. Get on a 1.5–3-hour kayaking tour in the Eastern Mangroves Lagoon National Park, a secluded oasis that stretches for about 8 km. Slip silently into the wilderness, and be prepared to get a glimpse of the 50 bird species and 200 fishes that inhabit it.
Escape from the glass facades of the city, into the Liwa Oasis, about 150 km south-west of Abu Dhabi. Known for its date farming and the largest sand dunes in the world, this has to be at the top of your list of must-do things in Abu Dhabi. Go camel trekking, ride dune buggies, or get out on a sand dune safari. A little further, at Al Dhafra, you could even go sand-boarding. Make your way to the Arabian Nights Village, emerging suddenly from behind tall sand dunes in the unending desert, and enter the beautiful courtyard that opens out before two watchtowers—Zakhar and Al Manhal. Soak in the fabled beauty of the tranquil deserts and experience the traditional warmth of Emirati hospitality. There is indeed no better way to delight in the exotic Arabian culture.