Abu Dhabi – Luxus and Tradition
The city of Abu Dhabi is the capital of the largest emirate of the U.A.E. The emirateís substantial oil wealth coupled with the proportionately small population has allowed Abu Dhabi to channel its revenues into infrastructure and development leading to rapid modernization. Today, the city of Abu Dhabi is one of the most modern in the world with expansive parks and gardens, tree-lined boulevards and ultra modern skyscrapers.
The exploding UAE economy has attracted an enormous immigrant worker population that now comprises close to 90 per cent of the country’s entire population. This is in fact one of the first things you notice when you land in Abu Dhabi. Despite this wave of modernity though, Abu Dhabi has been careful to preserve its culture and traditions.
Some of the place you should visit or things you should do when you get to Abu Dhabi include:
- Sheikh Zeyed Mosque
This massive piece of architecture (world’s 6th largest mosque) is easily accessible from downtown Abu Dhabi by regular bus service. Note that non-Muslims are only allowed in on Saturday through Thursday during the morning hours. Naturally, tourist access is prohibited on Fridays as this is the day of prayer.
- Desert Safari
A visit to any U.A.E. emirate would be incomplete without dabbling in the world renowned desert safaris. Because of the searing desert heat, trips are scheduled for late afternoons and run till evening. While the ride in large 4×4 vehicles over the dunes is arguably the most unforgettable element of the safari, the safari package will usually include a camel ride, an authentic Arabic buffet and in certain cases, entertainment from a belly dancer.
- Shopping Malls
Though it has often sat in the shadow of its sibling Dubai as far as shopping is concerned, Abu Dhabi is a word class shopper’s haven in its own right. Some of the top malls include the 3-storey Abu Dhabi Mall, the Marina Mall (close to the spectacular Emirates Palace Hotel that was built at a cost of $3 billion), the Khalidiya Mall and the Al Wahda Mall.