Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE and just as pompous as Dubai. All I had was 1 day to spare on a weekend, so my friend Nish suggested a short hour and a half drive to this beautiful city and it turned out to be the best idea!
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – It is a pristine white marble structure which dazzles in the sunlight. I could see it from a distance as we drove towards it, and I could only stare in amazement. It is the 8th largest mosque in the world and holds records for the second largest chandelier and the largest carpet in the world.
They do mandate some rules for the dress code when visiting the mosque. Long, loose fitting, ankle length trousers or skirts for women and men. Women must wear a headscarf. I was told to not take any photographs of myself with the mosque unless I wore a headscarf. If you are not carrying it with you, the place at the mosque entrance provides an option to borrow robes and a headscarf which can be returned while exiting. You can refer to mosque manners here.
The interiors of the mosque are very beautiful with tall white pillars with intricate gold details. The guide told us that it was built by artisans and materials from many countries with over 3,000 workers. The materials are natural and consist of marble, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics. The world’s largest carpet is made of wool and is soft to touch, beautiful design and created by over 1,200-1,300 carpet knitters. Many chandeliers have been imported from Germany and are studded with Swarovski crystals.
We spent an hour at the mosque, admiring the interiors and then the exteriors. Even though the sun was blazing, yet the marble was cool to walk on.
Emirates Palace – This grand hotel cannot be missed if you in the city. It has been featured in many Hollywood movies including Furios 7. It is a grand iconic structure spread across many acres with a private beach. It has a famous golden atrium with a dome of gold and silver glass mosaics. It cannot get more lavish than this.
We decided to try the coffee dusted with 24 carat gold flakes and we went ahead to the café for the afternoon tea. Yes, I tasted gold! But don’t ask me what the taste was like - it was luxury and vanity stirred together and served in a cup.
Yas Marina F1 – It’s a great circuit and they even allow driving, cycling or walking on it. But we reached there almost during closing time and missed the fun part. If you visit around the time of Grand Prix, I am sure the excitement would be unimaginable.
We also walked inside the Yas Viceroy hotel in the vicinity. It’s a beautiful building with a unique shape and they light it up at night with changing colors. The interiors are modern and sophisticated.
There are a lot of other things we missed doing at Abu Dhabi - Heritage Village, Ferrari World, Yas Island Concert Series. Certainly a symbol of luxury, culture, and a great blend of contemporary and new – Abu Dhabi is a city not to be missed.
My name is Lovya. I left home when I was 17, to study and pursue my dream of being an Engineer, which I am now! But my love for travel never parted with me and even as I grow older, I know there are places and adventures in the world which I have to see. It feeds my soul in a unique way. This blog is a means for me to share my travel stories and hear about your experiences.