The United Arab Emirates… Somewhere I had always been curious about, a culture very different to ours at home, but somewhat western in it’s outlook!
After visiting Marrakech in the summer, I was desperate to experience a different ‘side’ to Islamic culture and so I decided it was time to bid for a trip to the UAE with work, first stop… ABU DHABI.
Just a short flight from London, at a first glance, Abu Dhabi is a very contemporary desert land, with skyscrapers reflecting the blazing sunshine and man-made white sand beaches surrounded by beach clubs and 5 star hotels. The perfect destination for a long weekend away!
Driving into the city centre from the airport, it’s hard to miss the Sheikh Sayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi’s main attraction! After seeing the mosque on the way to the hotel, I made it top of my list to visit on my first trip to the city. A small group of us took a taxi there from the hotel just before sunset. Sunset is the best time to go, as you can experience the beauty of the mosque in the sunlight, and as it begins to get dark. You can also hear the call to prayer as the sun begins to set!
The jet lag definitely got the better of me on this first trip to the city, so I spent the rest of my time there lazing on the beach, swimming in the clear blue waters in the sunshine and playing a bit of volleyball, before it was bedtime!
I was lucky to be flying back a couple of days later for my second trip to the city! This time I was meeting my friend, who gave me a fabulous tour of her home…
We took a short drive to the Fairmont Hotel for a beautiful homemade lemonade in the Middle Eastern sunshine and decided to eat in their ‘CuiScene’ restaurant. They do a stunning buffet lunch here including sushi, tagines and everything in between! I couldn’t help but have 3 helpings!
I would recommend visiting the restaurant here for a late lunch. If you don’t fancy that, they also offer breakfast, brunch and dinner. It can be a little bit pricey so make sure you’re super hungry and ready for a feast, don’t worry though, you can definitely get your money’s worth!
The afternoon was spent wandering the Emirates Palace, a stunning 5 star hotel in the city centre of Abu Dhabi. Laced with golden pillars and gleaming tile floors, it is a must see during a trip to the city! A quick stop for a 24k gold-flaked cappuccino or a camel milk ice cream? Why not?!
We ended our day at Jumeirah at the Etihad Towers, just next to the Emirates Palace. It is worth a visit, especially if you’re keen to see the city from above! I would recommend going up to Ray’s Bar for free rather than visiting the Observation Deck for £20, both have wonderful views but save your £20 for a couple of cocktails (or mocktails) in Ray’s Bar during happy hour instead!
And that rounded up January’s trips to the UAE! I’m hoping to visit again soon, I’m planning a trip to the desert for the day, or maybe even a drive to Dubai to see the sights, we’ll see!
But for now, it’s time to head off for a few days of standby, and who knows where in the world I’ll end up next?!
Thank you for reading!