We decided to spend the last two nights of our Honeymoon in Abu Dhabi; not your traditional Honeymoon destination I agree. The idea of going to Abu Dhabi hadn’t really even entered our thoughts until we were sitting in Kuoni chatting away to our travel agent. By us doing a stop in Abu Dhabi it actually saved us over a thousand pound. Saying this, I have one word for our trip to Abi Dhabi “wow”, a must to be added to anyone’s bucket list. Only having 2-days to explore this city was certainly not enough and Jack and I would love to re-visit some time in the future.
WHERE TO STAY
Once we decided to make a stop in Abu Dhabi Jack knew exactly where he wanted us to stay, being a huge car fan we booked the Yas Hotel part of the Marriot Group on Yas Island. The hotel is connected to the F1 Yas Marina Circuit (hence it’s appeal!). The hotel is pretty spectacular inside and out and with some pretty incredible views of the circuit regardless of your room type. We stayed in a Deluxe King Room with marina views. The hotel consists of two towers, one set within the race circuit and the another placed next to the marina. Both are linked together by a steel and glass bridge with amazing views over the race track. Breakfast at the Origins restaurant was one of the highlights of our stay, we were luckily enough that the Ferrari Championships were on whilst we stayed giving us the opportunity to watch their practice sessions as we enjoyed some scrumptious pastries.
THINGS TO KNOW
As in any country littering is not a good look, but unfortunately is a common problem. In Abu Dhabi their are some hefty penalties if you are caught littering, whether its a cigarette end, chewing gum etc. If you are caught littering the authorities will ask you hand over your identification, and you will be issued a ticket and told which Municipality Building to go to, pay your fine and collect your ID. The fines can vary but they are most likely to be around 200dh, which is around £40.
As a female in Abu Dhabi it is important to consider what type of clothing you pack. Abu Dhabi is a very religious country and it’s important to be respectful and mindful whilst out in public. When packing I was very conscious of this and after a little research it became evident of the importance of having both your shoulders and knees covered. Although I found my experience in Abu Dhabi was a little different. I was surprised once we arrived at the airport to see many females wearing open shoulder tops and some even in shorts. Whilst checking in at our hotel I spoke to the lady helping us behind the desk and asked her as a local what the requirements were. She explained that over the years the need for a female to have both their shoulders and knees covered has became a lot more relaxed, she advised me to always keep my knees covered and that only on religious days would it be frowned upon to have your shoulders on show.
Being out in public as a couple, please be considerate of public displays of affection such as kissing especially during Ramadan. Greeting cheek kisses are unlikely to cause offence although if you are a same sex couple I would suggest avoiding this. As a couple regardless of whether you are married or unmarried public displays of affection should be minimal. A simple kiss to say hello or goodbye is acceptable but shouldn’t be lengthy, french kissing in public would definitely be ill advised. Technically in Abu Dhabi it does not matter whether you are married or not, but you are more likely to be penalized, if you are unmarried and questioned about your behaviour. Saying this, as a married couple it is acceptable to hold hands but not as an unmarried couple it is not.
The alcohol drinking age in Abu Dhabi is 18; the same as the UK, although consumption of alcohol is only permitted under certain circumstances and is forbidden in public. Alcohol can only be consumed if you have a liquor licence; this is also required in your home residence. Hotels and restaurants are allowed to serve you alcohol, but before leaving the establishment you must make sure you are in full control of your actions, otherwise you could land yourself in trouble with the authorities.
WHAT TO DO
As we didn’t have a huge amount of time in Abu Dhabi we were unfortunately limited as to what and where we could visit. Before our trip we had planned a Desert Safari and this was so much fun. A bit of a surreal experience I will admit; our tour guide picked us up from our hotel along with a few other guests. The journey heading out of the centre of Abu Dhabi was very quite until we arrived at the desert. Parking up, our tour guide turned around and said “are you ready?” then he whacked up the music and Shaggy, “It Wasn’t Me” started playing. Suddenly the fun started! Sliding down dunes sideways, doing snakes. You don’t quite realize just how high some of the dunes are.
Included in our Desert Safari we also got the opportunity to go Camel Riding, Quad Biking and Sand Boarding. I’m telling you now, Sand Boarding is a lot harder than it looks and I think I ended up on my bum more times than I actually made it down the dune. I gave it a good try; Jack was much better at it than I was. Next up we headed over to a BBQ where several locals had prepared traditional dishes with a mix of tasty BBQ. Whilst enjoying dinner we watched a Belly Dancing Show. Our evening wasn’t quite over yet, as the sun began to set we got to opportunity to get be taught the art of Belly Dancing, get Henna Tattoos or try our the Shisha Bar. Of course Jack and I tried a little bit of everything. Well I got a Henna Tattoo Jack didn’t, he was pulled up onto the stage to try out Belly Dancing which was pretty funny.
The next day as we needed to head to the airport later that afternoon we decided to go and check out the Abu Dhabi mall for brunch and a little bit of retail therapy. The mall was certainly nothing like either of us expected. The mall itself is much more than just a mall; each shop is architecturally unique along with lots of pieces of sculpture and art to admire and what did surprise both of us were just how many underwear shops there were!
If only we had some more time, we would of loved to have checked out a few more places in Abu Dhabi such as Ferrari World and The Emirates Palace.
WHAT TO EAT
The sheer amount of cuisine in Abu Dhabi makes only choosing one place to dine quite difficult; although the range of cuisine is vast you are unlikely to find any restaurants that will serve pork due to Abu Dhabi. Its also good to keep in mind that when ordering any meat that the meat will also be Halal. A very tasty and traditional dish that I would recommend trying in Abu Dhabi is Al Machboos.