Abu Dhabi, UAE | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi is the federal capital and center of government in the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and one of the most modern cities in the world.

Abu Dhabi is the headquarters of numerous oil companies and embassies. The city features large gardens and parks, green boulevards lining all the streets and roads, sophisticated high-rise buildings, international luxury hotel chains, and opulent shopping malls.

Long viewed as a staid bureaucratic outpost entirely lacking in neighboring Dubai's pizazz, things started to change radically in 2004 after long-ruler Sheikh Zayed passed away and his son Sheikh Khalifa took over. In a bid to attract tourism and investment, land sales to foreigners were allowed and restrictions on alcohol were loosened.
Homosexuality is currently illegal throughout the United Arab Emirates with possible resulting penalties of... Read more

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi is the federal capital and center of government in the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and one of the most modern cities in the world.

Abu Dhabi is the headquarters of numerous oil companies and embassies. The city features large gardens and parks, green boulevards lining all the streets and roads, sophisticated high-rise buildings, international luxury hotel chains, and opulent shopping malls.

Long viewed as a staid bureaucratic outpost entirely lacking in neighboring Dubai's pizazz, things started to change radically in 2004 after long-ruler Sheikh Zayed passed away and his son Sheikh Khalifa took over. In a bid to attract tourism and investment, land sales to foreigners were allowed and restrictions on alcohol were loosened.
Homosexuality is currently illegal throughout the United Arab Emirates with possible resulting penalties of deportation, fines, prison time, or the death sentence.


The core of Abu Dhabi is a wedge-shaped island connected to the mainland by the Maqta and Musaffah bridges. The wide end of the wedge forms the city center, with the Corniche running along the coast and a road variously known as Airport Rd or Sheikh Rasheed bin Saeed al Maktoum St running lengthwise out to the bridges.
Street addresses in Abu Dhabi are simultaneously very logical and hopelessly confusing.
Many roads have traditional names, like "Airport Rd", which may not correspond to the official names, like "Maktoum St", and the city is divided into traditional districts like "Khalidiyya".
However, by recent decree, the city has been split up into numbered "zones" and "sectors", with all roads in each sector numbered, First St, Second St, etc, and the vast majority of street signs only refer to these. The system of main streets is straight forward enough once you realize that the odd-numbered streets run across the island and the even numbers run along it. So First St is, in fact, the Corniche, and the odd numbers continue out of town to 31st St which is near the new Khalifa Park. Airport Rd is Second St and the even numbers continue to the east through to 10th St by Abu Dhabi Mall. On the west side of Airport Rd, the numbers go from 22nd Street to 32nd St by the new Bateem Marina. Alas, confusion is caused by the local streets, which are on green signs (main streets are on blue signs) and are also called First, Second, etc. Most locals opt to ignore the system entirely, and the best way to give instructions is, consequently, navigating by landmarks. If taking a taxi, odds are you will get to "behind the Hilton Baynunah" much faster than "Fifth Street, Sector 2."


Abu Dhabi has a hot desert climate. The best time to visit the city is in the so-called "winter" from November to March which ranges from moderately hot to mild. While temperatures above 30°C (86°F) should be expected in November and March, from mid-December to mid-February the average high in the afternoon is around 25°C (75°F) and the average low is around 15°C (60°F). The mercury rarely dips below 10°C (50°F) and the record low is 5°C (42°F). April and October are transition months but the weather is already hot with the average high being 34.5°C (94°F) and 36.5°C (97.7°F). From May to September is when a visit to the city is really avoided if you can stand the heat. Abu Dhabi is actually the hottest major city in the area as the average high in August is 43°C (109°F) compared to 42°C (107°F) in Doha, 41°C (106°F) in Dubai and 38°C (100°F) in Manama. This coupled with an around 60-70% humidity is the reason that most locals stay indoor during the day, avoid walking and use taxis or public transport to move around.

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Abu Dhabi, UAE: Port Information

Liners dock at Port Zayed situated 3-4 miles from Downtown. Taxis are available. You can also find Hop on/off buses near the terminal.
The terminal is modern and offers great facilities.
Shuttle service (free) to the port exit is provided since you are not allowed to walk in the area.

Get around Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi is built for cars. As a result, there are a lot of them and lots of traffic jams in the downtown area.

By taxi

Taxis are a great way for people to travel around Abu Dhabi if they don't have a car. They are also fairly cheap compared to other developed countries.
The most common kind of taxi is a silver taxi. These can be flagged down anywhere in Abu Dhabi if you happen to see one passing. Check the sticker on the window to see what they charge. Their speed is monitored and they are not allowed to go over 120km/h. The sign on the top is yellow.
To see if they are available, check the sign on top of the cab. If they are available, the lights in the middle will be off and at night, the sign will be lit. If they are not available, the sign will be unlit and the red lights in the middle will be on.
Airport taxis look more modern and have a display on top which shows you if the taxi is available or taken in English and Arabic.
You can only get on them at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The yellow and gold taxis are not in service any more. You'd be lucky to even see one.
You are not expected to tip cab drivers, but gratuity will be extremely appreciated. Many taxi drivers are displaced persons, far from their home countries and families, so often they take out pictures of family members for you to comment on.

By bus

The main Bus station in Abu Dhabi is on Hazaa Bin Zayed Road. You can get buses here going to the different points within the city as well as intercity buses. The bus stand also serves as a taxi stand, for inter-emirate taxis.
Local buses require exact fare pre-loaded on a single or multiple use smart cards, regional buses including the A1 airport bus will give change. The dark bluish green buses are air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. Passengers can board and alight at the designated stops along the route. These locations can be identified by the temporary Department of Transport bus stop poles.
Beware: bus stops that do not have the DoT bus stop sign may not be served as not all bus stops along the route are used.
  • Route 005: Al Maryah Sowwah Square to Marina Mall via Abu Dhabi Mall and Hamden Street. Every 10min, every 30min at night, 24 hours
  • Route 007: Al Reem Shams Gate to Marina Mall via Zayed the 1st Street (also known as Electra). Every 10 min, every 30 min at night, 24 hours.
  • Route 008: Tourist club to Break Water via Hamdan Street, Zayed the 2nd (via 4th) Street, Airport Road, Al Manhal Street. Every 20min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
  • Route 009: Al Marina to Al Mina Souq via Al Falah Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
  • Route 010: Ras Al Akhdar to Al Mina Co-Op via Al Falah Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
  • Route 011: Al Marina to Al Mina Fishermen Association via Hazzaa Bib Zayed Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
  • Route 032: Sports City Carrefour to Marina Mall via Airport Road, Bus Station, and Zayed the 1st Street. Every 20 min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
  • Route 034: Ras Al Akhdar to Abu Dhabi Courts via Al Marina and Muroor Road. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night. 24 hours.
  • Route 040: Al Maryyah to Khalifa Park South via Zayed 1st Street and Khäleej Al Arabi Road. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night. 24 hours.
  • Route 044: Al Mina Fishermen Association to Officers Club. Every 20 min, every 60 min at night, 24 hours
  • Route 052: Al Maryyah to Umm Al Naar via Airport Road. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
  • Route 054: Sports City Carrefour to Abu Dhabi Mall via East Read, Bus Station, and Hamden Street. Every 20 min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours. This bus stops outside the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
  • Route 056: Al Mina Souq to Khalifa Park Entrance. Every 20min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours
  • Route 063: Al Reem Shams Gate to Marina Mall via Corniche Rd. Every 20min, every 60min at night, 24 hours

By car

Drivers in Abu Dhabi have the reputation of being reckless drivers. It is not uncommon to see cars change lanes at random, pull out in front of other cars or trigger radar/speed cameras. If you rent a car in Abu Dhabi, be extremely careful. Tests for alcohol can be administered, and even the blood-alcohol level rise from a glass of wine will be sufficient grounds for one month's incarceration.
If you do decide to take the plunge, beware that the street numbering system is unusual and it can take 30-45 days to get used to it. U-turns are allowed at almost every intersection. When the left lane signal turns green, you simply have to swing a U-turn and come back. Whatever other flaws drivers here may have, they do not run red lights. There are cameras at many intersections, fines are high, and residents who are not citizens can be deported for running too many red lights. When the light turns yellow, that taxi in front of you will jam on the brakes, and you should, too. When the light turns green, however, expect someone behind you to honk at you immediately to get you moving.
Traffic lights will flash green before turning to yellow.
Unfortunately, despite excellent roads, and a traffic signal system, vehicle accidents remain the largest cause of deaths in the UAE.

On foot

While walking in Abu Dhabi is not a problem for locals, tourists from the colder countries will suffer from the heat and sun. Temperatures in Abu Dhabi can exceed 50 degrees Celsius, although the weather reports "change" the forecasts so that they say it is cooler than it actually is.
Jaywalking is illegal in Abu Dhabi just as it is in the USA, but you would expect that from the reckless drivers. Pedestrian crossings are far in-between, especially on Reem Island, where most of the traffic lights in the near-empty and blocked-off parts are turned off.
On some intersections, the pedestrian lights will have a timer at the top to see how long you have before the lights change.
Extreme caution is recommended when crossing at lights, and especially pedestrian/zebra crossings. There is no chance a local will stop for you at a crossing, and you will be injured/killed unless proper care is taken on your part. Some expats who have arrived recently may stop for you.

What to see in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi offers little in the way of historical or cultural sights but it certainly isn’t lacking in attractions and many of them are free.
  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The 6th largest mosque in the world. There are guided tours of the interior several times a day. Note that there is a dress code - quite strict for women; less so for men (who can even wear shorts; albeit beyond the knee). You can easily get there by public bus. Ask the bus driver to let you know once you get there. The public bus stop is 100m before the mosque and after that is no stop for the next 5km.
  • The Corniche. Abu Dhabi's spectacular waterfront stretches for 6km from the Breakwater near Marina Shopping Mall almost up to the Mina Zayed port. It has a walkway for the entire length, and certain stretches have sandy beaches. There are also many activities like go-cart riding, playgrounds and even stages for shows. All this against a backdrop of the impressive towers of downtown Abu Dhabi. Come in the evening and you feel as if the whole of Abu Dhabi have come here for their evening walk.
  • Flagpole. At 123m, this is among the world's tallest flagpoles, and you won't miss the massive UAE flag hanging off it. On Marina Island across from Marina Mall.
  • Heritage Village. Near the Flagpole. A 3 dh pittance gets you entry to a modest collection of dusty replica buildings, traditional wooden boats, and handicrafts stores. However, it has a pretty beach with a great view of the city!
Abu Dhabi has several large green spaces, many of which include play areas and equipment for children, and the city is studded with lovely fountains, swathes of neon light, and the occasional sculpture.
  • Khalifa Park, (off Al Salam St (8th) near the Grand Mosque). The best park by far, built at a cost of $50 million. Has its own aquarium, museum, train, play parks and formal gardens. 
  • Cultural Events The Abu Dhabi Cultural Centre has become a landmark in the Emirates and holds cultural events and workshops throughout the year. It has a well-stocked library, children's programs, art exhibitions, benefits, and other culture-related activities that are the hallmark of any city. It's well worth a look.
There are a vast number of projects coming up in Abu Dhabi.
  • Saadiyat Island is being developed into a cultural haven (see Understand).
  • Yas Island: The alpha-male motorsports den of Yas Island features a world-class motorsports racetrack, a Ferrari theme park, water park, and — of course — an enormous shopping mall.
It is also home to the Yas Links golf club, which is a world top 100 rated links course.
  • Lulu Islands are a group of artificial islands, already built just offshore at great expense, but currently sitting there doing absolutely nothing after a tourism venture failed to even start construction.
  • Reem Island is a newer island with many developments ongoing and planned. Much of the island is unfinished.

What to do in Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Swimming. Nearly all hotels and private clubs in Abu Dhabi offer swimming facilities, usually in the form of private beaches. You can pay for a day's use, or for a year's. Another, notably cheaper, option is The Club, an organization geared towards expatriates.
  • Lessons. Some hotels also offer dance lessons, aerobics classes, and other physical entertainment.
  • Natural Outdoors. Although at first glance the outdoors may seem dull and uninteresting, and even dangerous due to the desert conditions, there are actually amazing natural destinations in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which extends all the way south to the Empty Quarter and east to the mountains of Oman - the difficulty is in knowing where to find these beautiful spots! There are pristine waterfalls, cliffs lined with fossils, even freshwater lakes - Weekenduae is a blog that freely shares ideas, routes, and plans for weekend adventures with all trip details including description, GPS track, interactive map, and photos.
  • Parks. Al Safa Park is one of the oldest in Abu Dhabi. It's a favorite for sports enthusiasts, and many visitors enjoy playing tennis, volleyball, and soccer. Children love playing games in the video arcade or riding the Ferris wheel and bumper cars. The park even has a maze to wander through. Barbeques and picnic areas are available for those who want to make a day of it.
  • Camel Races. The Camel Race Track is one of the more unusual attractions, with races being held on Thursday and Friday in the winter. Not only can you watch the races, but you'll have the opportunity to visit the paddocks. the town of Shweihan, in the eastern part of Abu Dhabi emirate, is well-known for its races, and Liwa has an annual event, too.
  • Desert Safari or Dune Bashing. Head out to the desert in an SUV with specialist Desert Drivers. The drivers will take you for a roller-coaster ride over sand dunes, show you the sunset from a strategic vantage point and then take you to a lavish dinner with music and dance to complete the atmosphere. You may want to stay clear of the dune-bashing if you know that you get carsick easily. Another option would be renting/buying a 4x4 and joining the many growing 4x4 clubs in the UAE, which are varied and each carries their own different flavor: ad4x4, uaeoffroaders, arabianoffroader, me4x4, emarat4x4, Nuzhath Ideas, etc. They offer a free learning experience for all newcomers with scheduled weekly trips to suit all levels of driving skills, some of them have over 2,000 members from many nationalities.
  • Abu Dhabi Dhow Cruise or Boats and Yachts. Cruising along the Corniche area with 5 Star international Arabic food. Also available various Yachts and boats that are having cruising options to various parts of Abu Dhabi
  • Abu Dhabi Classics Run - Beat Beethoven. Charity event, proceeds go to music education and diabetes prevention programs.
  • Helicopter Tour Board a luxurious 6-seater Eurocopter EC130 B4 and Discover Abu Dhabi from a birds' eye view with Falcon Aviation Services. Tours operate daily from 9 AM to 5 PM out of the Marina Mall Terminal. Reservations recommended (tours can be booked on an individual or private basis)

What to eat and drink in Abu Dhabi, UAE


Although Abu Dhabi hosts a wide range of palates and ethnicities, there isn't much variety when it comes to cuisine. Indian food is relatively cheap, and there are a few Chinese chain restaurants with reasonable prices. Hotel restaurants are usually the most expensive. The city is home to all manner of fast food like McDonald's and Hardees, but there is little call for most people to eat at those places.
The fun thing about Abu Dhabi is that everywhere, literally from tiny falafel shacks to the cushy hotel restaurants to Burger King, delivers to anywhere in the city. Delivery is quick and reliable and usually doesn't cost extra.
Vegetarians will find the city's selection of meals very satisfying. Vegetable and bean-heavy native dishes, the array of splendid pure vegetarian Indian cuisine, and the ready availability of fresh salads make eating in Abu Dhabi a stress-free experience. Strict vegans may have a little difficulty communicating their precise demands, but most places offer vegan dishes and are always willing to accommodate a paying customer. The best choice for pure Vegans would be one of the many Indian veg restaurants like Evergreen, Sangeetha in the Tourist Club area.
Visitors should always check the Islamic calendar to determine whether they will be visiting during the month of Ramadan. Since Muslims fast during daylight hours, restaurants are, by law, closed during the day. It is also against the law to eat or drink anything, even water, in public and tourists (and non-Muslim residents) have been arrested and given fines. Large hotels generally have one restaurant open during the day to serve meals to non-Muslims. During the evening, however, it's quite a different story, as the festive atmosphere of iftar (breaking the fast) begins and residents gather for lavish, Thanksgiving-like meals. As long as you don't mind tiding yourself over in private, the evening meals are magnificent.
  • The Olive Branch, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi,  +971 2 659666. Mafraq’s all-day restaurant serves up fresh Mediterranean cuisine borrowing influence from various regions, including France, Spain, and Turkey. The buffet is prepared with the freshest of ingredients and the interior décor is equally breezy and funky. Open 24 hours daily serving buffet and an A La Carte menu Buffet serving times: Breakfast 06:00-10:30, Lunch 12:30–15:30, Dinner 19:00–23:00   
  • hunter’s b&r, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi,  +971 2 659666. The international bar and restaurant showcases a new look, taking on a modern twist with green brick walls, solid wood tables and numerous flat-screen TVs showing all the latest sporting action. The menu is packed with sumptuous mains and tempting nibbles to accompany the thirst-quenching bevies on tap. Ideal for after-work drinks or an evening with friends, hunter’s b&r offers a casual environment with a social buzz. Open daily from noon to 02.30 with food served throughout   
  • Rimal, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi,  +971 2 659666. The new Rimal Asian fusion bar serves up oriental dishes in an authentic atmosphere with a modern edge. Taste the delicious flavors from Korea, China, and Japan in this Asian inspired outlet, complete with Sake and signature cocktails. The perfect place to enjoy an evening with friends. Open daily from noon to 02.30 with food served till midnight.
  • Oasis Courtyard, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi. This poolside bar and restaurant serves refreshing drinks under the sun and a wide selection of snacks. The swim-up bar in the pool offers another level of refreshment, with dedicated bartenders who blend and whip sensational cocktail creations. Shisha is also available in a melody of flavors, perfect for an afternoon or evening with friends. Open daily from noon to 21.00 with food served throughout.   
  • Figaros Pizza, Figaro’s Pizza (Sensegourmet PJSC) PO.BOX.2378, Port Zayed, Abu Dhabi.,  +971 02-6731000 (pizzafigaros@gmail.com, fax: +971 02-6732355). Online restaurant provides quality pizza, pasta, and other fast food products. Home delivery service available.   
  • The Burlington Grill, Mafraq Abu Dhabi,  +971 2 659666. The hotel’s signature grill restaurant serves up succulent grilled meat and seafood steaks. The red leather interior, coupled with a show kitchen delivers a treat for all the senses. Choose from an array of starters and salads including crab cakes and goats cheese tartlets, dig into American-style Louisiana fish gumbo, or choose an al dente risotto. The main event brings a hefty offering of grilled fish, rack of lamb and meaty steaks complemented by a selection of daily chef’s specials. With al fresco dining on the terrace, an aperitif bar, and a knowledgeable team, The Burlington Grill will soon become an Abu Dhabi favorite. Opening Hours: Lunch noon – 15.00 and Dinner 19.00 – midnight 


Some of the cheapest (but not necessarily good) food in the city can be found at its many Indian restaurants. Portions are almost always generous, prices low, and quality excellent.
  • Arabian Palace, (behind Baynunah Tower), ☎ +971 2 6343396. The decor is basic and the food, while cheap and filling, is forgettable, but the shisha here is excellent. Puff up a pipe, order their excellent "lemon with mint" drink and gaze at the skyscrapers.
  • Anand Vegetarian Restaurant, Hamdan Street (behind Dunia Finance Building and Al Mansouri Plaza), ☎ +971 2 6775599. This is a pure veg Gujarati (North Indian) style restaurant. The demand for Puri Bhaji (a deep-fried bread and Potato and Chick Pea veg dish) is so great that you will have to wait your turn but it's worth it. There is a special part for ladies and families. Sometimes you will have to wait for 5 mins to get a roti. Eat all you can and various. 
  • Nalas Aappakadai Restaurant, (Behind the NDC building on Salam St). Specialty for Aappam & Excellent South Indian food from the Chettinad cuisine, Chinese & Tandoor. 
  • Cettinad Restaurant, (Behind Eldorado cinema/National cinema, in between Hamdan and Electra St, next to Abudhabi Floor Mill), ☎ +971 2 6777699, +971 2 6780002. Authentic Chettinad food available at a reasonable price. Also serving North Indian, Chinese, Tandoor and Mughalai food. Both vegetarian and nonvegetarian foods are available. Cettinad Restaurant branch is next to the taxi station flyover traffic light, on the backside of Brightway advertisement building, +971 24454331, +971 2 4454332
  • Al Safadi, (Sheik Zayed Road Khalidiya Area). In an older building in one of the older & more walkable parts of Abu Dhabi, Al Safadi is a Lebanese gem for Shawarma: both lamb and chicken. Each entree comes with a huge plate of greens, pickles, peppers, and Lebanese bread.
  • Hyderabad Bites, (Branch 1: near Strand Hotel in the tourist club area). This hidden gem offers a range of excellent Indian/Chinese dishes at very affordable prices. Popular among cab drivers in Abu Dhabi.


  • Rodeo Grill at the Beach Rotana Hotel is an excellent steak house that is a bit pricey.
  • Prego's at the Beach Rotana Hotel is a very good Italian restaurant with a good wine selection, and an artichoke dip appetizer to die for
  • Benihana at the Beach Rotana Hotel is the world-famous Teppan-yaki chain
  • Zen, Al Ain Palace Hotel, ☎ +971 2 6794777. 12 PM-3 PM, 7 PM-12 AM. The more widely known and older Japanese restaurant, serving traditional Japanese foods and drinks. The fine dining experience is accompanied with great decor. 
  • Blue Grill at the Yas Island Rotana Hotel is also an exquisite steakhouse restaurant, serving the best prime steaks and other grilled favorites, great seafood, and fine wine.
  • Tori no Su at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers (Podium Level 3) offers Japanese fine dining, including a wide selection of sake. The location and interior design are breathtaking; perfect for an intimate dinner in a glamorous venue.
  • Chappan Bhog... is also one of the best in serving vegetarian food with nice flavors.​


Only restaurants located in hotels are allowed to serve alcohol. Therefore, all nightlife is associated with hotels. The drinking age is 21, but most places don't care. Unlike some other Middle Eastern nations, the bars in Abu Dhabi will be able to accommodate most drink orders.
Technically, you are supposed to purchase a permit to buy alcohol for private storage, although Spinney's and other liquor stores usually take proof that you aren't a local Muslim (a military ID or driver's license.)
Hemingway's, Hilton Abu Dhabi (Corniche West) – There are three different places inside. The main restaurant has a good tex-mex menu, a wide selection of beer on tap and features live music in the evening. Jazz Bar – The second venue, has great food and a good jazz band. The band normally changes every six months or so, but the quality is consistent and they take requests. The bartenders normally put on a show by tossing bottles around while mixing a mean cocktail. The third place is Cinnabar, a nightclub that normally gets going after midnight, although it can be a nice place for a quiet drink early in the evening, even though bartenders there can be rude. The music is mostly house/club, although they have a salsa night.
  • The Captain's Arms Le Meridien (Eastern Abu Dhabi) – Traditional British pub located in the hotel courtyard. The pub features traditional food and a great selection of beer on tap. The large terrace is great during the cooler months of the year. A typical hang-out for the expat crowd, but try to get there early, as it attracts a large after-work crowd.
  • Wakatua, Le Meridien (Eastern Abu Dhabi) is a Polynesian-themed cocktail bar located at the far end of the courtyard, right on the water. The cocktails are amazing. The Navy Grog is highly recommended. It has a nice view at night, over the water.
  • Rock Bottom, at the Capital Hotel, is one of the most popular night club locations in all of Abu Dhabi. It stays open later than most venues and is cheaper. If you get there early enough, they have decent food you can enjoy in the restaurant area. They have both a live band and an excellent DJ, along with black lights and lasers. There is even a hot dog stand later in the night, providing some delicious drunk snacks. Thur nights can get extremely crowded, be warned.
  • The Embassy is a fairly new nightclub in The Emirates Palace Hotel. Though drinks are expensive, it is worth a visit. The grand hotel is a must-see in Abu Dhabi and the actual club is nicely decorated, comfortable, has great service, a balcony overlooking the hotel grounds, and provides a fun time with great music and very colorful laser shows.
  • Sax is a popular night club located in The Royal Meridian Hotel (not to be confused with Le Meridian Hotel). Next door to the restaurant/bar "Oceans". Sax is a beautifully decorated club with sleek black marble floors, two bars, a DJ, and depending on the time, a jazz band. The club is often very loud and very dark with little more than lasers lighting the room. It's not a place to go if you expect to talk at all, at least not on a weekend night. Collared shirts are required for men, and sneakers usually don't pass the bouncers either. It's not uncommon to have to pay an entry fee. There are free drinks for the ladies on Wednesday nights, so expect it to be crowded.
  • PJ's is a 'traditional' Irish Pub in the Royal Meridian Hotel, boasting brunch buffets and a long happy hour. The majority of the guests are usually English/British/American/Australian. There is something entertaining going on every day of the week, from 'Quiz Night' to 'Ladies Night'. If you want to start drinking early, this is the place to go. No one will bat an eye if you order beer with brunch, and you'll probably find yourself staying for more than one round. The music earlier in the day is a mix of oldies and rock with faster-tempo songs for the late-night crowd. This is also a great place to come to watch sports, as a quiet daytime atmosphere and televisions to ensure a pleasant experience. The outdoor seating near the hotel's pool is also a great asset on cooler days.
  • Zenith at the Sheraton Corniche is a nicely decorated club and has a nice sized dance floor. If you like the local Abu Dhabi crowd and Arabic music, this is a great place to go. The drinks can be expensive, but the presentation is entertaining. Just around the corner is a quiet outside venue where you can drink and smoke sheesha near a pond.
  • Trader Vic's is a famous cocktail bar/restaurant located in The Beach Rotana Hotel (connected to the Abu Dhabi Mall). The flattering lighting, interesting menu, and soft but fun island music make this a great place for a date or hanging out with people you actually want to talk to. The cocktail menu is pages long, and ordering a complicated fruity concoction is a must. The drinks may be a little on the expensive side at times, but the atmosphere is great. Try ordering one of their two or four-person drinks, which come in a giant fishbowl. They're a lot of fun if you don't mind sharing!
  • 49ers is a steakhouse/bar. It is often quoted as "More of a meat market than a steakhouse" because of its solid reputation for prostitution. I wouldn't recommend a non-prostitute woman going there. It is uncomfortable and the men in the bar will probably assume you are for sale. The Novotel Hotel and The Sands Hotel are also notorious for their nightclubs that men frequent when looking to purchase a date for the night.
  • Heroes is a friendly sports grill/bar. Located in The Crowne Hotel's basement, it offers reasonable meals and fair drink prices. The bar is often full of men and women watching various sports games on television. Later at night, they have a DJ and a live band that plays softer rock songs. It is a pleasant place to hang out with friends, though the lack of windows or ventilation can make it stuffy and smoke-filled quickly.
  • Mardi Gras is a small restaurant/bar located in The Capital Hotel. Its ambiance reminds one of a spa. The service is good, the drinks are reasonable, and the food is tasty. The band often leaves much to be desired, and the DJ is worse.
  • The Yacht Club at the Intercontinental Hotel is a newer bar/restaurant and offers a gorgeous view of the sunset over the marina if you sit outside. Inside has a very modern, minimalistic feel. The cocktails are delicious but expensive.
  • Left Bank at the Souk at the Shangrila Hotel (between the two bridges)is a popular and lively spot. It serves a wide range of interesting cocktails (try the pineapple-ginger collins) as well as nicely prepared and presented meals. They are still new so they are trying a little harder right now, and the service tends to be pretty good. Worth the 15 to 20-minute trip out of the downtown core.
  • Rabbit Hutch. The dedicated British Embassy Rabbit Hutch is a nice pub with music, a pool and a small play area for children. Although you have to know someone on the inside to get into this rather exclusive pub, the British friends and the refreshing pool is definitely worth it. They do all sorts of drinks but don't ask for a martini, on the rocks, shaken not stirred.  
  • Lebanese Flower, (downtown Abu Dhabi). Great food and a nice atmosphere.  
  • Arkadia (marina club), marina club, tourist club area (besides Abu Dhabi Mall), ☎ +971 558814479. 8 PM -3 AM. One of the hottest clubs in town, just check it out and you'll surely enjoy your night with their resident band "wired to the floor" and Dj Onnie.
  • Harvesters (sands hotel), Electra Street, Abu Dhabi. 12 pm until 3 am. Great English pub, free pool, dart boards, multiple screens showing sports, excellent fish and chips as well as other English style meals, friendly staff, English band every night except Sundays, quiz nights every Tuesday and possibly the cheapest beer in town. 

Shopping in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi is a compulsive shopper's dream. There are several malls, most of which have the same stores as other malls. Besides establishments aimed at locals, malls also include popular foreign chain stores, as well as designer places. Many visitors will be surprised at the female fashion dichotomy - while local custom calls for women to be covered in public, most stores sell short skirts and halter tops alongside the more sedate floor-length skirts and high-necked shirts.
  • Abu Dhabi Mall is a three-story shopping mall located in Tourist Club Area, adjacent to the Beach Rotana Hotel.
  • Marina Mall boasts a musical fountain and ceilings that thunder and rain. It is in the Water Breaker area near the magnificent Emirates Palace. It also contains one of two Carrefour hypermarkets in town.
  • Al Wahda Mall, opened in 2007, is a large, modern mall in the center of downtown (11th and 4th Streets). Stores are high-end, the food court is extensive, and the LuLu Hypermart in the basement is probably the largest grocery and dry goods store in, well, anywhere.
  • Khalidiya Mall. Khalidiya mall is a nice place to visit. The droll fashion stores may grip you for maybe several seconds, but then the obvious lack of things to do kicks in. However, the food court is popular, alongside New York Fries, Chili's and a Dunkin' Donuts + Baskin Robbins. Downstairs there is an extortionate Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, and what looks to be an Indian/Arabian cuisine restaurant, which seems good but looks to be unpopular. 
  • Boutik, Reem Island (Follow the signs once you are on Reem Island). 10 am-11 pm. Boutik opened in 2013 and is a mall with a cafe, two restaurants, a pharmacy, a Waitrose, and a bank. While walking around the mall you will see that there are a lot of spaces where there are no shops, especially on the first floor. You can also access the two apartment towers connected to the mall from here.  
There are also many small, independent stores around the city. On the bottom floor of one building, a person can purchase fancy chocolates, computer parts, antiques, and clothing. It is better to purchase things like carpets, art, native jewelry, and antiques at the independent or souk-like places than at the malls, as the price will be lower and the shopkeepers more willing to haggle.

Bargaining is a big part of shopping in the Emirates, but be prudent. Don't bargain at Marks and Spencer or Hang Ten. Save your discounting skills for independent shops dealing in antiques and the like.

Shopping in most places can be frustrating, as the clerks will follow you around the store. This is partly due to their concept of what constitutes good service, and partly because there is a shoplifting problem. Most will not be intrusive, but some employees can be very pushy and overly obsequious. Smile and thank them often, and you're more likely to be left alone after a bit.

In carpet stores - or anywhere that sells tapestries, Indian antiques, and the like don't feel too pressured to buy and don't be shocked if they start unrolling beautiful rug after beautiful rug at your feet. You are under no obligation to buy, no matter how much time they spend with you. However, the pressure will be very steady, and shyer shoppers may want to travel in packs for comfort's sake.

Grocery stores such as Spinney's, Carrefours, and the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society are inexpensive and usually stocked with Western goods. Be careful to examine all products before purchasing. Visitors wishing to purchase pork products will likely have to enter a separate room to do so, as no nationals are permitted in these sections of the grocery stores.

Prices in Abu Dhabi tend to be very competitive, and there is no tax.

General discount season - end of the year and midyear. These are the time where you can get some branded items with a very low price, maybe last season stock.

Safety in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi has been ranked as the safest city in the world 3 years in a row by 2019 by the largest crowd-sourced global database Numbeo. The city is extremely safe, however, it never hurts to practice common sense. Some people may try to scam you through telephone messages or automated voice calls telling you that you won the lottery, that you're in legal trouble for violating a law, or that a Sheikh has decided to give you free money, or something of that sort.

Taxi drivers are monitored and they're very safe. Rarely, crime does occur but is quickly dealt with by the federal police as the city is the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior. Law enforcement officers. police patrols and police horse units are a common sight in the city.

Language spoken in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken.


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