The affluent city of Abu Dhabi, with its wide boulevards, glistening skyscrapers, lofty apartment buildings, and huge shopping malls, bustling with activity, has become one of the most modern cities in the world. Even so, the city has not lost its absorbing culture, and this, together with the opulent lifestyle of today, Abu Dhabi provides plenty in the line of entertainment and attractions for both locals and tourists alike.
Wealthy tourists from all over the world stay in Abu Dhabi hotels and multi-billion dollar resorts to sample a bit of the 5-star luxury that have become world famous for. Apart from the fantastic accommodation though, tourists flock to Abu Dhabi to also enjoy the many excellent attractions that the city has to offer. Just some of these include:
— There are a number of major islands surrounding Abu Dhabi, and what better way to see them, than by taking a dhow cruise, the traditional way of sightseeing the beautiful waters of the Gulf. These wooden boats were first used centuries ago, for trading purposes by merchants. The dhow of today though, is very modern, and has all the necessary modern conveniences, such as beautiful rest rooms, and satellite navigation. Dhow cruising is a slow and pleasant way to see the islands, which is why it is so popular with the many tourists who visit the city.
Al Bateen Shipyard
— After your dhow cruise, you just might want to know more about the vessel itself, so head on down to the Al Bateen Shipyard, and watch how, by using traditional methods, the craftsmen build the dhows. These wooden vessels are used mainly for races and trading purposes, and you will find the craftsmen to be extremely friendly, and more that willing to part with information regarding their craft.
— If you want to experience what life was like in the emirates centuries ago, then Heritage Village is the place to go. Situated at the breakwater in the center of the city, this living museum will give you the opportunity to see the Bedouin lifestyle of long ago, as well as the fishing, trading, and agriculture of various other cultures.
Courtyard houses and tents are featured at the site, an irrigation system, and workshops too, where various craftsmen demonstrate their different crafts. As a visitor to the village, you will have the opportunity to try your hand at some of these skills. The village also has a few souvenir stores, where authentic pieces of pottery can be purchased as well as exotic spices.
Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium
— If you are a family with children, then this is a great place to spend a day during your visit to Abu Dhabi. Well known for its preservation of exotic wildlife, the Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium has become one of the most popular zoos in the world. The zoo is enormous, so it would be a good idea to tour the area by train, where you can explore in absolute comfort, and see what the largest zoo in the Gulf region has to offer. You will very likely also see the Arabian Oryx and gazelles, species which are indigenous to the area.
Al Maqtaa Fort
— This 200 year old fort can be seen as you are nearing the Al Maqtaa Bridge on your way to Abu Dhabi Island. The fort was used as a look-out to spot invading bandits who tried to enter the city. A valuable part of the city’s history, the fort, a major attraction and landmark in Abu Dhabi, has been restored a few times, to preserve its original character and charm. It is important to mention here, that if you do decide to take photos of the fort, to bear in mind that it is a sensitive military zone, and taking photographs is frowned upon.
Sheikh Khalifa Park
— This is without a doubt the best place to go for relaxation, entertainment, and fun — lots of it! The Sheikh Khalifa Park, one of the larger parks in the area and situated in Al Matar, behind the old Abu Dhabi airport, is one of the major landmarks in the city. Designed on the lines of Arabic and Islamic architecture, the park has plenty to offer all tourists.
The scenery is spectacular, from the grand avenue which is beautifully landscaped, to the lakes, the fountains, and the waterfalls. The park provides hours of fun for children, with its ride in the time tunnel, women and children’s garden, a miniature train, as well as the Murjan Splash Park.
Sightseeing is great, but it can be exhausting too, so head back to whichever of the Abu Dhabi hotels you are booked into, to enjoy a well-earned rest, and time to plan your next day’s outings.