The Abu Dhabi Essentials
The Dubai to Abu Dhabi Roadtrip - There are no trains to get between Dubai and Abu Dhabi just yet. While the city is working on a hyperloop to get us there in 12 minutes, your current options are to:
Book an Abu Dhabi City Tour with transportation (ehm).
Take a local taxi there and back which is metered and can be flagged down from the roads or booked in advance by phone by calling 04-2080808. Costs vary depending on your location. Please note that the fancy vehicles and van taxis outside hotels typically charge a premium.
Take the public buses which offer 2 departure points in Dubai: the Ghubaiba Bus Station and the Ibn Battuta Bus Station. Choose the one closest to your location. Both buses arrive at the Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station and depart from there again for the trip back. The trip costs AED 25 each way per person and can only be paid by NOL Metro Card which can be bought there and then at the ticket office in Dubai and topped up for the return trip. Please do make sure to top up for the return trip, as you can’t do the same from Abu Dhabi and may have to buy a new NOL Card. Schedules are available online and on Google Maps. Check in advance to ensure the buses are running.
Rent a car and rely on your trusted friend Google Maps.
If you have a flight booked with either Emirates or Etihad, both airlines offer complimentary shuttle serves between the 2 cities for passengers. Check with your airline for more info.
The ID - You don’t need your passport to travel between the 7 emirates as there are no border controls. You are advised though to carry a form of ID for hotels, or for ticket collection, or to rent audio/multimedia guides from attractions.
The Transportation - You can use taxis to get around within Abu Dhabi. Taxis can be flagged down from the roads or booked in advance by phone by calling 600 535353. Please note that the emirate is bigger than many people expect so do make sure to factor in time between sights to avoid delays. Also, do make sure to carry cash as not all taxis accept cards.
The Dress Code - Although you’re likely to read and see varying codes of dress online and later in person, the general advice is to dress modestly as the emirate is more conservative compared to its peers. For tops, you can opt for short sleeves. For bottoms, you can opt for knee-length or longer pants and skirts. This applies to both men and women. For visitors who will be making the likely visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a certain dress code must be followed detailed in the link here and in the image below. The mosque does sometimes provide additional garments for women only which are complimentary and are offered upon entry, subject to availability, group size, and provision of ID. Therefore, it is highly recommended to follow the dress code in order to avoid being turned away if no additional garments are available. Please note that visitors wearing white will be required to cover up, so please do skip this color on your visit day!
The Hotels - There are plenty of great hotels around the city. However, do keep in mind again, that Abu Dhabi is quite spread out. So some hotels are much further out from the touristic attractions. Also, please note that during big conferences and events such as the F1, hotel prices go up so lock in those rooms early on!
The Photography - Photography should be confined to only inside the tourist attractions such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Louvre, the Heritage Village etc. Do refrain from taking pictures elsewhere in the emirate as there may be military areas and government buildings in the background which cannot be photographed for security reasons. Better safe than sorry!
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - The mosque is quite spectacular to see during both day and night. During mornings, it’s best to arrive before opening time at 9AM so you can enter as soon as the gates open and avoid the lengthy queues for entry. As it is less busy at this time, you can capture fantastic photos of the pathways leading to the inner prayer hall which are lined with the stunning gold palm-crowned columns. During warmer months, it may be difficult to walk around the outside areas especially with the additional garments. Luckily, the indoor air-conditioned spots will help cool you down. To capture the mosque’s magnificence at sunset, arrive at least an hour earlier to get through security formalities, and proceed to find the best spot to capture the bluish clouds projected onto the white marble. Budget for at least a 1.5-2 hours visit. Please note that guests can book their visit ahead online to avoid long admission lines during peak visit hours. Tour companies also have priority access and can book specific time slots so that the walk-in process is breezy!
The Haggle - Before practicing the art of bargaining, scope out the market to see what the going prices are. Also, avoid answering the initial 'how much do you want to pay' question.
The Snacks - Stock up on some snacks, drinks, and bottled water when making the trip to Abu Dhabi or staying at any of the hotels there, as the trip is long and some hotels are somewhat isolated so you’ll be stuck with a limited and pricey minibar.
Hi! I'm Nada. A Dubai bred expat & founder of Wander With, a tour guide company in Dubai. I want to show you just why, I and many others who live here, love this city.