After Nepal Kathmandu, it was a big contrast going to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Kathmandu is colorful, full of history, and religion. On the other hand, it is also full of poverty and crumbling houses. Abu Dhabi is a luxurious cosmopolitan city with skyscrapers, but very sterile.
Both of them were a bit of a cultural shock to us, but that is why we love traveling that much. To meet different cultures and people.
Abu Dhabi has grown over the past 40 years from a fishing village to a wealthy, modern city-state.
This time we were staying at the Hotel Sofitel at the Cornish. I can tell it was the most amazing hotel I have ever been to in my life. The service, the rooms, and the food were just of a very high standard.
So what can you see and do in Abu Dhabi?
You can walk on Cornish Road, and go to the beach if you want to take it easy.
Go to the beach
Corniche Road is one of the most important streets in Abu Dhabi. This road is 8 km long and parallels the coast. Along the way are many beaches, parks, restaurants, children’s playgrounds, bike paths, and a pedestrian promenade, overlooking the islands opposite Corniche Beach.
Visit the Great Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi’s greatest symbol. The structure is known as the most expensive mosque ever built. You will certainly see that wealth, the mosque is therefore seen as one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. It is also one of the largest mosques in the world. The design is inspired by Moorish, Mongolian, and Arabian mosque architecture.
If you need to do some shopping then you can go to the Marina Mall. You can also go up to the watchtower to observe the construction work around the mall. In the restaurant, they have some delicious cakes and refreshing mint tea.
After the opening of the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai, Abu Dhabi also wanted to have a grand hotel built. Unlike the modern hotel in Dubai, the Emirates Palace design was based on the typical Arabian palaces, with decorations of Islamic elements. The building reflects the different colors of the sand from the Arabian desert.
If you have more time in Abu Dhabi than we did, it is certainly advisable to take a desert safari. In the Great Arabian Desert, you will go dune bashing, crossing at high speed through the dunes and sandboarding the dunes. In the evening you are visiting a traditional desert camp.
Here you can enjoy a local barbecue, watch belly dancers show their skills, or get a henna tattoo.
A day trip from Abu Dhabi to Dubai
A place where opulence and luxury prevail, Dubai is more popular today than ever before. It is hard to believe that not so long ago, this city was actually just a village with a handful of houses in the dunes of the desert. Extravagant sights and ultra-modern buildings are what you probably mainly associate Dubai with, yet some traditional places of worship and souks remain.
One of the eye-catchers of Dubai is undoubtedly the Burj al Arab Hotel, this sail-shaped luxury hotel is located on an artificial island near Jumeirah Beach.
Another futuristic symbol of Dubai is the Burj Khalifa with a height of 829.84 meters. It is currently by far the tallest building in the world.
If you are seeking some more characteristic sphere, then Bur Dubai is the oldest and most interesting part of the city. Here you can leave the luxury and opulence of Dubai behind for a while. Stroll along the waterfront and get lost in this older and more characterful part of town.
We were in Abu Dhabi in 2013, and since then a lot has changed. Massive mega-projects have further transformed these cities in recent years. And because I am a big fan of modern architecture, I would love to go back and see what happened in these 8 years.