With a population of just under 1.5 million, Abu Dhabi is the headquarter of numerous oil companies and embassies. With only 420,000 citizens in the entire emirate, each has an average net worth of $17 million, and Abu Dhabi has been described by CNN as "the richest city in the world". 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.
Several massive projects are also under way. Yas Island hosts Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 track and the upcoming Ferrari theme park, while the upcoming $28 billion cultural zone of Saadiyat Island and its centerpieces the Guggenheim and Louvre Museums are scheduled to open in 2013.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
The 6th largest mosque in the world. Construction is mostly completed. Entry into the mosque for non-Muslims is restricted to Saturday-Thursday mornings.
Abu Dhabi's spectacular waterfront stretches for miles from the Breakwater near Marina Shoping 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.
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.
The best park in Abu Dhabi by far (off Al Salam St near the Grand Mosque), built at a cost of $50 million. Has its own aquarium, museum, train, play parks and formal gardens.
Desert safaris are one of the great Middle Eastern experiences. They must be booked ahead, but can often be booked as late as the day before, most hotel receptionists can arrange this for you. Trips start late afternoon and end late evening. You will be collected from your hotel and driven to the desert in a 4 x4 vehicle. Most packages include a bone-rattling drive over the dunes, a short camel ride, an Arabic buffet and a belly dancer. Note that the belly dancer is normally only included if there are enough of you in your party so enquire at the time of booking. Another option would be renting/buying a 4x4 and joining the many growing 4x4 clubs in the UAE.
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 9am to 5pm out of the Marina Mall Terminal. Reservations recommended (tours can be booked on an individual or private basis)