For many, the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to the United Arab Emirates is Dubai. But beyond the skyscrapers and sand dunes of the country’s largest city is the exciting capital city of Abu Dhabi.
Once a region that was not much more than deserts and fishing villages dotted throughout each of the seven emirates, the U.A.E has since become a booming metropolis that mixes Islamic culture with a Western way of life, with a bit of high-flying luxury thrown in there for good measure.
Rich with oil, which largely funds the development of the nation, the U.A.E is known for its larger-than-life buildings, resorts, hotels, restaurants and shopping malls.
Shopping in a favourite pastime in the region and with that comes grand scale – take Dubai Mall, for example, here you’ll find 1,200 stores, an indoor theme park, 150 food outlets and electronic vehicle charging stations.
If you consider shopping more of a sport than a leisurely luxury, then the Dubai Shopping Festival, held each year between January and February attracts thousands of people each year from around the world because of the reduced prices on offer for the month-long festivity.
Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, is home to the world’s largest mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, World Ferrari World and the recently opened, Louvre Abu Dhabi. Beyond the glitz and glam, there is the oldest permanently inhabited settlement and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Al Ain.
This is also the the home of the world’s most expensive hotel, the largest hand-woven rug, the building with the furthest lean and the biggest theme park on earth. And with almost all-year-round sunshine, and crisp air-conditioning indoors, there’s no time of year that isn’t a great time to visit.
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The high-end shopping malls, tallest buildings in the world, and man-made islands in the shape of a palm trees are impressive but they come at a cost. This is not a country for the budget traveller, but rather a welcomed indulgence to enjoy on holiday. Hostel are not available in the big cities... view