Are you planning to take a trip to Abu Dhabi? Do you already have a list of things to do and places to see? Have you thought of ways to best enjoy the stately capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)?
From witnessing the thrilling Formula 1™ Grand Prix™ races in Abu Dhabi to exploring the wild outdoors, there is a wide selection of amazing experiences to be had that will make you want to spend more time in this Arabian oasis.
Abu Dhabi is the largest and most populous city of the seven emirates in the UAE. It is the seat of the UAE government as well as home to the Emiri Family and the President of the UAE. Perched on the Persian Gulf, it has become a center for cultural, commercial, and industrial development that attracts guests from all over the world.
The year 2018 has seen an influx of 10.27 million tourists visiting Abu Dhabi. The numbers are expected to rise for 2019, especially with global events such as the Special Olympics and the Formula 1™ Grand Prix™ already marked on the calendar.
This Arabian city is also blessed with almost a whole year of sunshine and only a slight chance of rain in between the winter months of November to March. While a warm breeze accompanies the clear blue skies, winter can bring in cooler temperatures of around 24 degrees Celsius in daytime and 13 degrees Celsius in the evenings.
This is why visitors are encouraged to check the weather before they fly in so appropriate clothes may be packed. It is also advised that respectable attire be worn, especially if visiting sacred areas or government buildings. A healthy respect for tradition and customs is much appreciated.
The seemingly eternal sunshine is the perfect opportunity for guests who love al fresco adventures. This kind of weather sets the ideal backdrop for fun outdoor activities that Abu Dhabi has to offer.
Here are some of the fantastic outdoor activities that you can enjoy while visiting Abu Dhabi:
1. Arabian Nights Village
If you are a fan of the thousand and one folk tales that were compiled during the Islamic Golden Age and continue to be popular even to this day, then you may want to experience spending your evening in an authentic desert destination.
Journey amidst undulating dunes and set foot in a stunning desert oasis. Two traditional styled watchtowers aptly named Zakher and Al Manhal (after the residences of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, The Father of the Nation) stand guard as you are led into a charming courtyard.
This serves as a doorway to a world of wonders within. From Bedouin tents, desert houses, the Fort Tower, and palm houses, guests can choose which type of accommodation best suits their preferences. A delectable mix of Arabic and international cuisine is there to tantalize the palate while traditional Arabian tunes are played in the background.
There are several desert activities to take part in as well. Camel rides, dune bashing, and sand surfing are available, as well as a 200-square meter swimming pool to refresh yourself in.
2. Traditional Markets and Souks
If you want a unique shopping experience, then head to any of Abu Dhabi’s souks. A souk or “marketplace” is already a part of the rich culture and heritage of the UAE. This is where traditional ways of doing business – that includes haggling – can still be experienced.
In Abu Dhabi alone, there is already a variety of souks to visit. There’s a Fish souk that is near the main port area Mina Zayed, the Al Mina Fruit and Vegetable souk nearby, and the Carpet souk where colorful tapestries and Arabic majlis style cushions are available. While you may not have the opportunity to buy fish, fruits, or vegetables by the bulk, these souks are also perfect backdrops for your Instagram or social media feed.
There are still other souks around such as the Central or Old Souk, Souk Al Bawadi, Souk Al Qaws, and the relatively new (yet still reflective of Emirati culture) Souk Al Zafarana.
3. Yas Marina Circuit
For a more adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventure, head on to Yas Island. There you will find the famed Yas Marina Circuit, home of the much-loved Formula 1™ Grand Prix™ in Abu Dhabi.
Aside from watching and joining the multi-pronged activities connected to the season-ending event of the Formula 1™ series, Yas Marina Circuit is also a venue for other grassroots motorsports activities such as the Drag and Yas Track Nights. It is also a venue for various conferences, corporate meetings and events.
There’s a full calendar of fun and fierce fitness activities, community gatherings, and motorsports events, so there’s no reason for you to cut back on fun. If you want more thrilling rides, you can also visit the neighboring Yas properties that include Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, or Yas Beach, among other exciting destinations within Yas Island.
Oliver Kent is the Managing Director of ZK Sports & Entertainment, operating in the Middle East for over 10 years now. He is currently leading the company’s recent appointment as the Exclusive Marketing and Sales Agent for F1 Experiences in the Middle East.