Thrill seekers will enjoy horseracing at the Meydan Racecourse.The Sheikh Zayed Road allows driving speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, for a different kind of thrill! At the Mall of the Emirates, not only will visitors find incredible shopping, but they can also cool off in an indoor snow park, which offers penguin encounters.
In Abu Dhabi, the 4-mile long Corniche offers sightseeing, international restaurants, and a long stretch of beach. Shopping is amazing - there are ultra-modern malls with the latest brands, to small, souk-like outlets where you can buy perfumes, handicrafts, spices and carpets. Yas Waterworld is a massive water park, with four thrill levels, offering family fun. Also on Yas Island, is Ferrari World, an amusement park with an automotive theme. Culture seekers will enjoy the vast Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, where there is space for 40,000 worshippers.
The waters of the UAE are remarkably warm, clean, and beautiful. There are long stretches of white-sand beaches, ranging from completely undeveloped, to high tourist areas where it is hard to find a spot in the sand. Snorkeling and diving can be magnificent, especially along the eastern (Indian Ocean) coast.
Swaths of desert offer dramatic views, and high-speed safari trips in 4x4 vehicles can be an exciting experience. Most packages include a heart-pumping drive over the dunes, a short camel ride, an Arabic buffet and perhaps a belly dancer.
The main hub for air transport is Dubai airport, which is served by several major airlines, most notably Dubai-based Emirates. The airport at Abu Dhabi also offers excellent international connections. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways now offers direct flights from New York, Toronto and many other airports in Europe and Asia. For low-cost flights, Air Arabia has set up a hub at Sharjah airport (which is very close to Dubai), and flies there from many cities in the Middle East and India. Seawings, the UAE-based seaplane operator, has launched an air taxi service providing charter flights between business and leisure destinations in UAE to airports in Oman and Qatar.
Where to stay
In this region known for luxury there are a number of high-end accommodation options, most notably the sail-shaped opulent Burj al-Arab (www.jumeirah.com), which is a Dubai landmark, known to be a “7-star hotel.” The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi (www.kempinski.com) also aspires to the same standards, at a fraction of the price. The Four Seasons Hotel DIFC (www.fourseasons.com) is a small luxury boutique, business class hotel, opened at the end of March 2016, located in the Dubai International Financial Centre. The 4 star Wyndham Dubai Marina (www.wyndham.com) opened its doors in February 2016 and is located at the quieter end of the marina. Located near the Mall of the Emirates, the Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Mina (hgi.hilton.com/Dubai) opened in December 2015. This large, new, 4 star hotel offers 370 deluxe rooms. Designed to look like a European palace, the 5-star St. Regis Hotel Dubai (www.stregisdubai.com) opened in November 2015, and is located along Sheikh Zayed Road, in Al Habtoor. The Four Seasons Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island (www.fourseasons.com) just opened in May of this year. in Abu Dhabi, ijust a short drive away from the city centre on Al Maryah Island. November 2015 marked the opening of the Capital Centre Arjaan by Rotana (www.rotana.com).
Visit www.visitabudhabi.ae and www.visitdubai.com