Our trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi was fascinating - the architecture, culture and history of this part of the UAE. We visited the Burj Khalifa which is the tallest building in the world (148 stories high) and looked out at the amazing views of Dubai below. I enjoyed our trip to the Dubai Mall, particularly the souvenir shops, array of traditional clothing and modern shops like Desiguel. My husband David loved the Cheescake Factory which had the largest array of yummy cheesecakes we have ever seen or tasted.
The views from the Burj Khalifa were amazing:
We enjoyed the desert tour on the way to Abu Dhabi. We hung on tight as the driver drove over the edges of sand dunes. Surprisingly to us, the sand dunes ranged in colour from red to gold and to grey-white with nothing else as far as the eye could see. At the end of the tour, camel rides were available and we had dinner at a traditional Bedoin camp with male and female dancers providing an interesting show.
A driver took us from Dubai to Abu Dhabi which is about 1 and a half to two hours away. The roads are good and lined with date palms on either side. The dates in Abu Dhabi were delicious, particularly those filled with ginger and nuts. Whilst in Abu Dhabi we visited a grand mosque: Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. All visitors need to wear traditional dress, i.e. the abeya for women. Men can wear western clothing, but long pants and socks and shoes are necessary. The mosque besides being beautiful from the outside is also magnificent inside with delicate flower designs made of semi-precious stones, beautiful carpets and light fittings.
We both liked Abu Dhabi best of all. It is situated on a lovely coastline with white sands, has many lovely buildings, lots of greenery and is more residential than Dubai. We visited a great market (souk) opposite the World Trade Centre. Abu Dhabi also has some beautiful architecture like the Emirates Palace (below) which you can visit and the Presidential Palace which is closed to the public.
One of the treats in Abu Dhabi was the Falcon Centre just out of the city. They are beautiful birds used as hunters by the Arabs.
I kept a journal of our trip and use insights from it for my writing. Currently reading interesting books about the UAE such as "Inside the Kingdom" (Robert Lacey); "Arabian Sands" (Wilfred Thesiger) and "Mother without a Mask" (Patricia Holton).
I would love to return to the UAE and include Qatar and the Oman region in a visit. So my message to readers is don't just do a stopover in Dubai to somewhere else - but spend some time in the UAE and include Abu Dhabi.