Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

We arrived on the island of Abu Dhabi around dusk. The city seemed a lot smaller than Dubai but huge in comparison to Doha. However, like Doha, there is a lot of construction going on.

In the evening we had dinner at popular restaurant – Lebanese Flower. We were starving after a day on the road and it was quite comforting and delicious, we had lentil soup, falafel, fattoush and grilled lamb and chicken. After dinner we took a walk by the Emirates Palace which is beautifully lit up at night.

The following day we decided to follow the ‘Big Bus Tours’ and do a round trip of the city.

  1. Marina Mall
  2. Sheikh Zayed Mosque
  3. Eastern Corniche
  4. Abu Dhabi Mall
  5. Carpet Souk
  6. Iranian Market
  7. Abu Dhabi Corniche
  8. Al Hosn Fort and Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation
  9. Markaziyah Park and Gardens
  10. Public Beach
  11. Heritage Centre

We started first at the eastern part of the corniche – there are marshes here off the main island, and plenty of flamingos enjoying the wetlands.

We then drove past Abu Dhabi Mall, towards the port/fishing area where we had hoped to stop and have look at the Iranian markets. It was just a street lined with stores selling Iranian pottery, knick knacks such as plasticware…and not much else. So, we drove past and continued on.

We decided to stop off at the Emirates Culture and Heritage village and have a look around. From here you could see the full view of the city skyline and surrounding it were beautiful white beaches which crystal clear water. Next to the Cultural centre was the famous Abu Dhabi flag pole – the highest in the world at

Nearby is the Marina Mall and Sky Tower. We headed to the top of the Sky Tower – to a coffee house where we took a break, had some coffee and icecream and enjoyed the views of Abu Dhabi.

After that we headed to the Emirates Palace and this time went inside to have a look see. Full of fanciful restaurants and a five star hotel.. it wasn’t as impressive inside (so I thought anyway). However, a highlight was the gold bar ATM (for withdrawing gold bars as opposed to cash!).

Emirates Palace at nightEmirates Palace entrance gateSonya with mangroves in the background
UAE Heritage VillageDucks at UAE Heritage VillageKhanjar Dagger and Arabic Teapot
Sonya and some ducks at UAE Heritage VillageTwo Khanjar Daggers at UAE Heritage VillageAbu Dhabi skyline from Abu Dhabi Theatre
Marina MallEtihad TowersSonya with portraits of Sheikhs at the Emirates Palace
Under the Emirates Palace domePalm trees in one of the Emirates Palace hallsYes, an ATM that dispenses gold

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Lastly, we did a stop at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I had to put on an abaya here, as women are not allowed to be photographed without one on. The mosque itself is huge (it can accommodate 40,000 worshippers) and extremely beautiful with lots of pillars and intricate Islamic art.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque view from southSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque view from west main entranceSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque domes
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque decorated doorSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque domes and archesSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque domes and arches
At the entrance to the court of Sheikh Zayed Grand MosqueSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque inside courtSonya wearing a Abaya at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque inside courtSonya wearing a Abaya at the Sheikh Zayed Grand MosqueOutside Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque