You want to visit this spectacular city too? Here you will find my main travel tips:
Rules of Conduct
Abu Dhabi is a Muslim emirate where certain rules of conduct must be observed. Here you will find the most important things you should pay attention to during your stay:
- Dress appropriately. In Abu Dhabi, it is important to wear modest clothing. You should avoid clothing that is too tight or revealing. Swimwear is only allowed on the beach.
- Greetings are highly valued by the locals. Greet others in English or in Arabic.
- Showing affection should be avoided. Kisses and hugs are not welcome.
- Alcohol is prohibited in public!
- Unmarried couples are not allowed to share a room, it is illegal. However, we did not know that before 🙂 I don´t know how strictly this is handled with tourists.
Abu Dhabi is one of the safest destinations in the world. With few violent crimes and a low crime rate, you can move freely and safely around the city. We always felt safe both during the day and at night. In Abu Dhabi, I can also very well imagine traveling alone as a woman.
Getting around Abu Dhabi is safe and easy. The cab prices are very cheap due to the favorable petrol prices. One pays a starting fee of 8 AED (2€) and per km 1.80AED (0.25€). However, we mostly got around by public bus. The ride with the A1 bus to the city cost us only 1€. A ride in the city cost only 0.50€ per person. So you really get around very cheaply .
Since we had only a few days in Abu Dhabi, the time for sightseeing was a little short. Thus, we skipped the recommended desert safari. However, we took time for the famous Sheikh Zayid Mosque and the Emirates Palace Hotel, both of which we can recommend.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Sheikh Zayid Mosque is the largest mosque in the UAE and one of the largest in the world. The mosque bears the name of the first president and the founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayid Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The tomb of the Sheikh is located directly on the grounds of the mosque.
Visiting the Sheikh Zayid Mosque is free of charge, but there is a strict dress code. Both men and women are not allowed to enter the mosque wearing shorts and sleeveless T-shirts. As a woman, I had to cover myself from head to toe and also cover my tattoo on my foot. Markus put on long pants and a shoulder-covering shirt. You can rent an abaya for free on site or buy a nicer one for about 10€.
As a woman, you must be covered from head to toe in the mosque. Otherwise, you are not allowed to enter the mosque.
In addition to the strict dress code, Rules of Conduct must be observed. Kissing, eating and smoking are strictly prohibited in the mosque. Also, touching the walls and pillars should be refrained from and respect for the culture should be self-evident.
Opening hours are daily from Saturday to Thursday from 9 am to 10 pm and Fridays from 4:30 pm to 10 pm, as religious services are held in the mornings. Free tours are also offered, which take place every hour. The so-called "Cultural Tours" are available in English or Arabic and registration in advance is not necessary.
We liked the Sheikh Zayid Mosque very much and can really recommend it. The visit was magical and even free of charge! After the mosque visit, we took a cab to the Emirates Palace, which was recommended to us by family.
The Emirates Palace is one of the most luxurious and expensive hotels in the world. Originally, the hotel was once planned as a sheikh palace. The stay in this hotel is very expensive, so one night costs at least 500€. However, the tour of the hotel is free for day tourists. Again, you can enter the building only with decent clothes.
Is Abu Dhabi expensive?
Abu Dhabi can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be! Of course, you can leave hundreds, thousands of euros in this city, but it is also possible to explore this city with a smaller budget. We wanted to spend a little luxury but not too much money. Thus, the following expenses resulted for 3 days/3 nights for us:
- Flight The flight from Vienna cost us only 100€ per person with Wizz Airline
- Accommodation: We stayed at the Ramada Abu Dhabi Corniche Hotel, which cost us €63 a night. The four star hotel has a rooftop pool and our room had a city and a sea view.
- Food/Drinks: We spent 30€ per day for food and drinks for both of us. In local places we paid for a main meal with drinks around 14€
- Transport: From and to the airport we took the public bus, which cost us 1€ per person. Once we took a cab, so we had transportation costs of 20€ for three days.
- Sightseeing: for free
Although our stay in Abu Dhabi was very short, we really enjoyed it. Therefore, we can recommend this city! After three days stay, it continued for us to the Maldives. Be curious about our island adventures!