Did you know that Dubai is one of the top 5-most visited cities in the entire world? This filthy rich desert playground can reach up to 16-million visitors per year. But, while there consider an Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and is gradually progressing into the next Dubai. You may wonder is it even worth a visit to Abu Dhabi and let me tell you it definitely is!
Even though these cities are so close to one another, they couldn’t be more different. Abu Dhabi presented more of an Emirate culture that I felt Dubai lacked.
Alright, enough chit-chat. Let’s get started and find out what to do during an Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai.
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What To Do For An Abu Dhabi Day Trip From Dubai
How To Visit Abu Dhabi From Dubai
How far is Abu Dhabi from Dubai? Abu Dhabi is only 90-miles (144 kilometers) away from Dubai, so it is makes it super easy to have a quick Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai. There are plenty of transportation options to easily travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
What Is The Best Way To Visit Abu Dhabi From Dubai?
Dubai to Abu Dhabi By Bus
One simple and very inexpensive way is to take a bus trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. There are two bus lines that get you to Abu Dhabi, look for E100 and E101. I have provided a map below to locate the bus terminal closest to wherever you may be staying. The bus terminals Al Ghubaiba and Ibn Battuta both drop you off at the Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station.
Dubai to Abu Dhabi bus fare will cost around 25-AED (which is 7-USD) one-way, total cost round trip is around 14-USD. Buses leave around every 10-20 minutes and run from 5AM-12AM. So you have plenty of time to explore, especially if you are an early riser!
These buses come equipped with works, unlike any bus I have ridden before! Believe me, you will travel as a passenger from Dubai to Abu Dhabi pretty comfortably. Seats are in two-seater rows and if a stranger sits next to you, they pretty much stay to themselves. These buses are usually cold so make sure you bring something to stay warm. They come equipped with reclining seats, air-conditioning, and a USB plug to charge your electronics. The buses do have Wifi, but maybe due to my lack of skills with technology, I was unable to log into the network.
The time to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi should take around 90-minutes if traffic permits; however, it can take up to 2-hours depending on the time of day and day of the week. So be prepared and factor in this time for your journey to Abu Dhabi. I do believe the best way to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is by bus. It may take a little bit longer than the other forms of transportation, but it is easy, inexpensive, and pretty darn comfortable.
Dubai to Abu Dhabi By Taxi
If you prefer a little more privacy, then I suggest you catch a taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Taking a taxi is quicker, and more exclusive, but it does come with a cost. Your one-way taxi fare can cost close to 70-USD. You may be able to bargain with some taxi drivers to negotiate a lower cost. But, don’t forget you do have to return and taxi back to Dubai from Abu Dhabi, which is another 70-bucks to fork over. Honestly, I would rather save that money for souvenirs, restaurants, and shopping.
Dubai to Abu Dhabi By Car Rental
If you prefer not to worry about arriving at terminals or catching taxis, then I suggest renting a car. I usually avoid driving like a plague here in Miami and traveling to escape traffic and parking. Car rental in the UAE is relatively easy and cheap. Depending on your vehicle selection, renting a car can cost as low at 13-USD a day. But, before that price persuades you, there are other factors to consider. Parking can be quite chaotic and limited in Abu Dhabi. Also, depending on where you are visiting, valet can be quite costly. And, don’t forget you may have to refill the tank. But, just so you know gas in the UAE is relatively cheap.
Car Rental Requirements
There are requirements in the UAE to rent a car like any other country. Make sure to have a valid passport, valid driver’s license, international driver’s permit, and at least be a minimum of 21-years of age.
Places To Visit In Abu Dhabi
Below you can find a list of the most popular attractions in Abu Dhabi along with additional information.
I highly suggest checking if you will be arriving to the UAE during the months of their Ramadan. During Ramadan, hours are subject to change at any major attraction, store, or restaurant. Check online or with your concierge if you’re visiting during this time so you do not have any unfriendly disruptions during your visit to the UAE.
|Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center||Free, no charge||Saturday-Thursday 9am-10pm; Friday after 4.30pm-10pm.||Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates|
|Ferrari World Abu Dhabi||Single Day Tickets: |
Adult AED 295
Junior AED 230
|Sunday-Saturday 11am-6pm||Yas Island - Yas Dr St - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates|
|Emirates Palace||Free, no charge to access lobby and exhibitions.||Open 24-hours, opening of restaurants and cafes vary.||West Corniche Road - United Arab Emirates|
|Lourve Abu Dhabi||Adults: AED 60, Ages 13-22 AED 30||Saturday to Wednesday 10am-8pm; Thursday & Friday 10am-10pm; Mondays closed||Saadiyat - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates|
|Corniche Road||Free, filled with restaurants, parks, beach, and cafes||Varies on restaurant, park, and cafe||Road in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates|
|Saadiyat Island||Day Pass:|
Single: AED 250
Couple: AED 350
Junior (7-17): AED 100
Child (0-6): Free
|Exit 14 - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates|
|Yas Waterworld||Single Day Ticket:|
|10am-7pm; except Thursday 10am-5pm reopen 6pm-11pm||Yas Island - Yas Dr St - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates|
I have provided a map below of the locations of all the popular Abu Dhabi attractions. Here you can get an estimate of the distance between all the places you may want to see so you can manage your time.
If you want to take out the headache of figuring out how to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and plan what to see, then I suggest purchasing one of the Abu Dhabi day tours from Dubai, which usually include roundtrip transportation. Check with your hotel and I am pretty sure they will be more than happy to provide you with numerous pamphlets of day tours. So pick one that flips your fancy!
Packages can include seeing famous sights such as the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, The Lovre Abu Dhabi, Yas Island and Yas Waterworld, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and Saadiyat Island during your day trip. Pricing varies depending on what tour package you choose.
We are all aware there are some restrictions with going on a group tour. Personally, I have never been a fan of them. If you are someone who enjoys cramming in numerous activities, then this may be for you. You did make that long-haul to get to the desert I assume. But, just a heads up, your Abu Dhabi sightseeing at specific locations is on a strict time crunch. Honestly, I would prefer to see less and have more time at specific places I would enjoy and rather see.
Since we know how to get there, what are we going to do? Below you can read the top 3-attractions to see on your Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai for a true Emirate experience.
The Top 3-Attractions To See In Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest mosque in the country and the 8th biggest mosque in the world. This mosque has a capacity to hold up to 41, 000 worshipers. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque alone is worth an Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai. Stepping into the mosque makes you immediately feel like you’re in an Arabian palace. Be prepared to be hypnotized by the golden detail trim aligning the archways and white marble structures from the ground crawling up to the ceiling. A picture would be unable to capture the grandeur of the 82-white domes underneath the blue sky.
Due to the absolute magnificence of the mosque, you could easily spend 2-3 hours here taking photos alone. If you do decide to opt-out of a group tour, there are private tours you can book to learn about the history and architecture of this mosque. For information regarding pricing, click here.
Dress Code: Remember it is not our home, but theirs. Be respectful and have proper etiquette while visiting. This is a sacred place of prayer. Visitors are required and expected to be in proper clothing attire. Avoid see-through clothing, shorts and skirts (male and female), tight and revealing clothing, and sleeveless shirts. Ladies, you do need to be fully covered for entrance inside. If they feel you are not covered enough, don’t worry. The attendants will provide you with an abaya.
To experience true Emirate opulence, I suggest you head to the Emirates Palace Hotel for an unforgettable Emirate experience. This colossal palace alone had me lost for an hour, literally. We are on a time crunch here, I do suggest leaving breadcrumbs to find your way to the exit! Don’t want to lose precious time searching on how to get out of the building.
The main building is filled with breathtaking architecture, marble floors, and don’t forget to look up and stare at the large intricate dome picked in gold above. There are numerous shops, international restaurants, and places to browse for some rare souvenirs and bites to eat.
During my visit, I was on a hunt to find a camel burger since I was in the UAE. Le Café inside Emirates Palace does sell camel burgers, however, it was alarmingly pricey for something I wasn’t sure I would eat more than one bite of. A camel burger topped with 23-karat gold flakes will cost you 110- AED (30-USD), no thank you!
But, I do suggest ordering their Camelccino. It was pretty tasty I must say. However, the UAE is just expensive, no pretty way to say it, but it is EXPENSIVE. My Camelccino alone and sparkling water were a whopping 25-USD, which didn’t even include gratuity. I’m not complaining though, it was worth every dirham to say I drank a cappuccino made with camel’s milk.
Have you ever had camel milk chocolate? Let me tell you it is definitely something to try! You can go pick some up as a souvenir at the shop across from Le Café. Just going to warn you, that camel milk chocolate is a little steep in price. After purchasing chocolates, walk around and do some shopping at the souks inside. Souks are Arab marketplaces that sell jewelry, scarves, leather bags, and numerous other goodies to purchase.
Desert Safari Tour
The 6-hour desert tour was by far my favorite activity during my Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai. There are a variety of desert safari packages to select from. It is highly suggested you purchased a desert safari tour in Abu Dhabi for a complete Arabian experience. Typically, the tours last for 5-6 hours. Click here for more detailed information regarding pricing.
During this tour, I arranged to be picked up from a hotel where they were already picking up additional passengers. As we were making our drive to the desert, it was quite a memorable experience. All of us on the tour were singing and dancing to the jams on the radio to help us all get acquainted and pumped for our desert adventure.
Our first stop was winding through the sand dunes. Nothing is more thrilling than being driven down sand dunes for 15-minutes straight at an accelerated speed to have your stomach turn. It is definitely more exciting than it sounds, I promise!
Following our adventure, the guides parked basically in the middle of nowhere. We were able to capture some photos of what appeared to be an endless sea of sand. I couldn’t help but to be completely mesmerized by the beauty for a while. No photograph could capture the beauty I experienced.
On the way to the camp, we made a stop by the camel farms and just chilled with the camels for a while. There was time to snap some photos and show them some love. I absolutely adore camels, they’re so stinking cute!
When we finally arrived at the camp there were a variety of adult activities for us grown-ups to behave like children. There was sandboarding, camel riding, hookah, henna tattoos, and of course watching a killer sunset sinking into the sand dunes.
Once we were done playing we were seated on are magical carpets with a feast underneath the twinkling stars. Entertainment was provided during the meal by watching a Dervish who performs a religious dance called the sema.
The sema is a dance where Dervishes whirl around for extended periods of time without stopping for religious purposes. It is very impressive watching a Dervish spin around for 15-20 minutes straight without falling over. I mean I was getting dizzy myself watching him! Then to top off the evening there was a belly dancer shaking her hips balancing a sword on her head!
Abu Dhabi Day Trip From Dubai Schedule
So here is an easy schedule to follow to explore the top 3-attractions for your Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai. You can see I have allotted at least 30-minutes of travel time to your next attraction. If you don’t follow this schedule, remember to allow yourself time for your taxi rides. Abu Dhabi has a population of over a million people. Traffic can get a little congested causing delay.
- 5:30 am-6:45 am: Wake up and grab a quick bite to eat at the hotel or a nearby cafe.
- 7:00 am-9:00 am: Head to the bus station or grab a taxi (maybe sleep in a little if you are catching a cab) and begin your travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
- 9:00 am-9:30: Arrive at Sheikh Zayed Mosque by taxi, or grab a taxi from the Abu Dhabi bus terminal to the mosque.
- 9:30 am-11:30 am: Enjoy having your breathtaking away at the mosque and make sure you get plenty of photos!
- 11:30 am-12:00 pm: Catch a taxi and head to Emirate Palace. Don’t worry you will see a hoard of them outside of the mosque. On your way to Emirates Palace, you can sneak in another sight. Ask your taxi driver to go down Corniche Road since it is on the way. Enjoy the drive down this popular street.
- 12:00 pm-2:00 pm: Get your belly-fed at one of their restaurants and grab an after-lunch Camelccino. Go shopping at the boutiques and souks. If time permits the Ethiad Towers are outside across the street. Go outside and check out the unique architecture of the surrounding buildings.
- 2:00 pm- 2:30 pm: Head to the destination arranged for pick-up for the desert safari tour. Pick-ups are usually around 30-minutes prior to the start of the tour.
- 2:30 pm-9:00 pm- Enjoy your desert safari and moonlight dinner underneath the stars.
- 9:30 pm- Head to the Abu Dhabi bus terminal and head back to Dubai, or catch a taxi.
That is a wrap folks for your Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai! As you can see a day in Abu Dhabi can fly by fairly quickly. I highly suggest choosing 3-4 top sights that spark your interest and planning your day around them for your Abu Dhabi sightseeing. It is relatively easy to get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai. Have you been to Dubai or Abu Dhabi? If so, which city did you enjoy the most? What were your favorite attractions?
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