Visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi was one of my dreams and in the future it would be necessary to plan a new visit to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, since they are always under construction and new buildings will be built in few years. That is the modern part of UAE, beautiful life, skyscrapers, luxury and so on. On the other hand, UAE keeps alive it ancient charm, made of enchanting mosques and silent deserts. I had the possibility to organize this holiday visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi as a recognition I did to myself for my Master’s degree in Economics and Finance.
A 7 days trip, where the initial flight was Milan to Dubai (stopover in Kiev). The next five days have been spent both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, travelling by a rented car and having fun with many experiences in these two amazing cities. Flight from Abu Dhabi to Milan (stopover in Istanbul) was the last part of the trip, coming back home, after visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Why I suggest to hire a car for visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi? It is quite cheap to hire a car there, and the most important reason in that oil is so cheap that you can travel many kilometers with A/C on, and spend very few money. July 2015 oil in Italy was near 1.60€ per litre, in UAE it was something like 0.40€ per litre. Then, we went in August with temperatures near 46°C, so you cannot even think to take a walk to change from a bus to metro or other public transports. We also moved from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and were free to move inside these cities. Therefore, in my opinion, a hired car is the optimal choice. Please consider also downsides, for example a lot of traffic in some roads (I suggest to pay Salik, which is a cheap toll, and use highways) and people there sometimes do not strictly respect traffic laws. Be cautious but also enjoy driving in large roads, surrounded by skyscrapers of these modern cities.
Advantages of visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi at the end of July: many attractions were uncrowded, so some experiences were tailor-made.
The only downside: very hot temperatures are not a huge issue, but please consider this aspect.
In the next paragraph I write my suggestions about visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi and you can find some new videos. I previously published Dubai and Abu Dhabi photos, so give them a look!
There are plenty of attraction in Dubai. Visiting Dubai in 2 days and half could bring you a lot of satisfaction.
Burj Khalifa is (at least nowadays, August 2015) the tallest skyscraper in the world and tourists can have access to floors 125 and 148, having the possibility to give a look and take photos outside; really nice experience, my brother and I went in the evening and the night view was stunning. Maybe the afternoon offers a great panorama but we had to choose.
Take your time because the show continues also outside, where Dubai Fountain gives for free a fantastic show each half an hour in the evening, as you can see in the next videos I recorded.
Dubai Fountain – Lionel Richie – All night long
Dubai Fountain – Ezel Jenerik
Next to the Dubai Fountain there is the Dubai Mall and some kilometers further south you can visit the Mall of the Emirates. It is difficult to imagine an ice rink and a ski indoor area in a hot city like Dubai, but they managed to build and maintain them! Apart from these attractions, malls are good places to benefit from air conditioners and to do shopping. I think they are not a mandatory stop, but at least a visit to Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a good idea to live a mix of traditional souks and modern malls.
If you still prefer the old way, at the northern part of Dubai you can take an Abra (a traditional boat) which is very cheap and allows you to give a glance at different souks, as the spices and gold ones. Be prepared to be approached by local sellers, who want you to visit their shops!
What is the best way to live again the magic of Dubai from a different point of view? The helicopter tour! A 15-minutes exciting experience that allows to fly over the main Dubai areas, starting near the Atlantis Hotel at Jumeirah Palm. Enjoy the view!
Dubai Helicopter Tour
There are also many other attractions in Dubai, the Wildlife Sanctuary at Ras Al Khor is a pleasant experience if you love nature and flamingos, and it is even better if you are a photography addicted, because there are two perfect spots (the northern one is the best in my opinion) where you can take photos, being really close to flamingos and other animals. My Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD did its work, please consider using telephoto zoom lenses.
Jumeirah Palm allows you to have a beautiful sight of Burj Al Arab and Dubai Marina (at opposite ends of the palm), where you can take breathtaking photos at sunset or during the night (bring your tripod with you!). Of course I suggest you to visit also the Dubai Marina area, which is really modern, and to reach the sea near the Burj Al Arab, where there is a wide public beach that was easy to find and also uncrowded.
Approximately one hour and half are necessary to move to Abu Dhabi and it is nice to see how the view changes along the road: less buildings and more desert, still with green areas, before arriving in Abu Dhabi, another modern city.
Visiting Abu Dhabi
Here I enjoyed many experiences, starting from the Observation Deck at Etihad Towers (level 74 at 300m), where it is possible to have a snack and enjoy the view of Abu Dhabi, from on of the highest points of the city. The Abra tour starting from eastern mangroves is a good experience, it is a relaxing boat trip, but if you desire to have more fun while visiting the Abu Dhabi Corniche, I suggest you to take The Yellow Boat that starts from the dock inside Emirates Palace. Here is a short video made of some clips I recorded.
Abu Dhabi The Yellow Boat
So far I did not talk about deserts… well, I think that the desert adventure should be done in Abu Dhabi and not in Dubai. Dubai is a modern city that has plenty of attraction and so in my opinion it is better to visit the city and leave time for the desert safari tour in Abu Dhabi.
It was an half day trip in the desert, with many different experiences to try. Dune bashing, where you spend many time in the desert, riding dunes and having a breathtaking experience! Then you can have photos with Arabian camels and ride them, too. You can visit a traditional Arab campsite, where you can also try sandboarding experience and have a rest. A really beautiful experience that I enjoyed very much.
Abu Dhabi Desert Tour
Equipment for videos: Canon EOS 1100D, Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM (I think sometimes the 18-55 would have been a better choice, but the wide-angle lens did its work, I am satisfied. I apologize for continuous focusing, but in live view it looked unfocused sometimes…and most important, I was focused on living these experiences and not on recording videos!)
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