United Arab Experience(s)

Published: April 17th 2018
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There are a variety of elements which, when lumped together, collectively constitute a great city, and those separate elements are as varied as they are numerous. Abu Dhabi is a city which grew out of nothing but a simple but highly lucrative and expolitable oil discovery, and as such, the capital city of modern-day UAE is a dynamic and gleaming urban zone which possesses a few of those vital elements which make the city aspire to greatness. Size-wise, the city centre is high-rise yet compact, and strung together with an impressive crop of stores, eateries, hotels and other reference points of note which make for satisfying urban exploration. The Corniche is the prime stroller's terrain, and the Abu Dhabi skyline is an ever-evolving city feature which demonstrates the effects which wealth has had on the city. One of the city's more recent developments is Yas Island, which in recent times has become something of a family-fun tourist magnet, the 4 main elements to its cannon being Yas Mall, Ferrari world theme park, Waterworld aqua park and Yas Marina. No doubt set to develop in further creative ways, Yas Island, whilst not being centrally located, is a firm piece of evidence that this city has a keen eye on the future. Landmarks include the Emirates Palace hotel where opulence simply abounds, and the nearby heritage village, where Emirati traditional culture in miniature can be enjoyed in one clean sweep. For my money though, the city's chief must-see tourist attraction must surely be the impossibly grand Sheikh Zayed mosque, and its whiter-than-white exterior belies the attractive finely-tuned detail contained within. Abu Dhabi is the largest of the country's separate Emirates by far, and one way of breaking free from the city to enjoy a sublime slice of excitement in the Arabian desert is to go on an organized desert safari which includes all manner of desert and Arabian-themed activities such as dune bashing, camel riding, sandboarding, sheesha pipe smoking and a belly dance show, which makes for an evening of Arabian fun, albeit done in a tourist-centric way. One constatation which has arisen form a visit to Abu Dhabi is that, with careful planning, a trip there could turn out to be more of a collection of experiences than an actual ticking-them-off-the-list viewing of individual tourist sights. To illustrate this point, look no further than a dining experience at Yas Mall's Rogo's restaurant, which is effectively the world's largest rollercoaster restaurant. In case you were wondering, the diner remains static, but the food and drinks which are served arrive at the table after completing several twists and loops around the restaurant, and though this might appear to be high on the novelty factor, the food is substantial enough to warrant a visit anyway. There are of course, other aspects to Abu Dhabi which will no doubt appeal, the world trade centre's adjoining covered souk and the evening Dhow dinner cruises to name but two, but for the most part, this dynamic hotbed of wealth will somehow always refuse to stand in the shadow of its larger more developed relative Dubai, simply by flaunting its ability to create a scene of its own by way of proof.

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