There are a lot of the same questions that crop up when mentioning Abu Dhabi. I am going to list them and answer them here as best I can and based on my own experience. I will have a more in depth post too but this is for the quick and to the point questions.
Is it expensive?
Yes it is. But like most places, when you become familiar with the area, you will find cheaper alternatives. There are plenty of malls and supermarkets to go for some essentials or fast food if you want to cut costs. For reference, one cup of coffee in these places will cost: Leonardo’s in The Galleria mall- €5.50, Yas hotel- €8.50, The Emirates Palace- €17.50. These are approximate prices of what we paid in these places. There are chains like Starbucks, Tim Hortons and Costa Coffee for more reasonable prices in the malls too. The currency in UAE is AED/ Dirhams and works out approximately €1 to AED4.
Taxis are really cheap. The minimum fair is AED12/€3 but even that will get you about a 10/15 minute drive. If you want to go to Dubai (about 1.5hrs drive) it will be approximately €60- You wouldn’t get that in Dublin! Some of the hotels such as Yas Hotel provide free shuttle buses that run every 15 minutes or so. They go to the beach, the parks, the marina, the mall and pretty much cover Yas Island. The bus stop is right outside and the service is very handy.
As a westerner, do you have to cover up?
I didn’t find myself dressing any different than I would elsewhere. You can dress as you please in the tourist resorts and hotels. Some of these will have a private beach too, so you would have no need to worry there. If you are going to the malls or to local areas, it’s best to dress appropriately. Hot pants, strapless tops or any clothing with a lot of skin on display would not be appropriate but dresses, t shirts and everything else is fine. If you visit the grand mosque, you must cover your shoulders, wear loose clothing to your ankles and men should wear trousers- no shorts allowed. You will also be provided with a headscarf. Wherever you choose to visit, you should be respectful of their local people and customs.
Can you drink alcohol?
Yes, but don’t bother getting drunk. There are some places that won’t serve alcohol but most of the hotels do and even have “ladies night” for cheap or free drinks until a certain hour. If you want to drink outside of the hotel, the taxi drivers can point you in the right direction. You cannot drink or be drunk in public so don’t overdo it.
Is it safe?
Yes – very much so! It’s been the safest I felt in any country including my own. While their laws may seem really strict from the outside, it leads for a very safe feeling and environment. This is a great ease of mind when travelling with small children. There is a very relaxed atmosphere and the crime rate is very low. In our 18 days there, we lost a wallet, an ipad and an apple watch charger and they were all returned without a problem. We’re clumsy, I know but we were very relaxed!
How long is the flight?
Direct flights are 7.5hrs over and 8.5hrs back. You can of course choose cheaper flights by opting for connecting flights, which will be longer and can vary.
Best time to go?-
Ramadan happens for 1 month of the year where almost everything is closed. The timing of it changes each year so do your research and plan your trip in advance. Christmas time is peak season and the weather is great at 22-28 degrees Celsius on average. June to August temperatures can reach 40+ degrees and many of the locals go abroad for cooler weather. You can check more about the average weather for the time of the year here.
Would I go back?
In a heartbeat!
I hope this helped answer any of your questions. If you have any more, please message me on Instagram and I will add them to it.
Thanks for reading!