Abu Dhabi is the seat of the Federal Government and is the country’s political and industrial hub as well as being a major historical and cultural centre. It is a city of contrasts. You’ll find the domes and minarets of traditional mosques nestled beside ultramodern skyscrapers, chic five-star hotels near vibrant traditional souks (markets) and futuristic tourist attractions neighbouring kilometres of rolling desert dunes.
Abu Dhabi (meaning in Arabic “Father of the gazelle”) is the capital city and the largest of the seven Emirates making up the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The city was planned in the 1970s for an estimated maximum population of 600,000. In accordance with what was considered to be ideal urban planning at the time, the city has wide grid-pattern roads, and high-density tower blocks. On the northerly end of the island, where the population density is highest, the main streets are lined with 20- to 30-story towers. Inside this rectangle of towers is a normal grid pattern of roads with lower density buildings (2-story villas or 6-story low-rise buildings).
Abu Dhabi is a modern city with broad boulevards, tall office and apartment buildings, and busy shops. Principal thoroughfares are the Corniche, Airport Road, Sheikh Zayed Street, Hamdan Street and Khalifa Street. Abu Dhabi is known in the region for its greenery; the former desert strip today includes numerous parks and gardens. The design of the inner city roads and main roads are quite organised.
Covering around 87 per cent of the UAE’s total land area, Abu Dhabi possesses 94 per cent of the country’s oil reserves and, as the world’s fourth largest oil producer, contributes 10% of the world’s oil. An initiative aimed at diversifying its economy has evolved Abu Dhabi into a magnet of foreign investment. It is now a cosmopolitan city boasting one of the highest per capita incomes and one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
The UAE’s population has grown exponentially to 8.26 million in mid-2010, a growth of 65 per cent in only four years, as strong economic growth has attracted a workforce from all over the world. The population of Emiratis stands at close to one million. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has the largest population (42 per cent) of UAE nationals.
Islam is the official religion of the UAE. However, other religions are respected and are diversely represented.
The official language of the UAE is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood, with both languages being commonly used in business and commerce.
The city’s progressive vision is tempered by a deep-seated respect for traditions and culture. The artefacts and tools of its early inhabitants, pearl divers, fishermen and dhow builders, are carefully preserved and displayed.
Especially honoured is the Bedouin way of life.
Between November and March a moderate, warm climate prevails during the day at an average temperature of 26°C, with cooler evening temperatures averaging 15°C. Humidity levels rise significantly in the summer months, between June and August.
September, October, November is a great time to visit, the weather is quite pleasant especially from Mid-October. As it cools down people emerge and the beaches and streets light up with outings and kids playing in parks.
October and November are very pleasant, beach going days. November offers wonderful weather for Formula One and all the great concerts that accompany it.
The monetary unit is the ‘dirham’ (AED) which is divided into 100 fils. The
Dirham is tied to the US Dollar at a steady exchange rate of $US 1= AED 3.671.
The local time is GMT + 4 hours.
For more information on how to book recommended tours, please visit www.visitabudhabi.ae
The Summit is offering complimentary tours for registered delegates. Please click HERE for more information
This architectural work of art is one the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 41,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world's largest hand knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers –10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing twelve tonnes. The mosque's first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site.
Reflective pools surround the mosque, amplifying its beauty. The striking white and gold colors shining in the sun are transformed at night by a unique lightning system which reflects the phases of the moon.
Unlike other mosques in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open daily to visitors, except on Friday morning, which is for worshippers only.
As a testament to the vision of its founder, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque sits majestically at the entrance to Abu Dhabi City Island, distinctly visible from the three main bridges connecting the island to the main land, the Maqta, Mussafah and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. The strategic geographical location of the Mosque is a symbolic expression of the emotional connection the Mosque has in the hearts of all UAE citizens particularly because the burial place of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, first President of the UAE, is located beside the mosque.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is well recognized by its pure color, as it is clad with SIVEC marble from Macedonia. Every artistic design element was carefully considered and fits into the overall vision of the Mosque.
The Abu Dhabi Peal Journey experience is the first cultural and tourism product of its kind in the capital. A unique edutainment (Education + Entertainment) experience to enrich people knowledge on the history of the pearling industry in the Arabian Gulf region, and how our forefathers dedicated their lives to collect thousands of seashells in hope to find a pearl.
The Pearl Journey will begin as you board the authentic "Jalboot" the pearling traditional boat. And be seated comfortably at our Arabian Majlis on the Jalboot, while being served some Arabian hospitality refreshments. This program is offered and managed by Emirati & International Cultural experts & guides.
The location is at the marina of the Intercontinental Hotel – Abu Dhabi. *Note: Please note that the boat can take a maximum of 15 guests per tour
Experience a unique marine eco-system with spectacular mangrove scenery on a short, guided kayaking adventure in Abu Dhabi. Our experienced and knowledgeable team will guide you through the mangroves of Abu Dhabi and explain the importance of their existence within our coastal system. Encounter a variety of terrestrial and marine life while you paddle through the mangroves.
Kayaking is fun, relaxing, very low risk & easy to learn and is open to all even if you have never tried it before – full instruction will be given. The timings of our tours are approximate and will depend on the tide levels and the wind & weather conditions. The low tide should allow us to see more birds, crabs and fish common to the area, whereas the high tide tour allows us to venture deeper into the mangroves. We always keep a close eye on the weather & tide levels to ensure a pleasant kayak experience for all.
Capacity: Minimum numbers: 8 Guests Maximum numbers: 40 Guests
Programme: 1.5 hours of guided paddling
Al Ain is Abu Dhabi Emirate’s second largest city, and it heritage heartland in the Eastern Region.
The “Oasis City” was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site with its ancient forts, museums, traditional souk, an ancient oasis where date farms still operate, and the UAE’s only remaining came market. Al Ain is an authentic destination that truly safeguards the Emirati spirit, preserves its cultural heritage and traditions, and offers an engaging experience for visitors. Al Ain’s historic Souq Al Qattara played an important social and commercial role in the lives of Al Ain residents in the early part of the 20th century.
Admire the unique red sand dunes on the way to the oasis city of Al Ain and take some magnificent pictures of this unique artwork of nature. Learn about the history of the UAE in the Al Ain National Museum and the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum, before visiting the camel race track and the livestock market. Discover a date palm grove with the ancient ‘falaj’ system, an irrigation system used in traditional farming, and watch the bargaining at the traditional camel market. The tour heads to Jebel Hafeet, a popular mountain with its remarkable location overlooking the beauty of Al Ain city, presenting a fantastic opportunity to photograph the city from above. Have lunch in a 5-star hotel before exploring the Hot Springs with their healing waters, found abundantly in this area originating at the font of the mountain.
Explore ever-changing Abu Dhabi and be amazed at the intricate weaving of tradition and modernity, in this full day tour of the UAE’s capital city.
Although now well outnumbered by modern shopping malls, the souqs take you back in time when barter was the only way of trading, and negotiation a time honoured skill. Get a tase of what real Bedouin life was about at the Heritage Village near Marina Mall. Built like a traditional oasis village and tells the story of Bedouin customs and folklore. Take home some souvenirs or a beautiful henna tattoo at the village’s small Bedouin market.
Be stunned by the latest attraction on Yas Island and visit the inspiring exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat we conclude the day with shopping at the World Trade Center Souk and the Marina Mall.
Open to the public, this is the UAE's only discovered Christian monastery.
Believed to have been built around 600 AD, it was initially discovered on the island during excavations in 1992. Almost two decades since its discovery, and more than a thousand years since it was built, the public can visit the site and experience another piece of the rich tapestry that makes up the UAE's fascinating history.
A new phase of work is currently underway by archaeologists, and treasures are still being unearthed, making the site a significant focal point for history enthusiasts worldwide.
Located on BaniYas Island 240 km west of Abu Dhabi, the Arabian Wildlife Park takes up approximately half the size of Sir BaniYas Island. The park contains free roaming animals and offers game drives, nature trails, mountain biking and exclusive outdoor dining experiences. To be part of these adventures, either you need to stay at the Desert Island Resort and Spa or at the Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna where a three hour tour can be booked. The Arabian Wildlife Park is created to provide an authentic environment for wild animals to freely roam while the island remains an exceptional experience for visitors. The Park will house several thousand animals indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula including the endangered Arabian Oryx, Mountain Gazelle, Sand Gazelle as well as free-roaming predators and scavengers such as the cheetah and hyena.
This unique 2-hour tour offers a rare opportunity to see falcons up close and a chance to gain a deep insight into the world of the majestic birds. You will learn the history of falconry and discover how falcons live today.
The hospital is centrally located in Abu Dhabi, close to the international airport, and has taken care of more than 42,000 falcons since it opened in 1999. In 2007 it opened its doors to visitors and you will come closer to falcons than you ever thought possible.
You will get to visit the unique falconry museum where you can learn the traditional heritage of falconry and explore displays of special falconry tools and equipment.
Move on to the examination room to see the precious birds undergoing feather repair and pedicures! Discover the hard work that goes into nursing falcons.
At the hospital’s large free-flight aviary, you will see the falcons flying free, but the highlight of the tour is the extraordinary opportunity to have a majestic falcon sit on your arm in the beautiful hospital gardens and to get a souvenir photograph of the experience.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi offers a truly amazing experience for every family member with thrilling rides, exciting attractions, themed stores and restaurants, all inspired by the rich Ferrari brand and its Italian heritage. The park boasts more than 20 unique rides and attractions for visitors of all ages and interests – from speed thrill rides to the truly advanced simulators and family-friendly attractions – in addition to a wide variety of Italian restaurants, unique shopping experiences and dedicated entertainment.
The hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour of Abu Dhabi takes you to all of the city's famous landmarks. The tour provides a personal commentary in a choice of languages, explaining Abu Dhabi’s rapid development and cultural history.
The hop-on, hop-off facility gives you access to the best things to do in Abu Dhabi and the 24 & 48 hour ticket provides plenty of time to explore Abu Dhabi’s popular attractions.
Your sightseeing tour also includes a FREE Island Tour around Abu Dhabi’s entertainment capital Yas Island and free entrance to the Sky Tower at Marina Mall, as well as 50% discount on the entry to Observation Deck 300 at Etihad towers.
Dubai is known for really cheap gold — but you'll have to haggle for it. Whether or not you're ready to buy, a stroll through the dazzling Gold Souk is a must. The stores also offer platinum, diamonds and occasionally silver, and the government keeps tight control over the quality of all the merchandise, so rest assured that your purchases will be genuine. If something in the window catches your fancy, be sure to barter — persistent protest capped with a walkaway will get merchants to drop their asking price by as much as half.
Less atmospheric, but even cheaper, is the Gold & Diamond Park, where you can find unique designs or get jewelers to recreate pieces for you at a fraction of the cost of the original.
The most audacious of all of Dubai's megaprojects is the collection of reclaimed islands just offshore. First came the palm-tree shaped Palm Jumeirah and there are two more islands, Jebel Ali and Deira, in varying stages of development. In an outlandish stroke, Jebel Ali will feature a breakwater that spells out a line of poetry by Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ("It takes a man of vision to write on water"). Last, but certainly not least, is The World, an archipelago of islands that forms a world map in miniature.
While vast swaths of the city have been demolished in the relentless drive toward the future, one neighborhood harks back to the quiet fishing village that once was. The Bastakia Quarter, which squeezes itself between the Dubai Creek and the buzzing Bur Dubai district, is a mini maze of wind-towered buildings, a clutch of which have been transformed into art galleries and cafés.
Start your tour at XVA Gallery, which specializes in contemporary art from across the Gulf region. Continue your appreciation of Middle Eastern art at the Majlis Gallery before lunching on hearty salads and a refreshing mint-and-lime juice in the neighboringBasta Art Cafe's sun-dappled courtyard.
Once refreshed, weave through the textile souk — where you'll find magnificent bolts of fabric, along with less inspiring tat — and on to the Creek where you can either join the commuters for a AED 1 ($.30) abra (water taxi) ride across the water or hire your own boat for a scenic tour of the waterway. Back in port, head to the small but interesting Dubai Museum to see how oil and ambition mixed to make this modern oasis. If you get hungry again, check out Bastakiah Nights, an atmospheric Lebanese restaurant with a great rooftop area.
Get ready for an evening adventure in the desert and drive through golden sand dunes deep into the heart of the desert. You will watch a dramatic desert sunset and have the option of taking either a 1-hour Quad Bike ride or Dune Buggy Safari before you proceed to camp.
On arrival at the Bedouin camp, you will receive a traditional Arabian welcome, with an offering of Arabic coffee, tea, and tender dates. Enjoy the authentic Arabian ambiance at this typical camp, with traditional carpets, low tables, and cushions for comfortable seating.
Having settled in, take a thrilling camel ride into the dunes, or challenge yourself to a sand-boarding adventure. Mark your visit with a traditional Henna hand painting, or simply enjoy the aromatic sheesha pipe under a canopy of stars.
Enjoy snacks and unlimited water and soft drinks before the sumptuous main buffet dinner, where you will get to feast on a wide variety of barbecued meats, salads, entrees, and desserts.
End the evening watching a performance of exotic belly dancing, an amazing tanoura dancer, and breathtaking Egyptian folk dancer, all under a romantic starlit sky.
The high point of any BurjKhalifa experience is the view from At The Top, BurjKhalifa's observation decks. At the Top, BurjKhalifa located on level 124 and At the Top, BurjKhalifa SKY - an experience combining levels 148 and 125 of the world's tallest tower. At the Top, BurjKhalifa is certainly the highlight of any visit to the Middle East.
The journey begins in the lower ground level of The Dubai Mall. Throughout the journey to the top, visitors are entertained by a multi-media presentation of the exotic history of Dubai and the marvel of BurjKhalifa.
The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is more than just a stunning hotel; it is a symbol of modern Dubai.
Yet for all the wonder this stunning structure provides when you finally see it in person, it is the service within that really makes the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah so extraordinary.
Repeatedly voted the world's most luxurious hotel, this magnificent destination offers you the finest service and facilities throughout – right down to an optional chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce.
Burj Al Arab rises out of its own man-made island 280 meters from the Jumeirah coast. Visible from almost everywhere in the city, it is the icon of Dubai.