Abu Dhabi offers year-round sunshine, stunning beaches and a clean, very safe environment plus plenty of classy hotels, clubs and restaurants. Although the official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken and visitors will not have communication difficulties.
What many do not know: Abu Dhabi is the safest city in the world! For the second time in a row, "Numbeo" has declared the capital of the emirates the safest city in the world compared to 338 other cities worldwide.
The country was only founded December 1971, and the pace of change has been fast, but not compared to the overwhelming scale of Dubai.
The city of Abu Dhabi lies in various stages of development, but one that has been well planned: several major projects on neighbouring islands such as Al Reem, Al Maryah, Yas and Saadiyat are currently taking shape and the skyline is changing very fast.
Of course you do not want to miss your smartphone while on vacation. As in all other modern countries of the world, you can buy a sim card at the airport directly on arrival. However, only two providers are available (DU and Etisalat).
We recommend the special offers for tourists (Tourist Sim Cards), which can be bought directly at the airport. There are reasonably cheap deals available for 3, 7 or 14 days. The tariffs for telephone and Internet are slightly more expensive than, for example, in Europe.
The registration of the SIM card is done directly at the airport counter and required documents are only the completed application form and a copy of your passport.
Once the credit has been used up, these cards can be recharged at every gas station.
If you want to discover the city with all its facets, we recommend to rent a car. And don't worry, the traffic situation is regulated in all parts of the city in Abu Dhabi. As we said earlier, Abu Dhabi is the safest city in the world!
The main roads are all multi-lane and mostly without oncoming traffic. There are strict traffic rules and speed limits, which everyone adheres to in order to avoid heavy fines. So you do not have to worry about traffic rowdies and chaotic conditions.
A rental car is also perfect if you like to explore the rest of the country. Switch on Google Maps or Waze and take a trip to Dubai to explore this amazing city. But be prepared to take a wrong turn at least once. Dubai is one of the fastets growing cities in the world and the navigation systems sometimes dont keep up with the growing street net. Even Dubai residents take the one or other wrong turn...
Parking fees are payable in almost all parts of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The paid parking zones are easily recognizable by the black-blue or white-blue painted curbs. Depending on the color, different parking fees have to be paid, with black and blue 2 dirhams per hour, with white and blue it is 3 dirhams per hour.
The payment is very simple: pull a ticket at the respective ticket machine and place it clearly visible behind the windshield. On Fridays (and public holidays) parking is free.
Parking in the shopping malls is mostly free and many hotels offer free parking for their guests.
If you dont feel comfortable driving a rental car, there are plenty of Taxis around. They are cheaper than in Europe or the US and you can either hail it down directly on the roadside by extending your arm, order by phone (600535353) or just tell your hotel´s reception desk to call you one. All shopping malls and hotels have a taxi service outside their premises.
The taxi fare is calculated by a nomred taximeter and all fares are clearly mentionedon information stickers inside the vehicle. All cars and drivers are officially registered. Drivers have to go through a strict security check before they are allowed to transport passengers. So there is no fear of being overcharged or traveling with an illegal taxi.
Even though there is a wide bus net in the city we would not recommend it to tourists. The busses are mainly used by the local expats as transportation to and from work. They tend to get very crowded and the schedule is not always up to date.
The official language of the UAE is, of course, Arabic. But due to the fact that more than 75% of the population are expats from non arabic speaking countries, the actual language spoken is english. No matter where you go, you will be able to communicate in english and all important information is written bilingual.
You will encounter all sorts of english, may it be the rapidly spoken indian english, the musical philippino dialect (mamsir) or the regal sounding arabic english, it is not always easy to understand but creates fun moments when, for example, germans and indians try to communictae. This cultural hotpot sometimes creates the most amusing misunderstandings but, after all, this is what makes the UAE so interesting and fun to live in.
The official currency of the UAE is the Dirham (AED or Dhs) and it is pecked to the US$. Hence there are sometimes strong fluctuations in the exchange rate to the EURO. One US$ corresponds to 3.67AED.
One UAE Dirham is divided into 100 fils and available coins are 5, 10, 25, 50 fils and AED1 and available notes are in denominations of AED5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.
Except for hotels you will not be able to pay in € or US$ like in many other countries but you can exchange your money anywhere without fear of being ripped off. Everything money related is strictly regulated in the UAE. Nevertheless, the exchange bureaus in shopping malls usually have better rates than on the airport and, if exchanging large sums, we recommend to haggle for a better rate.
The United Arab Emirates were founded in December 1971 and the pace of change has been rapid. In contrast to Dubai though the growth in Abu Dhabi is a bit slower and more planned.
Abu Dhabi itself is right now in different stages of development with several major projects on the neighboring islands such as Al Reem, Al Maryah, Yas and Saadiyat Island.
In November 2017, the Louvre was opened in Abu Dhabi, another milestone in terms of the cultural importance of the city. This is just one of five new museums planned for the coming years. On display are exhibits from the Louvre Paris and the new collections of the Guggenheim.
Abu Dhabi visitors from all over the world are attracted by the modern lifestyle, paired with fantastic hotels, beautiful beaches, countless activities and the typical Arab hospitality.
For those who want to enjoy their vacation on one of the most beautiful and intrictaing spots on earth, without the tourist masses and drunken crowds, Abu Dhabi is certainly the perfect holiday destination.