Posted by: travelrat | May 20, 2011

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: 10th February 2011

Abu Dhabi is a city that sprang from nothing. They say there’s nothing here that’s more than 40 years old, and even the 40 year old stuff is being demolished to make way for newer buildings.

But, buildings aren’t really the kind of thing that makes people come here. Would you make a special trip to see ‘the tallest leaning tower in the world’? Doing business, or watching the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are the main reasons for a visit. Coming for a holiday isn’t really on at the moment, and the guide was really hard put to show us the kind of thing to make us want to return.

Yes, Etihad Square and the Corniche are attractive enough, but would you come here especially to see them? The art gallery was a bit of a surprise. As the guide was talking about the paintings, he actually touched them! If he’d done that in the Tate or the Louvre, he’d really have set the alarm bells off!

The tour was saved from total anti-climax by a visit to the Heritage Centre. Unlike the one in Fujairah, it’s in a compound of permanent buildings, where craftsmen ply their trade, and sell their wares. Much as I liked it, I think I liked the Fujairah one better; this one seemed a little more slick and commercialised.

Probably Abu Dhabi’s main attraction is the shopping! We were offered the option of getting off the bus at one of the city’s foremost shopping centres, and making our own way back to the ship.

But, I can’t think of many worse ways to spend a holiday than trudging around a series of shops ‘just looking’, and we couldn’t think of anything we needed, so we stayed on the bus. But, almost everyone else got off.


  1. Hi Keith,
    Doesn’t sound like my type of place to visit. Hubby and I are into Ancient History, so this would not suit us at all. I’m not really a shopper, I like to pick up something small from the places we visit usually a small souvenir, for a memory keep sake I suppose, gifts for friends that sort of thing, so this place to me anyway would be rather boring, no tombs to crawl through, no ancient ruins to climb through, no fun. 🙂

    • I agree with you; in the other places we called at, they did show us ‘something old’, be it a fort or a market, or even a museum. But, there seems to be nothing of that kind here …

  2. I know it doesn’t have as many ancient buildings, nonetheless I am intrigued by Abu Dhabi. A city which sprang from nothing holds a fascination of its own.

    • It’s probably OK to visit if you’re doing a stopover, or are there on business or going to see the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But, I don’t really see it as a destination for its own sake … unless, maybe, you got out of the city, and explored the interior a bit more??

  3. I agree with you. Abu dhabi would do for a stopover. I live here and don’t know what to do on the week-end.

    Eh next time get in touch, I’d recommend you guys a cool place for drinks. That’s the best I can do around here lol.

    • According to the guide-book they were giving away at the cruise terminal, there doesn’t indeed seem much to do in the city, unless you have lotsa money.

      Most of the stuff that appealed to me was out of town; Al Ain, desert safaris and such.

  4. Actually just remembered sthg: it would be cool if you schedule your stopover with a concert happening in town generally.

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