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Staying in Abu Dhabi for three days in Mar 2019

Are there enough things to do in Abu Dhabi? Or is it worth using one of those days to take a day trip to Dubai, perhaps to go up the Burj Khalifa and anything else other than shopping malls or buildings housing fake ski slopes etc. I like souks (chowks), and plan on visiting a couple of mosques and the Louvre while in Abu Dhabi.
I am flying onto Morocco for two weeks afterwards,

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Posted by
4720 posts

I hated Dubai, we went a few years ago to join my wife for a week whilst she was working out there. The accommodation was all paid for so we ended up with a good deal otherwise I'm not sure I would have gone. There was nothing really of any interest unless you find big shiny buildings and ostentatious wealth being flaunted around interesting. It was also difficult being impressed by the buildings when you knew how poorly treated those that built them were.

The place is soulless, there's a lot of falseness about, we had a couple of issues with some of the hotel staff and the way the women in the family were treated was disgraceful.

The food was pretty poor in general but fortunately we were staying in an apartment in the marina where there was a Waitrose store and I could buy provisions for breakfast.

The souks were ok if you like that thing. Lots of fake goods, lots of hassling and cajoling, a good place to buy spices although my local ethnic shops sell just as good stuff so it's not worth lugging a load of spices halfway around the world if you can buy the same at home.

I think Dubai is one of those places that you either love or hate, I'm in the hate camp.

Posted by
3703 posts

The falcon hospital in Abu Dhabi is among the most interesting tourist activities I've seen in a long history of tourism. Depending on the hunting season, the hospital cares for birds from across the Arab world, and visitors can go eyeball-too-eyeball with these amazing creatures (the hawks will win) and stand at the operating table as vets maintain and repair the prestigious predators -- they can even replace lost feathers.

A tour of the enormous central mosque is also worthwhile.

Posted by
703 posts

definitely do the tour of the sheik zayed mosque, we did it some years ago and was definitely a high light of our stay there. even just to view it as a building, the workmanship etc is unbelievable. the tour guide was very good, I think they volunteer their time.

Posted by
91 posts

Thank you, everyone, for the diversity of views and some good suggestions. I will take the opportunity to do the day trip to Dubai
and perhaps another occasion stay there enroute to Oman.
I had not heard of the falcon hospital so that would be something quirky to see which has appeal for me.

Posted by
4720 posts

I don't even know how to respond to that. First the marina is where the tourist are, the most artificial part of the city

I do, I wrote that I stayed in the marina not that I ate in the marina. Most of our meals were in the older part of the city. If you like simple, meat heavy dishes then fine, personally I prefer a bit more balance and variety.

Dubai just didn't interest me, I guess I'm not easily as impressed with bright, shiny, big things as you are, each to their own.

Posted by
5630 posts

I lived in the Middle East for five years and appreciate the cultural differences with the West.
Comparing the building of the NYC tunnels (another example the Brooklyn Bridge) to modern day is erroneous. The science of the late 19th and early 20th Century was less advanced than modern times. Also, much of that earlier construction was done prior to current labor and safety laws.

Countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia do provide opportunities for people from developing countries to advance themselves, but the conditions of some of those workers border on involuntary servitude.

As for your rant against free enterprise, you just need to compare the free capitalist countries in the World to the collapsed collectivist former Soviet Union and other failed states like Venezuela for the truth.

Posted by
3703 posts

Because the Emirates are 80 per cent ex-pats from many countries, cuisine can be multi-cultural too. At the cheap end, expect South Asian and East Asian restaurants. The labour force is drawn mostly from those countries who know about economical cooking. The biggest English-language newspaper in Dubai is full of Bollywood and cricket scores, not intended for the middle-class professionals from Europe and America. Those well-to-do folks turn to the fancy tourist hotels for international cuisine. Drinks, too, although not visible from the outside.