While visiting Dubai, we knew that Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., was a must-do on our checklist. We were excited to participate in the Arabian Jewel Abu Dhabi Tour with Orient Tours. They were nice enough to pick us up upon landing in Dubai. After a 16-hour flight, you can imagine our excitement to see our driver!
They gave us a nice little packet with a personalized letter and information about our Abu Dhabi tour.
Time to get to our AirBnB!
Things To Do in Abu Dhabi
On Thursday, Orient Tours picked us up on their bus (as we were riding with many others). Heading towards our first destination, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the tour guide gave us interesting background information on the mosque. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque was a project created by the late president of the U.A.E. (Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan) who aimed to bring together the diverse Islamic world. It can be visited by over 40,000 people at once during Friday gatherings and Eid prayers.
To visit the mosque, you have to follow the proper dress code. As quoted by Orient Tours, the dress code is: “Loose long trousers or long skirts & long sleeves to ankle/wrist. No shorts for men, no tight & transparent clothing. Women must cover their head with a scarf hence we suggest to bring it along. This dress code is based on the strict policy based on which entrance to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is controlled. Entrance will be at the sole discretion of the Mosque guards.”
If you’re a female going with a tour group and you forget to bring a head scarf, you’ll need to purchase one for around $10 USD when you’re at the mosque.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is gorgeous. It was the whitest structure I’ve ever seen! We only had 45 minutes at the place, and we ended up spending 30 minutes of it outside admiring the beauty and taking pictures.
Observing the inside of the mosque, you’ll be able to see the world’s largest chandelier.
AND, you’ll be able to stand on the world’s largest carpet…killing two birds with one stone!
After the mosque, we headed towards the Sheikh Zayed Centre to look into the life of the late Sheikh Zayed, known as the ‘Father of the Nation’. Inside the museum there are a bunch of memorabilia and old photos of the late president.
In the middle of the centre, you’ll see many high end cars which he would drive around the city, and stuffed lions and cheetahs which he would receive as gifts from around the world.
It had a desert area with a campfire and camels to ride.
The area also had many small shops where you can buy souvenirs. I purchased two Abu Dhabi and Dubai magnets for just $1 USD each and a small gold camel for about $4 USD.
After Heritage Village, we drove along the Corniche and Saadiyat Island to Yas Island, where we stopped near Ferrari World for a photo opportunity. This was the last stop of our tour. If anyone wanted to explore the Ferrari World amusement park, Orient Tours kindly offered discounted tickets for anyone who wanted to make a visit. They would even drive back out to Abu Dhabi to pick up anyone who took the offer. As we were all tired from walking through the many attractions of the tour, we decided not to purchase tickets.
In conclusion, we had a really great time on the Arabian Jewel Tour with Orient Tours! It was a perfect way to learn more about the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The highlight of the trip was definitely gracing ourselves with the presence of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
Here are some tips for the tour:
- Make sure to follow the dress code for the mosque and bring a head scarf if you’re female so you don’t have to pay extra.
- Bring extra dirham for lunch (we get a lunch break at the mall) and souvenirs at Heritage Village.
- It gets really hot! Bring a water bottle and a change of clothes if you would like to switch out of your outfit after the mosque.
*Thanks to Orient Tours for supporting Heesun and I on our Arabian Jewel Tour. As always, all opinions are my own.