Category Archives: Abu Dhabi

About Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, the largest part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was the first emirate state to discover oil. It currently holds 9% of the world’s proven oil reserves (98.2bn barrels) and almost 5% of the world’s natural gas (5.8 trillion cu metres). Abu Dhabi (whose city of the same name had a population of 921,000 in 2013) lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. It acts as the seat of the UAE’s federal government, and the home for both the Abu Dhabi Emiri Family and the President of the UAE (from that family).

Abu Dhabi is home to important financial institutions such as the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the corporate headquarters of many companies and numerous multinational corporations. One of the world’s largest producers of oil, Abu Dhabi has actively attempted to diversify its economy in recent years through investments in financial services and tourism.

Like the other emirates, especially Dubai, Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth has transformed it into an advanced metropolis with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. In 2008, Abu Dhabi alone generated 56.7% of the UAE’s GDP. Abu Dhabi is the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the region, and 67th most expensive city in the world. International media outlets like CNN and Fortune Magazine declared Abu Dhabi the richest city in the world. Before significant amounts of oil were discovered in Abu Dhabi in the late 1950s, it was best-known for pearl diving, a trading activity that goes back hundreds of years for its locals.

Due to Abu Dhabi’s economic transformation since the discovery of oil, its population has mushroomed. As of 2001, the native UAE population was 25.6%, with the other 74.4% being expatriates from various countries, ranging from the nearby South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka), to the Philippines, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the UK.

This unique socioeconomic development in the Persian Gulf has meant that Abu Dhabi is generally more tolerant than its neighbors. While Islam is the main religion, Emaritis have been known for their tolerance; Christian churches, Hindu temples, and Sikh gurdwaras can be found alongside mosques. The country is home to several communities that have faced persecution elsewhere. The cosmopolitan atmosphere is gradually growing and as a result, there are a variety of Asian and Western schools, cultural centers and themed restaurants.

Arab food is very popular and is available everywhere in the city, from the small shawarma to the upscale restaurants in the city’s many hotels. Fast food and South Asian cuisine are also very popular and are widely available. The sale and consumption of pork, though not illegal, is regulated and it is sold only to non-Muslims in designated areas. Similarly, the sale of alcoholic beverages is regulated. A liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol; however, alcohol, although available in bars and restaurants within four or five star hotels, is not sold as widely as in its more liberal neighbor Dubai.

Abu Dhabi Mall

Abu Dhabi Mall
Abu Dhabi Mall

Abu Dhabi Mall (Tourist Club Area – connected to Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi) — With over 200 shops and upwards of 25,000 visitors a day, restaurants on every floor, a children’s play area and a Cineplex, this is more than just a shopping destination. Look out for big name outlets like Paris Gallery, Areej and Faces (perfumes, cosmetics, sunglasses, handbags and jewelry), Jashanmal, Grand Stores (department stores) or Marina Furniture and The One (home interior and furniture).

Corniche Beach

Corniche Beach
Corniche Beach

Corniche Beach
This lengthy stretch of beach extends along Corniche Road from near the Hilton Hotel to beyond Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, where you’ll find its main entrance. During the week you can usually find a beach umbrella, but during the weekend they may all go quickly. You can’t swim out very far; floating fences keep you within 40 metres of the beach, and there are plenty of lifeguards around.

Abu Dhabi’s pristine Corniche beachfront has been awarded coveted Blue Flag status – the internationally renowned eco-label for beaches and marinas that guarantees clean and safe bathing water.

Some 30,000 to 50,000 visitors flock to the Corniche every month, enjoying three separate sections for families, singles and the general public. There are more than 1,100 free parking spaces with a five minute walk of the beach, which charges AED 10 (US $2.7) entry to the family and singles sections. Entry to the public beach is free.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi) –– Abu Dhabi hosts F1 auto race every year during the time of November/December starting from 2009 onwards, at the Yas Marina Circuit, which is considered to be the richest F1 race track in the world. The event regularly attracts big-name F1 racers like Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, and Kimi Räikkönen.

Amber Lounge

Amber Lounge
Amber Lounge

Amber Lounge (Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi) — If your name’s not down for this once-in-a-year event (during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend), you’re definitely not getting in. One of the glammest nights in the city arrives with this exclusive F1 party where tables will set you back 15,000 Euros. Celebs galore, but it comes at a cost.

 

Automatic Restaurant

Automatic Restaurant
Automatic Restaurant

Automatic Restaurant (Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi) — This Lebanese eatery is a branch of the successful national chain, and while everything on the menu is good, their tangy shwarmas are some of the most delicious around. Automatic has two locations just opposite one another – one with a small outdoor terrace for when the city enjoys cooler climes. Both offer seating upstairs for families and downstairs for gents. The go-to place for a budget lunch.

Bus Service

Bus Service
Bus Service

Bus Service — The first town bus entered service in about 1969 but this was all part of a very informal service. On 30 June 2008 the Department of Transport began public bus service in Abu Dhabi with four routes. In an attempt to entice people to use the bus system, all routes were zero-fare until the end of 2008. Nowadays, a one-way bus ride is AED 2 (.41 Euro), with 14 bus routes covering the major areas of Abu Dhabi.

Check the following website for more details: http://dot.abudhabi.ae/en/info/Bus_Transportation

Corniche Road

Corniche Road
Corniche Road

Corniche Road (Abu Dhabi) — Cities like Nice, France and Havana, Cuba have their seaside boulevards. Abu Dhabi has something similar called Corniche Road – which spreads across an impressive eight kilometres of manicured waterfront that includes children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants, and the Corniche Beach – a lifeguarded beach park.