Grand Mosque [Sheikh Zayed masjid]
Corniche + Marina Mall
Yas Island [just go around by car] +
Ferrari World theme park[fastest roller coaster in world]
Famous for its traditional open-top double-decker red buses, The Big Bus Company has carefully designed tours which take visitors to all the major Abu Dhabi landmarks – from the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the luxurious Emirates Palace hotel, to the Heritage Village and traditional souks. Personal commentary comes in a choice of eight languages (Arabic, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and Russian) and provides a fascinating insight into Abu Dhabi’s history and culture. The tickets are valid for 24 hours and give access to all the Big Bus Tour routes, with 11 stops throughout the city enabling guests to hop-on and hop-off at their leisure. Tickets are available from individual hotels or the Big Bus sales desk at Marina Mall and can also be bought online.
Burj Khalifa [do online booking before visit]
Downtown Dubai [before go to Dubai Mall, just go around Downtown Dubai – its architecture is really good]
The Dubai Mall [Don’t miss Fish Aquariam]
The Walk [location: Dubai Marina] –Evening @ 5 PM+ [just a walk around]
Ibn Battuta Mall [7 countries architecture]
Palm Jumeirah [just go around for wonder construction in water]
Dhow cruises [you have to book for this trip in water]
1 day – Water Theme Parks [choose one]
Dubai Metro train
Al Mumzar Park [don’t miss to get safran tea near to this park – very famous]
Al Safa Park
1 day – Desert Safari [don’t miss it]
1 day – Fujairah [better to start from Dubai] [don’t miss it]
1 day – Al Ain [don’t miss it]
Al Ain Zoo [if don’t want to visit zoo then you can start at 1:00 PM from Abu Dhabi]
Off-road adventures around the UAE
By Shiva Kumar Thekkepat, Friday magazine
Ref: Article Link of this phase
There are enough off-roading tracks in the UAE for 4×4 enthusiasts of any standing. For the beginners, there are the popular ones around the Hatta pools where you can dip your off-roading toes without getting into tricky territory – besides, there’ll be plenty of experienced drivers around to help out. For the more adventurous, the desert is literally the limit.
To give you a head start, we suggest a few ideas on the following pages. So gear up, and drive off. Just don’t forget the GPS!
Wadi Al Wurayah
A favourite wadi that I visit very regularly is the Wadi Al Wurayah set among the Hajar mountains beyond Khor Fakkan (around 180km from Dubai). Whenever I have to test an SUV on rocky terrain I head there. This was about the only place where I had to change the setting on the Range Rover Sport to ‘Rock Crawl’ to navigate the huge boulders. Some 2km off Al Bidiya Mosque – the oldest in the UAE, dating back to the 15th century – take a left and drive for another 12-odd km before you reach the ravine where you turn onto the rocks from the road. There’s only one weather-beaten signpost so it’s easy to miss the turn-off. But you can always stop one of the SUVs that keep slipping in and out of the area for directions.
The way is very rocky, and even the path hewn by the vehicles can be treacherous so be very careful while driving through. There are long stretches of rocks and more rocks, so expect a fair amount of jostling even with air suspension. The mountain walls that appear to be closing in on you can be intimidating. A few kilometres later when you begin to think you’re driving into nowhere, the tiny waterfall appears suddenly on your right. What a welcome sight! Cold fresh water nestled among the rocks invites you to dive in.
Wadi Al Wurayah is said to be home to more than 100 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians as well as more than 300 species of plants. If you’re lucky you can spot the endangered Arabian Tahr in the evenings. But it’s not advisable to stick around in failing light.
If you want to go off and camp somewhere peaceful, you can just drive off the Sharjah-Dhaid highway onto the desert. Drive down Sharjah Airport Road in the direction of Dhaid and take exit nine. Pick any likely spot and pitch camp. The road is not too far away – just in case of emergencies. You can even drive all the way to Jebel Maleihah or Fossil Rock, which is also easily accessible from Dubai. A small mountain range, you can do more than go off-road in Jebel Maleihah. You can hunt for fossils, some of which are said to be over 80 million years old.
It is about 40km from Dubai and takes about half an hour to reach, depending on the route you chose, as there are few ways to drive there. You can take Sharjah-Kalba highway all the way to Al Maleihah. Or you can take Dubai-Hatta road and at the Madam roundabout turn left, to Al Maleihah.
“We’re going to Hatta this weekend.” Note there’s no exclamation mark. The reason is that many UAE residents go there almost every other weekend. It’s easily one of the most popular spots for wadi camping and picnics. The reason is its proximity (120km from Dubai, about an hour’s drive), and the scenic beauty – rolling orange dunes that lead into the rugged Hajar mountains.
Convoys of 4x4s are a common sight. You can feel the tensions of the week draining off as you traverse the rocky crevices, and wander around the natural water pools. You can take a plunge in the Hatta pools, browse around the Heritage Village and spend the night under the stars or head for the nearby five-star hotel.
In spite of the regular traffic, some parts of nearby Wadi Ray are still rough and rugged, and demand some off-roading skills. The Range Rover Sport that we went in took us through it all in great style and comfort. Equipped with Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, the Sport allows you to select several off-road modes depending on where you’re heading into. Ruts, sand or rock climbing, Terrain Response has got a mode for you.
But driving along the dirt roads, sands and rocks around Hatta, I didn’t feel much difference between the mud, sand and automatic settings. The reason? The sophisticated air suspension system, which is accessible through a knob on the central console.
To reach the pools you have to take Mahdah 64 from the Hatta highway and turn left on to a gravel track at the Sumaini signpost. Follow the track and you’ll reach the mountains. The pools form the base of a hollow ravine in a rock crevice some 20km south of Hatta. Natural spring water from the mountains feeds the pools. There are even waterfalls after a particularly wet season; a really refreshing dip after exploring the surrounding wadis and mountains.
The Hatta Heritage Village is another stopover for a glimpse into the past. While returning you can visit the Arabian Pottery shop on the highway. The pieces are comparatively cheap, and you can see the artisans working on them.
Stay safe – Dos and don’ts
- Never drive into the desert without at least another vehicle or two in tow.
- Get you car checked thoroughly for mechanical faults before leaving.
- A competent desert driver and a 4X4 equipped with a GPS is a must.
- Check all fluid levels, tyres and the weather forecast before setting out.
- Charge your mobile phone and stock up on drinking water.
- Take a comprehensive tool kit, and a heavy shovel in case you get stuck in the sand.
- Deflate your tyres to about 20 psi when going into the wadi or the drive will be too bumpy.
- Take a 4×4 heavy-duty towing rope with hefty hooks, and a metal plate to support your car jack on soft ground.
- Carry a tyre pump to inflate your tyres after the trip.
- Don’t drive over fragile desert vegetation – you will destroy it.
- Take your rubbish away with you when you leave.