Do you want to go to Abu Dhabi or Dubai? You have not yet planned what you will do? You don’t know where to sleep? In this guide, I give you all the information you need to plan your trip and things to do in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It will take you a few days to visit the two pearls of the Emirates, an essential to do today during your travel.
I went to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in September after spending a few days in Turkey and before flying to Oman. I never really thought to visit these two cities one day but I said “ok, it’s on my way to Muscat, so why not?” I was not sure what to expect and I was really surprised by the beauty of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. These two cities, created from nothing, are cradled by the heat, have huge shopping centers, luxury hotels and very large modern buildings.
By car, you can reach Dubai, which is 1.5 hours north of Abu Dhabi. You can also take the bus, it is the most affordable way if you don’t want to rent a car during your visit. You will pay 5 AED, or € 1.20. Perfect! On site, I advise you to travel by taxi, which are really affordable contrary to what you might think. There are also Uber.
BEFORE THE TRIP
If you hold a French passport, it will be stamped with a 90-day multiple-entry tourist visa valid for 6 months from the date of issue for a stay of 90 days in total. There is no need to get an online VISA upon arrival. The formalities have been simplified and entry into the territory of the United Arab Emirates is free. Many other countries benefit from this free entry on the territory.
There is no “Vaccines” part in this guide, as there are no compulsory vaccinations to be done before going to the UAE. Don’t forget that this is a modern country, with developed health infrastructures and many private and free clinics.
To rent a car while traveling, I have a favorite site that I use every time: Rental Cars. This is where I find the best prices, for short and long periods of booking.
Example: for 4 days rental, with pick-up of the car at Abu Dhabi airport and a refund at Dubai airport, rental prices start from € 121 (unlimited mileage, partial coverage in case of accident, etc.).
Things to know: the price of gasoline in the UAE is 0.56 €.
Between accommodations, meals, airfare, activities and tours, you’ll see that your budget in Dubai and Abu Dhabi can quickly increase from what you’ve defined before. Be aware that like any other place, you will be able to eat at affordable prices and sleep in hotels with nights under 50 euros. Anyway, you won’t stay more than 3 days in Abu Dhabi and 3 days in Dubai.
Most of the Budget will be spent on activities and visits. If you know that you are going to do a lot of things, I advise you to take a Tour Pass.
It’s the perfect idea! In any case to help you in the development of your budget, I found the perfect website. It gives you all the information on prices and estimates of what you will spend during your stay.
From Paris – CDG, you will easily find direct flights with Emirates or Qatar Airways. Nevertheless, if you want to pay less, I advise you to take a flight with stopover. So yes, you will put more time but it divides the price of your plane ticket in half! So if you have the time … why say no?
Price : from 300 € G-R
It must be known that the temperatures in the Emirates are very high! The air is sometimes even stuffy. On the beaches, you will be able to be in a swimsuit (preferably one piece). Provide light clothing, light colors and fine cotton. I advise you to adopt an outfit in respect with the local culture. Prefer long clothes, which cover the shoulders and legs. In hotels, you can more easily make yourself comfortable with shorter clothes.
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DURING THE TRIP
Things to see
- Climb to the 7th heaven in the Burj Khalifa. This huge tower is the symbol of the city of Dubai. You will be able to admire the city from the 160th floor of the tower. Attention tickets have to be purchased in advance if you want to avoid the queue.
- Go to the nearby square of Burj-al-Arab. From there you will have a view of the most expensive hotel in the world. At the bottom of the Burj Khalifa, admire the spectacle of the fountains. In addition to that, it’s free! And believe me, you won’t be able to do a lot of free things in Dubai. The show takes place every day from 1 pm to 1.30 pm and in the evening from 6 pm to 11 pm, every half hour. The place is very busy but you will always find a place for the show.
- Go shopping at the Dubai Mall and discover the famous and gigantic aquarium of the city.
- Find rare gems in Bur’s souk. It’s a paradise for those who want to do good business.
- Close to the souk of Bur, visit the old Dubai. I loved the houses and the atmosphere. It’s like being in the center of Marrakech.
- Take a helicopter ride with Heli Dubai. It is the preferred way for tourists to have a spectacular view of all of Dubai. The flights last from 12 to 40 minutes. This is the perfect gift for a birthday for example! Unfortunately, when we did our flight the sky was not clear because of the heat. We did not have a perfect view of the city.
Go eat at the Arabian Tea House. This is really my favorite place in Dubai. The dishes are delicious, super healthy. The decor is super cozy.
We stayed one night at the Shangri-La in Dubai. The hotel has incredible views of the Burj Khalifa and the tall buildings of the center. From the penultimate floor, where is the indoor pool, the sunset is amazing.
The hotel has more than 300 rooms, all as spacious and modern as each other. There are suites that offer ocean views, others have a private room with a lounge, and deluxe rooms with a view of the buildings. There are 5 restaurants and 2 bars. The bar on the top floor offers an incredible view of the buildings at night, the cocktails are delicious. It is the ideal place to make a cocktail aperitif. On the food side, the various restaurants offer delicious dishes. For relaxation, the CHI spa offers many massages, treatments, a sauna and a steam room to relax. There is also a gym, a tennis court on a rooftop and an indoor squash court.
On top of that, it is 15 minutes from Dubai International Airport. You also have the metro line nearby and many taxis. You will have easy access to the various places to visit in Dubai, the souks and the old city.
Price : from 180€
Things to see
Sheikh Zayed Mosque: This is the place to visit in Abu Dhabi. Free entry. You will have to be covered to go inside. You can get an outfit directly at the entrance, for men and women. The mosque is just beautiful and stunning. I think it’s one of the most beautiful I’ve visited. Come early in the morning to avoid the overwhelming heat of the afternoon. In the evening, the lights come on and give way to a real magic. The mosque is very popular with tourists, however you will have no problem taking pictures. There is plenty to do. Don’t miss the interior and admire the details from floor to ceiling.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi: the entrance is 16 €. It will take you about 2 hours to walk among the exhibitions. Don’t miss the architecture from the outside and the pools. Go in the morning, there are fewer people.
The Falcon Hospital: The Abu Dhabi Veterinary Hospital helps sick hawks. The bravest can even wear one on their shoulder.
The souks: a must in the UAE Go shopping near the Emirates Palace Admire
The view from the Etihad Towers Hotel. This is the place to have one of the best sunsets in Abu Dhabi.
We stayed one night at Shangri-La in Abu Dhabi. The hotel has 213 rooms, 161 apartments and 7 bars and restaurants. What surprised me the most? The huge infinity pool, just in front of the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Mosque. At sunset, the sky turns pink and the lights of the mosque light up. It’s just amazing! There is also a beach for those who would like to venture under the sun of Abu Dhabi. The water is hot and it’s nice all day long. The decor is oriental, refined and worthy of a 5-star hotel. We stayed in a room with a balcony. The bathroom is spacious and we had a view of the mosque and the beach.
The hotel is a short taxi ride from Abu Dhabi International Airport. You are also just minutes from the main places to visit: the mosque and the Louvre. A boat can also transport you to the Arabian Court to do some shopping in the souks. There is everything: clothes, jewelry, handicrafts .
Like Dubai’s Shangri-La, you can enjoy expert Chi massage and a spacious gym.
Price : from 180€