Our first trip to the Middle East took us to the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi. A city built on a desert, surrounded by modern skyscrapers and many traditional mosques. We were excited about staying in the UAE as it was all very new and different.
Ferrari World is home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster as it is supposed to represent an F1 car. It was a good ride, as you shoot off from 0-240km/ in 0.49seconds. The ride only lasted for a few minutes and it can give you a bit of a headache because of the impact. Overall it was a really fun ride.
Although the Formula Rossa ride was good, we preferred Flying Aces, which has the tallest loop in the world at 52m and travels up to 120km/h. This was a far more exciting rollercoaster as it has more twists and turns and is supposed to make you feel like you are flying. If you sit on the end of the rows, your feet will dangle too.
This indoor/outdoor ride was really short. You just set off really fast and then come down backwards. It was only OK.
Viaggio in Italia
This was simulated ride, where you are ‘driven’ by …….. This was one of the worst simulated rides we had even been on. The footage wasn’t very impressive so you were never immersed into the video.
This is basically their equivalent to teacups. It does what it says on the tin! You can spin yourself as well with the wheel in the middle, which always makes this type of ride better.
Ferrari World isn’t much of a theme park and it only has 3 decent rides. There is also the option of Go Karting but you have to pay an additional fee as it is not included in your entrance ticket. There are a number of VR rides/ attractions which require additional fees, which is a shame as the entrance itself isn’t the cheapest.
One of the highlights of this trip was the food. Normally, when you go to a theme park, they always sell sad looking fast food. This was not the case here. Mike had a burger which was pretty good and Wendy had chicken wings. According to her, they were some of the best wings she has ever had!
As we knew Ferrari World only had a few decent rides, we decided to get a combination ticket with the Waterpark down the road. It’s not the biggest park, but it does have a good selection of slides for all ages/thrill seekers. As we went in the low season, we didn’t have to wait very long for any of the rides.
Our personal favourite was the ‘slither slider’ where you can choose one of six courses.
You can rent towels/lockers there, but they aren’t cheap. You are also able to wear all types of swimwear.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
One of the best attractions is the Mosque. It is a beautiful building built in 2007 and one of the only mosques in the Middle East which allow non-Muslims to enter. When visiting, you do have to abide by the dress code. For men, they must cover their legs/shoulders but T-shirts are OK. For women, they have to wear an Abaya so only their face/hands are on show. These can be borrowed from the gates of the Mosque.
Architecturally, the building is stunning and jaw-dropping. It is immaculate and a lot of attention to detail has been made. It is quite similar to the Taj Mahal in some respects, but obviously a much more modern version. Visitors are allowed to go inside to certain areas (not the prayer room) and it is really nice to just take your time to wander around.
One night we decided to go to Emirates Palace so we could get hotel envy. It’s a 5* hotel and costs from £200 a night. We went for dinner there and the food was lovely. We were sat outside on the terrace, which was very peaceful. The price of the meal was very reasonable to, especially compared to British standards.
Half day Desert Safari
One evening we did the half day desert safari. This is super touristy, but when in Rome eh! It was really fun and we highly recommend it. We were picked up from our hotel and were joined by 4 other people. You first get taken to see some camels, so you can take your obligatory selfie. Next, we went dune bashing. This was the best part and the main reason why we did this activity. Your driver just drives you up/down/around the dunes so it feels like you are on a rollercoaster. The poor lady next to us was not having a good time. This part lasts for around 45 minutes.
Following this, we arrived at our location for dinner. Here you can ride camels (in a circle), get a henna tattoo, try traditional clothes and take photos with an eagle as part of your package. Extra activities include sand boarding and quad biking.
Before dinner, we were also treated to a belly dancing show and a male dancer, which was a nice touch. The food itself was good. It had a nice selection of meat/vegetables/rice and it was a buffet so you could eat as much as you like. Soft drinks and water was also unlimited, but alcohol you had to pay for. After dinner, there was also an area to smoke shisha.
Overall, this was a good and enjoyable experience and we do recommend this.
We stayed at the Cristal Hotel which is situated in the downtown area of Abu Dhabi. It’s not really close to any touristy stuff so we had to get a taxi whenever we wanted to go anywhere, which wasn’t a big issue for us. It did mean the room was much cheaper compared to the others along the beach and we also received a most welcome upgrade to a suite. (#ballers)
And now we are going on SAFARI! I am so excited…I hope I don’t get eaten though! We may not have internet, so see you in a few weeks!