Day Trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

By 3:39 PM , , ,

It was a spontaneous decision to day trip to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It was 10am after a night out in Dubai and we were musing on what to do. "We could go to Abu Dhabi?" was it all it took, and we were off to Abu Dhabi with three hours sleep under our belt and no real plan for the day.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Getting to Abu Dhabi from Dubai
For two girls with no plan or sense of direction this part was easy enough. We purchased our tickets at Al Ghubaiba bus station ($25 AED, including the NOL card) in Bur Dubai and waited in the women's line (the line for the bus is separated by gender even though once you step in the bus you can sit anywhere). The first bus filled up fast and we missed out on a spot but the second bus came quickly.

The buses are quite nice, air conditioned with free wifi on board. Both my friend and I used the two hour journey to catch up on the sleep we missed out on the night before, so unfortunately I cannot describe to you the spanning desert landscape I assume we passed through.

Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi
The bus stops off just outside here and I was kicking myself for not making more time for Abu Dhabi as the shopping here was so much better (and affordable!) than I found in Dubai. Unfortunately since it was almost 2pm by the time we arrived in Abu Dhabi we didn't really have time to shop. If you are a shopper and heading to Abu Dhabi, make some time for this mall.

Me in front of the Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
We caught a taxi from the mall to the mosque, and as we neared we both agreed the journey to Abu Dhabi was worth it. Driving closer to the mosque, its hard to miss the enormity of the mosque, with its striking white domes and minarets standing proud against the blue skies (unlike in Dubai, the skies in Abu Dhabi weren't hazy from the smog and sand).

When you arrive at the mosque, you must first enter the downstairs carpark to collect your robes (a confusing set up!).

Once you are robed up and women have their hair covered you are free (entry is free!) to explore the stunning mosque. Around the exterior of the mosque, the walkways are filled with beautiful pillars ornately decorated and are lined with a shallow pool, the blue tiles contrasting against the white pillars and walkways. That combined with the archways which frame the mosque equate to a photographer's dream.

Walking inside the mosque is as grand as the name suggests, detailed ornate walls and ceilings with spattering of chandeliers, its definitely extravagant in its beauty. 

Ferrari World
From the mosque we caught a taxi to Ferrari World, located on Abu Dhabi's man Island Yas Island. Ferrari world is, as the name may suggest, a Ferrari branded amusement park. Its a little confusing why the UAE hosts a Ferrari themed park since its not a UAE brand but I guess it matches with the rich, extravagant culture they are going for.

If you are looking for a deep, cultural experience then don't head to Ferrari World. But we looked at a map of things to do and we thought why not mix it up from the desert and mosques that I had been visiting in the past few days.

The taxi ride from the mosque to Ferrari World was long. And expensive. This is the downside of a spontaneous trip to a city with no plans, you don't know how to get places and don't have the time (or resources) to figure it out!

As soon as you enter Ferrari World you are greeted with adrenalin pumping music. I'm not a car person but since we had paid for the long, expensive taxi and nothing else seemed to be within walking distance (besides the Mall we had entered through) we decided to buy tickets to the amusement park (our initial plan was to taxi to Ferrari World and then check out Yas Island on foot if we decided not to enter the park. On arrival we realised this plan was not possible). Thankfully, we only had to wait 15 minutes before it was 6pm and the tickets dropped to $150AED per person, the Twilight special. From memory, its about half the normal price. 

Because we went at "Twilight", it meant some of the rides were closed and shows were sold out but we, to my surprise, actually had heaps of fun riding what was open in the two hours before closing. The highlight was definitely the fastest rollercoaster in the world, which also happened to be the first  proper rollercoaster I've riden! Once you get over the speed, its kinda amazing to be whizzing through with view of the sun setting over the desert. 

Pre riding the world's faster rollercoaster

After Ferrari World, we caught another long and expensive taxi back to our original bustop (only to be told that, despite being advised otherwise, you can catch a bus back to Dubai from Yas Island!)

Should You Day Trip From Dubai to Abu Dhabi?
Absolutely! I actually ended up preferring Abu Dhabi and wish I could spend more time there. The bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is cheap and the two hours is bearable (especially if you need to catch up on sleep!). Definitely go a bit more prepared than us, and it'll probably save you some taxi money, but hopefully my experience helps inform yours!

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  1. Sounds like Abu Dhabi is definitely worth a visit - thanks Dani! :-)

  2. I am yet to get to Dubai, I've only hopped through the airport, so I will make sure I add Abu Dhabi to my itinerary.
    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust

  3. So cool to be able to get a bus somewhere so completely different! Your spontaneous day trip turned out so well, I'm very impressed, and you did lots of different things.

  4. I agree with you - I prefer Abu Dhabi too!! Nice city with lots of things to do...

  5. My son would love Ferrari World. Great to learn how close and easy it is to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

  6. My son would love Ferrari World. Great to learn how close and easy it is to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

  7. This is definitely on my bucket list!!! Now to get saving lol!

  8. Never been there and it looks fun to go see the Ferrari world. I am sure they have most of the Ferraris in the world.


Thanks for the comments!