The UAE, which might as well be called the country of superlatives, has become a major crowd-favourite over the last two decades. It has also become quite synonymous with its dazzling city of Dubai. While Dubai, true to all its hype, is truly a unique travel destination with all its modern architecture, technological tourist attractions, and manmade wonders, it is not the one that the UAE has to offer.
The country’s capital, Abu Dhabi, is an equally, if not more, stunning Emirate. Unfortunately, overshadowed by its neighbouring city, Abu Dhabi has become one of the most underrated destinations in the world, harbouring a lot more tourist beauty than most travellers know of.
Although Abu Dhabi isn’t the first destination you think of when you plan a trip to the UAE, trust us, it should be. Here are 10 reasons you should be flying to Abu Dhabi instead of Dubai this year.
1. Abu Dhabi has cheaper flights
Anyone who has tried booking a holiday in Dubai is well aware of the sky-high flight prices, but don’t let that stop you! Here’s an insider tip – those looking for cheap flights should actually be googling for flight prices to Abu Dhabi as it’s typically a smidge cheaper than Dubai. Or, if you don’t want to spend hours on the internet and still end up with a costlier flight, simply compare your options on www.wego.ae. It will list the cheapest flights to Abu Dhabi in a jiffy, and you can put your time to better use in making an itinerary.
2. Everything else is cheaper too in Abu Dhabi
It’s not just the flights that are cheaper to Abu Dhabi than to Dubai. Hotels, transport, tourist attractions, food, everything comes with a smaller price tag in Abu Dhabi. There is a range of budget accommodations available all across Abu Dhabi, from backpacker hostels to affordable one-star stays. You just need to keep looking until you find the one perfect for you, depending on how much you’re willing to spend and how long you’re planning to stay in the emirate.
3. Abu Dhabi is much bigger than Dubai
To be clear, the city of Dubai is bigger than Abu Dhabi city. However, comparing the size of the Emirates, Abu Dhabi outperforms Dubai by heaps, covering a whopping 86.7% of the country. What this means for travellers is a lot more opportunities for travel and scenic road trips. Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain, Saadiyat Island, Al Maryah Island, and Khalifa City are only some of the options for tourists to explore.
4. Abu Dhabi is far, far prettier
There’s a reason the Sex & The City movie showed the girls going to Abu Dhabi and not Dubai. It’s that the Emirati capital is far more beautiful! If you want a taste of how royalty lives, Abu Dhabi is the place to go, for nothing screams “lifestyle of the rich and famous” more than a holiday in Abu Dhabi. The best part is that Abu Dhabian skylines are sure to have just as many intricately designed mosques and palaces as modern architecture. Speaking of which….
5. Abu Dhabi has a richer cultural tapestry
While Dubai’s reputation hinges on high-technology, artificial marvels, Abu Dhabi takes travellers back to its olden and golden era through its exquisite mosques, palaces, museums, and heritage sites. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Qasr al Watan, and Qasr al Hosn are only a few of the highlights. The Louvre Abu Dhabi and all its fascinating galleries and exhibitions cannot go unmentioned. Those looking for a quick glimpse of the country’s culture head to the UAE Heritage Village, where you’ll see the traditional bedouin housing, old-style souks, artisans producing handicrafts like pottery and weaving, and even falconry displays all in one place.
6. Abu Dhabi is the place for desert fun
No trip to the Middle East can be complete without at least a couple of desert adventures. The golden deserts of Abu Dhabi are the perfect place to soak the country’s sandy landscapes whilst enjoying some quality family time. The Emirate boasts some of the tallest sand dunes in the world, so activities like sandboarding and quad-biking are going to give you an adrenaline rush to last a lifetime. If you only want a soft adventure, opt for camel rides or falconry demonstrations. Do not miss the sunrise and sunset views of the desert, your Instagram will thank you for it!
7. Abu Dhabi is a foodie’s paradise
Middle Eastern cuisine is famous all across the world for its sensational flavour combinations and textures. If you, too, want a bite (pun intended) of the UAE’s culinary prowess, Abu Dhabi is there to please. The bliss of slow-cooked lamb and other meats, a mezze of steaming rice and perfectly seasoned veggies, followed by a couple of glasses of the traditional Arabic coffee, waits for you in Abu Dhabi. According to the locals, while the Emirate’s high-end restaurants offer wholesome experiences of Emirati cuisine, it is actually the streetside cafes and traditional dhow boats that serve up the most flavourful and authentic delicacies.
8. Luxury hotels are Abu Dhabi’s thing
Let us first give a disclaimer that Dubai, too, has some extremely luxe hotels. However, when it comes to diversity in these hotel experiences, the capital easily takes the cake. Abu Dhabi has a penchant for enticing tourists with its one-of-a-kind, seven-starred hotels and resorts that you’d only have ever dreamt of. The Emirates Palace, definitely the plushest property in the UAE, boasts rooms specially reserved for royalties from different countries. The boutique private island resort of Zaya Nurai, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, and Jebel Hafit Desert Park’s glamping domes are some of the many opulent hotels in Abu Dhabi.
That is why if you’re planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates this summer, you might want to skip the rather-exhausted Dubai and venture out to the capital. We promise you will end up with a much-better-than-expected travel experience to write home about. You can thank us for saving you from the tourist throngs and overpriced facilities in Dubai later!