Abu Dhabi is the second most populated city and the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates and the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is located at the coast of the Persian Gulf. The most widely spoken language here is Arabic and about 1 million people live in Abu Dhabi. It is the seat of the President of the United Arab Emirates and the seat for the United Arab Emirates Government. It is also home for the Emirati Royal Family.
The average income here is relatively high and the city is experiencing rapid development and urbanisation. These two factors have transformed Abu Dhabi into becoming more advanced than most other Arab cities. Due to its position as the capital, the city is the country’s main political and industrial centre and a major cultural and commercial site.
August is the hottest month in Abu Dhabi with an average temperature of 35.5 degrees Celsius and the coldest month is January which reaches lows of 18 degrees Celsius with the sunniest days in June. The wettest month is February when an average of 20mm of rain being recorded. The best moth for swimming in the sea is during August when the average sea temperature is 33 degrees Celcius.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and was opened in December of 2007. It is covered with white marble from Italy and the Republic of Macedonia and represents a fusion of Arab, Mughal and Moorish architecture. Inside the mosque is the world’s largest carpet, hand-woven by Iran’s Carpet Company (ICC) which is about the size of a soccer field.
There are numerous dining options and visitors are often blown away by the sheer volume and diversity of choice across the emirate. Foods from around the world are mixed together in Abu Dhabi restaurants, offering a vibrant and varied mix of international flavours and impressive culinary feats and standards. Non-Muslims can eat pork in certain restaurants and any dishes using pork ingredients are prepared separately from no-pork dishes in these establishments and are clearly marked on menus. Hotels serve alcohol and these are complemented by unlicensed outlets.
Local activities and experiences include desert safaris, the world’s fastest rollercoaster (top speed 240 km/h) at Ferrari World (also the temple of torque and all things Ferrari), Yas Waterworld, The Arabian Jewel – a site-seeing tour of the city, Hiltonia Health Club and Spa, Yas Central (the gateway to the racing world), Al-Dhafra (small boats cruising along the Corniche), Big Bus Tours (hop-on and hop-off bus services), private site-seeing tours of the city, Shuja Yacht (seafood buffets while you cruise on the elegant Shuja yacht) and 4x4 Dubai Desert Safaris with camel rides, dinner and belly dancing.
Since the UAE is an Islamic country, one should take care when dressing to be conservative in public, particularly during any religious holiday periods. Tourists are not expected to cover their hair or wear the black abaya, however, dressing modestly will win you more respect from the locals and while hotels and clubs allow western swimwear, be warned that it is still frowned upon if worn in public.