How to Have a Great Holiday in Abu Dhabi: Tips for Tourists

How to have a comfortable and interesting holiday in Abu Dhabi

The UAE is a popular destination for tourists seeking luxurious adventures. Among the most famous and touristy destinations around the Emirates is Abu Dhabi. This city is famous for its:

  • incredible scenery, where you can see not only deserts but also superb views of the vibrant city;
  • its rich cultural heritage;
  • its many landscapes;
  • modern architecture and ancient sites.

Besides, tourists come here for the incredible cuisine, colorful local markets, and nice locals. But it is worth remembering that Abu Dhabi is the capital of a Muslim country. It has its own rules. Of course, there are a huge number of migrants living in the capital of the UAE which has changed the city over the past years. However, familiarity with the local culture will make communication respectful. 

There are also simple organizational points to think about before the trip. These relate to:

  • booking tickets;
  • booking a hotel;
  • renting a car;
  • making a plan to visit the sights.

It is also equally important to consider your mobility and ease of getting around the city. The best solution is to use luxury car rental Abu Dhabi, choosing the best vehicle model for you. It can be a spacious SUV or a maneuverable sports sedan. It is much more convenient than using public transport and cheaper than calling a taxi every time. 

Familiarising yourself with Abu Dhabi’s cultural norms and etiquette is necessary. We have compiled some effective tips on how to make traveling comfortable and exciting. Our recommendations will help you plan your trip wisely.

Your journey should be at least 4 days

The capital of the UAE is the largest emirate in the country. It has:

  • the largest sandy desert in the country – Rub al-Khali;
  • rocky mountains;
  • a huge coastline; 
  • almost 200 islands and much more.

To see even a fraction of all of this, you’ll need a few days, maybe even weeks. You don’t want to rush and visit a maximum of locations in one day.

Also, don’t forget about shopping malls, museums, and other places. History buffs will love the local ancient tombs, fortresses, and oases. Therefore, you should have at least four days in reserve to explore a few popular places.

Dress according to the local style

Outfits should be chosen to match the activities planned for that day. For example, if you want to go to a museum, market in Al-Min or other cultural places, you should wear clothes that follow a few rules:

  • it must not be transparent;
  • it must not be tight around the body;
  • it must cover the shoulders and go below the knee.

If you want to go to a religious place (Sheikh Zayd Grand Mosque and others), all tourists (men and women) wearing inappropriate clothes must wear a dressing gown over it. It can be purchased at one of the local shops. Note that women must also cover their heads with a headscarf.

If you want to rent a car and visit a shopping center or eat somewhere local, you should dress like in any other city. But keep in mind that locals are always neat and well-groomed. 

Women can wear bikinis and other swimwear only on the territory of:

  • the hotel swimming pool;
  • a private or public beach.

However, women most often wear one-piece swimming costumes or modest suits on local public beaches. Female tourists should always wear a shirt or scarf to cover their shoulders and arms.

Confidential photos in public places

In the city, you can’t take photos without people’s permission, especially for women and children. In the Emirates, it is forbidden to take photos or videos of people without their consent. It is also strictly forbidden to publish them on social networks.

Learn a few local phrases and greetings

English is spoken fluently in Abu Dhabi. But there’s a good chance that tourists will be greeted with the local greeting ‘Salam alaikum’. If you want to earn the recognition of the locals, it is best to respond with ‘Alaikum salaam’. If you want to thank someone, using the Arabic word ‘shukran’ is best. 

Learn the local social rules

Muslims do not use handshakes when meeting the opposite sex. They rarely extend their hand. More often than not, you will be greeted with a smile. After that, they will place their right hand on your heart. It is a sign of respect. You should repeat the gesture. 

A handshake is only allowed when people of the same sex meet. It is always done with the right hand. Emiratis also greet men with a nose-to-nose kiss, while the cheek-to-cheek kiss is popular among women. But, as a foreigner, you wouldn’t want to be greeted this way by a stranger from a local rental company, would you? Stick to the handshake. 

Stick to the rules of non-verbal communication

Body language is also important. You can’t sit:

  • cross-legged on top of each other;
  • putting one leg on your knee so that your foot is pointing at the other person.

Also, one should not point fingers or beckon someone with them. Do everything with your right hand:

  • give money;
  • hand out objects, etc.

In no case is it not allowed to demonstrate rude gestures or swear with profanity. It is punishable by a fine. Imprisonment or even deportation is also possible.

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Haps Staff
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