In 2018, I visited Abu Dhabi for my mum’s birthday. The capital of the United Arab Emirates, the city lies off of the mainland on an island in the Persian Gulf. With a skyline of mega structures, malls and marinas the city is a quieter retreat for a more relaxed break, away from the chaos of its loud mouthed brother, Dubai. (You can read more about my time in Abu Dhabi here!)
Having said that, the lure of Dubai was too much to pass up and during our 5 days in the capital we decided to venture up to Dubai, a world renowned city famous for its architecture, man made islands and luxury shopping scene. Just 90 minutes drive along empty Arabian highways the main reason I wanted to go was to see the Burj Khalifa.
Something of an architecture nut, I had watched the construction of this skyscraper since the mid 2000’s and was excited to see it in all its steely realness. Outrageously prominent on the Dubai horizon, 830m of the Burj flashes into view through the hazy heat of the city. At the base of the tower lies the Duabi Fountain with its supersonic jets, lights and twangy music. Keen to avoid crowded banalities of Dubai such as The Palm/The Atlantis and every other water park, sticking to the area around the mall was what we decided to do on a wonderfully warm Monday morning.
Refraining from going up to the top of the Burj Khalifa as you have to save something for next time, my focus was on the sites to see inside the famous shopping centre. One of the main attractions is the 10 million litre aquarium in the middle of the centre which is one of the biggest suspended aquariums in the world. The second largest shopping mall in the world also offers penguin petting and indoor skiing and snowboarding.
Dubai is Dubai is Dubai. It cannot be compared to Abu Dhabi and is outlandishly ostentatious in its own way. Personally, I prefer Abu Dhabi as it less cliched than its big brother and a lot more relaxed and real. Home to the glitziest glamour and the highest skyscrapers in the world, Duabi provides you with more bars and waterparks than one person could ever need. Whilst Abu Dhabi is a lot calmer and best suited to relaxing and living life at your own leisure. In Duabi, everything needs to be done yesterday which is great to experience but not a pace I want to try to live up to whilst trying to take a relaxing holiday. This being said, I think it is pretty safe to assume I will be returning to Dubai one day, as the view from the Burj will not Instagram itself!
Have you ever been to Dubai or Abu Dhabi? What do you like most about them?