The World of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is more than an hour travel from Dubai. As our plan, we have to wake up early to lengthen our time but it looks like we ourselves didn’t followed our own rules.

We left Dubai at 9am and we first visited the Grand Mosque. It is the world’s 3rd biggest mosque after the two Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Non-Muslims are allowed to enter the Grand Mosque, unlike at Holy Mosques.

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Our driver who served as our guide led us to the entrance of the mosque. We entered a security tent for scanning of our belongings. He then led us to the underground car park to borrow a long black dress called “abaya”. The women clothes should be covered by abaya and men who are wearing short pants by “thoub”, a white dress for men. The attire was borrowed for free by showing to the staffs the hotel’s key where we were staying.

As a reminder from the mosque’s authorities, wearing open clothes is not allowed especially for women. Women’s hair must be covered. The shoes must be removed when entering the prayer room. No modeling posture when taking photos. And no  public display of affection for couples. There are so many staffs inside reminding the visitors every time the do’s and don’t s of the site.

Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque was the biggest mosque I visited so far. The outer white painting reminded me of the Disney’s children television show Aladdin. The mosque’s doom was said to be furnished with real gold. The weather was hot but once inside the mosque, it was cool.

At noon, we left the mosque and headed to Ferrari World amusement park. The park for those fanatics of racing cars. It has so many rides but sad to say that we didn’t have enough time for all of them. We miscalculated our timings and schedule. We should give a one full day for Ferrari Park alone. However, we tried some of the rides and the highlight was the world fastest Roller Coaster. At the speed of 240km/hr, for less than a minute ride, our throat was out of liquid, hair stood up, and crippled our balance. It drained our energy but the experience was worth to remember.

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At 03:30pm, we left the Ferrari to travel back to Dubai. We’re back in our hotel at 5pm. We took a nap to recharge the energy lost in Ferrari Park.

At 7pm, our travel agent picked us for the two-hour Dhow Cruise which started after an hour. The foods were international cuisines but more on Indian dishes.  Majority of tourists on board were from India. We cruised the riverbank for dinner and short dancing show. A little disappointment for I expected to see more of beautiful attractions on night scene and entertainment like what I experienced before in Bangkok.

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Exploring Dubai

Dubai is the most famous city in the Middle East. It’s known for its unique landmarks and attractive building structures. Booked via Flydubai which has daily flight from Saudi Arabia, we visited Dubai of United Arab Emirates for the first time.

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I contacted a Dubai based travel agent to work for our guided tour and visa. The agent replied to us and offered us a family tour package. Included in this package are accommodations for three nights, Dubai dhow cruise, entry in Burj Khalifa and Ski Dubai with free transfers. I agreed to a 50% deposit for the visa processing and the hotel as per him was requiring a down payment. The balance will be paid upon arrival in Dubai. In just three days, the electronic tourist visa was granted and was emailed to me.

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We departed from Dammam airport at 8:55am and landed in Dubai after an hour. Our travel agent was already outside of Terminal 2 and waiting for us. After immigration and baggage collection, we stepped out of the airport and met him. He headed us to the Royal Ascot Hotel in Bur Dubai for our accommodation. We waited for half an hour since the checked-in time of the hotel started at 2pm.

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Where I Stayed: Royal Ascot Hotel

Buddies: Group (4+)

Royal Ascot Hotel is a 4 star rating hotel according to our travel agent. Its location is excellent in term of its distance to the airport. The metro station and shopping malls are just a few minutes by walk. It also a few minutes drive to the most visited places in Dubai. The superior deluxe room which is situated on the 6th floor is so spacious. The biggest room was given to us. We’re so very thankful to our travel agent. It looks like he has a good business relation to the marketing manager of the hotel.

At 4pm, we started discovering the best creations of Dubai. We visited the famous Miracle Garden with an entrance fee of 30 dirhams per head. The place was so amazing with colorful and bunches of flowers in a beautifully landscaped garden. Some of them are so familiar with me and named them specifically. The place was so great for picture taking but be watchful for touching those displays all the time. My wife received two whistle blows from the garden’s staff. One time when she was holding the bicycle with full of flowers and another when she seated on one of the fence. We’re all laughing! For the sake of photo for remembrance, we were behaving badly.

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There were so many talents displayed inside the Miracle Garden. The animals and human structures, the houses, the giant clock, and more. Obviously, all of those are with floral touch. The garden lay-out was so wonderful.

At 7pm, we left the garden and took our buffet dinner at Lamesa restaurant in Aseana Hotel. We have seats reserved for it was always full. At 100 dirhams per head, our craving for pork “lechon belly” had been satisfied.

DAY TWO

At noon,  we visited the Ski Dubai which was inside the Emirates Mall. They provided us winter clothes to be used inside the frozen world. We didn’t stayed so long inside the artificial snow world but we enjoyed walking and tube slide on the ice.

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At 3pm, we left Emirates Mall going to Dubai Mall, the entrance to the famous and world’s tallest building. We took our late lunch at the mall’s food court to feed our protesting parasites. At around 5pm, we joined those bulk of tourists entering Burj Khalifa. The security was so strict because foods and big bags were not allowed. However, they provided a bag counter to where guests can leave their bags safely.

I was amazed on how the building was constructed. This is how technology works. The city can be seen at all angles. Our visit was considered a peak hours so we added 50 dirhams per head from the normal entrance fee to our travel agent. But we were satisfied because we witnessed the sunset and water fountain show from the bird’s eye of view.

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After the sunset, we went down and nailed our time in a water dancing fountain which approximately starts in every 30 minutes. We left the mall at 8pm and took our dinner at Ryu Korean Restaurant in Bur Dubai before going back to our hotel.

Last Day

We took our breakfast at the hotel and prepared our baggage. At 9:30am, we left the hotel and have a quick side tour on the remaining famous tourist spots in Dubai like Burj Al Arab and Atlantis, the Palm. At 12n, we enjoyed the outdoor water park Wild Wadi. We left the park at 3pm and back to the hotel for the final arrangement. Our flight back to Saudi Arabia was at 6:25pm.

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