Once in a lifetime

Things to see and do in Abu Dhabi

by Lenita Carpinello

A few hundred years ago, Arabian farmers walking across the desert wouldn't have been able to believe their eyes if they saw the Abu Dhabi of today, instead thinking they were seeing a mirage. But today, this desert oasis is very real and tangible.

Abu Dhabi is a clutch of shimming skyscrapers, palm-lined avenues, lush and colourful gardens and golden coastline. It is a city of luxury and opulence, with more five star hotels, designer boutiques and wealth-driven sporting events than pretty much anywhere else in the world.

However, is it refreshingly not as bold, brash and showy as its Emirate neighbour, Dubai. It has stood back, watching and waiting, with the idea of avoiding the mistakes of the more well-known Middle Eastern city state. This means it is more laid back and against all odds, manages to retain some of its original culture and values. This does mean you can't drink outside the hotel bars however.

The beach is probably where you will spend most of your time in Abu Dhabi. The most accessible, sheltered and best protected is the 2km stretch found along the Corniche. This beautifully manicured and maintained 8km promenade is where people, tourists and residents alike, spend most of their time.

But for pure paradise, drive 20 minutes out of the city to Al Raha Beach. The sea is so blue it looks like a glacial lake, with only its temperature revealing the truth. Likewise, the sand is so white it could be mistaken for snow if it wasn't for all the palm trees slowly swaying in the warm breeze.

Shoppers will fall in love with Abu Dhabi. There are several malls stuffed with designer shops and international brand names. Abu Dhabi Mall is one of the older ones, but remains as popular as ever.

The Marina Mall is the most grand and spectacular. Not only does it have the best shops but its ceilings create indoor storms complete with rain and thunder. Al Wahda Mall is one of the newest and has some of the best shops in Abu Dhabi plus one of the biggest grocery stores in the world.

Finally, Khalidiya Mall is smaller and less impressive, but if you are craving international fast food then it is the place to head to. Inside you'll find Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Krispy Kreme.

This guide to holidays in Abu Dhabi was written by Lenita Carpinello. For great deals on Abu Dhabi hotels, visit the Octopus Travel website.

Source: http://www.PopularArticles.com/article212752.html