Dubai and Abu Dhabi, trying to figure it out


Mar 6th, 2012, 12:36 PM
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Dubai and Abu Dhabi, trying to figure it out

Okay, so here's the deal.... I arrive in Dubai on May 15 by cruise ship. I figure I may as well stay a few days since the likelihood of returning there is quite slim. Then I was thinking that Abu Dhabi was interesting sounding so may as well check that out as well and that's when my eyes start glazing over.

I am not interested in a big fancy hotel unless I get the deal of the century so do I make a bid on Priceline? Which area would be best for sightseeing. I don't care about the beach or laying around in the sun since I will do plenty of that on the cruise I was thinking I should rent a car after a few days and drive to Abu Dhabi. Is a one way rental possible or just too prohibitive costwise? I will have to fly home (Florida) using miles, either American or US Air partner and want to stopover in London for a few days. Are Dubai and Abu Dhabi considered equally easy to fly from or would it just be better to drive back to Dubai and fly from there?

Any input is welcome. It's all new to me. I am traveling solo.
Thanks for reading this. I hope it is coherent.
ahotpoet is offline  
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Mar 7th, 2012, 11:33 AM
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Have only passed thru Dubai on flight transfers, so take my info with a 'grain'

Believe the distance between Dubai and Abu Dhabi aren't that great, maybe 1.5/hrs (2/hrs at most) on good roads. Unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi is the financial center of the UAE, and while they're also building/building/building, believe it's worse in Dubai.

For info on car rental and other useful info check the Emirates Tourist website for info on from whom, costs, distances, where to stay (hotels at all budgets), etc. Last I checked, there was lots of info.

Hopefully, others may have more useful info.
sandi is offline  
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Mar 7th, 2012, 01:36 PM
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Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both huge modern busy cities, for something different I would suggest heading to Al Ain, about 120 km from Dubai, there is a Hilton and Intercontinental there plus other hotels, very different experience.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 12:27 AM
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Obviously your eyes glazed over before you had done even the tiniest bit of research - neither of these places are exactly rocket science; both have a fairly small, expensive list of things to do, all created for people just like you. There isn't anything else, unless you want to pay a fortune and go outta town to either of the two desert 'resorts'.

Try Google search.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 03:53 AM
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Hi There!
Dubai is going to be scorching and humid in mid-May and throw in conservative clothes and you get my drift.

I know it is supposed to be liberal but while amongst the locals it is nice to respect the culture.
Keep the skimpy Western wear to the hotels, clubs, beach, etc.

The beach is the most fun and that is Jumeirah.
Since you are not interested may I suggest:

1. Buy a guide book like a Lonely Planet or go to their forum for cheaper places to stay.
Before the economy bust I used to stay at a hostel that cost about $20 a night. I used to stay for about 2 weeks at a time making hotels too expensive. Later on I met a lot of locals (mostly Europeans or Indian expats) so I a stay with them now.

I am sure the hotels are very reasonable right now and especially since it is off-season. The money should be good value for what you get.

2. Great Idea! Rent a car and head to Oman! Oman can also be a day trip.
So, different and so beautiful. Mountains!
Car rentals are cheap and have a credit card (not debit card) handy for the deposit.

3. Since you don't want to go beaching, How about clubbing?
The service is great. Live bands. I like the clubs at Jumeirah Beach Club.

4. Restaurants galore! The food is so good.
This is a good place for good Indian outside of India.

5. Spend the night out in the desert sand boarding, RTVing, and camping. So, much fun!
Check the weather forecast!

6. Shopping! Mall of Emirates! This is also where you can snow ski indoors. Kinda
like ice skating at your local mall here in the USA.

Dubai is a city like Houston.
Abu Dhabi unless you want to see something specific is alright.

The traffic is really bad in both cities.

My pick is the car rental to Oman and pay for a 1 day city tour in Dubai to get your bearings and go to the few interesting places.

If you are going to London may I suggest a quick side 3 day cheap trip.

You can use Easy Jet Airlines (super cheap) and head
down for a 2-3 day trip. They fly to Marrakech out of Gatwick and it is about 3.5 hours.
2-3 days is enough if you stay in the medina hanging out.

Regardless, it is worth a look at the Easy Jet site for inexpensive airfares for side trips.

Also, while in London I will suggest that red bus double decker hop-on hop-off day tour to get you to all the famous spots
without worrying about cab fare.

Have Fun!
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Mar 8th, 2012, 04:04 AM
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I forget to add in case you don't have a guide book handy.
Go to the Emirates Airlines website and click on the day city tours.

This is a good sampling of what to expect to do in Dubai.

Honestly, unless you have a little group with you to make a car trip fun, I suggest you do the day tours.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 08:49 AM
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I don't think there is much "sight-seeing" to do in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi. I lived there for a few months and most "sights" are malls.

I agree with the post above - I would DEFINITELY head to Oman it has preserved much more of it's culture.

Also, Dubai is a great hub where you can travel all over the Middle East for very little. If you can, it's worth traveling to Beirut for a week.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 04:28 AM
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Lots of good input.

I do like architecture and engineering feats. I suppose Dubai fills the bill on those two counts. I was thinking Dubai now is sort of like Las Vegas was 35 years ago. Vast expanses of desert and then some really cool buildings plunked in the middle somewhere.

I am also interested in the older cultural experience but suspect if it is too hot and humid I will probably spend most of my time in some air conditioned Mall. Don't really want to buy anything since I will just have to lug it back home but looking can be interesting.

Al Ain sounds like a worthwhile use of time. I have decided Abu Dhabi may not be on the agenda after all. Time management always challenges me. I guess I was trying to figure out how many days do I need to check the place out. Superficial does not really appeal to me but that may be all I am going to get.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 05:41 AM
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lol. Superficial is all there is.

Remember, most of Abu Dhabi and Dubai didn't exist ten years ago. They are man-made constructs in an area with absolutely nothing of interest around. So the men who made them decided to erect monuments - both to themselves and the great god Mammon. The 'attractions' are designed to keep tourists there as long as possible - which, generally, isn't very long at all.

The 'older cultural experience' has been torn down.

That said, some of the 'attractions' are rather good. There's a wildlife park thing outside Abu Dhabi that is just great - the idiot spectacle of people skiing in Dubai is worth a look - the big Burj building is truly one of the wonders of the world. Yup, it's a construct - yup, 90% of it is empty - yup, it costs an arm and a leg to go up in it [only half-way] but I'd happily go back to Dubai, stay in the hotel by the pool with fountains and just stare at it for a couple days. It is that remarkable.

The standard hop-on hop-off bus will show you all the wonders of Dubai in an afternoon. The rest is malls and the stuff that travel2eat details above - most of which don't ring my bell.

Abu Dhabi has a huge Muslim thing that's famous - apart from that, not much else - unless you want to stay at Versailles in the desert - the truly ridiculous Emirates Palace.

Al maha:

Ex Abu Dhabi I think this is probably better:
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Mar 9th, 2012, 02:58 PM
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You make me laugh!
ahotpoet is offline  
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Mar 13th, 2012, 11:43 PM
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You can see Abu Dhabi in a day if you chose that route. Other than the Grande Mosque, corniche and eastern mangroves (that's only if the flamingos are about), there isn't much to see here. Al Ain would be better humidity wise as it's not by the water. Although it will be hot (upper 90s - 100 last May), you won't have the humidity, and if you decide to go to Jebel Hafeet it will be a few degrees cooler. Al Ain has many circle's or roundabouts, depending what part of the world you are from, and can get a bit confusing to drive. Although they do have signs to all of the attractions. Al Ain has a couple of old forts. If you do rent a car and decide you want to cross the border you need to have the special Omani insurance. And some rental companies will not provide it. You are better off going on a one day Musandam tour out of Dubai. Another nice place you might enjoy is Hatta, and since it's in the mountains it will be cooler. I would search regarding hotels, then visit their individual websites as some start their summer rates/specials at the beginning of May.

Although the Qasr Al Sarab is expensive it is a lovely place to spend a night or two.

As for Dubai, yes the malls are the attractions. It's what everyone does when the weather gets hot. They have penguins now Dogster in with the skiing. You can also go down to old Dubai and wander the gold, spice and textile souks (I wouldn't buy anything as it is way overpriced), take an abra ride across the river for a dirham.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 02:34 AM
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Penguins! Fabulous. Worth the trip alone.

I've been to 'old Dubai' which may, or may not, be old. It's been turned into a big shop for dumb tourists who are led in and around by the nose. There's a 'museum' there that is one of the dullest places on earth. In fact, it's so dull, it's almost interesting.

For a uniquely awful place, I'd suggest a day trip to Fujirah. After that, Dubai is, indeed, a paradise.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 05:52 AM
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I never tell people to visit that museum! agree with the souks, but at the same time the people watching is great. Although I have to admit I like wandering around the Bastikya area, if if they have now ruined it with a Starbucks. I

So true on Fujirah!!
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