When I hear about the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is the first thing that comes to my mind. For the past years, Dubai has been hogging headlines and viral videos all over social media for the sight of flashy cars, luxurious lifestyle, world’s seven stars hotel, skyscraper living. The capital city, Abu Dhabi, feels like a forgotten older brother due to it being overshadowed by Dubai’s popularity.
During my visit to UAE last November 2017, I spent 3 days exploring Dubai. I knew that my UAE trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the capital. So on the 4th day, I went for a day trip to Abu Dhabi, mainly to visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque. I stayed in the downtown area, Deira because it’s near to the bus terminal where I will catch the morning bus to Abu Dhabi.
If you are coming from Dubai like me, then you need to go to Al Ghubaiba metro station. The metro going to Al Ghubaiba station runs on the Green line. If you are coming from the station on the Red line, you can change to Green line at Union or Burjuman station. You can see the bus terminal right away once you exit the metro station. The cost to go to Abu Dhabi is 50 dirhams for roundtrip. You can pay using Nol card, the same card that you use to ride the public metro, buses, and trams. The bus number is E100 and don’t worry if you missed a bus as the bus leaves every 20 minutes. So you can board the next one almost immediately without having to wait for a long time. The journey to Abu Dhabi takes around 2.5-3 hours. The bus will stop at the main bus terminal in Abu Dhabi.
if you are going to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you can buy a ticket in the main bus terminal for 10 dirhams which will cover your roundtrip to and from the mosque back to the terminal.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Unlike any other tourist location in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is absolutely free. Imagine, you can explore this beauty without any cost and they even have a complimentary daily guided tour in a certain period of time, which I highly recommend because..it’s free and educational. Opening times are 9:00-22:00 Saturday-Thursday and 16:30-22:00 on Fridays.
I was here with 3 girls from the Philippines that I met on the bus going to Abu Dhabi. They were kind enough to offer me to join them. They were also going for a day trip to visit their friend and explore some of the city’s attraction. So we took a taxi to go to the mosque. As we arrived there at the entrance, we were directed to a room where we have to change before entering the Mosque.
They have a lot of Abaya with different sizes and only 3 colors that we can choose from. I wanted to wear my own outfit which I purposely prepare so I can look cute in my pictures (Instagram goal..hello!), But it’s part of the regulation before entering the Mosque because this is a religious site. They are very strict with the dress code. I gave in and wear one of their Abaya while keeping my headscarf.
As we enter the Mosque, we couldn’t hold our excitement. The Mosque is drop dead gorgeous! It is the most beautiful mosque I’ve ever seen my entire life! We were posing to take some pictures. But not long after, a guard approached us and remind us that it’s prohibited to do that gestures (putting our hands up, peace sign so on and so forth). We are also not allowed to take our Abaya’s hoodies off. Our head and hair have to be completely covered. He also reminded us to comply with the rules as the Mosque is equipped with a lot of cameras, so they will keep an eye on us. Well, that’s a lot to take for a first impression. The warning didn’t drain our spirit from taking tons of selfie and gram-worthy photos.. although the only pose we can do is to stand still and smile.
I was awestruck by its massive size and architectural grace. The walls are covered with floral marbles and gold plated pillars. All of these intricate details and amazing designs makes The Sheikh Zayed Mosque truly a work of art.
After exploring the Mosque, the girls convince me that I should visit Emirates Palace. It’s is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world and the second most expensive hotel to built after Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. As we drive towards the hotel, the entrance is so grand that makes it like an actual palace. Did you know that the Fast & Furious 7 was also shot here and this is probably one of the place you can see a gold dispensing ATM. HOW COOL IS THAT??
I believe there are a lot more places in Abu Dhabi that worth visiting but because of I only do a day trip here, these were my top two. To be honest, I didn’t even know about Emirates Palace until the girls told me about it. It’s amazing how adventures can be unraveled from just a random meeting with strangers who sat next to each other on the bus. So remember to put Abu Dhabi on your list if you ever visit the UAE! It’s definitely worth a visit or two 🙂
PS: Thank you again to Genevie, Rizza and Thamara for touring me around Abu Dhabi and taking my pictures all day hahaha. Meeting you guys was the highlight of my trip to UAE! Remember that you are always welcome to visit me here in Indonesia. I will be your personal tour guide and photographer! Love you girls!