February 10th, 2022
Abu Dhabi, or Abū Ẓaby, is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and one of the most impressive locations in the world. With its incredible modern architecture and excess of wealth, it’s hard to believe that before 1761 the island had no inhabitants. From 1962, with the commercial production of oil, huge developments were made to the infrastructure of the city and it is now a bustling hub of trade and culture.
This week, the Tell team have been busy working on the Arab Club World Cup, providing infotainment for all scheduled matches. With a good percentage of our team over there, it would be silly for us not to take advantage of the opportunity to (virtually) show you around!
When our team aren’t on shift, working their asses off, they’re making the most of what Abu Dhabi has to offer. From exploring surrounding areas, to trying out the local cuisine, and visiting as many of the tourist attractions as they possibly can. In this week’s 'Touring with Tell' blog I’ve managed to pin the team down long enough to find out some highlights of their trip and get advice for those travelling to UAE.
Where to visit?
Without hesitation, all of our team members recommended a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This mosque is based in the most beautiful location and has some of the most impressive architecture. It is a really important location in Abu Dhabi, as it is the largest mosque in the country, attracting thousands of worshippers on a regular basis. Remember, if you wish to visit, be mindful and respectful of locals who may be there to practice their spirituality.
If you’re willing to travel a little bit further, then our innovation-loving team highly recommend making the 1 hour and 20 minute trip to Dubai and visiting Expo which lies just in between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Expo is a huge compound with a range of events and facilities to be explored, covering the three main themes opportunity, mobility and sustainability. By combining technical innovation, human experience and spectacle, Expo creates a truly extraordinary experience that can't be accurately put into words - you just have to see it!
Some other honourable mentions from our team include visiting the pools at local resorts, booking into a shisha cafe, catching a jet ski and walking along the Corniche.
When to go?
When it comes to the best time to visit Abu Dhabi, it’s important to remember that the summers are really, really hot. Our team are currently there in the middle of winter and it’s still hotter than a summer in the UK. If you’re used to the hot weather then of course feel free to visit in the summer but if you’re used to a milder climate then bare in mind the heat could be overwhelming.
Where to eat?
If you’ve seen our Tell Eats posts on our Instagram, then you’ll already know that one of our team’s favourite pass-times is visiting as many restaurants and eateries as possible and trying a range of different cuisines.
The team visited an amazing Lebanese restaurant called Mosaic while there and shared an array of small plates. Then, a few days later, they visited the Thai restaurant Aroy Dee Thai and were extremely impressed with the food, though they warned against getting anything ‘Thai-level spicy’.
On a couple of other separate occasions, individual team members visited Al Mrzab Restaurant (for the deliciously big portions), and Joud Coffee which apparently had “the best French toast ever!!!!!!”
Where to stay?
Most of our team were staying together at the Al Seef Resort which has almost 400 great reviews on TripAdvisor. The team have been really happy during their stay, recommending the resort for its great location and four different pools.
In fact, Abu Dhabi has a huge selection of highly-rated hotels and resorts across the city. The best option when travelling, is to stay somewhere quite tourist-y as some of the more urban, downtown areas can be daunting. According to our team “a small resort is a great idea!”
What to bear in mind?
Any well-travelled individual will know that it is extremely important to do a bit of research about the country you’re visiting to try and understand a little more of how to be respectful of their culture and customs. United Arab Emirates have a lot of specific laws surrounding appropriate behaviour in public places so its important to look these up before travelling there.
Another important thing to consider is how the average lifestyle differs from country to country. We asked the team, what were the biggest culture shocks for them during their stay so far? Here’s what they had to say.
1. Everyone in the middle east tends to operate much later than we are used to in the west. Specifically us Brits tend to wake up and get to work early in the morning, but due to the hotter climate and lighter evenings, those in Abu Dhabi are used to starting later in the morning and continuing into the evening. Like many warmer countries, companies often also give the workforce a bigger break in the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest point.
2. Remember to pack a range of clothing options. It may be hot but there can be quite a range of weathers - sunny and calm in the day to cool and windy in the evenings.
3. If you’re able to, it’s a good idea to invest in business class for the flight. The journey is usually around 7 hours, but can be nearer 9 hours on some crossings. Whatever you can do to make the flight a little comfier is worth it. It’s a good idea to bring a neck pillow and download any shows you’ll want to watch prior.
4 When here, be aware not all shows are available in the middle east, so download your favourites before you come!
5. Be prepared for the fact that buying beer in the UAE is not as easy as it is in the UK. In a bid to boost tourism, Abu Dhabi has relaxed its alcohol law more recently, but “drinkers must be aged 21 or over and be purchasing the alcohol for personal consumption rather than resale. Booze must also be consumed in private homes or inside licensed areas.”
What to bring back?
No one from the team was able to settle on a must-have souvenir, however, Ashley’s souvenir deserves an honourable mention.
“I collect shot glasses from every place I’ve visited, that is a must for me! Also, I like to keep some of the currency”
Tell’s team have felt very lucky to be able to travel to such an amazing city and to do what they do best. Almost everyone mentioned how amazing the weather has been, leaving those of us left in drizzly Britain feeling very jealous. Tell’s time in Abu Dhabi has given them the opportunity to meet a whole range of friendly people from different backgrounds, who are all working together to provide outstanding entertainment. If after this blog you’re tempted to hop on a flight to Abu Dhabi our team suggest remembering to pack “SPF 50 sun cream, sunglasses, a battery pack, and a camera!".