If your plans of visiting Abu Dhabi are going to the same way as the rand, take heart in our Randsaver ideas that will allow you to experience the destination without breaking the bank. Here are Thompson Holidays' top tips to getting the most bank for your buck in the capital of the United Arab Emirates...
Where to stay…
While the thought of Vin Diesel and his Fast and Furious 7 mates posing outside the seven-star Emirates Palace does little to inspire confidence in a budget break, take heart in the fact that all that glistens in Abu Dhabi is not necessarily gold and has a price-tag to match.
Thompsons Holidays has a range of four-star hotel packages that offer great value for money, including three- and four-night stays at Southern Sun Abu Dhabi
, Traders Hotel Qaryat Al Beri
, and Park Inn Yas Island
, among others.
Where to eat…
A general rule of thumb for finding food on the cheap while travelling is to eat local.
Have you ever heard of Arabian pies called fatayer? These comprise a breaded pastry with different fillings such as cheese, sausages and thyme-flavoured food. The place to go if you’re in the mood to try them out is called Al Khafaif
and you can find them all over Abu Dhabi.
If you’re looking for a place that offers more choice you can’t go wrong with the supermarket delis. They usually sell pies, roasted chicken, salads, sandwiches and other food at great prices. The same can be said for Carrefour
where you can buy a range of hot meals, rice dishes, meat stews and more.
Other local food you have to try out includes shawarmas, kebabs, and pita slices filled with mincemeat mixtures and hummus.
If you're in the mood to splurge and are in Abu Dhabi on a Friday, spend a lazy afternoon enjoying Friday Brunch. A veritable institution in the emirate, Friday Brunches are available at most hotels and the outstanding array of buffet dishes and drinks is well worth the all-inclusive price. Definitely worth splashing out for.
Things to do…
The cool thing about Abu Dhabi is that visiting some of its biggest landmarks and attractions won’t cost you a cent. Here are a couple of top Abu Dhabi attractions that you can visit for mahala!
Why not start out by visiting Abu Dhabi’s most famous and important landmark? The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will blow your mind with its intricate architecture and design. Take a walk through the third largest mosque in the world with its 82 white marble domes and 1,024 courtyard columns.
Admire the Abu Dhabi skyline and stroll along the Corniche – a 5km promenade running next to the Arabian Gulf. The public beach is free to visit and there are many cafés along the way where you can pop in for a quick afternoon cuppa.
If you’re interested in learning about the history and heritage of the Arab culture you should pay a visit to the Heritage Village where you’ll get to see Bedouin tents, photography exhibitions and museums that recreate life as it was in the desert.
Manarat al Saadiyat – meaning the place of enlightenment – is also an attraction not to be missed. This 15,400 square metre arts and culture centre features four gallery spaces housing exhibitions with international collections from around the world, a 250-seat theatre, and a restaurant.
Tucked away in the vegetable and fruit market at Port Zayed, you’ll find the date market at which the locals go buy their monthly stash. Not only will you find dried fruits and dozens of varieties of dates and produce including, would you believe, date honey, but you’ll also get a real feel of local Abu Dhabi.