Free Press Journal

In the land of Abu Dhabi: Souks and palaces


Rubina Khan is engulfed by luxury and magnificence in the fantasy land of Abu Dhabi

The Emirates of Dubai is one of the most popular countries in the international scene. Everyone knows how amazing the city of Dubai is, but one city to look out for in the UAE is Abu Dhabi. It’s turning out to be one of the foremost cities on the world map with regards to infrastructure, entertainment and public utilities.

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Abu Dhabi is a very huge conurbation, but travelling in an around city take time if you’re travelling by bus. Abu Dhabi is built for cars, as there are lot of traffic jams in the down town area. Taxi is a great way for people to travel around. Abu Dhabi has one of the major attractions Emirates Palace, zoo, Sheikh Zayad Mosque, Ferrari world and the local market. We stayed for 3 nights in Abu Dhabi at Swiss hotel Corniche.  The hotel was just 5 minutes’ walk from Abu Dhabi Corniche.

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Ferrari World

On the first day we were set to go around. We hired a taxi and visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosques, which is the third biggest mosque of the world. It is entirely made of Greek and Italian marble, considered to be among the purest of the world.  The three giant egg shape dome dominates the roof of the prayer hall and inside we could see the world’s biggest carpet, it was colourful and very attractive. The Marble Mihrab was made of fine niche ornamented in gold glass with the calligraphy work integrating the ninety nine names of Allah mosaic in carefully elaborated.  The design, size and decoration of the prayer hall made an atmosphere of coolness and peace indispensable for worshippers.

Later afternoon when the heat began to pick up we headed to the Ferrari World. Ferrari World is world largest indoor theme park where we could actually experience the ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster around the Yas Island. The theme park has the rides and the attraction that will get your heart racing.We ran down to restaurants located within the park and went on a factory tour. Visited the Ferrari store and engross us in the world’s most legendary brand for the lasting memories.

Sheikh Zayed Mosques

Sheikh Zayed Mosques

On the second day of our tour we decide to head ourselves to the Emirates Palace. It is one of the luxury hotels I had ever seen. The palace was created to showcase the aim of the Arabic culture, offering luxury hospitality and authentic local experience. The traditional décor inside the palace is mostly in silver, gold, crystal, marble and glass mosaics. There were immense number of domes and fountains. The Palace is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, and a private beached surrounded by gardens. Its restaurants had one of the most world’s finest cuisines. Emirates Palace is incomparable of an Arabian Fantasy.  Later afternoon we visited the famous Abu Dhabi animal wonderland.

The zoo is located quiet corner of Shahama and it was easy enough to find the place as the route was correctly signposted. The zoo was constructed in link with the finest international standers of security and safety. The zoo features white and rare golden tigers, white lions, cheetahs and panthers.It also featured variety of beautiful birds, rare antelopes, grey and Arab wolves and deer. We enjoyed watching the animals from close quarters, as there were trained guards.

Emirates Park Zoo

Emirates Park Zoo

The animals were kept similar to their habitats, some of the animals were kept in air conditioned cages and ponds. There were lot more other activates for the visitors such as equestrian club for the children’s and women to train on how to ride a horse, an array of cafes, restaurants, special corner for horses and  camel riding, children play area, cycles, prayer rooms for men and women, rest rooms, etc.

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On the third day the very first thing we wanted to do was going to the market.  The Traditional markets and Souk. Souk is an Arabic word for market place.  It was said that the Abu Dhabi souk is worth visiting for their lively atmosphere. Across the road there were Al Mina fruits and Vegetable souk market, bursting with jam-packed colour as each seller arranged its goods outside the shops.  As per one’s choice, you can buy kilo or box. Even though if you’re not interest in buying any goods the area provides an excellent photo break.weekend-feb 19- travel 5

Carpet Souk dominates Abu Dhabi by the Yemeni mattresses and machines.The variety of carpet and its design make you feel to buy everything out there. One can bargain if you know what you are looking for. Few of the sellers have those Arabic majlis style cushions; you can get those for a very reasonable price.  Al souk is also known as central or old souk, the area is great to explore.

Souk Al Zafarana is a true Emirati culture and tradition market where you can find jewels, traditional dress, spices, henna or oud. This is the perfect market place for the women .you can buy handmade and locally designed goods or products.  This place is exclusively for women to find those little gems. This particular market is completely staffed by female shopkeepers. The Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain souk around the corner is opened from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm until midnight.