Updated: Nov 24, 2019
My Travel Advisory: If I could recommend any time to travel to U.A.E., go during the winter months and not during Ramadan. Winter months will be like a nice winter day in the southern states, 80 degrees and dry. Otherwise, summer months, you're looking at 120 degrees and 100% humidity. Can't look cute with that weather! Additionally, Ramadan changes every year so make sure you check the calendar. It is illegal to eat & drink during the day during Ramadan and that includes travelers. Restaurants get fined for serving and customers get fined for eating. There are horror stories of imprisonment until Ramadan is over... Best not to test the waters. Now that the travel advisory is set forth, let's talk.
You will soon discover when landing in this tiny country that it is a vast desert but the areas you find will be exquisite.
THE MALLS: The main points of attractions are attached to VERY large shopping malls or hotels. Everything is extremely well done and not a detail goes unnoticed. You will feel like you are living a luxurious life. There are several "attachments" to these malls for entertainment. Depending on the mall that you venture to, you could end up at Ferrari World, located in Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall, which is mainly a virtual reality indoor theme park. They have two roller coasters that exit the building for a short minute. But let's face it, riding on those will feel like a blow dryer to the face. There are movie theaters, indoor skiing at Dubai's Mall, and a underwater world exhibit where you can take a little boat and watch fierce fish tear apart chum at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Splish Splash Baby!
THE GRAND MOSQUE: If you are into architecture, facts, religion, you must- without a shadow of a doubt- see the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. If there is anything more beautiful and exquisite, I'd be dumbfounded. Research on it some before you go into the area. They used gems throughout the facility, gold painted columns, a rug created by so many women working 24/7 to make sure this is finished. It sits so many feet above the ground so it can be seen from everywhere. Women, you'll need to wear the traditional garb to enter the Grand Mosque. They have it on site for you and you can return it upon completion of the tour. It is a must see. Make sure you visit a traditional local restaurant to solidify your day. Bring money as this attraction costs to get in.
THE MUSEUM: Learn how U.A.E.'s people migrated there and the steps they took to get where it is today. Like their attractions, the museums have are higher tech, simple and a couple of dollars to enter. One of the best features that their museum has is the original wall that was build to house their community. How they were fishermen to gather pearls. Simply intriguing and worth every moment there.
FOOD: Let's be real. What do you do on vacation?! Dine! There are a wide variety of food options while you're visiting and you cannot go wrong. The country brought in so many different influences to include food. You can find pretty much anything. My favorite- brunch. I've been to several places and never have been disappointed. Brunch is usually a buffet with anything you could ever hope for to kick start your day. FRESH! FRESH! FRESH! Usually prices go about $20-$35 for brunch ranging upward to $50. So be prepared to fork over some money but it's worth every penny! Needless to say, I can't name just one because I have never any disappoint! I really enjoyed Jones the Grocer in Abu Dhabi- quaint cafe.
HIKE: Oh yes, did you think a "Stairway to Heaven" hiking trail only existed in Hawaii? Well, you'd be sadly mistaken. Hiking 4 miles with a 4,000 ft incline, you'd want to hit this rocky path at dawn, or right when you see a glimmer of light. Make sure you bring walking sticks, at least 4 liters of water if you aren't used to it and pray that you make it to the top before the heat peaks. You'll die before then... Figuratively, but please make sure you are in some sort of shape before taking on the challenge. Furthermore, it may take some searching to find the start of the trail, it doesn't come easy. The hike can also be done with a guide. This is essential if you plan on going around the whole thing. There is a thin ledge that needs assistance. Please do not risk your life while attempting this. One of the cool things to view are the huts and areas where true locals live. Don't damage their property and be respectful. It's an incredible site to see. (P.S. I didn't make it to the top. I was about 1 mile away but the heat!! I believe 3 or 4 of the 10ish people made it to the top!)