5 Best Travel advice for Abu Dhabi

Imagine going on holiday and ending up been fined, deported or jailed because of ignorance. Doesn’t sound right? Well, it happens but you can avoid it with my best travel advice for Abu Dhabi. I don’t mean to scare you but when visiting such a beautiful, affordable luxury city like Abu Dhabi, you need to be aware of the local laws of Abu Dhabi (including your personal conduct), the safety tips for Abu Dhabi (including climate changes), the health tips for Abu Dhabi (medical facilities) and the travel requirements for a pleasurable holiday in Abu Dhabi.

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Know before you go: Travel Advice for Abu Dhabi

The travel advice for Abu Dhabi has broken down into four key points that you need to know to avoid the chances of getting fined, arrested, deported or jailed. The four key points that you need to be aware of are:

  1. Local Laws
  2. Safety tips
  3. Health tips
  4. Travel requirements
  5. Money

Best Travel Advice For Abu Dhabi | 13 Weeks Travel Pin

Travel advice for Abu Dhabi #1. Local Laws

Ignorance is no excuse in Abu Dhabi and you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law in Abu Dhabi so your best bet is to follow the rules and customs. The local laws in Abu Dhabi reflect Islamic practices and beliefs. During the holy month of Ramadan, you don’t want to offend anyone because you will face serious penalties so take note of these local laws including:

Travelling with pork products

If you love your ham and smoked pork ribs, you have to forget about these and avoid hiding them in your luggage on your holiday to Abu Dhabi. They will be confiscated and you might face a fine.

Travelling with CBD oil products 

Check your skincare products, some might contain ingredients with CBD oil which is illegal in Abu Dhabi. These will be confiscated and you might face a fine. Take ethical made skincare products.

Travelling with dry substances

Dry substances such as dried tea, hibiscus flower can be mistaken for drugs, Abu Dhabi has a no-tolerance approach to illegal drugs. Do not attempt to smuggle or hide these illegal substances. You will be caught and you could face the death penalty or the minimum four years jail term.

Personal Conduct

Your conduct in Abu Dhabi must be prim, proper and modest. The travel advice for Abu Dhabi must be followed on personal conduct to prevent cases of arrests, fines or deportation. Apply some common sense here and avoid these things:

  •  Drinking and been under the influence of alcohol in public areas.
  • Wearing swimming attires in public places. You should wear swimming attires only at the beach or at the swimming pool. Choose modest swimwear and act with decency.
  • Showing intimate public display of affection like kissing.
  • Practising unauthorised preaching of your beliefs.
  • Spreading gossip on social media.
  • Swearing and making rude gestures to the public especially the police and officials.
  • Touching other people without consent.
  • Glaring at women and engaging in long stares.
  • Stalking
  • Engaging in unwanted conversations.

Photography

There are strong laws on photography in Abu Dhabi. You must consider these laws as an important part of the travel advice for Abu Dhabi. They include:

  • Getting permission and registering your drones before flying it.
  • Obtaining permission for any media activity relating to the production, transmission and distribution of print, video or audio information.
  • Taking photographs of people without proper consent.
  • Taking photographs of government and military installations is not allowed.

Driving in Abu Dhabi

To drive in Abu Dhabi, you need an International Driving Permit but if you are a UK national, you can use your UK driving license to obtain a rental car. International Driving License must be obtained before arriving at Abu Dhabi. Here are the things to note.

  • Driving in Abu Dhabi is safe.
  • Everyone drives in their lanes but there are speeding issues.
  • Maintain the recommended speed because there are speed cameras.
  • It is a criminal offence to drink and drive in Abu Dhabi.
  • If you are involved in an accident in Abu Dhabi, and no one is hurt, you can move your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid blocking traffic but it is illegal to leave the scene of the accident.

Travel advice for Abu Dhabi #2. Safety Tips

Abu Dhabi is a safe destination for you to visit with a low crime rate. However, as part of the travel advice for Abu Dhabi, you need to take sensible precautions in these areas.

Water Sports and Adventure Activities.

If you are a water sports lover, you will love Abu Dhabi. There are a variety of activities to do including sailing, kayaking, flyboarding, snorkelling, wakeboarding, water cable sports and paddleboarding. For your safety, take out comprehensive travel insurance that specifically covers adventure activities. I have reviewed the top 3 travel insurance in the UK here.

Harsh Weather Conditions

Abu Dhabi can experience harsh weather conditions between the months of June and September. There are possibilities of sand and dust storms. For your safety, stay out of the sun and always have a water bottle with you at all times.

Abu Dhabi also has foggy winters where visibility is reduced. Ensure you have car insurance if you need to drive.

Strong Current Conditions

Abu Dhabi has see lovely beaches you can swim at including The Corniche beach which is a public beach, Al Bateen beach and Saadiyat public and Saadiyat private Beach. Obey warning signs, red flags and fo not cross the barriers put up. Use Safety equipment like life jackets.

Travel advice for Abu Dhabi #3. Health Tips

Abu Dhabi has world-class health facilities. however, you will need travel insurance before you are treated, ensure you have access to funds that will cover the cost of your treatment. You also need to consider these things.

Health Checkup

Plan for your health check-up in advance before travelling to Abu Dhabi. You want to ensure that you have covered all health grounds before your travels.

Medication

If you need to take your medications with you for your visit to Abu Dhabi, you need to check that your medication is legal. Medication containing CBD will be confiscated. You also need to ensure that you have enough medication to cover you for no longer than three months.

Medical Care

If you require medical care in Abu Dhabi, you will need to dial 999 for emergency service. You also need to present:

  1. Proof of medical insurance
  2. An upfront Deposit
  3. Guarantee of Payment

Travel advice for Abu Dhabi #4. Travel Requirements

UK Nationals do not need visas to visit Abu Dhabi. You need:

  • A valid passport (issued within the last 10 years) with at least 3 months validity from the date of your arrival.
  • A visa ( depending on your nationality, destination, and length of stay)
  • Proof of money to sustain yourself around £55 per day.
  • Travel insurance that covers medical expenses
  • A return or onward ticket

Travel advice for Abu Dhabi #5. Money

The local currency in Abu Dhabi is Dirhams and if you are travelling to Abu Dhabi with over AED100,000, you need to declare it to avoid consification. Currently the exchange rate for Dirhams in the UK is £1 to AED 6. You can exchange your money at John Lewis Travel Money before you go.

.Best Travel Advice for Abu Dhabi | 13 Weeks Travel

Is Abu Dhabi good for a holiday despite the travel advice for Abu Dhabi?

Yes! Abu Dhabi is an affordable luxury travel destination. It is rich in culture, traditional with an incredible skyline that spells wealth, opulent and luxury. Abu Dhabi’s architecture gets me excited. Several of the buildings are simply beyond design comprehension, they make the impossible possible. Here is a list of the architectural wonders in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Gold Designed Pillars inside Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Etihad Towers

Emirate Towers | 13 Weeks Travel

Capital Gate

Capital Gate | 13 Weeks Travel

Aldar Building

Aldar Building | 13 Weeks travel | Best Travel Advice for Abu Dhabi

Yas Island

Yas Island | 13 Weeks Travel

Ferrari World

Best Travel Advice for Abu Dhabi | Red Ferrari World

The Emirate Palace Hotel

Emirate Palace | 13 Weeks Travel

The Best Time to Visit Abu Dhabi

The best time to visit is during the Easter School Holidays (March or April) or October Half-term School Holidays. This is when you can experience the best comfortable weather for your all inclusive holidays to Abu Dhabi.

The May Half term School Holidays & Summer School Holidays have harsh weather conditions and it is best to avoid visiting Abu Dhabi at this time. however, if you just want an all-inclusive holiday to Abu Dhabi where you will be in the hotel only, then Abu Dhabi will be happy to welcome. You will need to rely on the entertainment provided by your all-inclusive hotel at this time because only the indoor attractions will be open at this time.

Christmas School Holidays and February Half-term School Holidays is a much cooler time to visit Abu Dhabi. With temperatures hovering between 28 and 32 degrees. Most attractions for families are open during this time,

Some Fun Facts about Abu Dhabi

  • Abu Dhabi is the second-most populous city in the UAE.
  • The currency used in Abu Dhabi is Dirhams.
  • It s situated on an island in the Persian Gulf off the central western coast.
  • Abu Dhabi means father of Gazelle – Dhabi means Gazelle in Arabic.
  • There are a 4 hours time difference between the UK and Abu Dhabi.
  • Abu Dhabi discovered oil in 1960 (theme time as Nigeria).
  • Abu Dhabi has 200 islands and 700 kilometres of coastline.
  • Abu Dhabi was designed by Japanese Architect Dr Takahasi in 1967.
  • There are more than 2,000 well-maintained parks and gardens. Lake Park is one of the most visited parks in Abu Dhabi.
  • Abu Dhabi produces Dates.
  • Abu Dhabi is the centre of wealth for the UAE and it contributes 66% of the UAE’s wealth.
  • Abu Dhabi is home to the largest moto yacht in the world. Azzam. Azzam is owned by the Ruler of Abu Dhabi and the president of the United Arab Emirates.

Getting into Abu Dhabi

BY AIR

Getting to Abu Dhabi by air takes about 6 hours and makes it an ideal UK family travel holiday destination. There are frequent direct flights between London and Abu Dhabi through Etihadimage 9264239 10887320 Airways and The British Airways. The best part of travelling to through British Airways and Etihad Airways is that you can earn Points.comimage 9264239 11373616“. If you wish to visit Abu Dhabi from outside the UK, your best bet is to look for flights going to Abu Dhabi Airport.

Getting around Abu Dhabi – Is there Uber in Abu Dhabi?

Yes, there is Uber in Abu Dhabi and it is an affordable service. Getting around Abu Dhabi is safe. Taxi drivers are polite and their cars are very neat. For tours around Abu Dhabi, go with the Big Bus Tours Abu Dhabiimage 9264239 12653292. They provide an exceptional hop on and hop off service around the city. They are a cheaper option to use when visiting all the tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi.

Top things to see in Abu Dhabi

Go on the hop on hop off bus

The hop on and hop off bus tours offered by the Big Bus Tours is a great way to see the attractions and the most famous landmarks, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace, Saadiyat Island and the Corniche. There is a pre-recorded narration in the language of your choice which walks you through the rapid development of Abu Dhabi.

Visit Soul Beach   

Located Saadiyat Island, it features sunbeds, parasols and a safety barrier after 400m. It is open every day and you can visit this beach as early as 8 am and leave by sunset. Entry costs Dhs50 per person on weekdays and Dhs75 on weekends, including access to a sunbed and a parasol.

See W Abu Dhabi

Yas Island. Your access to Yas Island theme parks which includes the three best theme parks in the world. Yas Waterworld, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros.  Rates start from Dhs840 for two including breakfast and theme park tickets.

Get on your bike at Yas Marina Circuit

The popular TrainYas exercise sessions at Yas Marina Circuit are back open to the public. You can now walk, run or cycle the 5.55km track on Yas Island

Wave to the shore from a luxury yacht

How does going on a luxury yacht sound? Well, it is a ‘must-see and do’ activity in Abu Dhabi. There are tour operators that can provide luxury chartered yacht for your pleasure.

Take pictures of flamingos in the Eastern Mangroves

Marvel at these flock of flamingos in a beautiful ecosystem with lush mangroves.

Explore the golf courses

Channel your inner love for golf at Abu Dhabi Golf Course popularly known to host the Annual HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Walk the course where legends of the game have played and have a go at playing golf.

Explore the roots of Abu Dhabi at Heritage Village

The Heritage Village is a cultural spot where takes you into the Emirati life from long ago. The open museums show traditional aspects of the life of Bedouins.

Visit the Souks

Haggle at the souks and get the best deal for soft pashmina, perfumes and spices. If you are staying at self-catering apartments, visit the fish souk too and get the best price for a fresh catch.

Visit UAE’s First UNESCO World Heritage Site

Al Ain Oasis is a beauty to hold. It was built by Al Ain farmers many years ago and it uses traditional falaj water system for irrigation. There are wells which store the water to keep the almost 150,000 date palms blooming. You will also get an interactive experience into how these farmers have worked with their ecosystem for generations.

Go on Safari

You wouldn’t think there is a safari in Abu Dhabi, well there is. Although it is a man-made safari, if you have not been to Africa, a safari in Abu Dhabi will do for now. Al-Ain Zoo is the largest man-made safari park in the world and home to the big 5 African animals, gazelles, meerkats, rhinos, giraffes and many more animals. You can choose to fo in a smaller SUV vehicle with an expert guide or you can decide to travel through in a truck.

Surfboard at Wadi Adventures

Abu Dhabi is big on water sports and at Wadi Adventures, you will feel right at home with the activities on offer including rafting, kayaking, snorkelling and swimming. Wadi Adventures boost of both land and water activities. If you are not keen on water sports, you can get your adrenaline pumping by climbing a giant wall and swing or going on an obstacle course.

Marvel at the Artwork at the Louvre.

The Louvre is a unique place to visit. From an architectural point of view, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a must-see place. From a bird’s eye view, the Louvre looks like a cover on the sea. The roof lights have intricate designs and the display of the most expensive art pieces in the world is impressive.

Have a wander at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

I left the best for the last. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is definitely a must-see iconic landmark. As an architect, It was interesting to see the different the architectural styles and influences from various Islamic countries such as Morocco, Turkey and Egypt.

Final Thoughts for Travel Advice For Abu Dhabi

This post looked at the important travel advice for Abu Dhabi and what you need to know before travelling to Abu Dhabi. It also looks at the reasons why you should visit Abu Dhabi and the top things to see on your holiday to Abu Dhabi. I have written about All Inclusive holidays to Dubai and the top ten things to do in Dubai. If you are looking to combine your visit to Dubai with a visit to Abu Dhabi, you will need to check out those posts.

Have you been to Abu Dhabi before?

Would you like to visit Abu Dhabi?

Let me know in the comments what your views on Abu Dhabi are.

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Bolupe Maborukoje

Bolupe Maborukoje

Bolupe was once an architect. She now designs holidays from her Cambridge based travel agency. She is on a mission to help you turn your travel dreams into a reality. She is a luxury travel expert, helping you see luxury travel in the 'New Light'. Bolupe believes luxury travel is about the adventures, experiences and perspectives that are gained. She has the secrets to affordable luxury travel and that's the type of holidays she designs.

46 thoughts on “5 Best Travel advice for Abu Dhabi”

  1. These are some great tips. I have not been to Abu Dhabi, but I have been to Jordan and I would say these tips could be used for travelling there as well. I think that it is always important to be considered of the country’s culture and regulations when visiting a new place! Great article, thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • That’s great. I haven’t visited Jordan yet but it is on my list and it will be great to see Jordan. It is also great to know that the local laws are similar.

      Reply
  2. I went to Abu Dhabi as a day trip from Dubai. Though I didnt have enough time to do much. After reading your blog I am tempted to visit again, especially the Al Ain UNESCO world heritage site.

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  3. Abu Dhabi definitely sounds like a tough place to visit. I wasn’t aware of the restrictions, especially where medicine and skin oil is concerned. This article can act as a guide for anyone traveling that side.

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    • ABu Dhabi has rules and local laws like most countries, I wouldn’t consider it as tough but it is important for tourists to know before they go so as to avoid getting fined.

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  4. What a fascinating place! I haven’t heard much about Abu Dhabi (aside from flight layovers) but it looks like an amazing place to visit! The architecture is stunning!

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    • Abu Dhabi is absolutely an amazing place to visit. I know many people stick to the airport during flight layovers but it is an amazing place to explore further. I hope you get to visit soon.

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  5. Abu Dhabi is on my list, while I have been to Dubai. Very useful points on overall conduct and things to be careful about! In fact during Ramadan in Dubai one can be fined/jailed for even eating in public! This article comprehensively lists down all the pointers, Shaik Zayed Mosque is on my bucket list too!

    Reply
  6. This was such an informative post. Gosh, I can’t even imagine being put in jail in a foreign Country. I do believe that wherever we visit we must be respectful of one’s culture and beliefs. Despite everything you mentioned, I would still love travel to Dubai. I have heard the water sports are great and you just confirmed it. I would also love to see the mosque and the architecture!

    Reply
    • I am definitely encouraging travel to Abu Dhabi. I hope you visit soon. It is truly a beautiful place and you are right about respecting the culture and beliefs. It’s quite sad that a few tourists don’t and they end up in trouble.

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  7. These are such great tips! I have always wanted to travel in that area but was hesitant without knowing all the rules and restrictions. This is super helpful for when I visit in the future 🙂

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  8. I so enjoyed reading this post! I visited Abu Dhabi a few years ago, and the culture shock was REAL. I was so scared that I would accidentally break a rule, and it seems from your post that this is very easy to do. For instance, Abu Dhabi was our long layover both to and from India. Imagine if I bought some dried spices in India and it was mistaken as drugs!? I also take CBD capsules, so I was glad to be made aware of this. I remember my husband swore out loud in Abu Dhabi, I will never forget the fear I felt when several employees at a hotel turned around and stared at us. He was also reprimanded for asking an attendant directions without first saying, “hi, how are you?”

    Reply
    • Oh wow, what an experience it must have been for your husband. It will be a better experience when you return to Abu Dhabi since you are now aware of the dos and don’ts of the destination.

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  9. I must admit that we did a lot of reading about local laws before we visited our first UAE country. I remember being uncertain whether I would get arrested for my cough syrup once I read it had codeine in it. Taking photos in public is always something we are pretty careful with. And I am extra careful when I post any pics on our blog that have people in them. We never got caught in a dust storm but saw the remnants of the large dust clouds left behind. All of the requirements can easily be accommodated to see the amazing sights in Abu Dhabi. We need to go back and spend more time there.

    Reply
    • Thank you Linda for your comment, researching the local laws before travelling is soo important. It amazes me how people travel somewhere without a clue of the laws and get themselves in trouble. I hope you make it bnack to Abu Dhabi soon. It is a destination I absolutely love visiting. You will love the luxury hospitality and attention to details.

      Reply
    • Thank you Florin. I am so pleased that you found the information useful. When you are ready to travel to Abu Dhabi, don’t forget to refer back to the post for useful tips.

      Reply
  10. Definitely do not want to be fined, deported or jailed! Great tips for first timers as well as returners to Abu Dhabi. It is good to know how to behave in public places – the personal conduct list is very useful

    Reply
  11. Abu Dhabi surely has some funny travel restrictions: like traveling with pork products, or CBS oils. However, USA has similar laws when it comes to introducing seeds, fresh produce or meat in the country, so I’m not really surprised. I’m also not surprised to see these tough restrictions like not being allowed to run around drunk, or (almost) naked in public. Let’s not forget United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country. Like you point out, informing yourself about the local laws and knowing some safety tips is always helpful when you travel.

    Reply
  12. It’s definitely a little tricky when traveling in the Middle East to make sure not to disrespect any person’s culture. Glad you have this article so I can use it in the future for my own travels..

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  13. These are great tips! I lived in Kuwait for a year and unfortunately never made it to Abu Dhabi but a lot of the laws and customs are the same and they’re so important to keep im mind

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  14. Abu Dhabi comes as a all in all destination whcih caters to all kind of tourist . I love the way you have noted the best little little tips about travelling to Abu Dhabi . Infact, I would love to go surf someday at wadi adventures . Ferrari World is amazing I heard too.. wish to make it there next year .

    Reply
  15. I grew up in Abu Dhabi and I completely second the suggestion that it makes an amazing travel destination. While it is fairly liberal compared to most Arab destinations, some bit of modesty as you suggested is required. Also, when it comes to activities like the water sports, it is pretty safe. But having a travel insurance as suggested is a good idea.

    Reply
    • I am so pleased you agree that Abu Dhabi is a great travel destination especially because you’re a local. Travel insurance is a must for water related sports because things can turn ugly in a short time.

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  16. I lived in Abu Dhabi for 4 years and I must say, it is one of the safest city in the world. It is good you have placed all rules for first timers who are visiting AD. It is good that gossiping on social media is not allowed because sometimes social media instigates the problem more. I agree to carry a water bottle with you as sun rays are very harsh and you need to take liquid drinks frequently. Thanks for sharing all tips.

    Reply
    • I couldn’t agree more, the ignorance on social media is huge and the way wrong information spreads quickly is disturbing. You are right about the harsh sun rays especially in Summer.

      Reply
  17. While I have had a airline transfers at Abu Dhabi airport a couple of times, I’ve never actually visited the country. Of late, I’ve been considering the idea of visiting Adu Dhabi & Dubai in my next layovers. I happy to read about these advices. Very useful article.
    Yes, being a strict country, local laws should be very thoroughly adhered to. Al Ain Oasis would be must-visit for me, being a UNESCO Site. After visiting Louvre in Paris it would be interesting to see its Abu Dhabi cousin too!

    Reply
  18. These are great tips for first-time travelers to Abu Dhabi.
    Thank you for sharing reminders about traveling with dry substances..
    I had no idea that the hibiscus flower can be mistaken for drugs.

    Reply

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