Burj Khalifa and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Do you have plans to visit the United Arab Emirates? Are Dubai and Abu Dhabi on your travel bucket list? If so you’ll want to continue reading because I share my two favorite sights to see in the UAE along with some helpful tips.
On our recent trip Ozdane and I visited the magnificent Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the picturesque Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. If you have limited time it’s worth making the effort to see these two sights if you do nothing else.
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the world’s tallest building and the world’s tallest freestanding structure. If that doesn’t impress you then maybe the ride up the elevator with the longest travel distance in the world will do the trick. Visiting the Burj Khalifa is nothing short of impressive. The views of the Dubai desert around you are tremendous. The view below from your perch high in the sky on the 124th floor observation deck is jaw dropping. I’ve never experienced anything like it before.
Here are five tips when planning your visit to the Burj Khalifa.
- Buy tickets in advance. It’s one less line you have to wait in when you arrive.
- Go in the morning if you choose to do a day viewing. The later in the day it gets, the bigger the crowds become.
- Go at sunset if possible or even at night. We went during the day and it was still amazing but I can only imagine how spectacular the sunset or evening views would.
- Be mentally prepared to wait in lines. If the whole family is visiting you may want to bring something to keep the little ones entertained during the wait.
- Whatever you do, do NOT forget your camera or you may be doing the old head bang against the wall!
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
The stunning Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in the captial city of Abu Dhabi is the largest mosque in the UAE and was also a favorite sight on our trip. We were visiting a dear college friend who highly recommended visiting the Grand Mosque and I’m so glad she did. The sheer beauty and spectacular architecture is beyond impressive. The design and construction of the Mosque comes from over 13 countries around the world. Inside the Mosque are 7 imported chandeliers from Germany with millions of Swarovski crystals. The carpet in the main prayer hall is the world’s largest carpet made in Iran and designed by an Iranian artist. The Mosque can accommodate over 40,000 worshipers. In addition to admiring the beauty of the mosque it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Arab culture and history. Here is a great resource to help plan your visit.
In addition here are five tips for travelers visiting the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.
- If you’re planning a day visit try to hit the first tour of the day at 10am Sunday – Thursday and Saturday. The Grand Mosque is closed to visitors until 5pm on Fridays for worship and gatherings.
- Evening tours are available. It is supposed to be quite beautiful to see the Grand Mosque at nigh so if your schedule allows this would be beautiful to see.
- Be aware of the dress code. All women will be asked to wear traditional robe (abaya) over their clothes and a headscarf (shayla) upon arrival. You will remove your shoes before entering the Mosque so your lace-up boots might not be ideal. Think slip-ons!
-Intimate behavior including holding hands, kissing isn’t acceptable at the Grand Mosque as a Muslim place of worship. So keep that in mind when posing for photos! I almost blew this one when I went to put my arm around Ozdane!
- Ask questions of your tour guide. The intention is for your visit to be educational so they encourage guests to ask any questions they may have. Don’t be shy!
A few other places worthy of mentioning for sights to see and activities when visiting…
- Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai is absolutely beautiful! In addition to being a resort there are top-notch restaurants, shopping and a luxurious spa.
- The Palm. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city area of Dubai to enjoy one of the luxury beachfront resorts on the exclusive Palm Island. Check out my review of our fabulous experience at the elegant Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on The Trend Tribe last month.
- Desert safari! If you’re looking for a bit of fun and adventure a desert safari is the answer. Read about all the fun details in my last post here on Chamorro Chica. You can do this whether you’re in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
- In Abu Dhabi the Emirates Palace Hotel is a great place to dine, enjoy some cocktails or treat yourself to a luxurious stay! We dined with our friends at BBQ Al Qasr on the beach at this exquisite resort and very much enjoyed it. Don’t miss Le Cafe for delicious desserts including gold drizzled chocolates! Yes, real gold my friends! If you really want to strike it a rich hit up one of the gold vending machines in the Emirates Palace Hotel. That’s how they roll in the Dhabi!
If you’re planning a trip to Abu Dhabi or Dubai feel free to send any questions my way. I’ll help as much as possible. If you’re deciding whether or not to make the journey to the UAE I say go for it! As I shared above there are some beautiful sights to see and great experiences to have during your visit. On a final note, if you’re a hummus fan I’m telling you right now the beyond delicious hummus alone makes the trip worth it! I could have eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Photo credits: Katy Paterson, Brad Paterson