Neighboring Emirates, Abu Dhabi is only a 78 minute drive from Dubai so we decided on a mini getaway for the weekend. An adventure packed weekend with so much to do that we thought we would share Our Top 10 Things To Do on Yas Island.
The Difference Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Before you head out, there are a few differences between the 2 Emirates that you need to know about. Abu Dhabi is understated elegance, while Dubai has a big city, bright lights vibe. Abu Dhabi is much more peaceful and is more religious, while the bustling city of Dubai is more tolerant and accepting. Abu Dhabi has a strict dress code and ladies should carry a shawl or cardigan to be on the safe side. The more conservative Emirates seems better suited for families, but the cost of living is higher than in Dubai.
Did You Know?
Under the United Arab Emirates, these territories are two independent Emirates (UAE). There are seven Emirates in total and each has there own set of rules.
- Abu Dhabi
- Ras al-Khaimah
- Umm al-Quwain
Did you know that Abu Dhabi is an island? Well it is and the UAE capital is a fascinating archipelago made up of over 200 islands. One of those islands being Yas Island, an adventure and entertainment hub with something for everyone. Now let’s get to that Top 10 List:
1. Ferrari World is a mostly indoors theme park located on Yas Island. It is the world’s first Ferrari-themed park and features Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster which I was brave enough to try out. The fast paced themed park exudes a true Italian experience from the cars to the food, to the entertainment and atmosphere.
2. Yas Waterworld is an Emirati-themed waterpark located on Yas Island and is home to the UAE’s mega water park offering the ultimate water adventure where you enjoy 40 rip-roaring rides, slithering slides, and amazing experiences at different thrill levels catering for the whole family. We are such water babies so will be heading back once the weather is cooler.
3. Warner Bro. World is a trip down memory lane that transported me back to my childhood. The indoor theme park has over 60 rides, experiences, with live characters out of your favorite cartoons and movies! If you are a Warner Bro fan then consider staying at the WB™ Abu Dhabi, the World’s first Warner Bros. themed hotel! Dress conservatively as you may be asked to cover your shoulders and legs when visiting WBW. I had to buy a hoodie to cover my shoulders as you can see in the pic below.
4. CLMYB Abu Dhabi, the region’s ultimate adventure hub. Gear up to reach new heights as you take off in the world’s tallest indoor skydiving flight chamber and brave exhilarating indoor climbing walls. They even have a ladies night and junior flying club. CLMYB is located in Yas Mall near the entrance to Ferrari World.
5. Café del Mar is where you get to hang with the cool (big) kids. The upmarket and trendy restaurant venue is an international lifestyle destination brand with an established global following. Well known for their spectacular sunsets, delicious food and chilled vibes at the swim up bar or pool side as you sip on their amazing cocktails. Needless to say I couldn’t resist taking a dip in their infinity pool.
6. Yas Beach
7. Emirates Park Zoo is what we miss most, African wildlife! Emirates Park Zoo is home to various animal species, including an ever-growing list of attractions and fun activities such as animal feeding, animal shows, ziplining and climb and car adventures. The entrance fees is rather affordable and seeing as it’s a quick drive away, we are planning a full day at the zoo because I want to have breakfast with a giraffe or brunch with a big cat. Then again we may just spend the night seeing as they offer luxury chalets in the middle of the zoo as well as deluxe rooms with a swimming pool.
8. Yas Mall is the shopping mall on the island. Not like the malls in Dubai but everything you need under one roof. There are several awesome restaurants at Yas Mall and one of them is Asha’s. We absolutely loved the South Indian cuisine they serve. We loved the fact that the mall wasn’t overcrowded.
9. Etihad Arena is located on the vibrant waterfront of Yas Bay. A state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue that hosts events, from electrifying concerts, exhilarating sports and sophisticated corporate functions, to intimate community celebrations. Make sure to check out the Emerging Man, an impressive new sculpture at the Yas Bay Waterfront opposite the Etihad Arena.
10. Yas Marina Circuit is the venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which takes place in November. The circuit hosts the best motorsport events and activities in Abu Dhabi. from experiencing car driving, drifting, dragging, karting, and more on a F1 approved circuit. Crossing fingers we get to go to the F1 this year. The venue also caters for fitness and business events.
There is so much to do at this one-stop destination, so get ready to eat, play, sleep and repeat. Yas Island only occupies a total land area of 25 km, making it extremely easy to get around. Explore the Island with the complimentary Yas Express Shuttle Bus from any of the major island attractions.
Here Are A Few Final Tips For Your Trip To Abu Dhabi
- Under the Green Pass system, only those individuals whose status is ‘green’ on the Al Hosn app, will be allowed to enter public places. Ash and I did our PCR tests less than 48 hours prior to your arrival so that we could show our Green Pass at the Mall, Adventure Parks and Restaurants.
- Generally, the legal age for drinking alcohol is 18 in Abu Dhabi, but a Ministry of Tourism by-law prevents hotels from serving alcohol to those under the age of 21. In Dubai and all other emirates besides Sharjah, the drinking age is 21. Drinking alcohol in Sharjah is illegal.
- Once again make sure to dress conservatively. Cover your back and shoulders. Shorts are not allowed in some places.
- Swearing and making rude gestures (including online) will land u in hot water.
- Photography of certain government buildings and military installations isn’t allowed. Make sure not to photograph people without their permission.
- When staying at hotels on the island, you get one access ticket, per person, per night that you stay. You can decide if you want to visit Ferrari World, Warner Bro. World or Yas Waterworld. Check the Yas Island website for the latest deals.
- Take advantage of the Summer holiday specials which run until mid September.
- Download the Yas Island app and complete setting up FacePass. FacePass is a contactless technology that allows visitors to enter and shop within the theme parks using facial recognition. You can also make contactless payments at select shops and restaurants within the theme parks. The app also gives you discounts at various places on the island.
- If you are driving, strictly obey the speed limits in Abu Dhabi as there is no speed buffer like in the other emirates.
The island has a range of amazing hotels to choose from. We stayed at the Hilton Abu Dhabi and took advantage of their Summer Special. For each night we stayed at The Hilton, we got free access to an amusement park of our choice. So we stayed 3 nights and scored access to Warner Brothers, Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld. Amazing saving considering we had the most gorgeous state of the art modern room with a view of Yas Bay. Did I mention that we got a surprise free upgrade on the room? I’d recommend you check the Yas Island website for their latest specials.
One last tip … when driving into Abu Dhabi from Dubai, or vice versa, make sure to stop at Last Exit. The nostalgic food stop is every thing and more that a foodie desires.
Happy Eat, Play, Sleep, Repeating