A 36-Hour Layover in Abu Dhabi

What an unexpected treat! I’ve dreamed of visiting the United Arab Emirates for such a long time but even with all of my travel experience, this has always felt like a place too distant, too exotic and so far out of reach that I might not ever get here. However, thanks to a 36-hour layover in Abu Dhabi on my way back to India from Colombia, I got to experience a few of the key landmarks which I’ve always hoped to see.

Uber is truly my favorite service in the world. I landed in Abu Dhabi, connected to free wifi while waiting in the customs line, requested an Uber, and when I walked out of the airport there was a beautiful new Lexus waiting for me.

The Sights of Abu Dhabi

My first destination was the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE. It’s architecture and materials are inspired by the Taj Mahal. It is an impressive compound and in many ways it is much more impressive than the Taj Mahal, but having now experienced both structures, I have my doubts that the Sheikh Zayed Mosque will still be standing in 350 years. Regardless, it’s a beautiful place; very photogenic!

Next up: Heritage Village. This dusty spot is a reconstruction of what life was like in this part of the world before oil brought about a modern economy and all the luxuries that come with. There are lots of local handicrafts on sale here but what makes it really interesting is that you can visit with the artisans in their shops where they are making textiles, metalworks, wood and stone carvings, etc.. There is also a nice museum showing many artifacts from the old days.

Near to the Heritage Village is a landmark simply known as the “flagpole,” which makes sense, because at 123m (403.5 feet), it is among the world’s tallest flagpoles, and you won’t miss the massive UAE flag hanging off it.

After this, it was time for me to head to the Marina Mall and find internet so that I could connect with my dear friend Laura who I would soon meet up with and drive to Dubai. More about Dubai and Laura in my next post.

Please forgive my appearance in these photos; I’d been on a plane for over 24-hours and had no rest before going directly to see everything I could.

Photos From Abu Dhabi