FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009

10 things to see and do in and around Abu DhabiThi

A Football Report
FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009

10 things to see and do in and around Abu Dhabi

This year's FIFA Club World Cup will be held between 9-19 December in Abu Dabhi, the capital of the UAE. In between the football, there are plenty of things to see and do for visiting supporters.

Here we list ten of Abu Dhab's most popular activities and attractions:

  • Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand Mosque

The majestic Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque is the first mosque in Abu Dhabi to allow non-Muslims to tour its interior, making it a must-see for visitors. It features 80 domes all decorated with white marble, including the main dome which has an outer shell measuring 32.7 metres in diameter and stands 70 metres high from the inside and 85 metres from the outside, making it the largest of its kind anywhere in the world.

  • Emirates Palace

At an estimated cost of $3 billion, the Emirates Palace is one of the world's most expensive hotels, decorated with gold-leaf, marble and hung with more than 1,000 Swarovksi crystal chandeliers. The Emirates Palace Hotel is owned by the Abu Dhabi government. The hotel opened its doors in 2005 after 3 years of construction. It is located along a 1.3km stretch of white sandy beach and conveniently neighbours Abu Dhabi's bustling Corniche area.

  • Shopping

Abu Dhabi offers great shopping options – choose from the comfort of air-conditioned malls or soak up the atmosphere at a traditional souk (market). In Abu Dhabi city, the Iranian and carpet souks and Madinat Zayed gold market are well worth visiting. Abu Dhabi's souks feature small, homely shops set within traditional architecture along pedestrian alleys. Visitors can bargain for a range of items including antiques, spices, fabrics, and jewellery. There are also a number of major malls throughout the city, the largest being the Marina Mall, Khalidiyah Mall, Al Wahda Mall, and Abu Dhabi Mall.

  • Dining

Abu Dhabi boasts hundreds of fine restaurants with cuisine from across the world, including Arabian, Thai, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, German and Brazilian. You can even order bangers and mash or an all-American steak. Smoking is still permitted at most Abu Dhabi restaurants so non-smokers should pre-book a non-smoking table.

  • Kayaking

Offering kayaking experiences like no other, Noukhada Adventure Company run daily trips out into the natural mangrove forests on the east Corniche area as well as overnight island trips and kayak fishing. Accessible for visitors of all ages, take a kayak out with an environment expert to increase your awareness and knowledge of the natural beauty of Abu Dhabi's beautiful, watery oasis.

  • Abu Dhabi Heritage Village

On the breakwater near the giant UAE flag and Marina Mall, the Heritage Village comprises a group of traditional buildings and a small museum showing the life of the Bedouin in old black and white photographs. A replica of a traditional oasis irrigation system, or "falaj", and a wind tower - the world's first air-conditioning - are striking examples of the ingenuity of the early inhabitants of the UAE. There is also a traditional souk where you can buy traditional gifts and souvenirs.

  • Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Close to Abu Dhabi International Airport, this was the first institution in the world to provide comprehensive veterinary health care exclusively for falcons. Visits to the hospital are an unforgettable experience of the fascinating world of falcons and falconry.

  • Cultural Foundation

This modern building in the centre of Abu Dhabi and next to the Qasr Al Hosn fort contains the National Library, National Archives and the Institute of Culture and Art. It is home to several arts and culture exhibitions and fairs throughout the year, including the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Visitors will also find atmospheric black-and-white photographs of Abu Dhabi before oil was discovered and a tabletop model with palm frond "berasti" houses and mud huts.

  • Al Ain

Al Ain is the second largest city within the emirate of Abu Dhabi and is roughly an hour drive away from Abu Dhabi city. Al Ain provides visitors with the opportunity to take a break from the city to experience some of the emirate‟s local outdoor scenery and wildlife.

  • Desert Safari

Desert safaris promote a range of Emirati cultural experiences mixed in with a slice of adventure. Drive out into the dessert for some “dune bashing” as professional drivers take you on a roller-coaster ride over steep sand dunes in specially-fitted SUVs. In the heart of the desert, elegant tents are spread out with camel rides, shisha, henna, and a dinner buffet of local cuisine. Belly dancers and local music provide entertainment for a beautiful evening under the stars.