Being one of the riches cities on earth, Abu Dhabi tends to be the king of bling and an expert at displaying the sublime. It is a wonderland of domes, mosques, candy cane minarets and sweeping romantic deserts and here you can relish on the essence of Arabia, right from camel racing at dawn to burning-red dunes at sunset. It not only showcases storybook slice of the Gulf, the UAE capital has the contemporary side that is anything but subtle and indulgent.
Abu Dhabi combines the biggest and the brashest with the flashiest and the fastest. Abu Dhabi is the domain to some of the world’s most thrilling new adventures. It is good to know about some of the city’s perfect spots to live out the millionaire lifestyle for a day.
The world’s most expensive Mosque
It may not go back further then the ancient mosques of Mecca, Medina or Damascus or outshine the iconic turquoise-and-gold domed prayer halls of Isfahan, but the august Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has a bolder calling card. This revered mosque was built recently in the late 1990s, and evolved to be the world’s most expensive mosque. The outer perimeters of the mosque are growing every year to accommodate more worshipers; no one is quite sure of what the final bill will tally up to.
The mosque is inspired by both Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture and paved with floral marble from – count them – 28 different countries, the mosque has a trifecta of acmes. Under your feet spreads out the world’s largest carpet, made by a 1,200-strong army of the finest Persian carpet weavers. Just lift your head and view the roof, there hangs the mosque’s seven gold-and Swarovski-crystal chandeliers. The title was usurped as the worlds largest by neighbouring Qatar; they remain incomparably the most expensive disco glitter balls ever made. Also you could view the piece de resistance: towering above the 1,000 columns outside is the glistening main white marble dome. It stands 85 metres in height, and is know as the largest of its kind.
So want to catch glimpse of this stunning terrain? There are regular tours run every morning except for Friday. Keep in mind that you are in a Muslim country, so strict dress code is followed and women are expected to cover their head.
The world’s fastest roller coaster
Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park also attracts lot of tourists. It is also home to the world’s fastest roller coaster It is surely an extreme white knuckle ride for adrenalin junkies and petrol heads; it is interesting to note that Formula Rossa ride reaches speeds of 240 km per hour in less than five seconds and recreates the Formula 1 cockpit experience in all its adventure. You will be speeding through chicanes with a maximum acceleration G-Force of 1.7Gs, and the result would be, you will be having a face that looks like a sand-blasted desert dromedary. Try it regardless, it will be worth it.
The world’s most expensive hotel
Visit the big, brash and bold – it is said that even the cakes served at the Emirates Palace are made from gold. It can described as a cross between fairy tale castle from Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders, the capital’s self proclaimed seven-star Emirates Palace is the world’s most expensive hotel built to a budget of $3 billion. Stunningly grandiose, it symbolizes the regal opulence that the world has come to expect from Gulf: Where else can you expect such a marvelous star attraction?
Glide past the fountains, water features and landscape gardens, and follow any number of gold-painted corridors to a surreal backdrop of excessive chandeliers, ballrooms and decadent restaurants and drinking saloons, thankfully open to non-guests, so make use of the opportunity. Those who are there with cash to splash, the Emirates Palace also presents the world’s most expensive tailor-made holiday at one million dollars.
On your desert trot, if the bling becomes too much, put on your sunglasses to explore the kilometres of golden beaches at the hotel’s doorstep or throw moderation to the desert wind and attempt to eat your own weight in edible gold, with the hotel’s famous desserts and cakes. If you visit during December, you will be blinded by the world’s most ornamented Christmas tree.
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Abu Dhabi is the land of some more strange wonders – the world’s most expensive license plate, the world’s furthest leaning man-made tower and – er – the world’s tallest flagpole. It does not end here, the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), and Meydan (the world’s most expensive racetrack) are on show in nearby Dubai. At the famous Burj Al Arab, you will be served up what is said to be the world’s most expensive cocktail.