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How to Experience Abu Dhabi on a Budget

You probably think of Abu Dhabi as a billionaire’s playground.

While there’s plenty of places to drop serious cash, this city offers so much at an affordable price point. Here’s a few of my favorite Abu Dhabi experiences that won’t break the bank.

Henna Tattoos

abu dhabi

Call it commitment issues (okay, and pain aversion issues, too), but getting inked isn’t really for me. That’s why I love henna. For a few bucks, you can get a stunning design on your hands or feet. It’s pain-free, inexpensive and stays on for about two weeks.


Thrill seekers, take note. This water adventure is part adrenaline sport, part sci-fi movie, and a whole lot of fun. For about $80, you can fly around like Aquaman. Or maybe just sit on a nearby boat and watch.

The Grand Mosque

abu dhabi

This is a must-see, no matter who you are. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is actually pretty new, with the building opening in 2007. It was designed to highlight the cultural diversity of Islamic world, drawing from historical and modern values of architecture and art. The stark white pillars against the blue sky are simply breathtaking. The best part? Visiting is absolutely free.

Fabulous Food Trucks

abu dhabi

Food trucks are a budget traveler’s dream. M I fell in love with Shaikha Al Kaabi’s food truck, Meylas. She’s the first woman to run a food truck in the UAE. Meylas means a gathering place and it features food from the recipes of Ms. Al Kabbi’s mother and grandmother. Shaikha’s smile and hospitality is singular to none, and it’s one of those food experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Emirates Palace Hotel

A room at this fancy hotel will cost you a small fortune. However, it’s the perfect place to stop for a coffee. My advice is to go for the cappucinno, made with camel’s milk. Sounds weird, but trust me!

You probably think of Abu Dhabi as a billionaire's playground.  While there's plenty of places to drop serious cash, this city offers so much at an affordable price point. Here's a few of my favorite Abu Dhabi experiences that won't break the bank.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I have been to Abu Dhabi many times and you can definitely see most of the sites in a day’s transit. Most airlines will give you a day layover (or long transit) in their country at no additional cost. If your passport allows, you do not need a visa (your entry stamp is your visa on arrival).

    If you land in the morning, you can spend all day in Abu Dhabi. You can see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (free), the Emirates Palace (free), grab a quick meal at one of the many malls,and be back in the evening for your flight. The only thing you have paid for is taxi fare, This day trip may tired you out, which is good as it ensures you sleep on the plane.
    If you are travelling long-haul to Abu Dhabi, check out my article on how to survive the long flights:

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