With our time in Europe came to an end, so it was time to head over to Southeast Asia for the second leg of the trip. In doing so, we had heard of taking advantage of layovers during this long flight. After doing some research, we decided to fly Etihad and take an extended layover in Abu Dhabi! You can find some additional information on how to do it HERE.
For our layover we were put up at the Wyndham Suites free of charge. You do have additional options for the hotels you can stay in and some of them are really really nice. Ours wasn’t anything special, however, it didn’t matter since we prioritized exploring. We stayed in Abu Dhabi for 2 nights which was perfect, would highly recommend that amount of time.
Abu Dhabi consists of quite a bit of coastline and plenty of surrounding islands. As one of the highlights of the trip, I really recommend renting a scooter (like a lime) and using that as transportation along the coastline. It is all really nicely done. It looks like it’s new pavers and a beautiful really long path. I wouldn’t recommend walking it because of how far it stretches. Rainier still had a little PTSD from being on a scooter from our explorations in Budapest, but was able to overcome her fears and away we went!
On our scooters we made our way to Emirates Palace. This palace was incredible and I really recommend checking it out. Everything was so vibrant and grandiose. We really were able to appreciate it especially due to our professional experience. Rainier having worked in furniture procurement was blown away by the design and scale. They have these cool fountains everywhere that also left us with the most photogenic scenes. There is an option to stay there as a hotel but we just wanted to visit. It really is beautiful and If we go back we would look at staying there.
From the Palace we took the scooters further down to the Mall. It was an interesting place to be and was fun to explore. You could probably spend your time elsewhere if you aren’t looking to purchase anything. Since we were halfway through our trip, buying things at the mall wasn’t really a priority but it was a nice place to explore. It does allow for some great pictures of the city though, especially as the sun went down.
We did eat at some really good spots while we were here. I would really recommend Chagh Kabab for some excellent Turkish food. We also went to Payyannur for some awesome Indian food. It was interesting while we were there, the restaurant was really crowded and it was one of the first times that we weren’t provided any silverware. It was awesome, I thoroughly enjoyed Rain eating with her hands and getting messy with it.
The cost to get back to the airport was fairly costly. Since we had the time, we ended up taking public transportation. Here’s what you need to know. It’s ok to get lost when you have time and don’t be afraid to ask for help. We ended up getting off the bus at a stop and having no idea where to go. The people were so friendly and helpful! They saw that we had luggage and saw the bus stop where we were at and literally walked us to where we needed to go. We were so appreciative of the help and overall friendliness. It’s experiences like that that will always bring me back! Take advantage of this layover if you have time. At some point we will be back and looking forward to checking out Qatar and other states in the UAE.