The best tours and day trips around Abu Dhabi offer a wide range of experiences, from the hair-raisingly active to the culturally fascinating. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate in the UAE, with a long coastline of stunning beaches, a huge area of untouched desert landscapes and several historical towns that played a central role in the formation of the nation.

    We’ve selected enjoyable day trips on both land and sea in the areas around Abu Dhabi so you can find a tour to suit your interests.

    1

    Desert camping

    Experience the stark beauty of the desert after sunset

    • Pasangan
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    • Petualangan

    Desert camping in Abu Dhabi is an unforgettable experience of a night spent under a blanket of stars. There are several different options available for desert camping in Abu Dhabi, from a swanky night of glamping with butlers and dinner provided, to the cheap and cheerful option of pitching your own tent. There are several popular areas to spend the night, including Jebel Hafit Desert Park, Al Dhafra, and Ras Al Khaimah Desert.

    A typical night of desert camping will start with a ride on a 4x4 over the dunes towards your camping spot. The tents may look have a traditional Bedouin-style look, but inside they have plenty of modern fittings, such as comfortable beds and air-conditioning.

    2

    Dune bashing

    Enjoy a rollercoaster ride in a 4x4

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    • Petualangan

    Dune bashing is a high-octane day trip into the desert surrounding Abu Dhabi. An experienced driver will take you and up to 6 passengers on a thrilling journey up and over the shifting sands. Abu Dhabi is considered the best place for this activity, thanks to the height of dunes near the city.

    To deal with the terrain, off-road vehicles used to drive over the sand dunes are specially equipped with roll bars and soft tyres. Dune bashing in Abu Dhabi is quite an extreme experience, with many heart-in-mouth moments. It’s not recommended for small children or pregnant ladies.

    3

    Sail on the Arabian Gulf

    Take your pick from a traditional dhow or luxury yacht

    • Keluarga
    • Pasangan
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    • Mewah
    • Petualangan
    • Rombongan

    A boat trip along the coast of the Arabian Gulf allows you to see Abu Dhabi from a new perspective. Trips vary in length, from a half-day snorkelling trip to a multi-day cruise along the Arabian Peninsula. Keen anglers might enjoy a deep-sea fishing trip, which is popular between November and March.

    Chances are that your sailing adventure will begin at Zayed Port in the centre of Abu Dhabi. The whole area is surrounded by gleaming skyscrapers, along with a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and shopping malls.

    4

    Al Ain

    Abu Dhabi’s garden city is a UNESCO World Heritage site

    • Pasangan
    • Sejarah
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    • Budget

    Al Ain is a verdant inland oasis city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It’s the 4th-largest city in all the UAE and has an epic history that marks it as one of the oldest inhabited settlements found anywhere in the world.

    To best experience this history, head to Qasr Al Muwaiji Fort, which was the birthplace of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Al Jahili Fort and Al Qattara Fort are also worth visiting, both of which overlook thousands of date palm trees.

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    5

    Jebel Hafeet

    Head up the winding mountain roads to the summit at dusk

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    • Budget
    • Petualangan

    Jebel Hafeet is a mountain in the Tawam region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It’s renowned for winding roads that lead up to the summit, along with panoramic views that can be enjoyed from the top. The stark, arid landscape surrounding the mountain has a desolate beauty, which is broken up by the sight of Al Ain town on the plain below.

    You can head into Jebel Hafeet through an extensive cave system that descends some 450 metres into the limestone rock. For history lovers, take a guided tour of the Jebel Hafit Beehive Tombs. This archaeological site is located at the foothills of the mountains, containing more than 500 tombs and treasures from the Neolithic Age. 

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    6

    Sir Bani Yas Island

    A protected nature reserve with a host of outdoor adventures

    • Keluarga
    • Sejarah
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    • Petualangan

    Sir Bani Yas Island is the largest naturally formed island in the United Arab Emirates. It has a nature reserve that’s home to a wide range of free-roaming mammals and birds – you’re likely to see flamingos, oryx, and gazelles, among many other species.

    A day trip to Sir Bani Yas Island offers a wide range of fun activities, including hiking and mountain biking through the interior or kayaking and snorkelling off the coast. The island has several beautiful beaches along the coastline, where you can relax with ocean views. For a bit of culture, you can visit a Christian monastery that dates back to AD 600.

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    7

    Liwa forts

    Impressive sandstone fort town in an oasis

    • Keluarga
    • Sejarah
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    • Budget

    The Liwa forts sit close to the Saudi border, allowing you to get a glimpse into the history of Abu Dhabi. Five forts have been completely restored to their former glory as defensive structures, which will delight anyone looking for exotic-looking selfies. The forts surround the oasis town and can be visited in 1 day. If time is tight, we recommend heading to Dhafeer Fort to the west of Liwa town.

    If you visit Abu Dhabi in December, be sure to join the crowds at the Liwa Sports Festival. It brings a range of motorsports to the sand dunes on the edge of town. Close to Liwa, you’ll find a camel farm, which makes an interesting stop-off along the way.

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    8

    Scuba diving

    Explore an underwater world in the Arabian Gulf

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    • Petualangan

    The turquoise water of the Arabian Gulf is a fantastic place to enjoy scuba diving, whether you are a novice looking for a fun dive or an experienced diver with PADI accreditation.

    Some of the most popular dive spots can be found in shallow water just a short boat journey from Abu Dhabi, such as Dibba Rock and Red Bouy. You can expect to see plenty of marine life, including parrotfish, turtles, and blacktip reef sharks. Several shipwrecks are close to Abu Dhabi, attracting skilled divers who are up for a challenging experience.

    9

    Zaya Nurai Island

    A private resort island offering a touch of luxury

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    • Mewah

    Zaya Nurai Island is a relaxed and romantic island escape that’s just over 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi. It has white-sand beaches, excellent restaurants, and world-class service, ensuring a fantastic day on the Arabian coastline.

    This private island belongs to the Zaya Nurai Island Resort, a 5-star property consisting of private villas with sea views. If you’re not a guest, you can pay for a day pass that gives you access to most parts of the resort. Take a stroll around the resort, dine at any of its 6 restaurants, and even enjoy a spa treatment. To reach Zaya Nurai Island, take a speedboat from Saadiyat Beach on the edge of Abu Dhabi.

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    10

    Dubai

    The largest city in the United Arab Emirates

    • Keluarga
    • Pasangan
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    • Mewah
    • Rombongan

    Dubai is arguably the biggest and most glamourous city of the United Arab Emirates. It's around 130 km northeast of Abu Dhabi, which takes around 1.5 hours by car. Remarkable landmarks like The Palm and Burj Khalifa are rightly world-famous, but the city has a surprisingly wide variety of attractions.

    From the tranquillity of the deserts to the hubbub of the souks, there is a huge range of things to see and do in Dubai. Within a single day, you can see vast dunes, traditional villages, and glittering skyscrapers.

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    Paul Smith | Traveler Kompulsif

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