Top 5 Must Visit Places In Abu Dhabi……

admin October 8, 2019 No Comments

Top 5 Must Visit Places In Abu Dhabi……

Capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is a well-ordered, industrious city with a pretty waterside location. First inhabited by the nomadic Bani Yas tribe in 1760, the settlement remained a small fishing village until oil was discovered. The revenues transformed Abu Dhabi into the modern city of today-a bustling center of government and business.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the major tourist attraction and wows all who visit. But the city also makes a good base for excursions to the desert landscapes of Liwa Oasis and the oasis city of Al Ain. Find the best things to do with our list of the top attractions in Abu Dhabi


1.Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Clad in Macedonian marble, the beautiful and absolutely mammoth Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is Abu Dhabi’s landmark building and by far the most popular sightseeing attraction in the city. The mosque fuses Mameluke, Ottoman, and Fatimid design elements to create a harmonious and thoroughly modern mosque that celebrates Islamic architecture. Artisans used glass-work, mosaic tiling, and intricate carvings to spectacular effect on both the interior and exterior.

It was opened in 2007 after nearly 20 years of construction. Able to hold 40,000 worshippers, it is the biggest mosque in the United Arab Emirates, and like the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah, it is dedicated to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan.

Non-Muslims are allowed into all areas of the mosque (including the vast library), and guided tours are available. The Abu Dhabi Morning Tour is a good way to get acquainted with the city. This four hour tour visits the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the bustling markets and fishing harbor of Al Mina, and the heritage village with a local guide. Transport and hotel pickup and drop-off are included.


Address: Al Khaleej al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi

2.Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Middle East’s most spectacular museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi traces the entire history of humanity’s artistic achievements, from the Neolithic right up to the current day. The wealth and diversity of art on display, from ancient Egyptian statuary to famous paintings by Picasso, is mind-boggling, while the museum’s contemporary architecture, with its galleries gathered under a vast silver dome, is a reason to visit in itself.

As well as the permanent collection, which runs over 12 galleries, several major temporary exhibitions are staged each year. The Louvre is the first of three planned major museums to open on Saadiyat Island, which is set to become the cultural heartbeat of Abu Dhabi in the coming years. The other two-Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum-are still in the planning phases.

Official Site:


3.Mangrove Kayaking Tours

Kayaking at sunset in Abu Dhabi

To see a different side of Abu Dhabi’s steel and glass exterior, head into the mangrove forests that still ring the islands along the shore surrounding the city. There’s a bundle of kayaking tours available for all levels of experience and age, ranging from 1.5 hours to three hours of paddling. The Eco Tour allows you to understand the important ecology of mangroves, as well as explore these beautiful last remnants of the city’s forests.

Another interesting thing to do for a really special experience, is to sign up for a night tours and discover the mangroves by gliding through the waters after dark.

Official site:

4.Ferrari World

This branded theme park brings the thrill of Formula One racing to Abu Dhabi and is one of the city’s top things to do for thrill seekers and families alike. Small children can test out newly learned driving skills on the Junior GT track, while adrenaline junkies can buckle up and ride the Flying Aces roller coaster, which clocks up speeds of 120 kilometers per hour on a 52-meter loop (the tallest in the world).

There’s also a collection of Ferrari’s cars, with models dating back to 1947, and a Ferrari factory tour and Ferrari knowledge game show for true car nerds.

Address: Yas Leisure Drive, Yas Island

Official site:

5.Boat Tours

For the best views of Abu Dhabi’s glittering skyscrapers, you need to head out onto the water. The views of the high-rises are quite spectacular as you drift out from the marina. Several different operators run tours for all types of budgets, but two of the more popular trips with tourists are the island hopping tours, which include some beach and snorkeling time on various islands in the bay, and sunset cruises that let you see the city lights flicker into action as dusk sets over the city-a great choice for an evening activity.

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Dubai Expo 2020: All you need to know

admin September 18, 2019 No Comments

Dubai Expo 2020: All you need to know

Formally registered at the General Assembly of 25 November 2015, World Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021.

Dubai Expo 2020: All you need to know

It’s the date everyone in the UAE is looking forward to, but what can we expect when October 20, 2020 rolls around? Let us explain

What is Expo?

It is a global destination for millions of people to share ideas, showcase innovation, encourage collaboration and celebrate human ingenuity. They are organised every five years and last for six months.

The first World Expo was held in 1851 at London’s Crystal Palace and was known as The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations. It displayed about 100,00 objects showcasing the inventions from the industrial revolution.

Some of the amazing inventions which were first brought to the world at an expo include the telegraph in London in 1851, the typewriter in Philadelphia in 1876, the diesel engine in Paris in 1900, the colour TV in New York in 1964, IMAX film in Osaka in 1970, and wireless trams in Yeosu in 2012.

The most recent expo, which started in 2015, was held in Milan, Italy, under the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. Inventions to come out of it include solar trees and energy saving elevators – something which would be useful in the UAE with all of the high-rise buildings.

How did Dubai win?

Celebrations in Dubai after the victory announcement. Christopher Pike / The National

“Ladies and gentlemen, Dubai wins.”

Those were the words in 2013 which brought about scenes of jubilation both in Paris at the general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the international organisation responsible for overseeing, regulating and selecting the candidate for the world fair, and in the UAE where residents were waiting for the outcome of the voting of the 164 nation members entitled to vote. Dubai won by a resounding majority with 116 votes, leaving Yekaterinburg, Russia, with only 47.

“I am proud of our teams who earned this victory for Dubai with two years of hard work, dedication and commitment,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said. “We renew our promise to astonish the world in 2020.”

Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and managing director of the Dubai World Expo 2020 bid committee, had earlier delivered an emotional speech to the BIE committee. She received resounding applause for her 20-minute presentation which contained videos on Dubai’s strengths of diversity, infrastructure and stability.


When the victory announcement was made fireworks filled the sky in Dubai as they exploded out of the Burj Khalifa in front of thousands of smiling faces below. Sheikh Mohammed later announced a holiday for all educational institutions across the UAE.


Above, an artist rendition of the Dubai Expo 2020 masterplan. Courtesy Expo 2020

Above, an artist rendition of the Dubai Expo 2020 masterplan. Courtesy Expo 2020

After two years of hard work and planning, Dubai’s bid to host Expo 2020 had reached 850 million people through social media, with none of the other contenders coming close according to Fisheye Analytics.

Where is it being held?

The Expo site is located in the area known as Dubai South, close to Al Maktoum International Airport. The site covers 4.38 sq km and has four main entrances. The Dubai Metro Route 2020 will take 46,000 passengers per hour to and from the Expo site in under 16 minutes from Dubai Marina.

What can visitors expect?

Al Wasl Plaza will be the heart of Expo 2020. It is said to bring together a physical manifestation of the main theme of the Expo, which is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” Significant events such as the opening and closing ceremonies will be held here.

The public were given their first look in April 2017 at how Al Wasl Plaza is expected to shape up. A dome is set to double up as a 360-degree screen at night, projecting images to thousands of visitors both inside and outside.

The plaza will connect the three thematic districts – Opportunity, Sustainability and Mobility – and the other main concourses, including the Dubai Metro link and the UAE Pavilion, through its seven entrances and exits.

The plaza will connect the three thematic districts – Opportunity, Sustainability and Mobility – and the other main concourses, including the Dubai Metro link and the UAE Pavilion, through its seven entrances and exits.

The dome will be 65 metres tall with a diameter of 150m, and will hold an estimated 10,000 visitors, said Ahmed Al Khatib, vice president of property at Expo 2020 Dubai. Filled with fountains, waterfalls, parks and palm-lined courtyards, the dome will be partly open to the sky at the top.

Each participating country will have its own pavilion, while there will also be a pavilion for each of the main themes – sustainability, mobility and opportunity.

How is progress on the site going?

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid took a helicopter ride above the site on August 7, 2017 to get a bird’s eye view of the progress. The video showed how the site, which expects to see 25 million visitors, was taking shape with the different districts clearly visible.

A further birds-eye-view came in the summer of 2018, with structures topped out amid the sea of cranes. The Dubai Metro line was also highlighted in the video below, as it snakes its way from the Expo site towards the city to create a seamless journey for visitors. In March, 2019, the Roads and Transport Authority said the metro extension was on schedule.

To mark two year’s to go until the grand opening, The National visited the Expo site in October to see how much progress had been made.

Infrastructure work had already been completed on deep utilities, sewage, storm water, electricity sub stations, cabling, water lines, telecommunication and roads.

The foundation and structural work was also complete in the three theme districts. About 40,000 workers will be on site daily in 2019 to ensure the project keeps its tight schedule.

In April, 2018, Luxembourg became the first country to break ground on the construction of its pavilion. It is designed by architects Metaform and its design features a ramp to all floors with an overall spiral shape, within which there will be multiple areas for exhibiting and a restaurant.

What will the legacy be?

According to the official Expo 2020 website, the legacy plans are “wide-ranging and ambitious”. “We hope to stimulate the development of a knowledge economy here in Dubai, anchored to the Expo site itself, which will continue, after the event, to be a destination that attracts visitors, students and companies and is home to a combination of organisations including strategic industries, specialised technology companies, social entities and education facilities,” it says. More than 80 per cent of the site is planned to be reused or repurposed in the legacy phase.

“We are building a city in Dubai South that is here to stay and will bolster the many other plans for growth that our leaders have for the country,” Marjan Faraidooni, senior vice president of legacy development and impact at Expo 2020 Dubai, wrote in The National in July.

Siemens has already announced that it would be setting up its global logistics base on the Expo site from 2021, while she added that other companies are actively considering following in its tracks.

A conference and exhibition centre will be a key building in the Expo master plan, and will become a major event venue to be operated by Dubai World Trade Centre.

The Expo project has given a boost to the area around the site developments being ramped up in Dubai South.

Off-plan sales in the first seven months of the year in Dubai South increased 285 per cent, compared with the whole of last year, property analysts Reidin said in a report.

Once the site is fully developed, it is expected to be home to about 1 million residents and 500,000 jobs.

It’s not just on the ground that the Expo effect will be felt, as Uber has signed an agreement with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority to test flying cars at Expo 2020.

During his visit to the site in December 2018, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid called for youth to be at the heart of the Expo.

“The event is one of the largest global gatherings that bring together the world’s greatest minds to discuss how we can shape the future,’ he said. “The youth should play a key part in this mega event and get opportunities to observe, learn and contribute creative ideas so that they can develop innovative solutions for creating a better future for our region and the world.”

The public has been enthusiatic about the Expo. In a March 2019 survery, Dubai residents are confident Expo 2020 will deliver a positive impact on the economy, society and culture.

The logo

The inspiration behind the logo came from a ring found at a 4,000-year-old archaeological site in the desert in the Al Marmum area of Dubai.

The winning design was revealed by Sheikh Mohammed last year and was displayed on the Burj Khalifa.

The Expo 2020 logo, he said, “represents our message to the world that our civilisation has deep roots. We were and will always be a pot that gathers civilisations and a centre for innovation”.

Jonathan Gornall tells a wonderful story here on how the discovery of the ring can be attributed to Sheikh Mohammed himself.


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Difficulties Choosing a Nursery? Here is How To Choose a Nursery For Your little One In Dubai, UAE

admin September 17, 2019 No Comments

Difficulties Choosing a Nursery? Here is How To Choose a Nursery For Your little One In Dubai, UAE

In this guide to choosing a nursery, specialist Jenny Mollon guides us on what you should look for when choosing a pre-school for your little ones in the United Arab Emirates…

There is little more nerve wracking then dropping your little one at nursery for the first time. Will they be happy? How on earth will they settle when at home they rarely leave your side for a second? Will someone cuddle them if they cry? Will someone cuddle you if you cry? (We are only half joking on that last question.)

Nursery provision in Dubai offers an overwhelming choice of nursery styles, locations and curricula, made all the more confusing if you are new to the UAE. Here is the guide to making the right choice for you and your child.

Making a shortlist
Start by shortlisting nurseries that will make your life easier. As ambitious as parents today can be, there’s little good in choosing a highly academic, little Einstein producing nursery that sees you landed with a hideous daily commute. Factors to consider include:

  • Proximity to work, home and the school(s) of your older children.Schools and workplaces often open brutally early in Dubai. Can you get everyone where they need to be whilst maintaining their (your) sanity? If you can’t manage the commute, does the nursery offer transport? If you are a stay at home parent does the nursery run offer a chance to stop for a coffee and a whip round the supermarket on the way home?
  • Term time only or all year round?It may come as a surprise to parents that many nurseries in Dubai operate on a term time only basis. Great if you can make it work (especially if you plan to leave for the long, hot Dubai summer) but not so helpful if both parents are working with only a standard 4 or 5 week holiday allocation. If you do decide to use a term time only nursery, can you afford a nanny/home help to cover the dates the nursery is closed? Does the nursery have the same closure dates as your older child’s school? Siblings with differing mid-term holiday dates can be a real challenge to co-ordinate!
  • Is the nursery affiliated with a school/school group?The recent spate of school openings has reduced the pressure on school waiting lists and place availability in Dubai, but a nursery that offers your child priority for your preferred school may well be a sensible long term strategy.
  • Curriculum.If you plan to return home any time soon, it may make sense to choose the curriculum widely offered in your home country. That said, this is probably more relevant for primary and secondary age children, but do read up on the curriculum offered and make sure you feel it will meet the needs of your child.
  • Languages.Most nurseries operate with English as their first language but you will find others that lead with French, Arabic and German. Many English speaking nurseries will offer language programmes as a regular activity.

Next Steps

Once you have made your shortlist spend a little time perusing the websites of your chosen nurseries. Look at the fee structure and make sure it is affordable. Are activities (music, yoga, sports etc.) included in the basic fee or charged separately? Do they cater for children of your child’s age (many nurseries cater for children aged 12 months + and not below). Spend time on social media and parenting forums asking questions about your selection. As yet the KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) does not publish nursery inspection reports (as it does for schools), so your best bet for reliable and honest feedback will be other parents. This may help you to narrow your field still further. Check also if the nursery is on As well as a write up, you can, if we have had sufficient feedback, find a tab for What Parents Think…

Drop by
Most nurseries will offer a guided tour by appointment, but there is little harm in dropping in to ask a few questions and book your tour. A sneak peek at a nursery when they are not expecting you is are great way to inform your gut feeling. Do you receive a warm welcome? Does the nursery feel calm, happy and well organised?

Take a Tour, armed with questions
Before you take a tour, write down a list of questions to ask. Nurseries are often busy and noisy – it’s easy to come away without having asked everything you need to. Remember that you are interviewing the nursery for the fantastic privilege of caring for your child. Ask questions, then ask a few more.

What to ask and what to look for

Every parent will have their own priorities for childcare, so do think about what exactly it is you want for your child. Are you looking for somewhere peaceful and nurturing for a young baby or are you looking to have your 3 year old up to speed and ready to start school? That said, there are a few generic questions that we think every good nursery should be prepared to answer:

  1. Do the buildings and equipment look well maintained?
    2. Are all the entrances and exits secure and monitored? Are there clearly signed fire exits?
    3. Does the nursery have documented health and safety procedures that they are willing to share with you?
    4. Does the nursery employ a qualified, full time nurse?
    5. Do other staff have Paediatric First Aid training?
    6. Are there quiet, comfortable and age appropriate sleeping areas for the children?
    7. Are the staff appropriately qualified to teach the curriculum offered? A nursery that offers the EYFS should have lead staff qualified with Cache Level 3 Diplomas as minimum. Primary school teachers are often employed in nurseries in Dubai – parents should be aware that there is a very different skill set and these teachers may need additional training to bridge the gap between their qualification and nursery work.
    8. How will the staff help your child to settle? How is separation anxiety dealt with?
    9. How is feedback on your child given? At what intervals? How will any concerns be raised and addressed?
    10. What is the adult:child ratio for each age group?
    11. What is staff turnover like? How many staff are retained year on year?
    12. Does the nursery have a good balance of indoor and outdoor play areas?
    13. How the children are kept engaged and interested throughout the day – is there a good balance between structured and free play?
    14. Do the children have access to classes from visiting teachers? E.g. ballet, football, swimming and music.
    15. Do they children have regular access to books? There should be a mixture of books which are accessible for independent use and story time books which are read by the staff.
    16. Is there are wide range of resources and play equipment? Look for creative resources, (paints, glue, age appropriate scissors, modelling clay, collage materials), construction toys (blocks, simple Lego, tubes and linking shapes), physical play equipment (hoops, balls, balance beams, sand and water play) and imaginary play (dress up clothes, role play areas e.g. kitchens and shops).
    17. How are the different age groups separated? Is there scope for play with both older and younger children?
    18. Is television offered? When and for what purpose?
    19. How can parents support the nursery and be involved in the nursery community?
    20. Do they children and staff look happy? The most important of all questions! Staff who look stressed or frazzled will not be able to nurture your child in the same way as those that enjoy their jobs and are relaxed at work. Look for happy and smiling staff interacting with warmth with the children in their care. Look for children who with relaxed body language who are enjoying their day and have confidence in their teachers and surroundings.

Finally, evaluate your nursery choice with carebut never disregard your gut feeling. Listen to your instincts only you know your child best.



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