This weekend, I did a short and sweet, one-day trip to ABU DHABI from DUBAI and this post is all about spending it in a fantastico way. We started from Dubai at 8 p.m. and we were back in Dubai next day at 10:30 p.m. This post will not only tell our story but will also help you with all the bus route numbers. We thoroughly enjoyed our navigation using bus and taxi.
Our 24 hours were very well spent from Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus station to Dalma Mall to Mohammed Bin Zayed City to Yas Island and back to Dubai. More than touching upon new experiences, it was about catching up with friends and their family. And of course we squeezed in some time to visit the Yas Mall and Ferrari World but you must read the blog to know that why we were not able to explore the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque or the Ferrari World as planned.
Highlights of the Trip
Generally people have to make extra efforts to reach Al Ghubaiba bus station but for us it is a 15 minute walk from the hotel apartment at Al Rolla Street. The E100 service or the Emirates Express between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is operated jointly by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai municipalities. The 130km route takes around two hours. One way journey costs Dh25. When we reached the station, people were already standing in a queue. I saw three buses fully pack in next 10 minutes. We boarded the third bus. One just needs a NOL card from RTA and then the journey is simple. We swiped our cards and boarded the bus. In these buses, families and ladies have their seats in front and the men have their seats at the back. Since I was traveling with my husband, we took the seat just behind the driver.
The two hour journey was extremely comfortable via the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Highway of E 11 which takes different names in different Emirates- Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai and Sheikh Maktoum Road in Abu Dhabi. We alighted at the Abu Dhabi Bus terminal next to Al Wahda Mall. Since it was our first time, we did not know how to reach Dalma Mall where we had to meet a friend with whom we were planning to have dinner and spend the night with.
There was absolutely nothing to worry about because the Bus Terminal had a very active information center and the moment we reached there, they helped us with the bus route number. We asked them if we needed to have a card to pay for the bus ride. There we learnt that in buses with 3 digit numbers, we could pay inside the bus and board. To move around the main city where two digit number buses plied, a transport card is needed. He further guided us that for now if you have to go to Mussaffah, you need not buy the card.
Bus number-101 came to our help. It runs direct from Abu Dhabi Bus Terminal to Dalma Mall (last stop). The ride costed us 4 Dhiram per person. It took almost like an hour to reach the Mall which is known as one of the biggest shopping center in Abu Dhabi. I enjoyed the ride through the city suburbs but all through this while Abu Dhabi came out to be a sleepy town to me. In contrast to Dubai, it seemed to dull and cold. There was hardly any buzz on the roads and everything seemed too quiet and peaceful for a Friday night. I may be wrong because this was my first time here. On the way we also passed through the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It looked beautiful and glowed under the blue light. I was reminded of my visit to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat and was looking forward to visiting this one too. Of course it was closed at that time and allows entry only till 9.30 p.m. We had plans to visit it early morning next day.
My husband’s school friend was waiting for us at Dalma Mall. I had always known her virtually and socially but it was lovely meeting her for the first time. At 11 p.m. when we got down, we immediately informed her that the bus had dropped us outside the Mall. In next five minutes we were sitting with her in the Gazebo restaurant. Well since I had already eaten in Gazebo, Dubai, I knew about the food and its flavors. We ordered Chicken Masala, Kadai Paneer, Egg Dum Biryani. Biryani at Gazebo is one of its kinds and definitely a must do. It was wonderful catching up her lovely kids over the good food. We were all so engrossed in talking that by the time we winded up we were the last to leave from the restaurant. The new day had already begun. Thankfully, the friend’s home was close-by and we drove to one of the zones at the Mohammad Zayed city in Abu Dhabi.
I did tell you that our friend has two kiddos who were super fun. When they saw me clicking food pictures, they were curious to know what I really did with them. To make them understand, I told them about my blog and the kind of stories that I do. When we were leaving the mall, the little girl told me, ‘You must click a picture of the paintings too, this looks nice and you must write about it.’ I was extremely happy to hear this and I took the above picture. Wish I had more time to check the paintings. We were too late and thus I could not stop for more.
At home, we chatted till the wee hours of the morning and retired to sleep only at 3:45 a.m. Of course, the plans for the next day seemed delayed in our minds. But I was sure I wanted to be at the Grand Mosque and Yas Island.
First thing in the morning, we all got up late and then dint not want to budge. We were enjoying with the friend and her kids. But since hubby is hardly free on the weekdays and rarely on weekends, we had to utilize the time to be at the Yas Island. Even though we tried to wrap up soon, we could not. By 1:30 we finally moved out and there we realized that we were putting in one of the villas in Mohammed Zayed City (pic above). There was pin drop silence except a few cars on the roads. There were wide roads and the farthest that could see promised barren land at near and far. We were in a hurry and thus we decided to miss the Mosque and head to Yas Island first. We hired a taxi to the Abu Dhabi Bus terminal where we had de-boarded last night. The taxi fare was 50 Dhiram.
Here, we learnt that there are four buses (170, 180, 190, 195) that go to Yas Island. We had to board the bus from the other side of the bus station. The cost was once again 4 Dhiram per person. The ride was very smooth and scenic. We could see the Abu Dhabi port Corniche on both the sides. The bus number 170 dropped us just opposite the Yas Mall. By the time we reached there, it was already 3.30 p.m. I feared if it was enough to enjoy at the Ferrari world. Actually we really dint know that how much time was needed to thoroughly experience this entertainment hub.
We scurried towards the Ferrari World. Initially we faced difficulty in finding our way but soon we made our way through the parking and once we crossed it, we found everything in Red hinting the presence of the Ferrari world. I was really looking forward to it and more than that my hubby was super excited around the famous and the biggest roller coaster ride Formula Rossa.
It was already 4 p.m by the time we reached the ticket counter to collect mine which had been arranged by their team. We thought 4 hours would be enough for it since it closes at 8 p.m. but the person at the sales suggested that since these tickets were valid for next six months, we must come again and use it wisely some other day. Since it was a Saturday, there was lot of tours happening. The rush was too much and a few rides and shows were already full and over. Well, I was disappointed to know this because I was really looking forward to do this that day. The best part was that I was supposed to experience and explore and blog for them by invite. But we decided to take the suggestion and do this some other day.
Co incidentally, my friend’s parents were also in the Yas mall at the time when we also exploring it. I had updated on my Facebook and that is how we could connect. They asked us to join us at the food court and we reached out to them. It was wonderful catching up with them. We were meeting them after an year or so. Its a great feeling to meet someone from India in another country. After some time when we had discussed enough around our jobs, food, fun in and around Dubai and Abu Dhabi, they decided to leave and we stayed in the mall for another hour.
At about 7 we boarded the bus to Abu Dhabi again. Now, here is a catch. I always thought that there was a direct bus from Yas Island to Dubai but I must inform you that there isn’t. One has to go to ABU Dhabi Bus Terminal first and then only you can either go to Yas Island or return to Dubai. So we did the same. We went back to the station next to Al Wahda Mall and from there we boarded E100 headed to Dubai. Once again, it was a smooth journey. Though we could not do our Abu Dhabi exactly as planned but we loved meeting people and touching upon new things. All in all it was a great weekend. And of all this, I know that a trip to Abu Dhabi will happen soon.