This morning I caught the RedEye's cover about the Sex in the City 2 crew going to Abu Dhabi as part of their movie. I didn't know who to feel bad for, the poor Emiratis or the SATC crew. The film was actually filmed at Morocco, but I figured that it gave me a good excuse to write about Abu Dhabi. It's 7300 miles away and not on the tourist destination for most people.
About a 90 minute drive from Dubai, Abu Dhabi's the capital of the United Arab Emirates, In 1971, 7 emirates formed the UAE. Abu Dhabi's the more responsible big brother to Dubai's wild and crazy excess. In fact, if it wasn't for Abu Dhabi bailing Dubai out, there could have been some more financial turbulence.
How to get there:
You can get there directly from O'Hare if you feel like flying 15 hours nonstop on Etihad Airways. Or if you feel like breaking it up, fly Air France, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Turkish Airways and Royal Jordanian.
Where to stay:
If you're going to live it up like the SATC clan, you might as well stay at the Emirates Palace hotel. Allegedly the world's most expensive hotel construction-wise (over US $3 billion), most everything is made out of gold and marble. They also have a gold vending machine in the lobby.
What do do:
Golf, sunbathe, sail, horseback riding and enjoy the sand dunes.
The sand dunes?
Ever been sandboarding? Wadi bashing? It's awesome.
Can I drink?
Yes you can. You just need to do it at hotels and resorts. You also should know that if you get drunk and are stupid, you will face the wrath of authorities. PDA's are a no-no and anything sex related is banned (hence the reason why the movie was denied permission to film in Abu Dhabi.) Just dress conservatively and you should be ok.
If you're thinking about someplace unique to visit, the Emirates is the place to go. A week will give you a few days in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi's official tourism site is here. Check it out, and count the ways the movie gets the place wrong.