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Getting There in Abu Dhabi

By Air

Abu Dhabi International Airport is the UAE's second busiest airport (after Dubai) and the home base of Abu Dhabi's flag carrier Etihad. Launched in 2003, Etihad Airways has been expanding rapidly and now flies everywhere from the United States to Australia, and its services (particularly on long-haul flights) are remarkably good in all classes.

Despite its slightly dingy appearance and the spectacularly bizarre blue-lime tiled mushroom canopy that awaits you at the gates, the airport itself is quite well-maintained and has duty-free shopping. However, it can get a little overcrowded at peak hours around midnight. The airport is currently undergoing a major expansion which is proposed to be completed by 2010. Picking up luggage is also quite easy, although, be forewarned that airport personnel may remove a flight's bags from the carousel and stack them in a pile next to it, as the airport has few baggage carousels.

To/from the Abu Dhabi International Airport:

• Al Ghazal taxis travel to the city at a flat rate of AED75 and take around 40 minutes;
• metered taxis are now allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. A trip into Abu Dhabi city centre will cost between AED60 and AED70. Metered taxis can also bring passengers to the airport;
• public bus route 901 also heads to the city every 30-45 minutes and costs just AED3;
• if you are flying on Etihad, complimentary shuttle buses are provided at regular intervals to the centre of Abu Dhabi and to Dubai. These depart from the main car park at the front of the airport, by the car hire offices.

A viable alternative is to fly to Dubai International Airport in the neighbouring emirate of Dubai and continue onward by bus or, if really in a hurry, by taxi.

To/from Dubai International Airport:

• a metered Dubai airport taxi direct to the Abu Dhabi town centre will cost about AED300;
• to get a bus, you will have to go to one of several bus stations in Dubai to catch the Emirates Express to Abu Dhabi.

By Road

The five-lane highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is the country's heaviest-travelled route, and the 130-km journey can be covered in two hours. While there is a national speed limit of 120 km/h, this is often wildly exceeded by young Emiratis and the highway sees over 20 accidents monthly. Stay out of the leftmost lane and drive carefully, especially at night.


You can get into Abu Dhabi from the other emirates by bus. The Emirates Express between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is operated jointly by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai municipalities. The 130-km route takes around two hours and the cost per person is AED20 one way. The first bus departs from the Abu Dhabi main bus terminal on the corner of Hazza bin Zayed the First (11th) Street and East (4th) Road at 6:30 am and the last leaves at 9:30 pm; they leave at 45 minute intervals. From Dubai, the buses leave from 6 am, and run until 9 pm, from the Al Ghubaibah station. For bus times, see the timetable published in the Government of Dubai website.


You can flag down any metered taxi on the street in Dubai or any other place in the UAE and ask to go to Abu Dhabi. The cost between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is about AED250. From Abu Dhabi, taxis cost about AED200 to Dubai.




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