20 reasons why Abu Dhabi is better than Dubai

Maybe you’ve been living in the wrong emirate this whole time…

Neil Churchill October 13, 2014

Forgive us for making a sweeping assumption, but the generally accepted belief amongst UAE residents – more so expats – is that Dubai is better than Abu Dhabi there’s more to do in Dubai than there is in Abu Dhabi.

This may anger fierce Abu Dhabi lovers, and rightly so. Others may simply sigh and nod their heads in agreement.

But as much as we love Dubai here at EDGAR, we also have a huge soft spot for the country’s capital. In fact, we’d go as far to say there are 20 good reasons why Abu Dhabi trumps Dubai…

1. The Mangroves
Dubai may be building a canal, but does it have more than 60,000 square metres of wild, natural, planet-made mangroves? No, it does not.

2. Formula 1 at Yas Marina Circuit
If this was a game of Top Trumps, don’t even bother bringing out your Dubai Autodrome card.

3. du Arena
Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Jay Z, Metallica, Muse, Justin Timberlake…just a few of the megastars who have played the du Arena. This week, Dubai’s Media City Amphitheatre has a Gary Barlow concert…tickets still available.

4. The corniche
Abu Dhabi must be doing something right with its corniche, Dubai’s JBR The Beach and new Jumeirah development are awfully similar…

5. Yas Links
Dubai may have more golf courses than Abu Dhabi does, but does it have a seriously good links course? No, no it does not.

6. It has awesome islands
Palm Jumeirah aside, Dubai’s islands – Jebel Ali Palm, Palm Deira and the World Islands – continue their white elephants existence. On the contrary, Abu Dhabi offers you Sir Bani Yas Island – home to a safari with 10,000 free roaming wild animals; Saddiyat Island with hotels, beach clubs and golf courses galore; Al Maryah Island, home to The Galleria luxury mall and Sowwah Square; and Delma Island with its history and heritage. Who needs main land?!

7. Masdar City
At six square kilometres, the ‘world’s greenest city’ will be home to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, and it will all be powered by 87,777 solar panels and a 10-megawatt solar plant. Being green is cool.

8. The Guggenheim and the Louvre
They’ve been a long time coming, but when completed the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island will be a 450,000 square foot museum, making it the largest Guggenheim in the world. Oh, and just next door will be the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

9. Liwa desert
The world’s largest sand desert; until you drive through the Empty Quarter you have no idea how awesome massive expanses of desert can be.

10. Tel Moreeb
And somewhere in that mass expanse of sand is Tel Moreeb – a 300 metre-high sand dune, considered by many to be the world’s tallest. It also has a 50-degree incline, making it a haven for motor sports enthusiasts.

11. Al Ain
An oasis, a palace museum, a great zoo, an old fort, a camel market, a shooting club and a man-made white water rafting facility – all of this Al Ain has to offer.

12. It has all the oil
Yep, it really does.

13. Cheaper petrol
If you drive regularly between the two emirates, always fill up in Abu Dhabi.

14. Emirates Palace
In a country of huge hotels that stun the senses, Emirates Palace is a colossus; nothing comes close to it.

15. Star Wars
Scenes for the up-coming new Star Wars film were shot here. Enough said.

16. Rolls-Royce
The luxury car brand’s Abu Dhabi dealer is its most successful in the world, and has the busiest bespoke unit. Given a Roller is the king of all cars, that’s not a bad feather to have in your cap.

17. Better taxi-to-human ratio
This is enough to move to Abu Dhabi on its own.

18. Grand Mosque
One of the most stunning mosques in the world, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque looks like a real-life palace out of Aladdin. See it to believe it.

19. Ferrari World
The words ‘Dubai’ and ‘theme park’ are seemingly cursed. Abu Dhabi though has Ferrari World, home to the fastest roller coaster on the planet.

20. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
A hospital, for falcons! Amazing.