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Gay Friendly Guide • ABU DHABI | What to See, Where to Stay, Best Gay Bars and Restaurants | LGBT


ABU DHABI

Discover this City with our Quick and Practical Guide to Visit the Best Attractions, Savor Typical Dishes and Have Fun in the Best Gay Bars. All this through the Rainbow Eyes of the World Mappers

 

What to See, Best Places to Sleep, Where to Eat and to Have Fun in ABU DHABI?

Find it out with the World Mappers !

 


IS ABU DHABI REALLY GAY FRIENDLY?

In a country where being gay is illegal, there are obviously no hotels dedicated to the LGBT community. Nonetheless, Abu Dhabi has some of the best luxury hotels in the world, known for their avant-garde décor, spectacular infinity pools, fine dining restaurants and fantastic spa experiences. Male or female couples (even if with less problems) sharing a bed are prohibited. While the Sharia police will not raid your hotel rooms, many hotels tend to automatically assign a room with separate beds or will add an extra bed without your knowledge. However, most international luxury brands allow gay couples to share beds, as long as this is done with great discretion.

If you're looking to connect with another LGBT single through a Gay App (like Grindr or Scruff), remember that you'll need a VPN connection to do so. The UAE government blocks various LGBT web content and applications. We recommend using NordVPN for a secure encrypted connection. An app like this will allow you to download and use limited apps and websites.

 

WHAT TO SEE in ABU DHABI?

10 THINGS TO SEE in ABU DHABI

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

The largest in the country and considered one of the wonders of the modern world, it is one of the most beautiful places to see in Abu Dhabi. Built between 1996 and 2007, this mosque is made of white marble and has four minarets that exceed 100 meters in height and if the exterior leaves you speechless, the interior is no less thanks to the huge patio decorated with mosaics , the world's largest handmade carpet, golden lamps and Swarovski crystals. Entrance to the mosque is free and you just need to respect a series of rules such as wearing long trousers for men and a scarf that covers your hair for women, as well as loose clothing that covers your legs and arms (the controls are very strict). If you don't have this type of clothing, they will lend it to you for free before entering the mosque. As for visiting hours, we advise you to see it both day and night, when the lighting and the pools that surround it create a magical atmosphere. Don't miss the view of the mosque from the Oasis of Dignity viewpoint, located opposite the mosque, about a 15-minute walk away, especially when the sun sets and an impressive dance of lights is created.

Abu Dhabi Louvre

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, opened in 2017 and located in the cultural district of Saadiyat Island, is the premier museum to visit in Abu Dhabi. The work of French architect Jean Nouvel, this architectural marvel is striking with its seemingly floating steel dome, which allows sunlight to filter through creating a sea of stars. And while the building's design alone is worth a visit, inside you'll find works by great masters on loan from various French museums such as the Musée D'Orsay and the Louvre in Paris. Although its collection is not yet important, the museum is acquiring works that will soon make it one of the cultural references of the Middle East. A good option to visit this museum, away from the city center, is to pre-book this ticket where you can include hotel pick-up. If you have more time, you can go to Saadiyat beach with fine sand and turquoise waters, it is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

Corniche

One of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi is to take a sunset stroll along Corniche Avenue and end the day with a relaxing swim at its public beach. This endless 8-kilometer promenade has a delimited path for walking or playing sports, where there are also shaded areas where you can rest, parks and stalls for a drink or food. At the center of the promenade is Corniche Beach, a public beach where you can swim with a view of what used to be the tallest flag in the world with 122 meters high and the dome of the Abu Dhabi theater.


Qasr Al Watan

Qasr Al Watan, an impressive palace that opened to the public in early 2019, is another of the most beautiful places to see in Abu Dhabi. Previously used only for official events, this palace stands out for its white exterior, well-kept gardens and the dome of the Great Hall, 100 meters long and 100 meters wide. The interior of the building, meticulously decorated in a traditional Arab style, houses the legendary Birmingham Koran, the first modern map of Arabia, pre-Hispanic codices and thousands of pieces of silver and glass, as well as an impressive library with more over 50,000 books and a panoramic hall where royal banquets are held.

Hotel Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace Hotel, located on the shores of the Persian Gulf, is one of the most luxurious hotels and one of the few 7-star hotels in the world. With the title of the world's most expensive hotel, costing more than $3 billion, this huge complex has everything from a 1.3-kilometer private beach to a helipad, though luxury is also found in its more than 90 suites, some furnished with gold and others reserved for official visits to the country. Prices range from 300 euros to 12,000 euros, although you have the option of visiting the spectacular indoor hall for free or having a drink in one of its bars. Among its eccentricities are gold vending machines and even its cappuccinos are dusted with gold leaf. Another option is to make dinner reservations at the fantastic Le Vendome buffet restaurant or the Hakkasan Asian restaurant.


Shopping Centers

Another top things to do in Abu Dhabi is shopping in its huge malls like Marina Mall and Yas Mall. Even if they are not as spectacular as those in Dubai, they are at least worth going into and in this case, we would choose Yas Mall, much more modern than the Marina and with better shops and a wider range of restaurants. Inside Yas Mall you have more than 400 shops of all international brands, restaurants of all kinds such as the famous Shake Shack and access to Ferrari World. As a curiosity you will see many local men dressed impeccably in white walking around in groups or drinking coffee, which adds a certain local charm to this amazing mall.


Qasr Al-Hosn

Known as the White Fort, Qasr Al-Hosn is the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi and was built in 1761 as a watchtower to defend the area's only freshwater well. After major expansions financed with oil money, it became the beautiful palace of the emir, second in beauty only to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and the seat of government until 1966. Today you can enjoy this architectural masterpiece and visit its beautiful interior halls such as the halls for gifts and banquets decorated with mosaics and gilded furniture.

Etihad Towers

Located at the end of the Corniche promenade and opposite the Emirates Palace, the Ethiad Towers of Abu Dhabi are another of the must-see sights in Abu Dhabi. With 5 towers ranked among the tallest in the city, this complex is worth seeing during the day and especially at night when its towers are lit up. In the Jumeirah building of the Etihad Towers you can go up to the 74th floor which has a 360 degree viewpoint located 300 meters high and with spectacular views over the city and the Arabian Gulf.


Yas Marina

Located on Yas Island, Yas Marina is the trendy area to visit in Abu Dhabi, a perfect place to while away the last hours of the day. In this port you will find luxurious yachts, restaurants with terraces where you can eat or drink, the impressive Yas Viceroy hotel and the famous Formula 1 circuit.


Mangrove National Park

Located on Yas Island, Yas Marina is the trendy area to visit in Abu Dhabi, a perfect place to while away the last hours of the day. In this port you will find luxurious yachts, restaurants with terraces where you can eat or drink, the impressive Yas Viceroy hotel and the famous Formula 1 circuit.

 

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES

Visiting this city at its best depends essentially on how long you have to fully enjoy it. Here is a solution based on the number of days available to you:

(By opening the Maps with Google, you can easily follow our path)

 

3 BEST EXCURSIONS from ABU DHABI

We advise you to book the best excursions here: Viator - Musement - Get Your Guide

Dubai

Al Ain

Arabic Desert (Rub' al Khali Desert, Liwa Oasis and Moreeb Dunes)


 

Click'n'Go - Click on Hotels, Restaurants, Bars & Clubs

to find them on the Map or visit their Website

 

WHERE TO SLEEP in ABU DHABI?

10 BEST GAY FRIENDLY HOTELS in ABU DHABI

In a country where being gay is illegal, there are obviously no hotels dedicated to the LGBT community. Nonetheless, Abu Dhabi has some of the best luxury hotels in the world, known for their avant-garde décor, spectacular infinity pools, fine dining restaurants and fantastic spa experiences. Couples of men or women (even if with less problems) sharing a bed are prohibited. While the police won't break into your hotel rooms, many hotels tend to automatically assign a room with separate beds or will add an extra bed without your knowledge. However, most international luxury brands allow gay couples to share beds, as long as this is done with great discretion.

Novel Hotel City Center Abu Dhabi **** ® Tested by World Mappers

 

WHERE TO EAT in ABU DHABI?

5 BEST RESTAURANTS in ABU DHABI Quality / Price

€€€ - Byblos Sur Mer (Lebanese Restaurant)

€€ - Filini Gardens (Italian Restaurant)

€€ - Li Beirut (Lebanese Restaurant) ® Tested by World Mappers

€€ - Al Mrzab Restaurant (Arabic Restaurant)

 

NIGHTLIFE in ABU DHABI

3 BEST FRIENDLY PLACES, BARS & CLUBS in ABU DHABI

Of course there is no official gay scene in Abu Dhabi as homosexuality is illegal. In fact, there is an unofficial "underground" gay reality. One has to connect with locals or other LGBT expats living in Abu Dhabi to discover it.

Mr Miyagi's Yas Marina (Friendly Bar)

Ray's Bar Level 62 (Friendly Bar) ® Tested by World Mappers

W Lounge Abu Dhabi (Friendly Bar)

 

TRAVEL TIPS about ABU DHABI by World Mappers

  • Abu Dhabi Theme Parks - Another of the top things to do in Abu Dhabi, if you have more than one day, is visit one of its fantastic theme parks.Among the most recommended, located on Yas Island, are:

  1. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi - it is the largest indoor theme park in the world and is dedicated to the Italian brand Ferrari. Among its many attractions is the Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world. You can book your ticket here.

  2. Warner Bros World - opened in 2018, this park features 29 state-of-the-art attractions inspired by the animated world and characters of Warner Bros. You can book your ticket in advance, including hotel pickup, here.

  3. Yas Waterworld - this water amusement park is perfect for a fun day out, especially in the warmer months. Book your ticket from this page.

WHAT TO DO in ABU DHABI

  • In Abu Dhabi there are many activities to do, we recommend some of the ones we liked the most and that you cannot miss:

  1. Sir Bani Yas Island - 250 km southwest of Abu Dhabi, the island of Sir Bani Yas Island is home to the Arabian Wildlife Park, the largest protected area in the United Arab Emirates established in 1970 by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The reserve is home to more than 17,000 free-roaming animals, including Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs.

  2. CLYMB™ - For adrenaline lovers this is the perfect place. The Clymb™ Adventure Hub offers five unique climbing walls for all ages and abilities, including the Summyt™, the world's tallest indoor climbing wall and the world's largest indoor skydiving flight chamber.

  3. Wadi Adventure - 90 minutes from Abu Dhabi city is Wadi Adventure, a water park at the foot of the stunning Jebel Hafit mountain in Al Ain. Kayak or raft the longest man-made canals in the world, surf, wave pools and so much more.

  4. Al-Ain Zoo - A trip to Al Ain Zoo is a must. Over 4,000 animals and many exciting experiences, including penguin feeding, a walk through the lemur exhibit, a parrot show, horse, camel or pony rides around beautiful green spaces, and so much more. Book an Al Ain Safari tour for an unforgettable journey to the foothills of the majestic Jebel Hafit Mountain. Passionate safari guides will share their knowledge and ensure you spot as many animals as possible, including lion, white rhino, zebra, giraffe, kudu, ostrich and wildebeest. A gourmet dinner under the stars, on the edge of lion territory, is the perfect end to your day.

  5. Kayak Tour - Kayaking around one of the seven urban wonders of the world (which is also the first universal museum in the Arab world) is another must-do activity in Abu Dhabi. This kayak adventure allows you to appreciate and learn more about the museum's breathtaking architecture from the stillness of the Arabian Sea. Sea Hawk Water Sports offers this excursion and you will be accompanied by professional instructors.

  6. Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi - Kayaking around one of the seven urban wonders of the world (which is also the first universal museum in the Arab world) is another must-do activity in Abu Dhabi. This kayak adventure allows you to appreciate and learn more about the museum's breathtaking architecture from the stillness of the Arabian Sea. Sea Hawk Water Sports offers this excursion and you will be accompanied by professional instructors.

"SECRET ABU DHABI"

Unusual and Particular Places to See in Abu Dhabi

Outside the classic places to visit of the city, there is a "Secret Abu Dhabi" that has simply bewitched us. Here are the 5 Things and Places to See in Secret Abu Dhabi:

  1. Aldar HQ - An iconic structure for the headquarters of Aldar Properties, inspired by a shell with the shape of a circle that symbolizes unity, stability and rationality. The result? Two giant circular glass walls of convex shape, 110 meters high, joined by a thin strip of glass.

  2. Heritage Village - Many famous places across Abu Dhabi depict Emirati culture, but if you want to deepen your knowledge about Arab culture, then Heritage Village should be on your list. It is a reconstructed village and features a souk, a mosque and much more.

  3. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort di Anantara - Just 200km from Abu Dhabi is the Empty Quarter (or Rub al Khali), the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the world, here the luxurious Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is worth a visit . Its name means 'mirage palace' because its structure rises like a mirage from the surrounding slopes.

  4. Al Wathba Wetland Reserve - This nature reserve is home to more than 250 bird species, 37 plant species and various types of dragonflies. Al Wathba Wetland Reserves organize walking tours to explore the place on foot.

  5. Berklee College of Music - Music lovers will appreciate Abu Dhabi's partnership with the US-based Berklee College of Music. The former UAE pavilion designed by Norman Foster, was recently refurbished to house the new Berklee Abu Dhabi campus. This stunning landmark offers 3,900 square feet of performance space, recording studios, rehearsal studios, practice rooms, ensemble rooms and more.

  • Masdar City - To combat climate change, a company in the United Arab Emirates called "Masdar" (nicknamed "Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company") designed a 100% green city in 2006. A perfectly functioning city that does not emit even a gram of greenhouse gases. With an initial $22 billion to build, the city can accommodate up to 1,500 businesses, 50,000 working city residents, plus an additional 60,000 from surrounding areas.

  • If you're looking to connect with another LGBT single through a Gay App (like Grindr or Scruff), remember that you'll need a VPN connection to do so. The UAE government blocks various LGBT web content and applications. We recommend using NordVPN for a secure encrypted connection. An app like this will allow you to download and use limited apps and websites.

 

What to See near ABU DHABI ?

 

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