Consider a stay in Arabian night village near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates more like a desert tour. Here’s what the package includes:
- Transfer from Abu Dhabi & back
- Dune bashing in air-conditioned, 4x4 Land Cruisers
- Short camel ride
- Henna painting
- Sand surfing
- International dinner buffet
- Live Oud music at dinner
- Belly dancer show
- Swimming pool access
- Continental buffet breakfast
- Soft drinks
After the checkout from my hotel in Abu Dhabi, I got on the bus number 56 to be on time for the transfer to an Arabian nights village. Setting off at noon, we reached Khalifa park stop a little past 1 p.m. The very parking lot we arrived at would be the pickup point for the Arabian nights' bus, but it was still an hour away, and I thought I’d explore Khalifa park, only to discover it didn’t open until 3 p.m. on Fridays. So I walked to the nearby Rotana Residences hotel complex to wait for the bus in the lobby, and 20 minutes ahead of the departure time the bus was already there.
The trip took almost 2 hours, the last thirty minutes by a dirt road, through beautiful desert scenery with a few freeride camels wandering around. After a quick check-in at the cottage, we were invited to the dune bashing adventure, an Arabian roller coaster ride in the desert done by drivers with a special license on Toyota Landcruiser jeeps.Going up and down those dunes was a thrilling, nothing-like-it experience! After that, I got the chance to take my first ever camel ride, and then hurried to the other side of the village for an uphill climb to a perfect viewing point of the approaching sunset.
The open air buffet dinner in a traditional setting started at 6.30 p.m. There was a rich assortment of dishes available, and the Oud music performance was followed by a belly dancer show.Next morning I woke up early and was looking forward to watching the sunrise but, to my huge surprise and disappointment, the morning was foggy and the sun not visible at all. So I observed the local animals for a while, and after an excellent breakfast had a henna painting done on my hand (another first!). I had no idea I wouldn’t be allowed to wash it for an hour though, which postponed my swimming pool visit accordingly. Still, I had enough time to enjoy a swim before the checkout, then took a bus back to Abu Dhabi. I asked the driver if we could make a short stop to take pictures of free ride camels, and, owing to his kindness, you can see them in the picture gallery here.
- Published by Anita on December 2, 2015. Updated December 2017.
- Traveled November 2015
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About the author
Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Bloglovin.