Travel to Abu Dhabi
The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is the name of not only the largest city in the UAE, but also its largest emirate. Located on the Persian Gulf in the middle of the UAE's northern coast, Abu Dhabi is an important political, commercial and tourism hub for the region.
Abu Dhabi offers year-round sunshine, excellent beaches, a clean, safe environment and classy hotels and restaurants. Although the official language is Arabic, English is as widely spoken and visitors will have few communication difficulties. Transport is clean, cheap and efficient.
The UAE currency is the Emirati dirham, which is pegged to the US dollar ($1 = 3.67 dirhams); in January 2015 one pound = 5.6 dirhams.
Reaching Abu Dhabi by plane
Abu Dhabi International Airport
It is easy to reach Abu Dhabi with the Abu Dhabi International Airport, the UAE's second busiest airport (after Dubai) and the home base of Etihad, Abu Dhabi's flag carrier. Since it's launch in 2003, Etihad Airways has been expanding rapidly, and now flies everywhere from the UAE to Australia, with a world renown and remarkably good service.
To/from the airport:
- Al Ghazal taxis travel to the city at a flat rate of Dhs 75 (around € 19) and takes around 40 minutes.
- Metered taxis are now allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. A trip into Abu Dhabi city centre will cost AED60-70 (around € 18). Metered taxis can also bring passengers to the airport. The taxi stand is at the end of a long walkway from the main terminal. Passengers must turn left when leaving the arrivals area and travel through a long passageway to the curb area, where a covered platform next to the taxi stand is provided. Expect long lines at the taxi stand during the evening and late night hours.
- Public bus services
- Bus Stops are located in front of Terminal 1 Arrivals Hall and Terminal 2 - to Abu Dhabi: bus service A1, every to 30 - 60 minutes, 24 hours, AED 4 one way - to Shakhbout City and Baniyas: bus service 240, every 120 minutes, 06 - 22 hours, AED 4 one way - to Shwameikh, Al Mafraq Hospital and Mussafah: bus service 211, every 120 minutes, 06 - 22 hours, AED 4 one way - to Al Bahya and Shahama: bus services 211 & 240, every 60 minutes, 05 - 23 hours, AED 4 one way - to Al Ain: bus service 490, every 120 minutes, AED 4 - to Ruwais: bus service X61
- If you are flying on Etihad, complimentary shuttle buses are provided at regular intervals to Dubai. Etihad does not go to the Abu Dhabi city centre. These depart from the main car park at the front of the airport, by the car hire offices.
Dubai International Airport
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 airport:
- A metered Dubai airport taxi direct to the Abu Dhabi town centre will cost about AED300 (around € 75).
- 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. See By bus section below.
Reaching Abu Dhabi by road
The five-laned E11 highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is the country's heaviest-travelled route, and the 130-km journey can be covered in about 90min. While there is a national speed limit of 120km/h, speeds up to 140km/h are tolerated, yet this is often wildly exceeded by some drivers. Stay out of the leftmost lane and drive carefully, especially at night.
To travel directly into Abu Dhabi from Dubai on E11, keep to your left at Al Shahama and follow the E10 highway, which passes Yas Island (exit at the E12 highway) and Al Raha Beach on the way to the Sheikh Zayed Bridge into Abu Dhabi City. This bridge connects directly to Salam Street (8th Street), a newly widened megahighway along the northern shore of Abu Dhabi Island. There is still significant construction along this route entering the central business district so expect delays and detours. As an alternative to the Zayed Bridge, there are ramps off E10 that connect to the Maqta Bridge, which leads to both 2nd Street (Airport Road) and 4th Street (East Road or Muroor Road). During off-peak periods, these routes run fairly quickly into the City.
Reaching Abu Dhabi by bus
You can get into Abu Dhabi from the other Emirates of Dubai, Sharjah, etc, by bus. The Emirates Express between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is operated jointly by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai municipalities. The 130km route takes around two hours. The buses operated by Dubai's RTA are luxury buses that charge 25 dirhams for the onward journey to Abu Dhabi and AED15 for the return journey. The Abu Dhabi transport buses charge 15 Dirhams each way. The first bus departs from the Abu Dhabi main bus terminal on the corner of Hazza bin Zayed the First (11th) St and East (4th) Rd at 05:30 and the last leaves at 23:30; they leave at 30 minute intervals, or if the bus gets full sooner. From Dubai, the buses leave from 05:30, and run until 23:30, from the Al Ghubaiba station in Bur Dubai (opposite Carrefour Shopping).
For bus times, see the timetable published on the Government of Dubai website.
Before you travel to the UAE, please check your visa requirements and make sure you have a valid visa if needed.
Citizens of the GCC nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia do not require a visa to travel to the UAE.
Visa on Arrival
If you are from any of the following nationalities/regions, you do not need a prior visa to travel to the UAE. Citizens of eligible countries/regions are allowed to enter the UAE without a visa prior to arrival as long as they are carrying a valid passport that will not expire within six months of their arrival date. Immigration officials may grant a visit visa, which is valid for 30 days, on arrival at the port of entry.
Citizens of all other countries will need to apply for a Tourist visa prior to their trip. Please note on your application that you are visiting for a conference.
United States of America
Travelling with Emirates to Dubai
Nationals of countries requiring a prearranged UAE visa can now apply and pay for their visas online through emirates.com.
If you are travelling to Dubai with Emirates, you can submit an application and receive your UAE visa entirely online – without having to submit your passport for stamping.
You can apply for your UAE visa through the Manage a Booking tool after booking your Emirates flight.
Travelling with Etihad to Abu Dhabi
TT Services is providing the visa application facility for Etihad Airways Guests.This facility is open for guests visiting UAE travelling on the Etihad Airways and fulfilling the eligibility conditions announced from time to time by the UAE Authorities.
Other air travel companies
If you have booked your trip through a travel agency, in most cases they will be able to arrange this for you. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a visa through your nearest UAE embassy. An eye scan will be required at the airport.
Immigration proceduresAs an added security measure, Immigration Authorities at the International Airports are now conducting random eye screening for visitors.
Visitors asked to proceed for eye screening are required to present a hard copy of their visa or a printed version of the visa number confirmation page at the screening counter. If you do not have a copy with you, a charge of AED 30 per copy applies - payable only in AED.
Know before you go
Local time: The local time zone is GMT + 04.00
Abu Dhabi visitor information: visit visitabudhabi.ae (00 971 2 4440 444; toll-free from the UAE: 800 555).
Ambulance and police emergencies: dial 999.
Fire: Dial 997.
Pharmacies: The Abu Dhabi Government portal (www.abudhabi.ae) provides an updated list of 24-hour pharmacies and medical services, including hospitals, clinics, and medical centres. If you don't have internet access you can call the toll free number 800 555 (+971 2 666 4442).
Electricity: The electricity supply in Abu Dhabi is 220/240 volts at 50 Hz. Sockets suitable for three pin 13 amp plugs of British standard design are the norm. Adaptors can be purchased in local supermarkets. Appliances purchased in the UAE will generally have two pin plugs attached.
Telephone code: From abroad, dial 00 971, then leave off the zero at the start of the number. Most Abu Dhabi numbers start with 02, Dubai 04 and Al Ain 03.
Local laws and etiquette
It is courteous to dress modestly, especially during Ramadan, and reserve swimwear for the beach. Insulting or threatening language or behaviour can in some cases involve the police being called; if in difficulty attempt to resolve matters with a calm and professional demeanour. Alcohol consumption is not permitted in public areas outside hotels, so do not take alcohol from your hotel to the public beaches or parks/gardens. Do not kiss and cuddle in public areas, insult the UAE’s rulers or use offensive hand gestures.
Abu Dhabi is virtually crime-free but report any theft or unwanted attention to the police, who take such matters seriously. Do not photograph local people without their permission.
In the event of a traffic accident, contact the police immediately; if it’s a minor incident, move your car to the side of the road until they arrive. You cannot file an insurance claim without a police report. In an emergency dial 999. All visitors to the UAE must have medical insurance cover; initial emergency medical treatment is free.
LocationAbu Dhabi, UAE
Dates19 - 21 Oct, 2015
VenueNovotel Al Bustan - 4*
University of Avignon, France
Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Canada
Khalifa University, UAE