Things to do in Abu Dhabi

Catch a robot jockey camel race

For centuries, camel jockeys in this region were small children, but today there’s a more 21st-century rider: robots. Fast, chaotic and with a futuristic nod towards an impending robot apocalypse, owners drive on the outskirts of the track, pressing buzzers to get their robots to whip. Watch old and new collide at Al Wathba Camel Race Track (tel: +971 2 583 9200), 45km (27 miles) out of the city.

Find your range on the golf course

If you have reoccurring nightmares about getting trapped in bunkers, the 18-hole golf course at Al Ghazal (tel: +971 2 505 3314; probably isn’t for you. This unique Abu Dhabi club has browns instead of greens (golfers putt on rolled and treated sand) and a 30-bay floodlit driving range. Just don’t forget your sand wedge.

Slip and skid across the waves on a wakeboard

Al Forsan (tel: +971 2 556 8555; is home to the first water park cable system to be constructed in the Middle East. Its calm waters make it ideal for wakeboarding, wake-skating, knee-boarding and water skiing. As your technique improves, hit (metaphorically not literally) the ramps and obstacles in the water pool.

Get some gold from the ATM

Is it in bad taste? Almost certainly. But where else in the world are you able to visit a gold-plated ATM and withdraw a 1g, 5g, or 10g gold coin? Visit the Emirates Palace hotel (tel: +971 2 690 9000; to make the rarest of holiday decisions: a pretty sound investment. Think of it as the anti-timeshare.

Fire up the rubber over the dunes

Quad biking is one of mankind’s more exhilarating activities and there are few better places to have people eat your dust than the sands of Abu Dhabi. Emirates Tours (tel: +971 5 5053 26837; offer quad bike and dune buggy trips, which are best undertaken during December and January as the weather is a little more forgiving. We recommend wearing warm clothing during those months.

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