Must-visit attractions in Yas Island
Avisit to Abu Dhabi would be incomplete without exploring the vivacious Yas Island. In 2006, when Abu Dhabibased Aldar properties envisioned this isle, it saw potential in it as an exciting hub for sports, leisure, retail and entertainment. A phased investment of over US$40 billion introduced the world to this multi-purpose leisure destination that welcomes millions of tourists each year.
There are many convenient ways to reach Yas Island once you’re in Abu Dhabi. If you’re landing at Abu Dhabi International Airport, a seven-minute drive can get you here. Considering Dubai is one of the more frequently visited emirates, Yas Island’s proximity to Dubai Airport (a 50-minute drive) makes it quite popular amongst a large number of tourists. There is also a six-pad heliport at Yas Marina Circuit, for those who wish to directly fly in.
FERRARI WORLD ABU DHABI
If you’re landing into Abu Dhabi, the iconic bird’seye view of the uniquely shaped, bright red Ferrari World won’t disappoint. Home to the fastest roller coaster in the world (Formula Rossa at 240kmph), this thrilling theme park is solace to those in the need for speed. A first in the world by the Italian automotive icon, it is an amusement powerhouse in the heart of Yas Island. The other enthralling roller coasters here include Flying Aces that features the world’s steepest and the fastest cable lift, and the tallest inverted loop at 52 metres, and Turbo Track, its latest gravity defying ride. You could also watch an endearing 4D fantasy film titled Speed of Magic for some family fun. If you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to drive a Ferrari California this could be your chance as you can rent one for a while. There is also a host of shopping and dining facilities at the park. Open daily 11am-8pm; tel: +971 2 496 8000; one-day park pass starts from AED 275/`4,820; ferrariworldabudhabi.com.
Splashing into the water on a sweltering day in Abu Dhabi is not a bad idea. Spread across 37 acres is Yas Waterworld, the world’s only Emirati-themed waterpark — reflecting Arabic nuances in the decor. The park boasts of 43 twisting tunnels, slides and rides that are built to amuse people of all ages. Yas Waterworld is also known to be toddler-friendly, for business travellers visiting the emirate with their little ones. Dawwama (the world’s premier hydromagnetic-powered six-person tornado waterslide), Bandit Bomber (the longest suspended roller coaster in the Middle East at 550 metres) and Bubbles Barrel (largest “surf-able” sheet wave in the Middle East) are some of its water-based rides for the daredevils. Yas Waterworld also has a number of wave pools with kid-size slides and water guns for children. Open daily 10am-8pm; tel: +971 2 414 2000; one-day park pass starts from AED 185/`3,236; yaswaterworld.com.
YAS MARINA CIRCUIT
Home to the famous Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit offers a wide range of automotive experiences. You can drive a high-performance car on the circuit or be driven by a professional driver for an adrenaline rush. With wheels like Aston Martin GT4, Mercedes AMG-GTS, Jaguar F-Type S Coupé, or Formula Yas 3000 race car (made specifically for Yas Marina Circuit), you’re spoilt for choice. You could even bring your own vehicle to test its performance on a professional race track or bring along some colleagues to race with at Yas Kart Zone. If you’re keen about the races, you could plan your trip according to the annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that takes place on November 26 this year. Open daily; prices for activities start from AED 125/`2,185; tel: +971 2 659 9800; yasmarinacircuit.com.
Sprawling across 2,50,000 sqm, this retail, dining and entertainment hub can be accessed directly from Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. It’s the largest mall in the emirate that offers a host of labels across its three storeys. These include Zara, Nike, Adidas and department stores like Debenhams and Tryano. Yas Mall also features a number of dining options across cuisines for all palate preferences. Abu Dhabi’s first Cheese Cake Factory to Rogo’s, the Roller Coaster restaurant are a couple of fun F&B experiences to pick from here. Its food court has 25 options, ensuring you’re satiated after some retail therapy. It also houses VOX Cinemas with 20 screens and Abu Dhabi’s largest IMAX screen and Fun Works, where you can drop off the kids while you shop. Open daily 10am-10pm; tel: +971 2 414 6401; yasmall.ae.
There’s nothing like a few rounds of golf on a business trip. And where else than one of the finest golf courses in the UAE. This coastal golf course is a stunning stretch of green for those who enjoy a game of golf with a view. Opened in 2010, it has been ranked by Golf Digest as the number one golf course in the Middle East. The 18-hole course was planned by renowned designer Kyle Phillips, and makes for a challenging environment for even the most experienced golfer. Yas Links also has a Golfing Academy for those looking to learn professional golf. Hickory’s is the F&B outlet at the facility that serves a range of international cuisines, offering stunning views of the course. Yas Links also launched a gym and fitness studio in March 2017. Open daily, round the clock; tel: +971 2 810 7777; yaslinks.com.
Another fun place to unwind at is Yas Beach. This white sandy stretch is dotted with an extensive range of food and beverage options, from Arabic bites to wood-fired pizzas. Grab a slice and sunbathe on one of the beach beds and cabanas that populate the seashore. You could even dine at the fullservice restaurant and order a delicious cocktail. The adventurous kind can try water sports such as jet skies, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing under the watchful eye of top instructors. There is also an exclusive Yas Beach Club with an infinity pool. The club hosts parties too at its private beach. Open daily 10am-7pm; tel: +971 56 242 0435; yasbeach.ae.
DU ARENA AND DU FORUM
If you’re looking to attend a larger than life experience, du Arena will always have something exciting to offer. It could be a sporting event or a music festival, this colossal stadium is known for its legendary performances that take place through the year. After-race concerts for the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are also held here. For large scale business events, du Forum offers its pillar-less space that can accommodate up to 3,000 delegates. tel: +971 2 509 8143; duforum.ae.
GETTING AROUND YAS ISLAND
The easiest way to get around Yas Island is via its complimentary shuttle service that connects all the major attractions of the isle.
Far left: Yas Waterworld Below: Yas Beach Club