I'm flying from LHR to NRT on the 28th December, with a 20 hour stopover in Abu Dhabi. I arrive at AUH at 01:20 (AM) and my connecting flight is at 22:10 (PM) on the same day. That basically gives me time to sleep a little and have a full day of activities by my book.

I called up Etihad (my airline) earlier for some help and suggestions, but they were incredibly unhelpful. I asked if a UK passport was eligible for a VoA, she said yes but they may say no as I'm not staying for long enough (is this true?). Secondly, I asked if I could get a hotel (as I had read that some airlines will foot the cost for long stopovers), but apparently not.

So I did some research online, and as long as I can get a VoA I'd like to know whether or not this is possible.

First: Have a few hours sleep in a hotel (probably a by the hour one? Is this possible in the airport?).

Then I'd like to visit FerrariWorld (mainly just for a few of the attractions), but would also like to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Is it possible to do both of these in one day, and if so what's the best order? How would I go about traveling to each place? I wouldn't spend too long at the Mosque, maybe 2 hours max (pictures and walk around).

Some supplementary questions which I don't believe warrant an entire new thread: For a connecting flight, how early do I need to re-arrive at the airport? For myself and my girlfriend, are there any dress-codes/ manners that we are expected to know and follow (sorry to sound ignorant, but I am).

Finally, are there any other things that I'm missing out on which may be better suited for my time? I've heard it's also possible to visit Dubai quite easily?

Thanks so much =D

1 Answer 1


A UK passport is valid for a visa on arrival without cost - as stated plainly at the UAE Embassy website. You need to make sure you have a few blank pages (you'll get a stamp); and your passport is valid for more than 6 months.

Ferrari World is around 12 kilometers from the airport; travel time (depending on traffic) can take between 15 and 40 minutes. It is best to hire a cab from the airport.

The park opens at 10 AM, and you can save yourself time (and money) by booking the tickets online.

For the Sheikh Zayed Mosque - visiting hours start at 9, walk through tours are available at 10 AM, 11 AM and 5 PM. There are no fees to visit the mosque; however, there is a dress code.

Visitors should wear long, loose clothing (this means, no tight jeans/sports wear, shorts, skirts (irrespective of the length) etc.) bare shoulders are not allowed - so no sleeveless shirts/tops. No see though clothing; and no clothing with profanity is allowed. In addition, women must also wear a head scarf.

Cellphones should be switched off, there is no smoking, eating or drinking inside; and no food or drink is allowed (this includes water).

From the airport it takes anywhere from 20 - 45 minutes to get to the mosque (depending on traffic).

For your connecting flight; if you already have the boarding passes (which you should), you need to arrive at least 2 hours prior in order to clear customs and immigration on time.

Regarding manners in public - unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi is a bit more conservative so PDA (public display of affection) should be kept at minimum. You'll be arriving during the "winter" season; so best to wear long sleeved loose fitting clothes while in public. Co-habitation is not allowed for unmarried couples; however in practice you would rarely be caught for this unless there was some other problem with your stay at a hotel.

You can visit Dubai; however traffic is unpredictable. It is 120 KM from Abu Dhabi airport to Dubai Mall - a travel time of one and a half hour each way. If you were planning to visit Dubai, I would suggest heading there first direct from the airport; then budget your time on the way back.

At 1:20 AM though, nothing will be open so the earliest you can expect to do any sort of sightseeing is 8/9 AM. The Abu Dhabi airport hotel is closed for renovations but the napping area is open and available on first come/first serve:

Please be advised that the nap areas will continue to be operational. Travellers(sic) in transit can still take advantage of these facilities, which include cabin and studio rooms with communal bathrooms. Kindly note that these facilities are not available to book in advance, and their availability will be advised upon arrival.

If you book a room at the Premiere Inn Hotel which is directly across the airport - you can also take advantage of their free shuttle services to the Grand Mosque and Yas Island (where Ferrari World is located).

  • Also call your girlfriend "my friend/colleague"
    – Ulkoma
    Dec 27, 2015 at 11:40
  • @Joulupukki how is that going to help/fool anyone? Dec 28, 2015 at 4:28
  • do you think it's better for him to tell the security guys at the mosque "Salam, my gf and I want to have a tour", I think it's very obvious that addressing her as "my wife" or "my friend/my colleague" is better. You know how these things work
    – Ulkoma
    Dec 28, 2015 at 6:09
  • The mosque tour guides don't care of the relation between you and that person. The restriction is on cohabitation (living together). No one will ask you at the start of the tour what is the relation between you and the person next to you; and nor will the guards (what guards?) at the mosque will stop you from going in. Its like saying the guards at the Vatican will stop you if you are traveling with your girlfriend. Please do not post things that are just rumors. Dec 28, 2015 at 6:13
  • what exactly offended you? On Eid's day for example it gets very busy and I have to hold my wife's hand so we don't lose each other and it would be very stupid to ask the security "Hey mate, my gf is trying to find the Wudu place".
    – Ulkoma
    Dec 28, 2015 at 6:20

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