Friday, December 12, 2014

Escape to Yas Island

In recent years, the UAE has propelled itself into the forefront of technological advancements and grown into a formidable economy. Its renowned cities have become infamous in their ambitious ideas to grow into metropolises of the future. Towering modern skyscrapers are more like incredible works of architectural art. There is a feeling that there is no idea too extravagant or expensive that cannot be achieved by the big thinkers of the UAE.

Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a hotspot for tourists from across the Middle East and all over the world. Fifty years ago it was just a small fishing village; today its total area covers almost 87% of the country, making it the largest emirate in the UAE. As one of the most modern cities in the world, there is now a countless amount of activities to do in Abu Dhabi and many of them are found on Abu Dhabi’s most popular island, Yas Island.

Traditionally Yas Island was used with the regions pearl trading industry, today the island has under gone a US$36 billion dollar development and was named the world’s leading tourism project in 2009. The 25km square island has become one of the biggest attractions in Abu Dhabi, with a whole range of incredible developments to explore; there is no shortage of things to keep you occupied on a visit.

Over the past few years the island has been beamed across the globe, showcasing its main attraction. The spirit of motor racing in Abu Dhabi has grown and grown ever since the creation of the famous Yas Marina Grand Prix Circuit. The state of the art F1 centre and track was opened in 2009 in front of over 50,000 people. It has since become one of the highlights on the F1 calendar with the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton taking home the much converted crown.

The best time to visit the track is of course during the F1 race which usually falls during November. If you can’t make it in time for the race, the complex is always a fantastic place to visit during the rest of the year. Visitors are able to go in and explore the behind the scenes areas which are usually only reserved for F1 teams and get a sense what it is like to be there on race day. It’s a great opportunity to walk in the same footsteps as some of the world’s greatest drivers. For those looking to go one step further, you have the chance to experience what it is like to actually be on the track. Feel the raw exhilaration and power of a high performance car as you are driven around the famous circuit or if you are feeling up for it, take the wheel yourself and see what lap times you can post. It really is a fantastic way to take in all the incredible F1 circuit has to offer.

Motor sport on Yas Island doesn’t end at the race track. Walk just a short distance from the F1 complex and you will come across an enormous and extravagantly designed bright red building. Inside is the world’s largest indoor amusement park, Ferrari World. Nestled under a roof that could fit 7 football fields and cover nearly 17,000 Ferraris’, is a whole world of entertainment for all ages. The iconic supercar company have created an amusement park with over 20 rides. Opened in 2010 the park plays tribute to the beginnings of the Italian company and displays some of the most beautiful cars Ferrari as ever produced.

The attractions inside seem endless and range from a relaxing virtual tour inside the Maranello factory to see the concept of Ferrari design to an adrenaline fuelled roller coaster which, at 240kph, is currently the fastest in the world. The Italian theme is continued throughout the park with Italian restaurants and shops to explore all over the building. Ferrari World makes for a great day out for all the family especially the petrol heads and is sure to impress on any visit.

As with much of the country, the weather on Yas Island typically hot throughout most of the year. With many attractions being outside in the heat, it is always a good idea to split them up with something cooler. Luckily enough the island has the perfect place to do so. Yas Waterworld is spread over 15 hectares and contained 43 fantastic rides and multiple swimming pools. The park is the biggest of its kind in the Middle East and is also home to 4 kinds of ride that have never been seen before. Apart from the fantastic water slides, the park also has a unique pearl diving attraction which displays the role pearl diving played in the history of the UAE. Inside you even have the chance to make your own pearl jewellery. One attraction inside has been pulling in visitors from the extreme sports world. Bubbles’s Barrels is an amazing surfable standing wave. Water is shot up a surface creating a three metre wave, the largest of its kind in the world. Thrill seekers have the chance to experience what it’s like to be within the barrel of a wave.

With what is noticeably a non-stop work ethic towards developing this small part of Abu Dhabi, you are never to be found wondering what to do on Yas Island. Away from all the huge developments there are some great opportunities to get outside and try something more natural. Yas Links Golf Course is a great place to be in the fresh air and get in 18 holes. If you have never played before, the club puts on some great courses for beginners.

The stunning Yas Marina is a hot zone of activity most days of the week. Get out on the water and try stand up paddle boarding around the Marina, a great way to get up close to some of the beautiful yachts moored in the area. An even better option is to take to the skies on board the Seawings sea plane. From the air you will have an unrivalled view of the island including a bird’s eye view of the F1 track and gorgeous blue marina.

Yas Island proves to be a great escape from the CBD of Abu Dhabi, there is so much to do here to keep you thoroughly entertained and judging on the speed of development here, it won’t be long until you book a second trip to find out what’s new.

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