1. Go wadi bashing: There is no dearth of sand around Abu Dhabi, which makes it prime safari country. Half-day and overnight tours are on offer, with dune riding, camel rides, sand boarding, belly dance performances and barbeque dinners. Salem Travel Agency (from AED 290; www.salemtravelagency.com) is a reputable operator.
2. Take a dhow cruise: A dinner cruise on a refurbished wooden dhow is another must-do. During the two-hour cruise guests can enjoy a buffet dinner, which includes some delicious Arab fare, while ogling at the brightly-lit skyline. Cruises cost around AED 280. Contact: Desert Adventures Tourism (www.desertadventures.com)
3. Watch a camel race: October to March is camel racing season in Abu Dhabi. Enthusiasts gather for the races, held over the weekend, as early as seven in the morning at the Al Maqam or Al Wathba Camel Race tracks, about 45km from the city.
4. High tea at Emirates Palace: The Emirates Palace Hotel (www.emiratespalace.com) is among the largest — it stretches 1km end to end — and most sumptuously decorated hotels in the world. With its 1,002 crystal chandeliers, Italian marble and gold-leaf work, the hotel is indeed grand. While only the extremely wealthy can stay here, penny-pinchers should consider saving for the lavish high tea spread (AED 180).
5. Shop till you drop: Like its neighbour Dubai, Abu Dhabi also has numerous malls and shopping centres that stock every brand under the sun. Apart from the malls, you can also visit the traditional souks, among which the Carpet Souk and the Grand Souk, which specialises in gold, are the best.