If a holiday comprising adventure rides and shopping is what you want, Yas Island won't disappoint

If having a holiday brimming with fun activities and loads of shopping is on your agenda, Yas Island definitely fits the bill!

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  14th July 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  14th July 2022 12:00 AM
Ferrari_World_Abu_Dhabi_(1)

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Yas Island

With the pandemic hopefully turning into a thing of the past, the world is trying to make up for the lost time like never before. And like many others, if you too are looking for a destination that will suffuse your senses with luxury and controlled adventure with family or friends, look no further than Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The desert city that sits at the neck of the Persian Gulf and is the capital of the UAE boasts of Yas Island, a fast-growing entertainment and leisure destination spread across 25 sq km, only 20 minutes away from downtown Abu Dhabi and a mere 50 mins away from Dubai.

As we landed there in the dead of the night -- fatigued and bleary-eyed -- it took us no more than 15 minutes from the airport to reach Hilton Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, our luxe pad for the following three days. A venue for the recently held IIFA Awards, Yas Island is now a familiar name on this part of the shores, but for the uninitiated, it offers the most diverse mix of entertainment and luxury with its mammoth theme parks, shopping malls, links golf course, five-star hotels and myriads of luxe diners dotting the bay area. Needless to say, apart from the local crowd, it's increasingly becoming a cosmopolitan weekend destination for the expats and their families (mostly Europeans and Americans) who live and work in the UAE. But unlike Dubai, which has become the global shopping hub, this place has more engaging options for both you and your children apart from the very predictable malls and desert safaris.

  

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Formula Rossa
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Formula Rossa

Given the tight travel schedule, we tried to explore some of the mind-blowing experiences and started out with the much-anticipated Warner Bros. World, an indoor theme park. It was amazing from the word go. With a virtual sky overhead that turned from day to night, a sprawling plaza area flanked on both sides by theme zones namely Dynamite Gulch, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Gotham City and Metropolis, Warner Bros truly offers an immersive experience for both the adults and the children, which was such a relief from the piercing sun outside. 

Bustling with visitors, the place immediately transported us to the worlds of the iconic Warner Bros. legends, awakening the child inside us as we screamed and yelled at the sight of Scooby-Doo, Bugs Bunny, Tweety and others, whom we grew up watching on TV.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

The Flintstones Bedrock River Adventure, a scenic boat ride inside Bedrock, took us through the stone-age wetlands and neighbourhoods inhabited by the natives of The Flintstones on Stonetennial Celebration day. We were super impressed to get a glimpse of the cave families -- The Flintstones and The Rubbles including Fred, Wilma, Pebbles, Barney, Betty and Bamm Bamm besides Dino and Baby Puss -- as they went about their daily lives.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Thrilled to bits, we headed for more excitement to Gotham City, home to Batman and a collection of super evil villains including The Joker, Harley Quinn and Scarecrow. With adventure awaiting us at every corner and no time to waste, we decided to settle for the scariest and the most dizzying ride of all -- Scarecrow Scare Raid. If you don't have a faint heart or vertigo issues, this would be a ride to remember for the rest of your life for its tummy-churning topsy turvy speedy moves, that literally turn you upside down many times over, turning you into a scary raven rummaging through the debris for its prey. Also, do not miss the tricky challenges at Joker Funhouse, a classic carnival walkthrough experience with a sinister twist.

We soaked our tired soles for a while at Hollywood Trattoria, one of the many restaurants dotting the Plaza area and hogged on some Italian delicacies including a comforting dish of mushroom ravioli.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Water World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

The following day started early with a trip to the Ferrari World, which, without doubt, turned out to be the best part of our trip. A word of caution, if you don't have any appetite for adventure sports, this 40-plus ride zone might turn out to be a damp squib for you except for the Family Zone rides and Bell'Italia, a very benign joyride on a classic Ferrari showcasing the iconic spots, monuments and cityscapes in Italy. 

But for bravehearts it can be quite an adventurous experience, with each ride whetting the appetite for riskier challenges. We started off with Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster ride that takes you from zero to a breakneck speed of 240 km per hour in 3 seconds flat. Remember to stick your neck to the backrest firmly to avoid sustaining serious injury. Next in the line was Flying Aces, which gave us a fraction of a feel of what the World War II fighter pilots went through inside the belly of those clumsy fighter planes. That aside, at a 51-degree inclined angle, this is the world's fastest and steepest inclined cable lift with the tallest inverted loop (52 metres). What we loved about Flying Aces is the way they have created a replica of the World War scenes, right from the bunkers and soldier's camps to the plane carcasses hanging from trees. Everything takes you back in time and gives you a picture of what the soldiers went through. 

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Yas Island

After this breathtaking ride that speedily took us through the circumference of the park, we went for Turbo Track, which jolted us up at 62 metres height before plummeting us back to the ground in a matter of seconds. After the giddying rides, we had a wholesome supper at Mamma Rossella before some curio shopping at the world's largest Ferrari store there.

Trying to pack in as much fun as we could, we also went to CLYMB Abu Dhabi, a state-of-the-art indoor skydiving and rock-climbing facility. With proper guidance from amiable trainers, we put on the gears for what turned out to be an incredible floating experience inside the world's largest indoor skydiving tunnel that's 104 feet tall and felt like a never-ending on-air maelstrom.

A visit to the Yas Mall adjacent to the Ferrari World was an overwhelming experience and would live you in regrets if you are not carrying enough cash. With over 400 global brands and 79 diners, this gigantic shopper’s paradise will take you nearly a day to cover.

We kept the final day reserved for some frolicking at the Yas Water World, but the rides appeared tame in comparison to what we went through in the Ferrari World the day before. A fun 550-metre roller coaster ride named Bandit Bomber and a 5D film, Legend of the Lost Pearl, replete with water explosions left us famished enough to call it a day. But you can try the other fun rides including Falcon Falaj, Bubble's Barrel and Slither's Slides which are equally engaging.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Yas Island

With Hilton overlooking the Yas Bay Waterfront, we couldn't waste the chance to go for a quick promenade during the last evening of our stay. Brimming with diners, the bay area is full of life, music, dance, handcrafted cocktails and good food. So, remember to throw in a few party clothes while packing. The best part is that there are electric vehicles to take you back and forth from your hotel, in case you don't feel like walking.

If you can squeeze in a little over a couple of hours, you must visit the imposing Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the downtown area. Boasting of an edifice with 1,096 amethyst and jasper embedded columns, 82 marble domes, gold-plated Swarovski chandeliers and the world’s largest handwoven Persian carpet covering the prayer hall, the opulence and grandeur of this architectural marvel will leave you spellbound.

If having a holiday brimming with fun activities and loads of shopping is on your agenda, Yas Island definitely fits the bill!

The writer visited Yas Island on invitation from the property.

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