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Zipping Across Emirates - A Bus Ride between Dubai & Abu Dhabi

Since our stay in UAE last year, we have had quite a lot of acquaintances call us for information and advice with their plans for a Dubai vacation. We are always happy to entertain questions as it gives us an opportunity to share our stories and to some extent and for some moments be in position where we know something that the person in front does not 😈Now the fact of the matter is that most of the vacation planners consider Dubai as the destination and would plan around the city but when they talk to us, the capital of the country - Abu Dhabi - intrudes their itinerary and they try to accommodate a getaway to the city - a small or big depending on the time at hand. There also are those who have already invested enough effort in research and are already equipped with Abu Dhabi as part of their itinerary.

Traveling across the two Emirates - Abu Dhabi to Dubai and Vice-versa

One question is common in everyone's mind - 
How to best get across from Dubai to Abu Dhabi?

I would say this is a million dollar question given that the cities are quite a distance away and various factors go into deciding the mode of commute. It is good to plan ahead and not be surprised later - at least when the travel is between cities and so we sit down and explain the pros and cons of both the options. Since we stayed in the region for a couple of months, we used the various available modes to travel between both the cities and hence have a good idea on which of these would fit what requirements. When we have shared this information at least a dozen times, we finally decided to pen down our experience and advice for the greater good - we are the social engineers you know!

So how many options are available to travel between the two cities - Actually there are four, but three the most viable and recommended ones. We would hint the fourth one too in the trail section...

So let us talk about each of these options and our experience with them.

The easiest one is to take the taxi between both cities - Taxi may definitely be Sexy!

On one of our visits from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, we took a local taxi. Our hotel concierge arranged one for us when we called in for checking out. The taxis are available in plenty in both cities and it would not take more than a few minutes to hail one if you wait for roadside. You also have an option to call the company and ask one to be diverted to your location. Before boarding the cab, do let the driver know that you are planning to take the cab to a different city as sometimes they are nearing the end of the shift or are not ready for a long trip. However, in general, they would be more than happy to take you up as it helps them meet a major chunk of their daily quota. Drivers generally are aware of popular landmarks but are not too acquainted with specific locations so you may have to ask around a bit or have google maps handy.

Taxis - The Backbone of Transport System
The trip takes about 2 hours (a bit more if there is traffic) and the roads are immaculate so the journey isn't tiring. For us, the fare came to be about 260 AEDs which is okay for a 200-kilometer ride. The major benefit of this is flexibility in terms of when you want to leave and relative comfort of boarding your vehicle at the doorstep and being dropped at your destination. We loved the driver we had who kept talking and we loved the way he informed us so much about Dubai that we literally knew a lot about our destination. He would also engage us in various discussions on the way. So overall, it was a relaxed journey and we were pretty satisfied with this mode of transport.

Want to ride in more style - Book a limo in advance or Uber!

Another option to travel between two cities is booking a luxury sedan to ride in style. The added benefit over the luxury is time - these high-speed vehicles take only about an hour and a half to take you to your destination which is a huge add-on. We booked a Lexus vehicle for one of our trips from Yas Island, Abu Dhabi to Central Dubai area and it took us under one hour and 20 minutes for the ride. If you are in Dubai and want to travel to Abu Dhabi, you have an option to call-in an Uber - Uber in Dubai sends you all those luxury vehicles and we got another Lexus for our airport drop - we had a flight back from Abu Dhabi. These sedans generally take you back by about 350 AEDs but if time is at premium and luxury is your style - go ahead and shell out a bit extra. The only issue with sedans, in general, is you need to book them in advance and hence you are tied up with a said departure time.

How about some chic sedan?
Plush seats and zipping drive - not your thing?




Travel in true local style - Take a bus and save money and explore as a local

There is a Dubai RTA bus service that runs between the two cities and provides an economical way to travel across. The bus starts from two stations in Dubai and drops you at the Main Bus Terminal in downtown Abu Dhabi. The bus ride takes about two and a half hours and you need to add the commute time from and to the bus station. In all, I would expect something around 3 and half hours of travel time and some wait at the bus station. There is a bus leaving both the cities every half hour which is pretty decent for an intercity travel. So what's the benefit - the ride costs 25 AEDs one way and that makes this mode the most economical way to travel across the two emirates.

E101 - Travel the Local Way

The Seats - Nothing less than a Business Class

Abu Dhabi Bus Terminal - Internal Scene
There can be queues in festive time - so stay prepared



How is the ride you may ask us and we would say that it is pretty comfortable. We took the bus from Ibn Batutta bus station (right beside the mall). We traveled from our hotel in Dubai to the bus station using a metro and then boarded the bus. You can use your NoI card on the bus and if you do not have enough balance, have it recharged there at the bus station. On return trip too, you could use your NoI card to pay the fare or buy a paper ticket at the Abu Dhabi bus station counter. Buses themselves are plush and nice. They have been maintained nicely and are clean for the most part with push back seats and ample leg space. You can keep your luggage in the bin accessible from outside and, considering the low crime rate, be assured that it won't be mugged. The bus driver before leaving asks if someone wants to get down to another station near Yas Island and if so, the bus takes a stop en route else it stops directly at the Abu Dhabi terminal.

What other options one may have?

The ones above are the modes that we would recommend to anyone in general. However, there may be other ways to travel between the two cities. Below are a couple of them:

  • From multiple locations in both cities, there are these vans driven by locals who take you across as shared travelers and charge a fixed amount per passenger. These are good and economical but the way they drive should tempt you away from them. 
  • Emirates and Etihad run shuttles across the two cities to pick and drop passengers in the city away from their base airport. One may book a seat on them but needs to be super-careful with the timings and hence we are not so sure of how effective a mode these are - at least on the way to the airport.
  • There are also carpool options available and some apps have cropped up but again, until you know the person you are driving with, we would caution you to err on the safer side and choose one of the regulated means of transport in a new country.
This is how the van may look like!
Hopefully, these pointers help you plan your travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi or vice versa a bit better and we are content that we could help. If you are inclined, we would really appreciate a word or two in the comments. If you wanna know more about the country or various things to do here, do visit - 


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