An adrenaline filled adventure in Yas Island

3 Aug 2022 by Anithya Balachandran
Yas Island

Nowadays, before each trip I face a bout of travel anxiety that has been induced by the pandemic. However, after a dormant two years of being stuck in one city I am grateful I can explore the world again. My anxiety soon turned into excitement when I found out I’d be visiting Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. I’d heard so much about this coveted hub of entertainment and leisure that I was eager to see why so many tourists throng the island and its attractions. As I was landing into Abu Dhabi I was welcomed by the sight of its glimmering skyline that stood out against the dark of the night, a beautiful stark contrast. Unlike my trip to Kenya, I had Googled a fair bit about my itinerary in Yas Island since I am not inherently an adrenaline junkie. Therefore, I wanted to mentally prepare myself for all the thrilling rides I was about to embark on. However, no attraction website or review could truly match up to my exhilarating experience at the island! The island is revered for hosting the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009 at the Yas Marina Circuit but, over the last decade it has evolved and introduced many attractions that make it the touristic haven it is for families.

Where I stayed:

I checked into my hotel, W Abu Dhabi-Yas Island, at around 4 a.m and was swiftly escorted into my room without any hassle.  The luxury hotel, known for its contemporary design and view of the Yas Marina and Yas Marina Circuit, ensured my time at the island was as comfortable as can be. I stayed in the Wonderful room and true to its name, the room was well-equipped, spacious and had a beautiful balcony that overlooked the expanse of the circuit. I was woken up ceremoniously to the sound of the cars whizzing by on the circuit on my first morning there. As someone who grew up watching Formula One I was filled with childlike glee when I used to step out onto the balcony to watch the cars race. I lived by the famous saying “don’t count your calories on holiday” during my stay at the hotel as every meal I had here was always better than the last.  I began each day with a breakfast buffet at their multi-cuisine restaurant Garage where I gorged on endless amounts of fresh hummus and pitta from the mezze counter. For dinner, I was seated in the outdoor section of the restaurant where I could soak in the serene views of the Marina Bay alongside the racing circuit. My favourite dishes were the ceviche de hongos, the torched salmon sushi roll and the chicken shawarma roll.

What I saw

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

We hit the ground running from the first day itself as we immersed ourselves in a world of speed and thrills at our first stop of the day. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is predominantly an indoor theme park which opened its doors to tourists in November, 2010. It is the world’s first Ferrari-themed park and is a motor enthusiast’s haven!

Without wasting any time I knew the first thing I had to conquer was the formidable ‘Formula Rossa’, the world’s fastest roller coaster that reaches a top speed of 240 kmph. My legs were quivering as I stood in the line for the ride but the pride of having sat on the rollercoaster was worth it. The adrenaline rush after getting off the rollercoaster was incomparable to anything I have felt before. After Formula Rossa, I needed something calming to soothe my thumping heart and what better than a drive in a toy Ferrari around a miniature set mimicking the picturesque lagoons of Italy. ‘Bell Italia’ looks like a ride made for children but I assure you that exploring a mini-Italy in a small-scale Ferrari 250 California, circa 1958 is an experience everyone should indulge in. I made my way to ‘Galleria Ferrari’ from here, an exhibition dedicated to highlighting the history of female race drivers and all-around inspirational women. What I read and saw in this exhibition was nothing short of inspirational, most people only know male racers but it delighted me to see them bring to light stories of female racers that have achieved just as much as their male counterparts. All this really helped me work up an appetite and just as I was walking to lunch I saw a long queue outside one particular ride, Speed of Magic. A 4D adventure where one dives into oceans, flies over cliffs and ventures into ice caves through simulator technology that teases all your senses with changes in temperature, moisture, light and movement along the way. After this surreal experience I headed to ‘Mamma Rossella’ where I feasted on delicious Italian delicacies, which was a delightful end to my time at Ferrari World.

Yas Mall

After an adrenaline filled morning at Ferrari World, I unwinded by taking a walk through the luxurious expanse of Yas Mall. The mall, spread over 2,35,000 sqm, making it the largest luxury mall in Abu Dhabi, has something for everyone. It features 90 indoor and outdoor restaurants and cafes. I really had to control my spendthrift urges as the mall is home to more than 370 International brands. Safe to say, when I was returning home I was returning with bags that were on the brink of challenging the airline’s baggage allowance. One thing in particular that makes the mall supremely accessible is the fact that Ferrari World directly connects to the mall which means one can save time and explore both places in the same day like I did.

Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi

We have all grown up watching one of  Warner Brothers’ productions, whether it is the classic Tom and Jerry or the heartwarmingly goofy Flintstones so, I was beyond excited to explore the Warner Bros World. As I walked in what greeted me was a sight that left me speechless. The Warner Bros. Plaza is an elegant art deco celebration of all things Warner Brothers and the golden age of Hollywood. The plaza is filled with beautiful architecture reminiscent of an era gone by and the roof is covered by an artificial dark blue sky with hues of purple that emanates a dreamy aura. Without bragging but I sat on every ride here! From the dizzying ‘Riddler Revolution’ in the Gotham City section to the laughter inducing Bedrock River Adventure paying homage to the Flintstones, my time at the Warner Bros World was five year old Anithya’s dream come true! 

Yas Kartzone

Now, go-karting has always been on my list of things to do but for some reason I have never had a chance to get round to it. So, when I saw this on this itinerary I knew I had to pull out all the stops and win the race! As I mentioned before, I grew up watching Formula One which definitely enhanced this experience. When I wore the racing gear and helmet I got a small glimpse into the world of the racers I had grown up watching and admiring. After wearing the gear, the instructors conduct a 15-minute safety briefing session post which the 1km track is yours to speed around! Each lap is timed and at the end of the 3o minute race, I received a printout with timings of each lap and I found I had come first out of all the drivers during my session since all my laps were the fastest! Needless to say, I couldn’t stop bragging about this to my friends and family.

Yas Waterworld

The final leg of the trip was in equal parts relaxing and thrilling. The cool waters of the theme park were a welcome break from the scorching sun. I was spoilt for choice on what to do as there are 45 rides in the park! After slithering down most of the water slides I decided to brave the ‘Falcon’s Falaj’, the world’s longest six-seater water coaster. As I stood in line for the ride, I heard many shrieks and screams, promising myself that I would not cower and get on the ride. I am so glad I did because I reached dizzying heights of happiness on that water coaster.

My trip to Yas Island was everything younger me dreamt of doing, conquering one adrenaline packed adventure after another.

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Business Traveller March 2023 cover
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