Abu Dhabi – A Capital Emirates

When I went to Dubai, I had a chance to visit the capital city of United Arab Emirates which is the Abu Dhabi. From Dubai, it is just 1.5 to 2 hours travel. I came to this city with my college friend through the bus we took from Al Ghubaiba Bus Terminal. We used NOL card in our travel but before that, we made sure that it has at least 100 AED to cover our return travel.

At the start of the trip, I fell asleep immediately but it didn’t last long because I suddenly woke-up due to the loud voice I heard coming from the driver. After that I was not able to sleep anymore until we reached Abu Dhabi. We arrived at Al Wahda bus terminal in Abu Dhabi, where there is a nearby mall with the same name – Al Wahda mall. At the mall we had our lunch first before we started our tour.

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It’s a hot sunny Saturday that day, I myself does not really want to walk outside because in just a matter of few minutes, my whole body will be soak in sweat, which is an uncomfortable feeling while traveling around. We decided to visit first the famous mosque not only in UAE but even in the world, it is non other than Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We took cab from Al Wahda mall to the grand mosque. Seeing the mosque from afar is already amazing, being there is another thing.

We arrived at the mosque and my first impression is, it is like an all white mosque. And the design of the mosque is magnificent. I saw a lot of mosque from other countries but for me, this one is like a palace mosque, not only because of its size but the impression struck on me when I saw on it are purity and tranquility.  I learned that the mosque is the largest mosque in UAE and the eight largest mosque in the world. I am aware that before we were able to get inside the mosque, we need to change our clothes to Abhayas, we lent it (required with ID) from the visitor center located at the lower ground of the mosque (tourist will be informed by the security guards of its location). After changing to appropriate attire, we started our mini tour inside the mosque.

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Snapshots outside of the mosque

At the front, left and right side of the mosque, you can find a pool which refreshing from the eye because of the ocean like color of the pool. While walking along the hallway, I admire the details of the design and to think its a hallway and not the main hall yet. When we came at the mosque, we are not allowed to walk just anywhere in the Courtyard (it is the huge open space at the front of the main prayer hall), we walked in the middle of the courtyard when we are on our way to the main hall of the mosque.

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At the hallway

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IMG_9358One of the ceilings that I saw while walking along the hallway

The open space called Courtyard and the main hall

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On my way to the main entrance of the main prayer hall

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shoe cabinet at the entrance of the main hall

Before we enter in the main prayer hall, we removed our shoes and put it in the cabinet allocated just outside the main hall. The cold breeze we felt at the entrance of the main hall was refreshing maybe because of the hot temperature outside the mosque. At the entrance, we saw a magnificent chandelier and the ceiling design that it has. I was really amazed how grandeur it is. At that moment, I can really say it deserve to be called grand mosque. And the glass door has great designs embedded with bright colors that for me, it’s like a magic door that if you open, there are great things to see.

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Entrance of the main prayer hall

My expectations became higher and higher which I was not disappointed because at the time that I entered the main prayer hall the majestic hall design are far greater from the entrance, details to its architecture and interior design are noticeable that what you can say is it’s amazing. Looking at the interior design, you can tell that the time it was being build, it was thought carefully and the outcome is magnificent. We walked silently as to  show respect to the mosque but my eyes keep on looking around the hall and I took pictures as much as I can to remember all the things that I saw inside the main prayer hall. I respected the people who put an effort to build the mosque because they show how high they regard their belief through the building of the said mosque.

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Magnificent Chandelier in the middle of the Main Prayer Hall inside the mosque

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Interior design inside the mosque

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Open space – courtyard

After spending sometime inside the mosque, we decided to go to Marina Island. We went straight to Marina Mall and had our snacks at Marina Tower. Marina Tower is a good place to see most of the Abu Dhabi in a relaxing way where you will not suffer from hot sunny day. There are restaurants where you can have a great view from the top of Emirates Palace, Presidential Palace, the business district of the city and beaches along the coast line.

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Marina Tower in Marina Island

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IMG_9464Some scenery to be found inside Marina Mall

IMG_9450Elevator to the top of Marina Tower

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IMG_9430Marina Village at the bottom, Emirates Palace at the top

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IMG_9425Scenery from the top of Marina Tower

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IMG_9490Sunset View near Marina Village Seawall

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IMG_9493New Presidential Palace

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IMG_9497Emirates Palace

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IMG_9498Snapshots from the ground of Marina Island

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IMG_9499Dates Tree

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IMG_9529Some photos outside Marina Mall near at Marina Mall Ring Road

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Like Dubai, there are on going constructions in different parts of Abu Dhabi, not looking far away, the corner of the Marina Island, development still in progress. In such as desert place, I am still surprised how people able to live in a place where there is no natural resources such as food and other immediate needs of people. I heard from my friend that UAE are all importing most of the goods they need like food such as rice and vegetables, because there is no place in this country that will allow them for farming. By knowing that, I understand that this country has rich and great economy because they are able to surpass the challenges of the desert that they are living in.

I know there are still other places to see in Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately our day was over and we cannot stay longer in the city as we need to go back to Dubai. I enjoyed my day in the city and wished that someday I can still go back and see the other places that I missed to see. Until then.

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RM1(MYR) Putrajaya Tour – An Almost Free City Tour

My sister and I decided to visit Putrajaya, that visit become our cheapest and the luckiest accident tour that we experienced while touring around Malaysia.

We took train from Kuala Lumpur and to be honest we really don’t know how we are going to go or walk around the intelligent and garden city. As we aware that it is a planned city and as well as government city as its political centre had been moved from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya.

From our hotel in Batu 3 Old Klang Road, we took a cab straight to KL Sentral Station. From KL Sentral Station we took purple line (KLIA Transit Line) which the same line that goes to KL International Airport. We got off at Putrajaya and Cyberjaya Station.

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It was Saturday that we visited the said city, we arrived at the train station without knowing that we will discover almost a free tour that runs twice a day during Saturday at that time, which only cost us exactly 1 MYR (Malaysia Ringgit) per person. At first I can’t believe until we registered at the information booth at the train station and paid 2 MYR for the tour.  For us we just came in time before the bus leaves the station on its schedule. Our problem how to go around the said city had been resolved on its own.

Putrajaya word in Sanskit are combined words, ‘putra’ means ‘prince or male child’ and ‘jaya’ means ‘success or victory’. Putrajaya unlike famous Kuala Lumpur is a planned city as Malaysian Government sees that Kuala Lumpur are overcrowded and heavily congested place that made them decided to move the government offices to the planned city.

When the bus started to roll in to the intelligent garden city, we got a chance to see and explore one of the future city of Malaysia. While we were on our way I reminisce if there is similar place that we have back home in my country that I can say that is a planned city where opportunities may arise. Though there is one city that came into my mind which is Taguig City, though not the whole Taguig but just part of it which is Bonifacio Global City but still I cannot compare its development to Putrajaya because of its directions and objectives on its city.

Moving back to Putrajaya, while inside the bus I immediately admired that the city seems intend to remain its being green city or garden city. Though not so much sky scraper exist when we visited the place, but there were already significant buildings, offices to be seen and residential areas which carefully laid out in the city. The government offices are positioned and located on prime and distinguishable parts of the intelligent city.

Aside from mosque, government buildings, residential areas that we saw in the area, another structures that made me admire the city was because of its beautifully crafted bridges. Yes we knew the function of bridges, but how it was designed made people look back again and again to the bridge. The city has beautiful lake that can be seen most of the areas of the city that made me feel that the place is just really with the nature. City’s convention center are located at some hills of Putrajaya that made it really a stunning building. Overall I felt relax in the place as we go around inside the bus. Within the tour, we stopped in some photo areas that we grabbed our chance to take photos as it’s the precious gifts in our memories that we can bring back home in my country.

Here are the tourist spot that we saw and enjoyed in the city:

Buildings:

  • Perdana Putra

One of the important building at the center of Putrajaya where the office complex of Prime Minister of Malaysia can be found which located at the main hill of the city

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  • Masjid Putra (Putra Mosque)

Main mosque in the city which built near Perdana Putra.

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  • Komplex Seri Perdana (Seri Perdana Complex)

It is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Malaysia

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  • Putrajaya International Convention Centre

The main convention center in the city.

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Bridges:

  • Seri Gemilang Bridge

Main link between the core island to the south of Persiaran Perdana and serves as main entrance both for motorist and pedestrians.

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  • Seri Setia Bridge

Landmark and main route to the core island from south-east.

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  • Seri Wawasan Bridge

The bridge is categorised as ‘signature bridge’ which important between the core island and residential area in Precinct 8.

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Putrajaya Lake

This is the lake that makes the city’s atmosphere so soothing and relaxing to anyone’s view.

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Dataran Putra (Putra Square)

According to Wikipedia, the 300 meter circular Putra Square is bounded by Perdana Putra, Putra Mosque, Putra Bridge and the Promenade Shopping Mall.

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Taman Warisan Pertanian

An agricultural park where we saw different seeds and plants available in Malaysia.

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Passing Kota Kinabalu City

As the main reason why we went to Kota Kinabalu was for Mount Kinabalu Climb, we never really had enough time to see much the city as all of us in the group just had four days and in that four days includes the return flight and mountain climbing.

In our first day in the city, we arrived in Kota Kinabalu airport in the evening of that day. As far as I remember, we look for a place to sleep for the night and we found one in the city center. We slept in a dorm type accommodation. The whole group woke-up early for the climb. On our way to Mount Kinabalu, we spotted Masjid Bandar Kota Kinabalu (Kota Kinabalu City Mosque).

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Masjid Bandar Kota Kinabalu (Kota Kinabalu City Mosque).

And when we were on our way back to the airport after the climb, we passed Jalan Pantai and had a quick peek of the Malaysian Monument (Tugu Peringatan Malaysia) which seems a historical monument. Then we saw Kota Kinabalu City Hall (Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu) and we sighted another mosque in the city named Masjid Negeri Sabah.

IMG_9485Egret Replicas (Photo Courtesy – SMB Mountaineering Group Member)

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Malaysian Monument or Tugu Peringatan Malaysia (Photo Courtesy – SMB Mountaineering Group Member)

IMG_9483Kota Kinabalu City Hall or Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu (Photo Courtesy – SMB Mountaineering Group Member)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASabah State Mosque or Masjid Negeri Sabah (Photo courtesy of Jimmar)

That’s how we briefly traveled the city. I knew there are other places to see but we’re running out of time. Next thing we knew we were waiting at the airport for our flight back to Manila.

IMG_9480Sabah State Flag (Photo Courtesy – SMB Mountaineering Group Member)

IMG_9482Kota Kinabalu City Gate (Photo Courtesy – SMB Mountaineering Group Member)