In Yas Island Abu Dhabi, fun and adventure never stops

In Yas Island Abu Dhabi, fun and adventure never stops

The only travel to foreign shores that I did in these two years of the pandemic were the scenic cities on web shows that I binge watched every night on OTTs. It was in April, that I finally stepped out and spent some days in Yas Island Abu Dhabi, UAE. A short flight of four hours, and I was set to explore this island in the Middle East. It was post-midnight that we landed at Abu Dhabi International Airport and the smooth immigration was such a pleasant surprise. A 15-minute drive brought me to Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, my stay for the trip. The panaromic view of Yas Island from the private balcony of my room, overlooking the Yas Bay waterfront, a glittering skyline of the city and a boardwalk dotted with palm trees decked up with fairy lights, was as dreamy as it gets.

Theme Park thrills

Yas Island Abu Dhabi boasts of three theme parks— Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi. We had three days to explore these, with Warner Bros. World being the first stop of my trip. You’re in for a treat at Warner Bros. World if you’re a fan of Warner Bros and DC Comics characters . We entered through the Plaza and were transported to an animated world with the sky in vivid shades of purple and art deco style architecture.Think cities from Hollywood movies in the 1930s. Saunter around this plaza and check out the architecture, eateries and shops selling merchandise and get clicked with Batman, Superman or any of your favourite character as you explore.

Joker and Batman with actor Ranveer Singh, brand ambassador of Yas Island at Warner Bros. World (Photo courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)
Joker and Batman with actor Ranveer Singh, brand ambassador of Yas Island at Warner Bros. World (Photo courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)

The park has been divided into immersive themed lands such as Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch, Cartoon Junction, Gotham City and Metropolis. Our day started with scary thrill, as we got on to the Scarecrow Scare Raid ride, near Gotham City. A chills-inducing voice, played over the loudspeaker, asked the riders to, “face your deepest fear”, as the ride began with upside -down inversions. It took me a while after the ride ended for my heart rate become normal. From The Flintstones Bedrock River Adventure to Scooby-Doo: The Museum of Mysteries, there are plenty of rides for all the age groups to take their pick. My absolute favourite was the Batman: Knight Flight and Green Lantern: Galactic Odyssey. The Batman: Knight Flight gave an immersive experience, flying over the Gotham City, jumping from the skyscrapers and dodging the dreaded villains. Green Lantern, on the other hand, took us on a thrilling 4D flying theatre experience across stunning landscapes and the universe. It was as real as it gets, as we fell into the waterfall and flew across valley of flowers.

Ferrari World (Photo courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)
Ferrari World (Photo courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)

Our next destination was the Ferrari World, home to Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller-coaster, the star attraction, evident from the long queue at the entrance. As we waited for our turn, a batch of riders were sent off amid loud cheering and clapping by bystanders. Finally, it was our turn. We kept all our belongings in a locker and were handed a pair of protective goggles and asked to wear our cloth-face masks. I had the jitters as they secured and guided us through the safety instructions. And, then it just took off. My neck jerked forward as it reached a speed of 240 km/hr in just a few seconds.

Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller-coaster (Photo courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)
Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller-coaster (Photo courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)

After that you can either enjoy the high-octane ride or just pray for it to get over soon. By the time it ended, my mask had fallen off my face and I got off the roller coaster on shaky legs. The thrill doesn’t end here. You can try out Flying Aces, the highest roller coaster loop in the world, which I couldn’t muster the courage to get on to, but my fellow travellers called it more scary than Formula Rossa, or Turbo track with vertical climb and zero gravity fall.

Word of caution — do not eat a heavy meal just before you plan to get on these rides. We were clocking more than 20,000 steps in a day, at just one theme park. So, make sure your walking shoes can keep up.

Our last theme park visit was to Yas Waterworld, on a sultry day in Abu Dhabi. From slides such as Hamlool’s Hemp to Slithers, Amwaj the wave pool, the water park is perfect for spending a day with the family. You also can’t miss the unexpected surprises at Cinesplash, a 5D experience. As you are watching the show, the cinema hall suddenly submerges in knee-deep water, making it as real as possible. Do try Dawwama, the tornado water coaster.

Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi (Photo Courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)
Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi (Photo Courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)

CLYMB Abu Dhabi

Indoor Skydiving Flight Chamber at CLYMB (Photo courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)
Indoor Skydiving Flight Chamber at CLYMB (Photo courtesy: Yas Island Abu Dhabi)

Just outside Ferrari World is CLYMB, where we were booked to try sky diving at the Indoor Skydiving Flight Chamber. After logging in our details, we were given sky diving gears and taken to a classroom to get ourselves familiarised with various moves and safety instructions. The flight instructor showing off some really cool acrobatic moves inside the flight chamber made it look so easy. But, once you’re inside the chamber, it’s another ball game. Imagine some 16 giant fans simulating the free fall experience! For beginners like me, we had an extremely experienced flight instructor, who was with us through the session. I did struggle to get it right but the thrill was unmatched. I have never done skydiving in the open sky and the indoor skydiving was a beginning to explore this newfound love.

Nightlife

Do not forget to pack in your partywear, as a vibrant nightlife scene welcomes you at Yas Island. The Yas Bay Waterfront, which is a two minutes’ walk from the hotel, is lined with restaurants, lounges and cafés. A midnight walk to the Waterfront would bring us to the lively scenes of music, parties and revelers dancing. We had a fabulous time, over artisan cocktails and sushi at Iris, one of the hippest lounges around with a stunning view of the Yas Marina in the backdrop. It was the perfect way to call it a night.

Yas Island is also the venue for this year’s IIFA Awards to be held from May 20 and May 21, with Salman Khan hosting it. So,Indian film buffs out there, you know where to head for your summer break!

Shopping

You can buy knick knacks, apparels and souvenirs from stores at all the theme parks. I picked up a few chic jackets and t-shirts from the merchandise store at Ferrari World. However, Yas Mall is the place to head to, if you want to check out fashion and speciality stores. Don’t miss special scents at Atelier, and other local perfumeries. And, how could I leave the Middle East, without buying dates? I went to Carrefour and bought varieties of date delights. From Medjool dates to dates stuffed with dry fruits and covered in chocolates and caramel, I bought enough to last me a lifetime!

BASICS

■ There are direct flights to Abu Dhabi from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Yas Island is a 10-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport

■ Keep a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate handy.RT-PCR test reports are mandatory for entering public places and hotels. The test is valid for 14 days

■ Wear shoes with laces for all the rides at theme parks. Do carry a cloth mask for face

■ There are various cafes and restaurants inside the theme parks

■ You can get on the Yas Express, a complimentary shuttle bus service that can get you to any of the major island attractions

■ For details on theme park passes, hotels and more, visit www.yasisland.com

■ Covid-19 policies keep changing. It’s recommended to check the requisite documents before embarking on the journey

The author’s trip was sponsored by Yas Island Abu Dhabi

The author tweets at @Namyasinha

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Vijay Singh

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