Yas Marina hotel at night lit up

UAE 2010: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – Ferrari World and Yas Marina Circuit

Date: 14th April 2010

I was so looking forward to today. After Vishu celebrations at home with family, I called up our usual taxi driver and headed to the final stop in my sightseeing itinerary of UAE.

Since I was leaving from Musaffah, Yas Island wasn’t very far — 15 minutes or so by road (it’s around 30 mins from Abu Dhabi city).

Heading to Yas Island Abu DhabiThe US$30 billion plus (yes!) Yas Island is the flagship project of Aldar Properties. It’s such a huge undertaking that you might as well visit Aldar’s website to see what all they plan on building out here.

Yas Marina circuit Abu Dhabi signalGoing to Yas Island Abu Dhabi

But the Middle East story remains the same. What was once nothing but desert sands is now being turned into a gargantuan construction site offering the best of everything to the world.

Yas Island Ferrari World traffic

Though still far off from completing everything envisioned, some of the tent pole attractions are nearing their opening dates — like Ferrari World.

Yas Island Ferrari World roller coaster constructionSet to open before the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari World is set to be the world’s largest indoor theme park. And this being themed after Ferrari, it will also house Formula Rossa — the fastest roller coaster in the world. How fast? Up to 240kmph (or 149 miles) with the power of 1.7 Gs pressing against your chest! Scary.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi panorama constructionFerrari World Abu Dhabi labourers workersFerrari World from inside car Abu DhabiFerrari World Abu Dhabi construction progressFerrari World Abu Dhabi construction

If you are wondering what is so impressive about this monstrosity, well, photos from the ground below are not going to do it justice unfortunately. For that, you should see what it looks like from up above.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi construction timeline
Images source: www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com

Crazy isn’t it? That they actually built something this futuristic and alien, on such a scale!

(Question: How are they going to clean the roof?)

After driving past Ferrari World, the taxi driver took me to the attraction I was mainly here for — and the only one fully complete on Yas Island.

Yas Island Marina circuit hotels
Some of the (barely inhabitated) hotels on Yas Island
Road to Yas Marina circuit Yas Island
Nearly there…
Yas Marina circuit track bridge
The Yas Marina Circuit

Yas Marina circuit track bridge view

Yas Marina circuit track tarmac
Home to the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 race track…
Yas Marina circuit Abu Dhabi panorama
… which also has a man-made marina in the middle of it…
Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi building
… and the most strangely-beautiful 5-star hotel on earth

Last year, at the inaugural race held in Abu Dhabi, seeing the Yas Hotel all lit up on TV made for quite an impressive sight. The only day-&-night race (starting in the evening) on the F1 calendar, Abu Dhabi had to one-up the SingaporeΒ  F1 — the first night race — and also one held along their Marina Bay (albeit a natural one).

Yas Hotel entrance fountain Abu DhabiI asked my driver to drop me here and come back around 7:30pm as I was going to be here for a while.

Yas Hotel Marina docksSince I had some time before sunset and the Yas Hotel lights came on, I checked out the docks first. Also because visitors aren’t allowed access on to the tracks, so I didn’t really have much choice.

Yas Hotel bridge to Marina dockYas Marina hotel docks yachtsYas Marina hotel dock pathYas Marina dock reflection

Yas Marina hotel docking bay
I don’t know how one gets their boats into the Marina…

Yas Marina hotel dock iSpeed boat

Yas Marina dock black yacht
… guess only rich playboys are privy to that information

Yas Marina docked yachtYas Marina hotel dock fire engine

Yas Marina hotel dock panorama
(Panorama comprised of 6 shots)

Yas Marina hotel dock restricted accessYas Marina dock Michelin flagYas Marina hotel docks pillarsYas Marina hotel ramp

Yas Marina racing teams yacht Sun tower
The FIA GT1 championships were happening that weekend

Yas Marina FIA GT1 championship driverYas Marina racing team trucksYas Island Marina chairs lampsYas Marina hotel chair view

Yas Island yacht Al Bandar residences background
Al Bandar residences in the background

Yas Marina circuit club tower

Abu Dhabi plane fly sky
One of the many planes setting off from the near by airport
Yas Marina sun tower
The Yas Marina circuit Sun Tower
Yas Marina circuit do not signs
Photography is allowed though

Yas Marina hotel ramp waterYas Marina circuit sparrowsYas Hotel light starting to come onYas Hotel aero bridgeYas Marina Abu Dhabi sunset skyYas Marina circuit sunset sky

The sun was setting, which only meant the lights were slowly starting to appear on the Yas Hotel.

Yas Marina circuit track behind barricades

Yas Hotel under lights
Decided to go to the other side

Yas Marina circuit under bridge hotel track

Yas Marina hotel golf car
How workers get around at Yas Marina circuit
Yas Marina docks big yachts
Big-ass yachts

Yas Marina docks grandstandYas Marina hotel docks lights evening Yas Hotel section verticalYas Marina hotel track grandstandIt was past 6pm by this time and the lights were finally starting to show.

Yas Hotel lights underYas Hotel under lights curveWhile I made my way back to the other side, I met a group of Indian workers who have been working on this ‘alien invasion of the desert’ since the beginning.

Yas Marina hotel Indian workersThey told me how all this was nothing but sand when they began a few years ago… and how they managed to flood a desert and turn into a artificial marina.

Yas Marina Indian worker labourer
Rakesh from Lucknow, who witnessed the change in landscape

Yas Marina circuit track hotel view

By the time I was done with our conversation, the skies had turned near-pitch dark, which only meant one thing — the Yas Hotel was now in full bloom.

Yas Marina hotel at night lit up

Yas Hotel dock Yas island

I had seen it from a distance on my second day in Abu Dhabi but I’m so glad I chose to see it up close!

Yas Marina hotel at night reflection yacht

Yas Marina hotel lights reflection night
Quite a desert jewel

Yas Marina docks at night shadowYas hotel Yacht at nightYas Marina docks at nightYas Hotel marina pillarsIt was past 7pm now, so I made my way back to the entrance of Yas Hotel.

Yas Marina circuit track bridge

Yas Marina circuits track lights at night
The Yas Marina track at night

As I waited for my taxi, I noticed a bright red sports car make its way around the fountain. I then quickly realized it was the impressive Nissan GTR, the winner of a gazillion “Car of the Year” awards since its debut two years ago.

Yas Hotel entrance Nissan GTR redI went up to the car to get a closer look.

Yas Hotel lobby Nissan GTR red

And then, the driver actually looks at me and calls me over. For a second I was like: “Oops, was I not supposed to take photos?”

But as I walked up towards him, the young Arab owner only asked me if he could see the photos I had taken. Then he asked me if I wanted him to park it better so I could take a proper photo!

“Of course,” I said πŸ™‚

Red Nissan GTR in front of Yas HotelYas Marina red Nissan GTR close upWe began talking and he (Ali, I believe his name was) told me about his prized possession. Costing around INR 39 lakh, he got it second hand from the US and came to Yas Marina Circuit to find out how much it costs to drive one’s own car on the track.

He even let me sit in the car and get a better feel of the tech-loaded GTR.

Yas Marina inside Nissan GTR steering wheel
The Polyphony Digital-designed on-screen display
Yas Marina red Nissan GTR interior display
This one was an automatic
Yas Marina red Nissan GTR owner
The proud owner

He even asked me send him the photographs and we exchanged each others contact information. By then, I hear a horn beep and I turn around to see my taxi driver waving to me. He had arrived a few minutes back but waited as he saw me talking to Ali.

As we drove back to my parent’s place, we passed by the HQ office building.

HQ office building Al Raha at night Abu Dhabi

HQ office building at night Al Raha Abu Dhabi construction
HQ is part of the Al Raha Beach development

While in the car, as always with this driver, he told me tales about his experiences in this country. As I recounted my evening at the Yas Marina Circuit and the cars, he told me about the spoilt lazy youth and how the Government just throws money at them in the hopes they’d end up with a career one day. I’m sure a lot of what he was telling me was true because it’s not like I haven’t heard about all this before.

Still, the visit to Yas Island was certainly one of the best highlights of this trip. I recommend it to anyone visiting the UAE. It’s only an hour’s drive from Dubai and 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi city.

I can assure you, once Ferrari World and the other attractions open, Yas Island will become one of the world’s ‘must-see’ destinations in a few years time — which is what Abu Dhabi is striving for.

This concludes all the posts on all the sights I saw in the two weeks I spent in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I only have a concluding post which is mostly going to be an editorial piece. Meaning: more words than photos.

Here’s a video I took from Yas Marina circuit:

Previous posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Heading back to the Gulf after 7 years

UAE 2010: Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (& back)

UAE 2010: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

UAE 2010: Heading to Dubai by bus; checking out Bur Dubai

UAE 2010: Dubai Mall (Aquarium, Underwater Zoo & Gold Souk) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Burj Khalifa, At the Top (and Wafi Mall) – Part 2

UAE 2010: Driving around Dubai (Souk Madinat Jumeirah, The Atlantis & The Palm Islands) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Dubai Marina, Jumeirah, The Walk and David Guetta concert – Part 2

UAE 2010: Showing my parents the sights of Dubai; inside Ibn Battuta Mall

UAE 2010: From the desert sands of Abu Dhabi to the corniche

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  • r@m


    Great photo’s dude , do you have these in high resolution ? I’m modeling the track …check out my website.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    I’ve sent a reply to your mail.

    r@m Reply:

    Thx . but I didn’t receive your mail…

    try rmissin (at) hotmail.com

  • lance


    very nice photos! now i want to go there and see the actual hotel/marina. just wondering, can i ask for the highres photo of ‘yas marina hotel at night lit up’? this particular shot is my favorite! πŸ˜€

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    I can send you a hi-res image (if you want to use it as a wallpaper) but it *will* have a watermark of my website at the bottom.

  • Wuz


    Hey really nice work. I am Wuz, one of the team that did the content design for the Gridshell on the Yas Hotel during the formula one days.
    We also did the show during the race. Check us out online
    :: http://www.europeansystemsolution.com

    Do ypu think we can use your pictures for our portofolio?


Comments are closed.