Travel Basics – 2024 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Start planning your trip to the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at 2024 Yas Marina Circuit. Advice on visas, safety, health and local culture.

Do I Need a Visa to Visit the UAE?

Most visitors to the United Arab Emirates can obtain a FREE ENTRY VISA upon arrival for either 30 days (including citizens from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, UK & USA) or 90 days (most other Europeans). Check the list of countries with visa exemptions. If your country is not on the exemption list, you’ll need to apply for a tourist visa prior to your trip. Passengers with Etihad Airways can often arrange visas through the airline. Likewise, many 3-5 star hotels and travel agencies can request a tourist visa on your behalf. Alternatively, allow time to apply for your tourist visa at your local UAE Embassy

UAE Travel: Need to Know

  • Language: Arabic is the official language of the Emirates, though English is widely spoken, especially in cosmopolitan cities like Abu Dhabi, where 80% of the inhabitants are expatriates and foreign workers
  • Money: Abu Dhabi use the Emirate Dirham (AED) currency, which is pegged at a fixed rate of 3.67 to the USD. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are easy to find. If you are carrying foreign currency, change your money at banks, which offer better rates than money changers at the airport, hotels or shopping centers.
  • Weather: Abu Dhabi gets blue skies and sunshine all year round, with very little rainfall. The milder winter months of November to April are the best time of year to visit the Emirate, though it’s still pretty warm with temperatures of around 30°C (86°F) by day and 20°C (68°F) at night.
  • The timezone in Abu Dhabi is GMT +4 hours. The sun sets at around 5.30pm on Grand Prix weekend.
  • You drive on the right-hand side of the road in the Emirates.
  • The tap water in Abu Dhabi is safe for human consumption, but most locals and tourists drink bottled water.
  • Useful telephone numbers in the UAE: Police 999, Ambulance 998, Fire 997.
  • Learn More: Visit Abu Dhabi Official Website

About Abu Dhabi & United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The United Arab Emirates borders Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar. Its population of 9.5 million is predominately expatriate, with only 1.4 million Emirati citizens. The UAE is comprised of seven emirates (similar to principalities); Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Each is ruled by a hereditary Emir, with one of the seven elected to be the President of the UAE. Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s capital.

With just 420,000 Emirati citizens living in an expat-heavy city of 1.5 million inhabitants, each Abu Dhabi resident’s net worth works out at an unbelievable $17 million! This is a super-luxury city and the Abu Dhabi development boom shows no signs of abating. The Yas Marina Circuit, the Ferrari theme park and a Louvre museum are just a few of the attractions that will keep drawing tourism to the island.

The UAE is officially Islamic, though non-Islamic faiths are tolerated if they do not interfere with Islam. Sharia Law is the main source of legislation in the UAE. The holy day in Abu Dhabi and the rest of the Emirates is Friday, and the call to prayer is transmitted through loudspeakers on mosque minarets five times a day. Abu Dhabi’s culture shifted dramatically when ruler Sheikh Zayed died in 2004 and his son took over. Lifting the ban on land sales to foreigners and easing alcohol prohibitions are two notable changes brought in that have changed the face of this city exponentially. Despite the ongoing boom in development, Abu Dhabi is loyal to its cultural heritage, promoting traditional sports like falconry and camel racing.


The Grand Prix weekend is held in late November, which is considered “winter” in Abu Dhabi. It may not the hottest time of year, but direct sun exposure for long periods of time, coupled with lack of appropriate hydration, could still lead to problems if you’re not careful, so pack plenty of water and keep the sun cream handy. Abu Dhabi is extremely clean and whilst you are unlikely to suffer from food poisoning, an up to date hepatitis A vaccine is advisable, and you should stick to drinking bottled water. Most large hotels have on-site doctors for day-to-day ailments, and Abu Dhabi’s hospitals are of Western standards.

Staying Safe

In September 2018, Abu Dhabi was ranked as the world’s safest city for a second year running, and the UAE is widely considered to be among the safest places in the world to visit as a tourist. Tourists are rarely caught up in violent crime since the city has a strong police presence and imposes very serious penalties for theft and assault. Women traveling alone may sometimes receive unwanted attention from taxi drivers or on the streets, which is normally harmless. Women should dress modestly to help avoid bothersome attention from men, use hotel (rather than public) beaches and dine in the ‘Family Room’ at restaurants if eating alone.

Been to the UAE? Leave a comment with your travel tips!

18 thoughts on “Travel Basics – 2024 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix”

  1. I wonder if you can help me with locating a bus or coach company departing Dubai for Yas Island
    So far all I can find are Expensive private hire or public bus which takes forever

    1. Hi Rupert,
      I am afraid your options are limited to what you have found. I took the public bus last year from Dubai and it does take almost 2 hours. The only advice I can give you is to get off at Shahama, the park and ride near Yas Island (where you can get a shuttle to the track). If you stay on the bus to its terminus in Abu Dhabi, you then have to take a bus back to the circuit, costing you another 30 minutes. I don’t think this advice holds going the other way – you need to get to the main bus station in Abu Dhabi to take a bus back to Dubai. If you are going all three days to the race (and want to go to the concerts), I would consider booking a hotel in Abu Dhabi. More information in Getting Around

  2. Great article, thanks for the tips! With pristine sandy beaches, blue seas, palm trees and cosmopolitan cities, UAE is a dream to visit. However, with the rise of tourism, cases of tourist targeted scams and crime have risen as well.

    Do be wary of the spilled liquid/spit scam, pickpockets, woman with sick child, travelling salesman scam, man with injury, out of petrol sob story, fake goods/jewellery, unofficial taxis, rogue taxis, door knocking scam, fake police and many more!

  3. Thanks for the useful tips but correction; You drive on the right side of the road, but the steering wheel is on the left side when you’re sitting inside the car. Just like it is in the US.

  4. Going to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and needing two PCR tests for the 3 day ticket is a nightmare. Are they offering tests near or in the circuit which will have results in a few hours? Not sure whether to pay for the rest of my trip. Their website does not state if they are offering these. There is a few locations offering them but are in random locations away from the circuit. Any advice?

    1. Understand your concerns Lauren, hopefully more information will be available closer to the race. I’m sure there will be testing facilities somewhere on Yas Island, hopefully outside some of the entrance gates.

    2. Hi Lauren,

      I’m travelling to Abu Dhabi for the Grand Prix in a couple of weeks, and also require a negative PCR test for entry.

      Any advice from your trip last year would be much appreciated!

      1. Hi Ross, the UAE downgraded COVID-19 regulations yesterday. No app, test or vaccination certificate required any longer to enter the circuit – though you may still have to show vaccination status or negative test result to enter the UAE – check with your airline.

  5. I’m an Indian, 16yo and in India the vaccine for minors is not yet out so I’m not yet vacinated , so my question is if I have a negetive PCR test will I be allowed to enter the Abu Dhabi GP or not?

    1. The event is only for vaccinated people – if you were 15 or under, it would be ok. Please see the text from the Yas Marina website: “Spectators must be fully vaccinated at least 28 days prior to the event with two doses of a UAE government-approved Covid-19 vaccine. Those aged 0 to 15 do not need to be vaccinated, while those 16 and above must be fully vaccinated and present their Green Pass on the Al Hosn app to gain entry.” More information here

      1. If you fully vaccinated less than 28 but still get a 14 day green pass will you be able to enter the track?

  6. This website states that you are not allowed to enter without a vaccine, however the website of the yas marina circuit says something different:

    We actively encourage all visitors to the #AbuDhabiGP to be fully vaccinated, however if you are unable to demonstrate your vaccine status through the Alhosn green pass – you are required to present a certificate that you have received an UAE-approved vaccine or negative PCR test less than 48 hours old (applicable to international visitors only).”

    From this I conclude that international visitors with a negative PCR test, no more than 48 hours old, can enter.

    Can you confirm this information?

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