Dubbed as the world’s leading tourism project at the World Travel Awards in November 2009, Yas Island is a 2,500 hectares tourism city developed at a cost of US$36 billion by Aldar Properties. It is a self sufficient tourist getaway complete with hotels, shopping centers and will feature attractions such as Warner Bros Movie World, Ferrari World, and soon to be announced water parks.

The island is located within Abu Dhabi and is just a 30 minute drive from Dubai. You can get to it from the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi by taking the Shahama Saadiyat Highway through Bisrat Fahid Island and exiting at the Yas island exit.

Ferrari world spotted!
Ferrari world spotted!
The Yas Gardens
Yas Gardens
The Yas Marina Circuit
The Yas Marina Circuit

There you will be greeted by the Yas garden park, which is surprisingly a rather deserted looking patch of greenery in the middle of nowhere complete with fancy marina styled theming. There you can make you way through the various well demarcated signs pointing to road leading to the soon-to-be-completed attractions all around the island.

As said, Yas island is home to the world’s largest indoor theme park, the Ferrari World. It shouldn’t be too hard to spot the red hulk of a structure sitting on the island. The park also spots the largest Ferrari logo ever made on it’s roof courtesy of the super structure itself designed by Benoy Architects. The park is totally all indoors, allowing the park to operate all year round in all weather conditions, with the exception of the outdoor roller coaster which is still subjected to the elements of the desert, such as occasional sandstorms.

Entrance to the circuit
Race circuit entrance
Ferrari world, world's largest indoor theme park
Ferrari world
the world's fastest hydraulically-launched roller coaster (Formula Rossa)
The Formula Rossa coaster

Also developed by Aldar Properties and managed by Farah Leisure Parks Management, the Ferrari World is the first themed park which carries the official Ferrari trademarked name, presumably through the long standing relations the country has with the Italian car maker. The park is said to bestow guests the best Ferrari Experience to both the young and old. The park spots 20 different rides, featuring a mini racetrack, theater complex, miscellaneous Ferrari driving activities and thrill flat-rides, with the key attraction being the Formula Rossa roller coaster.

The Formula Rossa, also known as the F1 coaster, is the world’s fastest coaster topping an excess of 240kmph through a hill less hydraulic launch similar to that found on Top Thrill Dragster (Cedar point) and Kingda Ka (Six Flags Great Adventure), only that the cable launch run is super extended to achieve the desired record breaking speed. The launch acceleration is said to be “as realistic” to that of a formula 1 car as vouched by Ferrari formula 1 drivers themselves in the park’s promotional campaign.

The coaster was designed Jack Rouse Associates and the manufactured by Intamin. After the launch, the rest of the coaster is pretty much rather tame in nature, with lots of high speed straights and believe it or not, no over-banked turns typical that of Intamin coasters. Other thrill rides in the theme park includes a drop tower and a dual launched Emotion roller coaster.

The front entrance to the theme park
The front entrance
The building is modelled after the side profile of a Ferrari GT
modeled from a Ferrari GT
The nearby Yas island hotels
Nearby Yas island hotels

On the accommodation side, Yas island spots residential housing through serviced apartments and hotels alike. The island is well served by a variety of hotel options for all middle to high budgets and is also home to a respectable hotel avenue- where all the hotels on the island reside, with the Crowne Plaza and Radisson hotels to name a few. One of the flagship hotels here have to be the Yas Marina Hotel. It spots a Durian-like husk roof and facade, located right in the heart of the Abu Dhabi Grandprix and overlooks the bay side Marina areas of the island.

View of the circuit and Ferrari world from the hotels
View from the hotels
Yas hotel front fountain
Yas hotel front
Complete with it's own yacht marina
with it’s own yacht marina

The Yas Marina Circuit undoubtedly the global crown jewel of the establishment. It’s is an FIA approved GP race track and the venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2010. The circuit is designed to be used in both the day and night, with a generous amount of lighting at night courtesy of the abundance of flood light towers installed all around the track. The track was designed by Hermann Tilke and is the second Formula One track in the Middle East. The 5.5km racetrack spots 21 turns winding its way through sand dunes, with several long straights, an even mix of corners and a tight hairpin at turn 7. It is the latest addition to the Formula 1 season as of the point of writing.

Now for a visit to the race track!
The marina race track!
Turn 19 of the Marina circuit
Turn 19 of the circuit
Turn 9 and 10 in the distance with the background grandstand
Turn 9, 10 and grandstand

There is nothing much about the upcoming Warner brothers theme park, and the claimed giant shopping district area. Out of the Formula 1 season, the place is pretty much a dead town, but we can expect the park at most to be completed in a 2 years or so for the whole island to be completely fully operational. So till then, that would be a good time to check out Yas island again.

Next stop, beating the heat and bearing it out at the Wadi Wadi waterpark.

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