Bani Yas (Baniyas) — Abu Dhabi, UAE

A week or so ago I posted about my love for Bani Yas (Baniyas).  A desert area located in Abu Dhabi off the highway to Al Ain near Mohammed bin Zayed city. This area (though being renewed by the government) reminds me so much of Jahra, filled with the bedu life — what I consider perfection. It’s just the perfect little area sitting in the middle of the desert. Far enough away from the expat life in Abu Dhabi city that I almost forget it’s still part of the UAE.

Rarely will you see a woman driving (other than me) in Baniyas. Nor will you see women walking around dressed like they’re going to the nightclub. It’s an area to be respectful — and respected. I’ve asked many Emiratis about this area, making sure it was acceptable for me to go there alone. They’ve all assured me it’s perfectly safe, but ask what my interest is. So many locals in the GCC are racing to get away from the bedu life, they’re often so confused as to why I’m racing to get in. I told one Emirati friend I was going to Baniyas and he said, “Oh, you mean Yas Island?” I said, “Uh, no, I mean Baniyas.” He too was confused and asked if I knew it was a very bedu area. Of course I do… why does he think I go there?

While in Kuwait I spend much of my time in Jahra — about a 30 minute drive from where I reside. I’ve been going there regularly for so many years that I’m comfortable and people are used to seeing me. I’m no longer a novelty to them — but probably known as ‘that crazy American woman’. I’ve never encountered one issue in Jahra and feel incredibly safe. I get that same feeling while driving through Baniyas. Almost as if a woman in need would be the highest priority to any man in the area. I’m not followed, chased, or hunted — but instead given the right of way in traffic, allowed to get in front of others at the gas station, and told to go to the front of the line at the ATM machine. This is exactly how the life should be.

I’m writing this ‘follow up’ post because I noticed my original post about Baniyas had over 200 300 400 500 600 4,500 hits today alone. I started wondering if one Baniyas person came across my post and told everyone in every dewaniya in the area — or if there’s a conspiracy and I should avoid the area. Maybe they’re all sitting out there saying, “Who is this crazy woman? Why is she coming here? What does she want?” Or maybe they’re just as curious as I am — in a positive way.

These are only a few pictures I’ve taken while in Baniyas — anyone who is familiar with Jahra will see the similarity.

As always, if your vehicle, etc. are in my photos and you want them removed, please let me know and I’ll do so right away.

Posted in: UAE |

34 thoughts on “Bani Yas (Baniyas) — Abu Dhabi, UAE

  1. Not a lot notice this link , the biggest figures of visitor keep coming from your previous post. The reason behind this, the blackberry messenger spread your first post about Bani Yas.

    • One of the people who commented mentioned the blackberry message about my first post. I’m very touched they shared it with everyone. And truly honored by all of your comments. You’re such wonderful people.

  2. hi,

    yeah i knew about ur post because of the BlackBerry Messenger. BTW Bani Yas is much bigger than you have seen, u just saw a small part of that City.

    • Does anyone know who found it and sent the message via BB? If so, please thank them for me, and tell them it’s an honor to know they came across my post and shared it with so many.

  3. Oh,, both of u r welcome tọ̥ visit Bani Yas :d

    I have a lil question 4 u PianistQ8,, how do u know about Bani Yas!?

    • I will answer for him since he hasn’t read your comment yet — but I’ll tell him to read as well 🙂

      He hasn’t been to Bani Yas. But he is the one who discovered it for me by asking Emiratis. He’s Kuwaiti but lives here in Abu Dhabi now — he understands my love for the bedu culture. I was complaining to him every day about the city, the traffic, and most of all, the lack of culture. He’s very friendly and talks to everyone… truly a wonderful person with such a kind heart. So he started asking around to find out where I could go to experience what I was missing so much about Kuwait… then he found it on Mapquest and sent me on my way. The first time I was driving around Bani Yas I called him to thank him a million times and expressed my love for the area. Once he saw all of the wonderful comments from the locals there, he too knew it must be an amazing place and has agreed to visit the area with me. Insha’Allah we will go this Thursday evening. We will let you know for sure when we’re coming out there and perhaps we can all meet? I know he would welcome that as well.

  4. oh that is awesome he found such a beautiful place to visit 😀 ,, i hope to meet you sometime,, did u go to bani yas yesterday? oh yeah can u add my email so we can keep in touch 😀

    • I didn’t get to go to Baniyas yesterday. I had some business to take care of later in the evening and didn’t get a chance. Insha’Allah I will tomorrow. I was awake till about 7am this morning so I slept all day today. When the weather gets so hot it’s easier to sleep in the day. I’ll definitely add your email 🙂

  5. I’m from Algeria and since a few days I’m living in bani yas and i really appreciate the area but the problem is that I’ve got no contact with any one and I’ll be very glad to establish any relationship with persons to share a cup of coffee around discussion subject animated with this spirit of sharing culture knowledge and feeling drop me few lines it’ll be my pleasure to answer

  6. hi
    i am from uae
    and i am searching for an american friend to know so can we be friends i am not from abu dhabi but i go to abu dhabi alot so if i go to abu dhabi.
    So i have only one question….. how old are u ?

  7. if you want to know about desert life in abudhabi state ,you should be visit alain city to see how pepole living there and because am civil engineer and working in the middle of the desert all the time i know the best pales to take a photo for that .
    maybe you wasn’t go to western abudhabi to see alsarab palace its just awesome
    tell me if you want know more information or help and good luck .

    • Thank you, Spider, for your comment and kind offer. I’m happiest in the desert surrounded by real culture. I spend a lot of time out of the country so I still haven’t made it to Al Ain, but maybe next weekend I’ll get that opportunity.

      • Hi Omar, I have posted your comments but please note that post is over 2 years old. I highly doubt anyone is coming back to check the comments. Also, though I appreciate you’re trying to make new friends, maybe a blog isn’t the best place for that? Especially when it appears as though you’re only trying to contact women.

        Baniyas is very close to Abu Dhabi city where there’s an abundance of women. You may want to consider trying to meet someone there. Wishing you all the best.

  8. Dear American woman,
    You have taken me towards the nostalgia,it is just amazing and psychological supporting to see all these pictures of Baniyas,which happens to be my sole place.I was raised in these streets, so please can you manage few more pictures and you are right that you are safe there. No one will object on your presence. So many things have changed since a short period of time. Even i find it very strang is the way how the Baniyas has started to look. Those old houses were excellent (GOD gracious such old times when my parents were young and so many good memories).I still keep a small glass full of sand from Baniyas, it just makes me feel close to the place that i was brought up.
    well thanks for haring your thoughts and these honest and lovely pictures, which takes me at least 20 years away.
    Dr.A Kamal

    • Thank you for your comment, Dr. Though I’ve recently relocated from Abu Dhabi, I will always say my favorite place in the entire UAE was Baniyas. I have numerous other photos I took during my several visits there which I will gladly email to you once I get a bit more settled. If you don’t hear anything from me via email in the next week, please send me an email at as a reminder. It really would be an honor to send them to you, so please don’t feel a though you’re bothering me by asking. I will do my best not to forget. Just in the midst of moving and my hard drives are all packed.

  9. hi there
    can v b frnds by chating and meet with each others
    me living n pakistan
    i already visit dubai for 2 times
    great 2 c ur coments about binyas
    god bls u
    gud take care

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