alain

Al Ain

Take an unperturbed, serene trip to Al Ain that is often dubbed as the Garden City. Placed about 120 kilometers from Dubai, Al Ain perhaps boasts the UAE’s most enchanting and verdant landscape, being home to a string of well-manicured lush green gardens, tranquil parks and wide boulevards. The tour includes a visit to such incredible attractions of Al Ain as Jebel Hafeet - the nation’s tallest mountain offering the commanding views of the city. Al Jahili Fort that houses the largest museum with interesting exhibits including a rare repertoire of ruling family’s portraits, and the famed Camel Market – an authentic bustling Emirati souk where you can get up close glimpses of different types of camels.

The city abounds in picturesque forts. One of the UAE’s most historic buildings, Al Jahili Fort was erected in 1891 to defend the city and protect precious palm groves and is home to a permanent exhibition of the work of British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger and his 1940s crossings of the Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) desert. The redeveloped Al Qattara Fort is now home to a brilliant arts centre and gallery, offering hundreds of modern exhibits within its walls and with spaces for a variety of workshops – from pottery and painting to music and calligraphy.

Get to grips with our culture and heritage with a visit to the city’s museums. With three main sections - archaeology, ethnography and gifts, Al Ain National Museum lets you explore various aspects of UAE life, including Bedouin jewellery and traditional musical instrument collections. The former home of the late UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Ain Palace Museum houses a large collection of material about the ruling family. Visitors can tour the private rooms and gardens once occupied by the ‘Father of the Nation’.

Other attractions include the Al Ain oasis with its cool, shady walkways and a 3,000-year-old falaj irrigation system, and the camel market-one of the last few remaining. This date palm oasis has been recognised by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for its importance as a repository of genetic resources, biodiversity and cultural heritage.

Families should head to Al Ain Zoo – home to over 4,000 animals, and enjoy giraffe feeding, camel riding and ‘Elezba’ petting zoo. There are plenty of green public spaces for picnics and also playgrounds, a cafeteria and a train tour of the wildlife area. For a fun day out, try the renovated Hili Fun-City, the Gulf's oldest theme park, which now offers one of the cheapest days out. Watersports lovers need to try Wadi Adventure, the region’s only man-made white water rafting, kayaking and surf facility built in the foothills of the majestic Jebel Hafeet. The park’s 3.3 metre man-made surf wave is the world’s largest and its 1.7 kilometre kayaking channel network is the world’s longest. For a taste of the fast track, head to Al Ain Raceway and burn rubber at its 1.6 km go-karting track - Arabia’s largest.

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