Interestingly, Al Ain is also very aptly referred to as the ‘Garden City’ because of being abundantly decked by beautiful natural springs scattered across oases.
If you were one of those very few students who were not sleeping through the history classes in school, you will remember being fascinated by tombs and graves, ancient cities and lost civilisations.
The mountain is also traversed by a stunning cave system, comprising of stalagmites (the upward-growing mound of mineral on the floor of the cave) and stalactites (the icicle type formations on the ceiling), of which only a few have been explored, but only to a depth of 150m or less. The limestone range is also fed with layers upon layers of rock, laden with fossils of planktons.
The city has picturesque forts, beautiful gardens, traditional souks and adventure hotspots. It truly is a coming together of the ancient and modern worlds and shows how a city can retain its cultural roots while still evolving into a modern and developed entity.
By Bus: The best way to reach Al Ain is via a bus or a minibus. Etihad Airways also offers a complimentary coach service to Al Ain from Abu Dhabi airport. Buses depart hourly from the Abu Dhabi bus station and it takes about 2 hours to reach. Buses also run every 45 minutes from Al-Ghubaiba bus station in Dubai, from where it takes around 1 hour 45 minutes.
By Flight: You can take a flight from Delhi to Al Ain. Carriers like Etihad Airways and Jet Airways operate between Delhi to Al Ain, with a stopover at Abu Dhabi.
The Dubai International Airport and the Abu Dhabi International Airport, are the nearest options to arrive via air at Al Ain. Another alternative to reach Al Ain is by bus or minibus from Abu Dhabi (140km) and Dubai (100km).
Exhaustive guide to Jebel Ḥafeeṫ
Jebel Ḥafeeṫ, translating to ’empty mountain’ in Arabic, is located primarily in the garden city of Al Ain, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the UAE. While the summit is situated completely within the United Arab Emirates, part of the mountain straddles the border with Oman.
Jabel Hafeet is a beautiful mountain in United Arab Emirates on the outskirts of Al Ain, Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
It’s a must not miss attraction, where you can experience the view of whole Al- Ain, standing at top of the hill. There are several parking lots along the way which provide ample viewing opportunities and beautiful backdrops for photo shoots.
To reach here you experience one of the most spectacular ride, for this you can take various options be it Hiking, Bike ride or SUV ride. Each of them is going to give you its own adrenaline rush, the mountains which rises 1,249 metres (4,098 ft) offers a great view over the city, well known for sunset and sunrise location, where you take about 60 turns and three lanes to reach.
A little something for the nature hippies
For photographers and curious travellers out there, imagine clear blue skies, endless stretches of barren land and in the midst of it all, a cheery yellow tropical flower blooming away in abandon.
Al Ain Zoo – Zoo District – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates
Drop in at the Al Ain Zoo, to say hello to the Arabian antelope and oryx, the African gazelles and giraffes, to name a few of the plethora of animals that can be found lounging casually in the compound.
Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel – Jebel Hafeet – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates
The Mercure Grand Jebel Ḥafeeṫ is a unique mountain oasis resort perched on top of Jebel Ḥafeeṫ at a lofty height of 3,000ft. The hotel houses 124 rooms and suites, each offering spectacular views and a calm like no other. To whet your appetite just a wee bit more, the hotel has an outdoor heated swimming pool, a swanky fitness centre, golf gardens, squash courts and snooker tables.
Wadi Adventure – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates
Wadi Adventure is the Middle East’s first man made surfing, rafting and kayaking facility. It has the world’s largest artificial surfing wave, three levels of white water rafting rapids and a long kayaking channel. It hosted the world’s first ever rafting championship in 2016 where 27 countries participated. Other than water-based activities, Wadi Adventure also has an ‘airpark’. The airpark has a 200m long zip line, suspended balance beams and a 13m high climbing wall. It also has a giant swing, which can hold up to three people at one time and gives a great adrenaline rush. Wadi Adventure is the perfect place to spend all day having fun and enjoying yourself.
Hili Fun City – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates
Hili Fun City is one of the largest theme parks in UAE. It has more than 30 attractions ranging from thrilling rides and adventures to gentle rides for children of all ages, including a roller coaster and an elevated sky-flyer. And located right next to it is the Al Ain Ice Rink, an Olympic- sized ice skating rink where you can chill out while the sun beats hot outside. Wednesdays are reserved for ladies only and the park is closed on Sundays.
Al Ain Palace Museum – Al Mutawaa – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates
Al Ain Palace Museum is the former residence of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, the first ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The palace has been restored to its former glory and has beautiful interiors. The information inside is mostly in Arabic but the decor is worth admiring. The palace is divided into private, guest and official quarters by courtyards and landscaped with cacti, magnolia trees and palms. You can see the Sheikh’s meeting room, take a tour of the huge kitchen and also see the master bedroom of the Sheikh and his wife.