Fondly known as the ‘Garden City’ of the UAE, Al Ain is lively energetic souks, has one of the tallest mountains of UAE and is a famous getaway for both tourists and locals alike. Boasting a dramatic setting and enjoying a majestic mountainous backdrop, Al Ain is your much needed respite from the hustle bustle of Dubai, historical overdose of Sharjah and commercial hub of Abu Dhabi.
While you plan your next trip to Al Ain, here are some of the best places to visit in Al Ain.
1. Al Jahili Fort
Treasure house for the Emirati history and Al Ain ancient era, the Al Jahili fort is a big bulky fortress that looks like some giant sand castle. Built in the year 1891, the architecture served as a defense for the city and save the precious palm grooves. It also served as a headquarter of Oman Trucial Scouts. For a brief period, it served as a home to the local governor. The fort has beautiful landscaped gardens and visitors love to explore it.
2. Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum
Also known as the Al Ain museum, it has served as a home to Sheikh Zayed- the first president of UAE. Although, most of the information inside is in Arabian language, the photos and galleries speak volumes of the city’s historical past. The interior décor helps a lot in understanding the life led in the bygone era. The birthplace of the current crown prince of UAE-Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, this palace museum offers great insights on the royal family of UAE as well.
3. Al Ain National Museum
This informational museum is one of the best Al Ain attractions. It has three different sections including Ethnography- that depicts the daily life of the people during the Bedouin era, the archeology section that has the treasured ruins of the ancient times and the gifts section. The ethnography section particularly is of great interest to people as it exhibits the jewelry used during those times, the weapons, the musical instruments, and the recreation of the traditional majlis.
4. The famous Camel Souq
Possibly the last remaining traditional camel trading souq in UAE, the Camel souq (market) is one of the best places to visit in Al Ain. Located east of Jebel Haffeet, the camel souq is your best opportunity to get up close and personal with the most loved pets of the Arabs. While you can also oblige to the self-appointed tour guides, it’s always better to walk and explore by yourself. The souq is open from 6am to 7pm. The shops generally close by 11 pm during weekends when the tourist rush is more.
5. Hili Archeological Park
With findings dating back to the stone and bronze age, Hili archeological park is one of the most visited tourist places in Al Ain. Surrounded by the Palm oasis trees, the findings displayed are only half of what were excavated. Most of the findings are exhibited at the Al Ain National Museum. Many of its findings dates back to the 3rd millennium BCE and keeps you in awe of them.
6. Hili Fun City
One of the biggest and most famous fun theme parks in UAE- Hili Fun city is one of the most loved tourist places of the Al Ain. With over 40 thrilling rides loved by kids and adults alike, the park excites tourists with its special Sky- flyer. Thousands of visitors visit the park from neighboring places and it is one of the most frequented weekend getaway for the locals.
7. Al Ain Zoo
Boasting of the largest animal enclosures in United Arab Emirates, Al Ain Zoo is one of the most revered zoo in the UAE. It has a separate big cat enclosures featuring lions, tigers, spotted and black leopards, jaguars, pumas. A dedicated monkey compound, reptile house, and aviary section too. The research facilities and the breeding program of the zoo are especially popular.
Al Ain is not a place to visit for glittery malls and high rise skyscrapers. It is a destination that you visit to unwind and relax in the calm of the small city and togetherness of the friends and family. Al Ain should be visited for the love of archeology, history and culture.