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Cities Guide >>> Al Ain                                                                       Book A Hotel

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Al Ain , literally The Eye or The Spring) is the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With a population of 421,948 (2005 estimate), Al Ain is dubbed the Garden City of the UAE. It is located in Abu Dhabi (emirate), directly adjacent to the border with Oman. The freeways connecting Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai form a geographic triangle in the center of the country, each city roughly 150 kilometers from the other two.

Get in

By plane

Technically, Al Ain has its own international airport, but the vast majority of flights arrive at Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

By bus

Easiest way to reach Al Ain is by Bus from Abu Dhabi (140 km) and Dubai (100 km). Buses depart hourly from Abu Dhabi bus station, arriving at Al Ain bus staion and it takes 2 hours ( 10 Dhs , $ 2.70). Buses are clean Air Conditioned semi luxury type. Bus stops in half way for about 10 minutes. From Dubai, there are Emirates mini buses availble from Bur Dubai taxi station. Clean semi luxury mini vans charges 20 Dhs ( $5.40 Approx) for the 90 minutes journey.

Get around

Taxis are plentiful and cheap (2 dirhams initially and 50 fils/km thereafter). Women traveling alone should sit in the back and not make conversation with the cabbies, as they may misinterpret friendliness.

Local buses are limited and not reliable.

See

Al Ain has several site that would be of interest to tourists:

Jebel Hafeet. The second tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates (1350 m), Jebel Hafeet is surrounded by flat plains on three sides, which afford spectacular views, especially at sunset. The road to the top winds around hairpin turns for 12 km. There are three rest points for viewing, and then at the very top is a large parking area with a cafeteria and 360 degree view of the entire area. Take care on the road, some drivers enjoy the excitement of the twists and turns too much. There is a hotel (Mecure Hafeet) at the top, as well as Green Mubazara Park and Ain Al Fada resorts at the bottom. Free.

 

Camel Souq, Near Meyzad border crossing. Daylight. Recenctly relocated to the Meyzad area, about 5 km south of Al Ain, near the Oman border, the camel souq is open every day. Hundreds of camels are brought together to buy and sell. Dress conservatively. The traders are very friendly, especially to children. The non-Gulf Arab traders may ask for money ("baksheesh") for letting children sit on a camel. Many traders will pick up children unbidden so that they can be photographed. Free.

Al Ain Museuem and Fort. Free. Located on Al Ain Street (or "Main Street" as the locals call it), this fort was built to protect the oasis from raiders. It was used as the headquarters for Sheikh Zayed when he was the ruler of the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi, prior to his ascending to Sheikh of Abu Dhabi itself. The museum recreates the way people of the region lived before the founding ofthe UAE.

Al Ain Oasis. The biggest of several oasises in region, the oasis is made up of thousands of date palms. The oasis is located between the main souq area downtown and Al Ain street. Narrow roads run through the oasis, so you can drive through it, or you can walk. A small restaurant/coffee shop is located in the middle. Walking in the oasis is especially nice when the sun is not directly overhead, as the palm trees offer cooling shade. Free.

Buy

Arabia Center a ladies speciality shopping center by ENB GROUP, located in Jabal Roundabout. A special attraction for Arabic traditional wear & western outfits for ladies and their kids. Arabia Center - the pulse of a lady.

Al Ain has two shopping malls Al Ain Mall Close to the town centre, it is the largest mall in Al Ain. It contains an ice-skating rink and children's play areas.

Al Jimi Mall It is located in the Jimi Area, close to the Municipality building (Baladiya in Arabic). The building was originally built as a vegetable and meat market, but was renovated and revamped into a spectacular shopping mall. It has Carrefour, the large supermarket where you would get everything on your shopping list.

Al Ain also has various shopping areas, the Town Centre Area i.e. Main Street, Khalifa Street, and Oud At Touba Street. Vendors sell everything from cheaply made toys and souvenirs to spices, Arabian incense and Gold.

Even Black - ladies traditional wear - 4 showrooms in Al Ain. With maximum designns for Abhaya. All showrooms are designed as Arabic Studios is an another attraction.

Eat

Al Ain is host to a wide range of palates and ethnicities when it comes to cuisine. Lebanese/Arabic food is usually cheapest; hotel restaurants usually the most expensive. The city is home to all manner of fast food like McDonald's and Hardees, but there is little call for most people to eat at those places. Some of the best and cheapest food in the city can be found at its many Indian restaurants. Portions are almost always generous, prices low, and quality excellent. Chinese food is at its best in the many chinese restaurants. Residents find Al Ain's selection to be more than adequate.

The fun thing about Al Ain is that everywhere, literally from tiny falafel shacks to the cushy hotel restaurants to Burger King- delivers to anywhere in the city. Delivery is quick and reliable, and usually doesn't cost extra.

Vegetarians will find the city's selection of meals very satisfying. Vegetable and bean-heavy native dishes, the array of splendid pure vegetarian Indian cuisine, and the ready availability of fresh salads make eating in Al Ain a stress-free experience. Strict vegans may have a little difficulty communicating their precise demands, but most places offer vegan dishes and are always willing to accommodate a paying customer.

Most of the good restaurants are concentrated on Khalifa Street.

The main street in Mauteredh (Mathraz, according to some) has a large number of cafeterias serving Lebanese to Indian food.