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Best things to do in Al Ain

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Where in the world: Asia  /  United Arab Emirates  /  Emirate of Abu Dhabi  /  Al Ain

Top 15 things to do in Al Ain

1. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Emirate of Dubai

Explore the extensive landscape and diversity of nature at Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a protected natural area. Away from the bustle and change that is modern-day Dubai, this conservation project was established to maintain no less than five percent of the Emirate of Dubai's total landmass. Trek across the dunes on the back of a camel and look for the wildlife that has been reintroduced to its natural habitat, such as caracals, sand foxes, and Brandts hedgehogs. Enjoy a range of traditional Arab pursuits, such as archery and horse riding, or something a bit more modern, like sand boarding. Check out the falconry presentations, where you'll meet the birds of prey up close.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Tours from $38 › Learn more about Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

2. Jebel Hafeet

Visit Jebel Hafeet, a tall mountain straddling the border with Oman. Drive up to the summit to enjoy views of the city below from a height of 1,249 m (4,098 ft) above sea level. The winding mountain road offers extensive views of the vast desert land, so stop off at one of the multiple viewing platforms on your way up. Facilities are available at the summit, along with ample space from which to admire the view and snap a few photographs.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $117 › Learn more about Jebel Hafeet

3. Al Ain Zoo

Enjoy a day of education and entertainment with the animals at Al Ain Zoo, a 400 hectare (990 acre) site hosting over 4,000 critters. Opened in 1969, the zoo enjoys a scenic location in the foothills of the Jebel Hafeet mountains, where the native landscape serves as the natural home for many of its residents. This leader in the field of animal conservation counts over 30 percent of its species as endangered, including the Arabian oryx and the white lion. Take the onsite train to see the animals in habitats reminiscent of their native lands, and enjoy a guided tour to learn more about their behavior and the wider conservation project.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $9 › Learn more about Al Ain Zoo

4. Dubai: Premium Red Dunes Safari, Camel Ride, BBQ & Al Marmoom Oasis

FROM $102
Tour UAE's largest unfenced desert reserve, Al Marmoom, and enjoy an evening red dune desert safari across the vast desert. Indulge in adventure activities like dune bashing & sandboarding, take part in other entertainment activities and savor the flavors of traditional Emirati BBQ dinner. Highlights: Explore Al Marmoom, the largest unfenced nature reserve in the UAE. Go for adventure activities like dune bashing and sandboarding. Experience a wonderful camel ride across the breathtaking red dunes. Enjoy the traditional Arabic camp activities at the Bedouin Village. Savor the flavors of a typical Emirati buffet BBQ dinner. Stargazing with a Telescope.
Suggested duration: 7h
Tours from $102 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Al Ain Oasis

Explore one of the most essential aspects of urban infrastructure at Al Ain Oasis, a peaceful urban oasis--literally. Known for its below-ground falaj irrigation system, with sloping underground channels transporting water from the main source to key areas, the site possesses an agricultural, historical, and biological importance. Recognized internationally as a significant heritage site, the irrigation system dates back some 3,000 years, and many of the palm plantations here still function as farms. Covering an area of 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres), the oasis and surrounding plantations are home to more than 147,000 date palms of 100 different varieties. Follow the shady pathways and take in the greenery and tranquility.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $230 › Learn more about Al Ain Oasis

6. Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum

Visit the former home of the late founder of the nation at Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum. Built in 1910, the palace displays striking architecture, with large courtyards and tiered towers located within high palace walls. A museum since 1998, the palace showcases art contemporary to the rule of Sheikh Zayed, tells the story of his political and private biography, and details what life was like at the palace. Tour the grounds and enjoy the exhibits, which are set across multiple ornate majlis (rooms for receiving visitors).
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $250 › Learn more about Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum

7. Al Jahili Fort

Built in 1891, Al Jahili Fort stands as a historic structure surrounded by landscaped gardens with collections from past adventure expeditions. The fort was erected to protect the city's palm groves, and through the years has acted as the headquarters for Oman Trucial Scouts and as a governor residence. Walk around this landmark and view exhibitions on Zayed I and British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, including finds from his 1940s expedition across Rub Al Khali desert.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $108 › Learn more about Al Jahili Fort

8. Dubai Heritage Land Rover Desert Safari with Traditional Dinner & Entertainment

FROM $193
Pass through the desert in a vintage Land Rover and spend an evening dining under the stars at a Bedouin-inspired camp, tucked away in the grounds of a royal residence! This must-do cultural experience includes an afternoon safari through Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, followed by a night of Emirati entertainment, hospitality and traditional food. Enjoy local music and dancing, cookery demonstrations and a falconry display; get a henna tattoo and ride a camel; and then relax during a 4-course set menu for dinner.
Suggested duration: 7h
Tours from $193 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Al Ain National Museum

At Al Ain National Museum, the oldest museum in the UAE, you will find discoveries from the Bronze Age, ethnographic information, and artifacts from Hili Archeological Park. Located next to the Eastern Fort, this museum focuses its exhibitions on regional collections from Al Ain and other significant objects from around the country. Tour this popular museum, which was founded by former President Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to learn more about the history of United Arab Emirates and its people.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $108 › Learn more about Al Ain National Museum

10. Camel Souk

Busy, loud, and often a little pungent, Camel Souk offers a fascinating glimpse into a specific aspect of traditional Arabic culture. Traders come to the market to buy and sell camels, usually through some intense bargaining. Feel free to walk around and observe the animals in their pens, from young ones to studs designed for breeding. The camels make for great photos, but be aware that traders may well demand money afterwards, so consider asking permission first. Women should dress modestly, so as to respect local customs.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $108 › Learn more about Camel Souk

11. Hatta Water Dam, Hatta

Drive up to the top of steep Hatta Water Dam for a clear view of the green blue water gathered in the artificial lake below. Rocky bare hills with scarce shrubby vegetation surround the lake. Leave your car at the parking area on the top of the hill, take pictures, or simply enjoy the silence. You can even bring a basket of food and have a picnic before the sunset. Watch the sign on top of the dam for rules and regulations.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $61 › Learn more about Hatta Water Dam

12. Camel Desert Safari with Traditional Dinner & Heritage Activities from Dubai

FROM $193
Ride a camel through the desert and enjoy dinner at a Bedouin-inspired camp on this exciting 7-hour experience. Leave Dubai in an air-conditioned minivan and swap your vehicle for a camel for a memorable 45-minute ride to an exclusive desert camp amid the dunes. As the sun sets, enjoy a host of traditional Arabic activities: see a falconry demonstration and cookery displays, get a henna tattoo, and watch traditional dancing under the stars. The finale comes with a scrumptious 4-course banquet of Emirati dishes served Bedouin style.
Suggested duration: 7h
Tours from $193 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Al Ain Mall

Featuring more than 350 retail outlets, including a range of top global brands, Al Ain Mall offers an enjoyable shopping experience. Take a break from retail therapy and grab a bite to eat, with more than 60 restaurants and cafes to choose from inside the mall. For a bit of novelty in the desert environment, go for a skate at the onsite ice rink. The fully air-conditioned shopping center also provides a much-needed escape from the oppressive heat outside.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $220 › Learn more about Al Ain Mall

14. Arab Baths

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Arab Baths

15. Hot Air Balloon Ride, Vintage Land Rover Ride & Breakfast from Dubai

FROM $375
Balloon Adventures is the longest operating hot air balloon company in Dubai, flying since 2005. The only company permitted to fly over the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, have the opportunity to spot roaming camels and Arabian oryx in the desert down below. As the sunrise casts different hues across the untouched desert dunes, the views and the photo opportunities are spectacular! After the hot air balloon flight, go for a short desert drive in vintage 1950s Land Rover to an authentic desert setting on Royal grounds. Enjoy a gourmet breakfast of smoked salmon, caviar, eggs Benedict and more. Relax in the traditional majilis and try riding a camel as well as taking photos with a falcon on display. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience of Dubai!
Suggested duration: 5h
Tours from $375 › More about this tour at viator.com ›