Friday, January 04, 2008

Al Ain - Garden City of Gulf

I visited UAE towards the end of 2004 and had written about the country in various publications. Just thought I'd repost one of them on my blog too. Enjoy reading.

al ain mountains Al Ain sited close to the UAE-Oman border about 135 km from Dubai is attracting a large and growing number of leisure tourists who wish to take a break after a hectic shopping spree. Al Ain offers a plethora of rest and recreation opportunities, historical monuments, sports facilities and lots and lots of greenery. Naturally endowed with several large oasis’ Al Ain (pop. 500,000) is a green low-rise city sited in the shade of the Jebel Hafit mountains. Surrounded by awesome red sand dunes and the rugged craggy mountains, Al Ain is linked by excellent roads to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
gardens in al ainBlessed with generous groundwater resources and self-renewing aquifers, Al Ain is one of the most fertile agricultural areas of the UAE, often described as the ‘garden city of the Gulf’. Indeed ‘Al Ain’ in Arabic means ‘spring’ and the region with its ancient but efficient non-mechanised falaj irrigation system boasts sprawling date and fruit plantations.
Attractions in Al Ainjebel hafit mountainsThe most popular tourist attraction here is the Al Ain Oasis. Sited in the epicentre of a cool date plantation and divided into numerous well-maintained date farms, the oasis is thronged by tourists who walk in quiet shades in lush greenery.
Another equally popular locale in the city is the Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium, the largest in the Middle East. Spread over 400 hectares, the zoo is home to a wide variety of animal and marine species including elephants, tigers, bears and other animals peculiar to the desert.
sunset over the desert Although Al Ain boasts over 42 forts, the best examples of Arab fort architecture are the Jahili Fort — a large restored fort structure with distinctive corner turrets; Mujairib Fort comprising a main and smaller fort, a 50 ft tall watchtower, surrounded by a park and children’s playground; Hili Fort with its ornate entrance and sprawling courtyard, Al Rumeilah famous for its sandstone architecture and the Murabba, and Mazyad forts.
Also visit the Al Ain Museum known for its excellent collection of archaeological and ethnographic exhibits, antiquated gold pendants and an impressive coin collection apart from an array of gifts received by UAE’s president from visiting statesmen and royalty.
Leisure sports activities.dune bashingMost visitors from the subcontinent dazzled, by the malls and shopping arcades of Dubai and Sharjah don’t know it, but the UAE also offers exceptionally well-developed desert and water sports opportunities. For the sports-minded and adventurous, there are several options such as camel safaris, desert camping, sand and grass golf, dune bashing, etc. Popular indigenous spectator sports include Camel racing and Dog racing.
Al Ain – Fact file Best time to visit. October-March is the best time. April-July is the hottest period and could prove fatal to those who can’t bear the sun’s heat.
Getting there.Air. The nearest international airport is Dubai (135 km), which is well connected with frequent flights from Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore and Cochin.
Accommodation and nightlife.As a well-developed leisure destination, Al Ain boasts three 5-star resort hotels — The Hilton, The Intercontinental and Rotana hotels, all set in expansive and meticulously landscaped environments. Al Ain also has a vibrant nightlife in its restaurants, bars, discotheques and night clubs. Top-end (Dhs.500-1,000): Intercontinental Palm Oasis Resort, Hilton International, Al Ain Rotana Hotel. Mid-range and Budget (Dhs.200-500): Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet, Green Desert Hotel.Note: 1 UAE DH = Rs.13


Shri Bhat said...

Nice one ,thanks for the information

Kiran palwasha said...

Nice blog and nice pics with info.