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Al Ain

3.8 / 5 31 votes

Country rank: 4 out of 11 Places To Visit In Uae

Sub-Region: Buraimi


Ideal duration: 5-7 days

Best time: October - April (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Abu Dhabi  (Check Flights)


"The Garden City"

Al Ain Tourism

Al Ain literally translates to 'the spring' in English, and it was once a vital oasis on the caravan route from the UAE to Oman. The oasis is still open to tourists. Al Ain stands on the UAE - Oman border and is a small and sleepy town away from the hustle bustle of the major cities in UAE like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It is largely known for its greenery and is a beautiful sight to view in the midst of a desert.

Al Ain is a one and a half hour drive from Abu Dhabi city, which is the closest big city. It is one of the world's oldest permanently inhabited settlements and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It can easily be regarded as the cultural site of UAE with a lot of history and culture broiling in it for a long time. It is home to various picturesque forts and museums, along with the iconic oasis lined with date palm trees, which is the main attraction of Al Ain. A must do when in Al Ain is to drive up to the top of Jebel Hafeet, a rocky mountain dominating the city, to experience a breath-taking view of the plains. It is the emirate's highest peak and UAE's second highest. A trip to Al Ain usually exceeds expectations, bringing with it a natural calmness.

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There are strict dress codes in many parts of UAE. Although the men do not have many restrictions, women should, however, refrain from wearing shorts and hot pants. It is not essential to wear a burkha but covering up parts of the body which are considered sensitive in their culture is expected of the tourists. For women, it means covering the shoulders and the knees (and everything in between). Men should be wary of shorts, knee-length is considered modestly acceptable.

When it comes to etiquettes, try not to slouch while sitting, with your feet planted directly onto the floor so as not to show the soles of your shoes. Crossing your legs and pointing your feet at someone else in the room is bad etiquette.

Men should not shake hands with women unless the woman initiates the handshake. In more formal situations, you may be greeted with the phrase "salaam aleikum", which translates as "peace be upon you". The proper etiquette would be to reply with "aleikum assalaam", which means "and on you peace".

Tipping is not compulsory but is a common practice.

Arabic is the official language although English is widely spoken and understood in Al Ain. Here are some Arabic phrases and words that you can use while in Al Ain:
Hi - Salam
Good morning - Sabah el kheer
How are you? - Kaifa alhal
Thank you (very much)! - Shukran (jazeelan)
Goodbye - Ma'a asalama

Al Ain is considered to be one of the world's oldest permanently inhabited settlements, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It_has been inhabited for over 4,000 years. These early cultures built "beehive" tombs for their dead and engaged in hunting and gathering in the area. Historically it is believed that Prophet Muhammad's companion Ka`ab Bin Ahbar had come to this region to spread Islam and introduce it to its people. He consequently settled here and died in the oasis. Another important part of Al Ain's history are the forts. The forts currently in Al-`Ain were built in the late 19th or early 20th century to solidify Abu Dhabi's control over the oasis. These networks of fortresses protected the Oases and settlements from bandit attacks.

Nightlife is not a very common phenomena in Al Ain. However, Horse and Jockey is the only pub in town and is a typical sports bar. It serves standard bar food. Other than this, there is Bravo Tapas Bar which is inspired by the Spanish and serves light tapas and drinks._

Shopping in Al Ain is best experienced in the Al Ain Mall. It also has an ice rink inside the mall. It is the first choice for all shoppers. There are also many other malls in Al Ain but if you are more interested in visiting the marketplaces then you should visit the Al Ain Souk. 'Souk' in Arabic is used for 'market'. Al Ain Souk is a great place to explore, savour the local atmosphere and practise your bargaining skills. Other souks include Souk Al Qaws which features shops of a practical nature set among unique architecture and _Souk Al Bawadi which has more of a heritage feel, with over 50 shops selling traditional items and souvenirs.

There are no currency regulations and foreign currency of almost any denomination is readily exchanged in the UAE. _The best exchange rates are generally available at private money changers found throughout the UAE, but especially in the more popular souks and shopping centres. ATMs can be easily found in Al Ain too.

You can get your money exchanged at the airport itself to be on the safer side. If you do run ourt of money, don't worry there are many currency exchange shops all around Al Ain. Some of the reliable ones are - Habib Exchange Co LLC, Al Ansari Exchange, Wall Street Exchange, Lari Exchange. There are also ATMs available all around the city.

If you are on a budget travel, then AED 195/day is a good amount to carry. If you are on a mid-range budget, then AED 505/day will suffice. For a luxury budget, AED 1400/day is sufficient for you to experience the luxury that Al Ain has to offer. All these costs include expenses on food, souvenirs, transportation, sight-seeing, etc._

Most of the traditional food of UAE has a very unique and rich taste. It has a lot of spices which blend together to form a beautiful emirati gastronomical experience. Traditional dishes contain rice, fish and meat as main ingredients. If you are open to eating all kinds of meat, then here are some of the must try food items that you should consider eating while visiting Al Ain: Stuffed Camel, Al Harees(it is a dish made out of wheat and meat and dished out into a porridge like consistency), Shawarma, Al Machboos (It is made with rice, meat, onion and dried lemon), Hummus ( it is a famous dip made from chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini paste, salt and garlic.)

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