Al-Ain Oasis (Oasis of the Spring) is located in the eastern part of the emirate of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It is a vast oasis and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UAE. Situated in the middle of Al-Ain city, the oasis covers an area of over 3,000 acres, thus being one of the largest of its kind in the region.
The oasis goes back well in time, more than 4,000 years ago. It is during those times that the early inhabitants of this area began to work hard to make the desert hospitable. Trees of various kinds like dates, orange, banana, mango, and almost a hundred more types are situated here. These give the place an out-of-the-world tranquil feel.
Things to See at Al-Ain Oasis
The first thing about Al-Ain Oasis that will strike you is the overwhelming greenery and the peace that it brings to your senses. With close to 150,000 trees dotting the region, Al-Ain Oasis is nothing but a piece of heaven in the desert location. The historical falaj (irrigation) system is still in place here. This system draws water from faraway mountains and springs and delivers it to farmlands quite a distance away, through an intricate network of channels & ducts. The Jebel Hafit & Hajar mountains serve this purpose.
Looking for some quality relaxed time? Here’s what you can do at the Al-Ain Oasis.
Take A Walk Around
Al-Ain offers ample scope for the entire family to take aimless strolls amidst the plush natural bounties. Wide and well-paved pathways meander all around the oasis and you can explore the entire area at your pace, soaking in the sights and sounds. Check out the various indigenous trees here, while the shades from the trees offer you comfort.
Check Out the Irrigation System
This is a perfect place to learn – for the entire group – about the age-old traditional irrigation system in the Arabian lands. The falaj system helped the ancient inhabitants of the Arab world to fight the hostile nature and make the place their home. The Al Aini & Dawood falaj systems ensure that the oasis remains perennially green – even during the punishing UAE summers.
The Eastern Fort
This is among the most-visited tourist spots in the entire Abu Dhabi. Built by Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – the erstwhile ruler of Abu Dhabi – over a century ago, the fort (also known as the Sultan Fort) chronicles the establishment and rise of the Al Nahyan family who continue to rule Abu Dhabi. In the earlier days, the fort used to be one of the major commanding outposts of the Haret al Hisn City of Al-Ain and also served as the residence of the rulers before the latter shifted to Abu Dhabi city. The fort is a must-visit for history enthusiasts as well as those willing to have a deeper understanding of Abu Dhabi’s recent history.
The Eco Center
Eager to know more about how this huge oasis was created? Then you must pay a visit to the Eco Center in the Al-Ain Oasis. You can also try your hand at the various simulated educational games that will help you to better understand the history of the oasis. A visit to this center is also worthwhile to understand the maintenance of such oases and how eco-friendlier measures can be undertaken to preserve them.
The Miniature Oasis
This is a perfect model of the actual oasis. It contains miniature versions of the entire oasis landscape and ecosystem, including the heritage buildings present here and its famed irrigation system. Children especially enjoy the chance to make small buildings with clay from the farms located here.
Best Time to Visit
Since the summers in UAE can be quite harsh, the perfect time to visit would be between November and March. The oasis is open-air, so it would be tough to stroll around in the summer months.
Is There Any Entrance Fee?
Entry to the Al-Ain Oasis is free. However, if you avail of refreshments there, you would need to pay for them.
How to Get Al-Ain Oasis?
Al-Ain is around 100 km from Dubai and about 160 km from Abu Dhabi. It is very well-connected via an excellent road network to both the cities. You can take your own car or hire a self-driven one to reach there.
You may also hire a taxi. However, for those on the lookout for budget travel options, the best bet would be to take the direct bus (E201) from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station in Dubai to Al-Ain. A one-way ticket on this bus would cost you AED 25.