Al-Ain is the main town in the Buraimi Oasis, which straddles the border between Abu Dhabi and Oman. Its sister town, Buraimi, is on the Omani side of the border, but visitors can move freely between the two, making this a fine way to get a taste of Oman without the hassle of obtaining a visa.
The oasis is probably the longest inhabited part of what is now the UAE, with settlement dating back to the 4th millenium BC. In more recent times, Al-Ain was the birthplace of Shaikh Zayed, the late ruler of Abu Dhabi, and he had lavished funds on it. Buraimi has not received the same largesse and remains a comfortable provincial town. The resulting contrast between the two communities makes this an interesting spot to visit. The other drawcard in summer is the dry heat of the oasis, a welcome relief from the humidity on the coast.
The Al-Ain Museum and Eastern Fort share the same compound in south-east Al-Ain. The museum contains exhibits on life in pre-oil days, Bedouin jewellery, weaponry, musical instruments and the interior of a Bedouin tent. An eclectic display of the decorations received by Shaikh Zayed includes the Order of Isabel the Catholic and a bullet from a Palestinian commando leader who hijacked three aircraft to Jordan in 1970. There's not a lot to see in the fort apart from an old cannon in the courtyard.
If you're in the market for a sheep or goat, stroll over to the nearby livestock souk, which attracts Bedouin and townspeople from all over southern UAE and northern Oman. It's an interesting place to wander around, especially early in the morning when trading is heaviest. There's also a small camel market in the morning close to the centre of town. When you tire of the stench of animal dung, head north across the border to the atmospheric Buraimi Souk, which is full of fruit and vegetable stalls and is backed by the Al-Hilla Fort. Nearby is the impressively restored, 400 year old Al-Khandaq Fort; it's well worth prowling around the fort's courtyard and climbing the battlements.
Camel racing takes place about 20km (12mi) from Al-Ain, on the road to Abu Dhabi, on Friday mornings during the winter months. You can also arrange camel safaris, ranging from one hour jaunts to overnight treks that include a night in a Bedouin tent. Al-Ain is a two hour drive east from Abu Dhabi; the two settlements are connected by a tree-lined freeway plied by buses and service taxis. It's roughly the same distance south of Dubai, accessible by service taxi
Al Ain Hotels
Tours from Ajman/dubai.
A wide range of modern day tourist attractions can be found in Al Ain. They cater to young and old alike and can provide hours of fun and interest.
Archeological Sites - A visit to the Al Ain Museum with it's many and varied displays will provide a fascinating insight to the history of the city and region dated back from around 3000 BC.
The awe-aspiring non-mechanized "falaj" irrigation systems, which remain to this day, had been the major basis of the oases, which were the staff of life to the local population. A visit to the restored Al Ain Oasis can be a relaxed walk providing an interesting insight to date cultivation. The restored and ruined forts and settements amongst serene plantations are also visible at Al Qattara, Al Jimi or Al Hili
Al Ain Museum Situated adjacent to the Al Hosn Fort, the museum has the Ethnographical Section reflecting the past daily life of the people of the region, and the Archaeological Section displaying discoveries dating back to the Bronze and Iron ages.
The museum is open Sunday thru Friday, and is closed on Saturdays.
The Central Public Gardens is the major attraction of Al Ain, located just west of the Clock tower Roundabout in the Town Center. It has grand fountain displays with changing shapes and lighting effects as you watch and a large children's adventure playground.
Al Ain Ice Rink adjacent to the Fun City, is a magnificent Olympic sized facility containing numerous children's games in addition to the skating.