Al Ain is a neighboring city of Abu Dhabi but it is not an Emirate. It is still part of Abu Dhabi and many developments planned by the latter emirate are extended to Al Ain as well.
When visiting Al Ain, the first place I have in mind to visit is Jebel Hafeet. The road up to Jebel Hafeet is one of the finest if not the finest driving roads in the world. It spans to 7.3 miles climbing nearly 4,000 feet and the road is smooth and perfected . You may feel a little bit of pressure in your ears as you climb. There are several areas on the way up where you can stop to take photos.
At the top of Jebel Hafeet you will find nothing.
But was just my first impression on my first climb. What excites me the most to go there is the overlooking view of the city below. It was a beautiful sight at night with all the lights like stars in the sky.
There is a cafeteria for a quick grub and few small rides for toddlers and a washroom.
Mercure Grand sits in one of Jebel Hafeet mountain range and if you are looking for a place to stay in this part of the city then you look into this hotel.
At the foot of Jebel Hafeet is the Green Mubazzarah. Park entrance is free and there is ample parking inside. Portalets are also scattered but you must bring water, tissue paper or wet wipes for your own comfort. It can also get very crowded during holidays so come early to get a nice spot.
The park is open for public and barbecuing is allowed with barbecue grills available. You can also bring your own grill for hygienic reasons.
The best time to visit is after summer months. Inside the park, there are a lot of activities to engage yourself into. There is the hot spring baths, camel rides and play area for kids.
It is in Al Ain Zoowhere you will find the Sambona African white lions and my favorite meerkats. Tickets cost 15 dirhams for adults and 5 dirhams for kids age 3 to 12. The Zoo is huge and need at least a couple of hours to see almost everything.
For some cultural and historical immersion, you might want to pass by Hili Archaeological Park. It is known as the biggest bronze age site in UAE dating back to 3rd Millennium BC and was home to Umm an-Nar culture. You will find here the Hili Grand Tomb - a circular tomb with stone fittings where multiple remains are buried.
The artifacts from Hili Archaeological Park are now displayed at Al Ain Museumwhich can be your next stop.
Beside Al Ain Museum is Al Ain Oasis. The largest oasis in Al Ain famous for its irrigation system called falaj which bring water from the boreholes to water farm and palm trees. It is one of the many existing oasis in Al Ain. It is a winding passage inside leading to another part of the city
If there is another place I've been meaning to visit is Al Ain Paradise but it is open during spring and winter season only but I bet it is worth the wait. Al Ain Paradise is the record holder of the largest number of hanging flower baskets. and...
If there is another thing I would like to do in Al Ain it would be the Hot Air Balloon Ride.
Post update: 11/03/2012
We have been to Al Ain Paradise last March 2, 2012 and you can read my post about it here