Showing posts with label Al Ain Museum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Al Ain Museum. Show all posts

Monday, August 01, 2011

Things to do in Al Ain

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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 to where you can stop to take photos.

 At the top of Jebel Hafeet, you will find nothing. It is a viewing deck with one building that houses a small cafeteria and washrooms.

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.

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. Toilets 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 in. There is the hot spring baths, camel rides and play area for kids.

It is in Al Ain Zoo where you will find the Sambona African white lions and my favorite animals, the meerkats. 

Tickets cost 15 dirhams for adults and 5 dirhams for kids age 3 to 12. The Zoo is huge and needs 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 Museum which can be your next stop.

Beside Al Ain Museum is the Al Ain Oasis. The largest oasis in Al Ain famous for its irrigation system called falaj which brings water from the boreholes to water farm and palm trees. It is one of the many existing oases 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
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Re-Discovering Al Ain Part II

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Hello there and Salam to everyone. I'm back after a long halt here. This is a continuation of our trip to Al Ain last December 2, 2010.

These are my favorites among the display we have seen at Al Ain Museum, an 18th-century armor and a bucket of coin minted in the 17th century.

After Al Ain Museum, we headed to Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, also known as Al Ain Zoo.

We are here to see the white lions of Sambona or African lions, well I have never seen a white lion before so I am excited as a child. AWPR  is committed to protect and preserve these stunning endangered wildlife that's is why they are here in their new home.

Are you familiar with meerkat or suricate Suricata Suricatta member of the mongoose family? During my previous visits at Al Ain Zoo, these social mammals are not there yet and I think that they are a new addition to the growing number of zoo animals. They became one of my favorite animals after I have seen a documentary about them from Discovery Chanel Abu Dhabi. What I like most about them is when they all stand on their two hind legs in the morning when the sun rises and another was they do care for their family specially the young ones.

We enjoyed roaming in the zoo and looking around at all the animals. The zoo is so big we almost spent about two hours and it was almost sundown when we left. My daughter complained that she did not see the penguins yet. Well, probably that would be for our next trip since I learned that the park will soon to open a children's garden including a butterfly house and I am really looking forward to seeing that. Oh and the photo of meerkats above is courtesy of AWPR.

The sun was setting and we will not have enough time to see other places so I just randomly took some photos of the locals performing a local dance on our way out.

Our next stop is supposed to be the Green Mubazzarah but when we reached the entrance, the police would not let vehicles into the park, they said it was full and the road is completely blocked. So we changed plans, we headed to Jebel Hafeet instead even we are starving just to let the traffic ease out and we will be back later for bbq and picnic.

As our car ascends the mountain I can feel the pressure from both my ears and my little boy started crying. He felt it too. We gave him his pacifier to soothe him and some bubble gum for my daughter. They say it helps just like when you do a jaw exercise while on the plane when the pressure goes up due to altitude.

We, adults, are busy looking from the window starring at the view below. Al Ain at night is amazingly beautiful. So much has changed since I last climb Jebel Hafeet. Back then, only half of Al Ain view at night have lights but now almost the whole of Al Ain is gleaming brightly in the dark.

After taking all the pictures we want and after contemplating whether we will have to settle somewhere atop Jebel Hafeet for our dinner like some kabayans, we finally decided to go down and luckily we were allowed to enter the park. We rolled down our windows so the police officer will see that we are family else there will be no luck. Even it is already late in the evening, the park is still crowded. The smell of bbq and kebabs are all over the place. The voices of children reverberate in the air and the people look all happy and gay.

We succeeded in finding a good spot and begin to unload our stuff from the car. Tired and starving, we lay down the food we have prepared, one good thing is that I brought some hot water for tea and coffee stored in the vacuum flask that keeps it warm for long hours if we would have frozen in the cold night while waiting for our dinner to get warm and cooked.

The boys busy with the bbq and me busy taking photos of Jebel Hafeet mountain. :)

It was a tiring day but all worth it because we had so much fun together with friends and family. A time to unwind and have some quality time for ourselves far from the bustling city of Dubai. Not only we had a good time but learned some of UAEs heritage, culture, and history. See you on our next trip.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Re-discovering Al Ain

Al-Ain is a beautiful emirate and we have visited it a lot of times already. During our previous trips, we visited Al Ain Wild Life Park and Zoo, The Green Mubazzarah and the Top of Jebel Hafeet.

This time around we planned to see other tourist destinations such as Hili Archaeological Park, Al Ain Oasis and Al Ain Museum but of course, we wouldn't want to miss the ones that we have seen before, our trip will never be complete if we were unable to visit those famous places again.

It was UAE National Day when we hit the Dubai-Al Ain highway. It was a holiday so the road is free flowing and I am happy that it was accident-free as well. On our way, we stop by the gas station to load up on fuel (long drive ulit) about 120 km from Dubai to Al Ain. A group of Dubai Bikers is on their way to Hatta, Oman. I read it in the news earlier this week that they are doing this for a cause. Oh man, they really have beautiful and expensive bikes!

We reached Al Ain by 12 noon and we didn't know where to go first. The good thing was that I researched the day before and familiarized myself with the names of the places we want to see. As I have said we have been to Al Ain many times however still we let the road signs guide us to our destinations.

Our first stop was Hili Archaeological Park, literally, it is a park where people come for picnics, b-b-q and relax a little but the main attraction here is the archaeological findings dating back to Bronze Age. It is the biggest bronze age site in UAE which dates back to 3rd Millennium B.C. Some of the remains we have seen are falaj or underground irrigation system, the Hili Grand Tomb that belongs to Um-an Nar culture and early settlements with unique architectural designs. Finds from the site are now displayed at Al Ain Museum which we also visited later on.

Al Ain Oasis is the largest oasis in Al Ain and it is famous for its "falaj" which bring water from boreholes to water farm and palm trees. The falaj irrigation is an ancient system dating back thousands of years. Al Ain Oasis is among the many oases existing in Al Ain.

They allow cars to enter the Oasis however the narrow path can only accommodate one car to pass and the winding road can take you to the other side of the city if you wish to or can go back from the main gate but manueovering is a bit of a hazard. It is green inside the Oasis, with tall trees and the air was undeniably cool and clean, that is the effect when lots of trees are there to filter air.

We felt like being time warped back to our provinces in the Philippines."Parang nasa Batangas lng tayo!"-my husband commented. I myself felt like being transported back to the place when I grew up surrounded by big acacia tree. Our friends say it's like being back to their tumana on a sunny day. We are used to greenery back home and we have been missing it a lot so being in a place like this brings back old but beautiful memories.

Al Ain Museum is the oldest museum in the UAE and it is just right around the corner beside Al Ain Oasis. We headed to the museum where the finds from the Hili Archaeological Park are displayed. The rich culture of Al Ain City and the UAE itself was well illustrated in this place. The museum is categorized into two sections, the ethnographic and the archaeological. The museum is open Saturday to Thursday from 8 am to 7:30 pm and on Fridays from 3-7:30 pm only. There is a small fee of 3 AED for adults and 1 AED for kids below 10 years old.

It is worth coming here specially if you have kids. Exposing them to the tradition, culture, and heritage of the country where they are growing is good. As much as we want to expose our kids to the Philippine culture and heritage our resources here abroad are limited. Visiting places like this in the Philippines is an addition to our itinerary when we head back home for our annual vacation.

One of my favorites on display was the metal soldier armour dating back to the 18th century used by Arabs during the war. Another was the hoard of about 300 silver coins minted in the mid to -17th century, accidentally discovered near Al Ain.

to be continued...Part 2
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