Picture this – Tall leafy date trees forming patterns of shade on graveled pathways as you are surrounded by stillness. What’s more, this setting is in the middle of a desert, proving that man-made formations are not just depicted through the numerous skyscrapers towering the city of Dubai.
The Al Ain Oasis is the perfect weekend getaway with your family and/or friends. A little more than an hour away from the city of Dubai, this oasis is spread over 1,200 hectares but is conspicuously nestled within the tiny city of Al Ain, in the capital of Abu Dhabi.
This proud U.A.E. UNESCO Heritage Site has been preserved for its heritage and culture, which is portrayed through the interactive videos in the Eco-center dome. As this center closes at 5 pm, ensure you reach by prior to 5 to enjoy listening to the background and history, before embarking on the nature trails to enter the main oasis area.
You have the option to take a walk and explore the vast oasis on your own for free or hopping on the golf carts for a guided tour of the farm at a marginal cost.
We opted to do the latter to learn more about the place as our curiosity was heightened. As we left the noise of the city behind, we entered the lush farms, learning about the traditional irrigation system called Falaj, that is still in use to this day.
These systems have been ingeniously designed to gather water from aquifers and water bodies to be transported through channels connecting a number of farms effectively.
As you dwell deeper into the various lane ways of the oasis, you learn from the guide and the various sign boards regarding the different canopy layers, palm trees and regarding date tree pollination. All this makes for a very interesting and educating time exploring the farms.
Post breathing in the fresh air and rejuvenating experience, you can walk down to the nearby Al Ain Palace Museum for an interesting insight into the life of the royal family. The palace’s architectural elements such as the use of subdued colors, natural ventilation and environmentally friendly and locally sourced building materials, make for an interesting introspection on where we stand today.