An Oasis of Delights

Updated: Mar 11

If you are looking to get out of the city and explore the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain should be at the top of the list with UNESCO Heritage site, Al Ain Oasis, your very first stop.

No visit to Al Ain is complete without a visit to the city’s six UNESCO world heritage sites, and a visit to theAl Ain Oasis should be your first stop as it’s a virtual walk back in time—nearly 4,500 years to be exact. The city of Al Ain owes its name to the Al Ain Oasis, a 1200-hectare oasis comprised of 147,000 date palms and fruit bearing trees like mangos, oranges, bananas, and figs. The oasis has working examples of the falaj, an indigenous system of complex water channels that tap into underground wells.

The highlight is exploring the 3000-year-old falaj irrigation system—a grid of waterways for channeling fresh clean water from off the mountains and into the oasis.

If you work up an appetite exploring, the Al Ain Oasis Plaza fortunately has restaurants and shops to explore. Afterwards, visit the miniature Oasis, which is an interactive display of the oasis so you can get a bird’s eye view of everything at the Oasis, from the monuments and forts to the organisation of the oasis and the distribution of water. There are also various commissioned artworks around the heritage site in the event you want a dose of art and culture during your weekend away.

There are numerous hotels that you can stay in during your visit to Al Ain. Yalla recommends the Al Ain Rotana for its proximity to everything and a visit to the Al Ain Zoo if you are travelling with children.

Entry Free | 02 599 5438 | See map here

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Date Palm Fun Facts

Phoenix dactylifera (date or date palm) is a flowering plant species in the palm family Arecaceae, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit.

  • Date palms cover 3% of the earth’s surface. Four million tons are grown annually.

  • The word ‘date’ comes from the Greek word ‘daktylos’, meaning finger.

  • The date palm is the national symbol Saudi Arabia and represents vitality and growth.

  • Very few people are allergic to this fruit.

  • Date palm trees need at least 100 days of 38 degrees Celsius heat and plenty of water to produce the best quality fruit.

  • There are more than 200 varieties of dates. Medjool is the hardest to grow and therefore one of the most expensive to buy.

  • There are currently over 44 million date palms in the UAE and 199 different varieties producing 76,000 tonnes of fruit every year.

  • Branches of palm trees have even been used as part of small fishing boats.Dates can last up to two to three years stored in a refrigerator

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