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Oasis of Al Ain: Freshness break

Updated on 05.06.2018

The visit of the Oasis and the palm grove of Al Ain is a cool break with more than 100,000 date palms irrigated thanks to the falaj system. The plots are private and surrounded by stone walls. They belong to Emirati families who delegate the culture to their employees from the Indian subcontinent. Find in this article all the information to organize your visit (video clip, advice, tips, schedules, prices, access plan and location, detailed map of the site).

Road through the oasis of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

The falaj system

Falaj refers to a water management and distribution network found in several countries of the Arabian Peninsula, notably in Oman and Yemen. It is a complex network of pipes often in the open air, where water circulates by gravity. Due to the scarcity of water in these arid regions, a falaj is not continuously supplied with water. Key complexes and distribution rules, formerly based on astronomy, define the distribution of water to irrigate community plots. The water comes from underground springs and the first aflaj, or assimilated irrigations systems, go back to the Bronze Age. In Oman, there are more than 3,000 aflaj still active, and listed as World Heritage by Unesco. Those of the oasis of Al Ain are perfectly functional. In his youth, Cheikh Zayed himself participated with his own hands in their restoration. Try to find one of the plots with water during your visit, which is quite rare.

Falaj water system in the oasis of Al Ain, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi ©Odyfolio

Guide to visit

The entrance to the Al Ain Oasis is not far from Sheikh Zayed Palace. In fact, there are several entries but it is this one that is the most practical. A few years ago, it was possible to cross the oasis by car, and go directly to the Al Ain National Museum, but this is no longer possible. Now a large car park has been built, and employees of the Al Ain tourist office distribute a map at the entrance of the oasis.

The walk is very pleasant. We recommend that you walk straight ahead, and follow signs to the small mosque. Once you've discovered it, go back on the same road so you do not get lost. Even if the plots are private, do not hesitate to push the doors to look inside the plots and try to see the Falaj system. The plots in front of the mosque are regularly irrigated.

Farm worker walking near the Al Ain Oasis Mosque, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

Enclosure wall and access door to a private parcel of the Al Ain oasis, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi ©Odyfolio

Multimedia exhibitions

At the main entrance of the oasis (next to the Al Ain Palace Museum) there are two small multimedia exhibitions. The most important is located in the organic garden, in a capsule with futuristic architecture. It is a very good starting point for the visit of the oasis of Al Ain which explains with great reinforcement of multimedia animations the irrigation system. Count 15 minutes for the visit. Free entry,

Eco Center building hosting the multimedia exhibition of the Al Ain Oasis, in the United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

Useful information

Count between 60 and 90 minutes for the visit that can be done only during the day. Admission is free and a card is distributed at the entrance. The oasis is everywhere shaded, so it is possible to visit it even when the sun hits hard. At the entrance and the center of the oasis there are free toilets, cafes and tables for picnicking, as well as a small souvenir shop.

At the main entrances of the oasis, there are bike rental stations, operated by credit card: you can return the bikes to another entrance to the oasis.

Map of the oasis and access map

Map of the center of Al Ain with the most important tourist sites of the city ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Map of Al Ain (United Arab Emirates) with the location of the main tourist attractions of the city ©OpenStreetMap contributors