In both Dubai and Abu Dhabi there are two remarkable day trips to do.
On one visit to Dubai, when we stayed in the Royal Mirage Palace Hotel (a fantastic hotel with an incredible swimming pool and attentive staff), we drove an hour to the destination of Hatta. Hatta is a traditional village enclosed in the Hajar Mountains, away from the trapping heat and dust of the desert surroundings. It acts as a perfect escape for relaxation and solitude from the throbbing and pulsating Dubai, a calm retreat in the mountains. The landscape is beautiful, and has a popular heritage museum that encapsulates the traditional life and dwellings of the Hatta people well. Visit the Dam and the Jumer Mosque, as well as Hill Park, for glances of reconstructed buildings and to obtain wonderful views of the area. A must whilst you are in Hatta, is to explore the Hatta rock pools, a hive of natural beauty in a traditional town. Activities also include camel rides, sand boarding and “wadi bashing“, (dune chasing and smashing in a retro looking Jeep).
From Abu Dhabi and Dubai, one can visit Al Ain in under 2 hours. Al Ain, otherwise known as “The Garden City,” is similar to that of Hatta, although it offers much more scope and variety in activities, because of its status as the fourth largest city in the UAE. On the border of Oman, this city offers a form of escapism that can entertain the family for more than just a day or two. There are traditional things to see such as the Al Kharir Animal Souq; Al Ain Museum and Fort, Al Ain National Museum, or the Al Ain Oasis, which is where Al Ain acquired their reputation from. The oasis is a perfect place to take a stroll, hiding away from the blazing sun and finding shelter under hundreds of blossoming date palms. Head over to the second highest mountain in the UAE, Jebel Hafeet for a picturesque view over Al Ain at sunset. Al Ain is becoming more and more of a tourist destination for locals and the expats that live in the neighbouring countries. With fun and entertaining activities such as visiting the zoo, safari park, hot springs, and Wadi Adventure (an adventure park filled with exhilarating rides up in the air and in the fast paced man made river below), it is easy to see why Al Ain is such an attraction.
If holidaying or living in Dubai and/or Abu Dhabi, a visit to these serene escapes is a must. Just choose between a quiet traditional village, or a bustling garden of activity.