Dubai to Al Ain

Swap skyscrapers for mountains and construction sites for oases in the Garden City

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Eat

The old: Min Zaman
For a taste of old Arabia head to Min Zaman, where you will be stuffed with houmous, fattoush, tabbouleh and grilled meats and seafood; then can sit back and watch the bellydancer do all the hard work.
Al Ain Rotana Hotel (03 754 5111; www.rotana.com/property-5.htm)

The new: Luce
Not particularly new, but this is the only club in town, so any hot young things should head here. It also serves as a trendy Italian restaurant with tasty pizzas and pastas to help you get your energy levels up for a boogie.
InterContinental Al Ain (03 768 6686; www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/alain)

Sleep

The old: Hilton Al Ain
Built in the ’70s, the first international hotel to arrive in Al Ain was, of course, the Hilton. Its cosy rooms and speedy room service make it tempting to stay in; but if you do venture outdoors Al Ain Mall, Museum and Zoo are nearby.
Al Sarooj District, Hilton Street (03 768 6666; www.hiltonworldresorts.com)

The new: Green Mubazzarah Chalets

Green Mubazzarah is a lush park sat at the bottom of Jebel Hafeet, with flowing streams and wildlife galore. Only four years ago did the government cotton on to the tourist-louring opportunities here and the green chalets were built.
At base of Jebel Hafeet (03 783 9555)

Do

The old: Al Ain Camel Market
A camel market is as normal as a fruit and veg market for locals, but for tourists it’s a fascinating experience and a look at how life has been for centuries (minus the 4X4s).
Follow the Zayed Bin Sultan Road and turn left into the Industrial Area. Go straight at first r/a, leading off-road across some wasteland to the market

The new: Al Bawadi Mall
If the thought of leaving Dubai’s malls behind brings you out in a rash, head to Al Ain’s brand-spanking new Al Bawadi Mall – the largest in Al Ain. It houses top high-street brands, a cinema, bowling alley, and even a Fun Ski Village for those mourning Ski Dubai.
Zayed Bin Sultan Road (03 782 4222; www.bawadimall.com)

Getting there

Al Ain is about 120km from Dubai, down the E66, bringing you into the north of the city. The three-lane highway is relatively light on traffic and dotted with petrol stations

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