One of the most worthwhile day trips you can take from Dubai is to Al Ain, the garden city in the middle of the desert. But what is the easiest and cheapest way to get from Dubai to Al Ain?
Al Ain, with its wonderful oases, ancient fortresses and the adventurous mountain of Jebel Hafeet, is located about 150 km from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The journey takes several hours of driving, and going by taxi is definitely not the best choice. But luckily there are excellent alternatives, let’s find them out!
From Dubai to Al Ain by Car
The cheapest and most comfortable way to get from Dubai to Al Ain is to rent a car and drive along the scenic freeway (in excellent condition) that crosses the desert to Al Ain city center.
Renting a car in the UAE can be quite cheap, and gasoline is really inexpensive. The main advantage is freedom: you can go and visit anything you want, at your own pace.
Driving from Dubai to Al Ain you will enjoy an unforgettable road trip, and you may want to stop several times to take some great photos. Traveling on your own, you can. And maybe you can also decide to stay in Al Ain for a few days, to enjoy this authentic and peaceful corner of the Emirates.
To go from Dubai to Al Ain you have to take the freeway E66 (Dubai – Al Ain Road), a wide road (4 and more lanes in each direction) that crosses a beautiful desert landscape. The road is in excellent condition, but be careful as people drive very fast here!
On most of the E66 freeway the speed limit is 160 km/h, so you better be an experienced driver, because people drive really fast and quite frantic!
Dubai’s traffic can also be quite challenging, for those who are not used to it may not be easy to cope with these huge 8 lane roads, full of crazy traffic.
From Dubai to Al Ain on a Guided Day Tour
Most travelers enjoy a day trip from Dubai to Al Ain by joining one of the guided tours offered by local operators.
These day trips have the advantage of allowing those staying in the Emirates for a short time to enjoy all there is to see in and around Al Ain, such as its beautiful oases, ancient and picturesque fortresses, and sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage lists.
Local guides allow you to learn more about the history and curiosities of the places visited and to discover the most hidden gems, such as the ancient camel market of Al Ain, the last still existing in the entire region.
Guided day tours include round-trip transport with pickup from your hotel in Dubai, multilingual professional guide and a delicious and hearty lunch in Al Ain. It is necessary to book online well in advance.
From Dubai to Al Ain by Bus
Buses from Dubai to Al Ain depart from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station, located in the Al Fahidi district of Bur Dubai.
You can reach Al Ghubaiba Bus Station by metro, the metro station is about 350 meters away, more or less 5 minutes walk.
From Dubai’s Al Ghubaiba Bus Station you can take the E20 bus route, direct from Dubai to Al Ain.
The first direct bus ride from Dubai to Al Ain is at 5.30 AM and the last one at 12.00 AM. Buses depart approximately every 30 minutes.
One-way ticket for the E201 bus from Dubai to Al Ain costs AED 25. The trip takes about 2 hours.
The bus is a cheap way to travel from Dubai to Al Ain, however it is not a good option for a day trip. The journey takes a long time and once you arrive in Al Ain you will have to rely on taxis to get around and visit.
The places to visit and things to do in Al Ain are located quite far (even tens of kilometers) from each other.
Bus from Al Ain to Dubai
To return from Al Ain to Dubai, there are buses and minibuses from Al Ain Central Bus Station that depart for Dubai from 10 AM until sunset.
Things to do in Al Ain
Once you arrive in Al Ain you will have so many things to see and do. Here you will find an essential guide to the places worth seeing and the best places to eat in Al Ain.
Maybe you could stay a while in Al Ain, so you can enjoy this authentic and peaceful corner of the Emirates to the fullest. In that case you should check out this guide to the best hotels and resorts in Al Ain.