Playing Musical Chairs on Route to Al Ain.
We travelled to Al Ain by bus from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station. Tickets cost 20 dirham one way. Buy your ticket from the ticket office before boarding.
The actual journey time is around 2 hours, but buses will only leave when they are full and that means all seats including the pull down ones in the middle. It took 40 minutes to fill the bus on the way there and thirty minutes to fill it on the way back.
The front of the bus is for women, children and families. Men should only sit there if accompanied by their wife. I sat in that section with my husband and the driver insisted we swapped seats so Peter was at the window and I was in the aisle. This was so a woman could sit on the pull down seat next to me and would not need to be next to a man. Several other people were re-arranged and there was the odd argument with people who had no idea what was going on. The bus driver answered every query about people being moved with the words. "Ladies! Ladies!"
Al Ain Bus Station is in a very good location for visiting some of Al Ain's historical sites.
There were plenty of taxis available at the bus station plus local buses and buses to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai.
The drive to Al Ain passed through some lovely desert scenery.
Al Ain Airport
This is a small airport with only few passenger Airlines are currently using (Egypt Air, Royal Jordanian, Sudan Air and Pakistan Airline PIA). Most of the flights in and out of this airprt are during the weekends. When you arrive there will be Public buses waiting for you. You can also take a taxi or call Al Gazal company to pick you up in a Lemo (03) 751 6565
Gulf Air is no longer operating from this airport.
Al Ghazal Transport
The company operates mainly in Abo Dhabi and Al Ain as a taxi service and a car rental agency. It also operates bus services from Abo Dhabi and Alain to Dubai. If you arrive to Al Ain Air port (and I doubt that you'll do) than you might need to call them in case public buses don't show up
Rent a Car Reservation 02 634 2200
Bus Rental 02 444 9300
Limo Taxi Service 02 4447787
AL AIN 03 751 6565
Minibus from Dubai
Staying in Dubai for a week my friend and I decided to take the minibus (departing from Al Ghubaiba bus station in Bur Dubai) going into the the dessert city of Al Ain, UAE, approximately 2 hours southeast of Dubai. The fare was 20 AED per person single way and could easily be bought minutes prior to departure at each bus sation.
Note that the idea of resevering the front part of the bus for women applices here - as well as on all the buses in Dubai (it's possible to see the signs in the picture here).
- Budget Travel
Al Ain Taxi
all taxis are metered and they are plentiful. A taxi ride will cost you 2 Dirhams as soon as you enter and it will be half a dirham for each kilometer after that. Taxis are white in color with golden sides and greem circle on the door
Al Ain Bus station
The bus station is located in the town center near the Meat and Vegetable market. You can take AlGazal Buses to Dubai for 20 dirham’s (1.5 hr) or Sharjah for 25 (2 hrs). Bus will start moving @ 6 am until 12 mid night. The bus is comfortable and has A/C. There are about 40 buses daily to each destination. You buy the tickets from the Counter shown in the picture.
For Abu Dhabi there is a different company @ the same site. It will cost you 10 Dirham and the trip will take about 2 hrs. Buses are larger and has A/C. I was told that the last bus leave @ 9 pm. You buy the tickets from the bus driver
If you want to go Sharjah Airport to Catch and Air Arabia flight take this shuttle from Air Arabi sales offices in Al Ain, It will cost you 35 Dirhams and the Schedul is below
From To Depar Arrival
1 Al Ain Sharjah 03:30 06:00
2 Sharjah Al Ain 08:30 10:30
3 Al Ain Sharjah 17:00 19:00
4 Sharjah Al Ain 20:00 22:00
If you have no car, the best bet to getting around would be using the taxi service. Taxis are plentiful and you can flag them down almost anywhere. The town’s taxi station is located at near the roundabout to the Al Ain National Museum.
Driving around Al Ain is the easiest way to move about. Roads are nice, signboards well-available and parking aplenty. However, be careful when approaching a roundabout – there are many mad drivers around.
If you are coming from Abu Dhabi use the E22 expressway route and you would reach Al Ain in slightly more than an hour. As you approach you will see beautiful sand dunes on both sides of the highway.
Minibus between Al Ain and Dubai
Mini buses run between Al Ain bus station, behind the livestock market, to the left hand side, and Dubai bus stand in Bur Dubai. I found the small buses run by Al Ghazal very comfortable and clean and an easy way of travelling even with some luggage, although I have never tried to take a large suitcase. They fill up and leave quite regularly; even when I just missed one I hadn’t long to wait for the next one to leave. There is a small office next to the buses in Al Ain, where tickets can be obtained for the journey, although I have frequently found that while the men queue here, the driver told me to sit in the bus while he took my money to get the ticket from the office and other female passengers did the same thing. The buses travel quickly to their destination, although there are usually passport/ID checks just after leaving Al Ain, and the drivers are usually willing to let passengers out early, once in Dubai, if they don’t want to go all the way to the main bus station.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Bus between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain
You can travel between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain by bus using services provided by Al Ain Municipality Transport in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Municipality Transport. The buses leave Abu Dhabi bus station very regularly, although I have never been able to establish whether any formal timetable exists or whether they simply run when full enough, like the shared taxis. The buses are full sized rather than mini buses and last time I used the service I was in a fairly smart comfortable one, although I have used rather shabby ones on previous visits. On both of these, ladies sit in the first few rows. The tickets, which I think cost around thirty dirhams, had to be purchased from the ticket office before boarding.
The first time I used it, I seem to remember that it stopped somewhere on the way for passengers to use the toilet or buy a drink but I have not noticed this on more recent occasions. On our return journey the bus has always stopped for the male passengers to pray, on the side of the road, at the appropriate time, although on the most recent journey, this only happened after a long and rather fiery discussion between the driver and a devout passenger. The drivers have usually been accommodating about letting us get down near to my friend’s home, just before reaching Al Ain, which meant that we didn’t have to wait for a taxi back from the town centre.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Al Ain Shared Taxi
If you want to travel between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi or Dubai, one of the options, which I used on my first visit, is to take a shared taxi, which waits at the taxi stand behind the livestock market, to the right hand side, until it has its full load of passengers, all travelling to the same place. Then it heads off to its destination.
The cost was really very small; I remember thinking that even the total fares paid by all the passengers would not always cover a single ticket for a train journey of a similar duration in the U.K. What I didn’t like was the level of comfort; we were all squashed in with everyone’s luggage fitted around us like a jigsaw puzzle. One amusing part was how the driver had us playing musical chairs, as each new passenger came along to ensure that he would not be seating a male passenger next to a female one, unless of course they were husband and wife. There was a seat next to the driver’s one, three together behind and another two to the rear of that, which enabled him to ensure he had no mixed gender seat sharing! The journey passed quickly with only two stops, one to check the occupants’ documentation and another for passengers to purchase drinks and snacks, when one of the male passengers kindly offered to go collect anything the other female passenger and I wanted from the shop, if we felt reluctant to go in by ourselves.
We arrived at our destination rather crumpled but certainly on time. the driver did not mind letting passengers out early if they wanted to be dropped off somewhere on the route. I really prefer using the minibuses.
Unless you have your own car, it will be likely you'll want to use the local taxis to get about Al Ain. They seem plentiful and I have never had any difficulty finding one available to hire from the town, hotels, shopping malls or my friend's accommodation; in fact they seem to sound their horns whenever they pass anyone walking, to indicate they are available for work.
I have always felt extremely safe using them, with reference to both the driver's skills and as a female travelling alone. I also found that although most of the drivers had moved to the area from other countries, they all knew the area well and I have never needed to give them any directions myself, other than to the exact apartment block where I was staying. Almost all of them spoke enough English to make communication easy and many like to chat about their passenger's home country and their own. I have also noticed that, to make their customers feel at home in their taxis, many of them have cassettes of music from different countries and often select one to match the occupant's nationality!
Each taxi should display a card with the driver's picture, his name, his employer's name and a registration code, so you can check that it is a genuine registered driver you are hiring and could also note the code in case of a complaint or dispute.
The rates for these taxis are very good in comparison to taxi fares in Europe (AED 2 plus 50 fils per kilometre) but if you want to telephone for a taxi Al Ghazal Taxi offers a service at a slightly higher rate.
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