My Ultimate Guide to Mountains In & Around Dubai | Solo Female Travel
When I had pictured Dubai, the images of hot sand dunes and humid temperatures popped up in my head. I had never imagined that even a hot and humid country like Dubai could have mountains or areas with colder temperatures (considering the fact that even winter months in Dubai feel hot).
Having travelled solo to countries with hot temperatures, I was not that excited about travelling to another one. Well, I was a bit excited because it’s Dubai, but the temperature set my mood off. That’s when I decided to read up a bit about some of the hidden spots and non-touristy things to do in and around Dubai that do not involve the hot temperatures. And guess what, I landed on a page that was about mountains in Dubai…
Honestly, I could not believe my eyes for the first few minutes. But as I kept reading, it got me more and more excited. And that’s when I made a list of mountains that I was going to visit on my solo trip to Dubai. I would be lying if I said I did not have one of the most memorable times of my life in the mountains of Dubai.
So, if you are someone who prefers mountains and beaches equally, Dubai is one such country where you can explore both. Well, this blog is all about the famous mountains in Dubai. If you want to read up about the famous beaches in Dubai, you can check out my blog.
Now, let’s get started.
1. Hatta Mountain
Hatta mountain is not really within the main boundaries of Dubai. It is located in Hajaar mountain, which is around 130 kilometres to the southeast of the country. Originally, the mountains belonged to Oman. But later on, in the year 1850, it was given to Dubai as the Omanians realised they would not be able to defend the Hatta mountain against the Buraimi tribes. When you visit Hatta mountain, you will witness bits and pieces of Omani culture and its laidback pace of life.
How to get to Hatta Mountain?
Getting to Hatta mountain from Dubai is not that difficult. A car drive will take you about 90 minutes. You can take the Sharjah-Kalba route as it is the fastest to get to the Hatta mountain. If you know how to drive, you can even rent out a car in Dubai. Or, there are always taxis and cabs to travel.
Places to stay in Hatta Mountain
Well, this is the most interesting part about visiting the Hatta mountain. Considering the beauty of these mountains, you can expect the places to stay to be equally beautiful as well.
Damani Lodges Resort
Simple and cosy but perfectly equipped with all amenities, Damani Lodges Resort are beautifully designed huts in the middle of the mountain area. These huts have all the basic amenities you need – modern bathrooms, comfortable beds, WiFi connection, and housekeeping services. There are several rooms available to cater to every traveller’s needs. In my opinion, the standard rooms with two beds will be perfect for you, although you will have to share the room with a fellow traveller. But I think this can also turn out to be a great way to make some friends on your solo trip.
Sedr Trailers Resort
If you want to live your dream of living in the mountains, then this Trailer Resort is the place for you. The resort is located high up into the mountains, and the only way to get up there is through a 4×4 provided by the resort. The Trailers consist of a kitchen, bathroom, comfortable bed, dining area, and outdoor terraced area. There is a BBQ as well, so if you get in a mood to eat some delicious food, the trailers resort has got you covered.
Things to do in Hatta Mountain
There are a lot of things you can do in Hatta Mountain to have a fun-filled time away from city life.
Horse riding in the mountains
A unique thing to do in the mountains, horse riding is something you should definitely try out. You will be given Arabian horses to explore the mountainscape. There are different packages available, including a sunset and sunrise ride. I would suggest you opt for these as witnessing the views of the sunset or sunrise from the mountains is a magical experience in itself!
Also, don’t forget to carry a camera with you to capture the beauty of the mountains during the sunrise and sunset. I don’t think there are words that can describe its beauty!
The locals around the Hatta area consider this mountainous region to be one of the best places to go mountain biking. Over the years, the Hatta MTB Bike Centre has come up with about 50 kilometres of biking trails in the mountains. And don’t worry, different areas on the biking trail have been colour-coded to reflect the difficulty level. So if you are a beginner at mountain biking, you can start with the easy trails (marked in green). If you are a pro, you can go ahead with the black routes that reflect higher difficulty levels.
Note that if you bring along your own bike for mountain biking, you will not be charged any money. Also, the trail centre is open 24 hours, so you do not have to worry about the timings. If you are an early bird, you can grab your bike, explore the mountains, and witness the sunrise! You can also click pictures of the sunrise to flaunt them on your Instagram posts.
However, if you do not have a bike or require expert supervision, you can get help at the Hatta Wadi Hub.
Visit Hatta Heritage Village
If you have a keen interest in history and want to know how the people of Emirates lived back in the days, then pay a visit to the Hatta Heritage Village. The village dates back to the third century BC and is considered one of the oldest villages in the country. A few things that you can explore in the village are a basket-weaving area, old photographs detailing the traditional life in the region, and a museum that showcases some of the tools and weapons used by people in old age!
The entry to the heritage village is free, which makes visiting the Hatta Heritage Village one of the must-visit places in the region. It is a great way to witness the life of the Hatta people without having to worry about spending money for the entry ticket.
Hatta Honey Bee Garden
This is one of the hidden gems in the Hatta mountain, and I can assure you that you are going to love every bit of this place! The Hatta Honey Bee Garden is the first queen bee rearing station in the area, which makes it all the more worthwhile to visit. You will have to visit this beautiful garden via a 4×4 or some other slow-moving vehicle.
As you enter the garden, you will be given a yellow beekeeper suit. And you can go ahead with the instructor to explore the bee garden.
When I visited Hatta Mountain on my solo trip to the country, the bee garden was one of my most memorable experiences. I got to learn so much about bees and how they function. I also got a chance to get up close with the insects and see the types of trees they choose to produce honey. Another interesting thing I did was making candles with beeswax! If you like doing such unique and interesting things, I would highly recommend you visit the Hatta Honey Bee Garden.
Go Kayaking on the Hatta Dam!
If you want to do a fun and adventurous activity in the mountains, then definitely try out kayaking. With the stunningly blue clear water and picturesque mountain creeks, the view itself from the river is quite breathtaking! You can hire a water boat, kayak, or pedal boat to begin this adventurous activity. Or, if you just want to relax in a boat while breathing in the beauty of the mountains, you can book a tour boat with an experienced guide.
Find some vintage music at Audio Records
Something that I found out when I visited Hatta, the town has a thriving cassette and vintage CD business. You will find plenty of small music stores with faded window posters that are packed with eclectic music collections. The Audio Records store is located next to the Hatta Hypermarket. You can visit the store if you love vintage music. You will also come across some brilliant Omani music artists’ collections which were famous only in Hatta.
Places to eat in Hatta
Wild Hatta Cafe
This tiny funky cafe is located inside the Hatta Wadi Hub. The cafe is widely famous for its amazing aromatic coffee. Along with the coffee, you will also get a variety of snacks such as sandwiches, milkshakes, smoothies, and desserts.
Do you know how this cafe gained popularity among tourists? Because people have seen the ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum having coffee here. Now that’s something, huh?
Located just beyond the JA Hatta Resort, Tanoor Leham is the go-to place if you want to have some delicious Emirati cuisine. The food items you see on the menu may look quite basic, but the secret to their taste lies in the cooking methods. In earlier days, the meat used to be roasted underground for about 12 hours before making a dish out of it. The method is still being followed at this cosy cafe! If you fancy yourself some mouthwatering dishes, then check out Tanoor Leham.
If you love desserts, then you cannot miss Chocolab. It is located on the Dubai Hatta Road and serves some lip-smacking brightly coloured ice cream, waffles, crepes, and cakes! The cafe closes before 3 PM on most days, and I would suggest you definitely check out the place if you happen to be around the area before its closing time.
2. Hajar Mountains
The Hajar Mountains are one of the most scenic mountains near Dubai. These are spread across the borders of the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The range of these mountains is considered to be highest in the Arabian Peninsula. A visit to the Hajar Mountains is perfect if you are looking to spend a few days in nature’s arms and away from the glamorous city.
How to get to the Hajar Mountains?
A car ride to the Hajar Mountains from Dubai will take you about five hours.
Okay, so before you plan your visit to the Hajar Mountains, I would recommend you keep your documents ready. Although the mountain range covers the borders of both the United Arab Emirates and Oman, most of its land is in Oman. If your visit is only to the land of the United Arab Emirates, then you are sorted. But if you wish to explore further in Oman, make sure you have your passport, visa requirements, and documents ready.
Things to do in the Hajar Mountains
When it comes to things to do in the Hajar Mountains, you will be spoiled for choices. Here are a few things you can try out on your visit to the mighty mountains.
Camping in the mountains
By far, this is one of the most popular things to do in the Hajar Mountains. Many travellers visit the mountains to camp in the region. I would say camping is the best way to spend some quality time admiring the beauty of the mountains.
Well, here is a plus point – you are free to set up your camp anywhere in the region. However, avoid going into the cultivated areas near the mountains.
But remember, the temperature in the mountains goes below zero-degree Celsius sometimes. Even in the hot months of the years, the temperature in the Hajar Mountains can drop down quite a bit. So, pack all your warm and fuzzy clothes to beat the cold!
Another very popular thing to do in the Hajar Mountains, trekking, attracts many tourists to the mountains to get their adrenaline pumping. If you do decide to go ahead with trekking, make sure you carry all the necessary items with you – snacks, water, sunglasses, sturdy shoes, and sunscreen! If interested, you can even opt for the rock climbing activity in the mountain range.
Discover rare species of plants and animals
The mountain range is known for housing several rare plant and animal species that one may not easily find in a city. The Hajar Mountains have their own popular plants and animal species that you can discover while trekking or just walking around the mountains. You will come across lots of apricot, olive, pomegranate, and fig trees in the mountain range. Not just that, if you are lucky enough, you might even spot medium-sized wild cats (famously known as Arabian Caracals) in the mountains!
To know more about the Hajar Mountains, you can even interact with the locals around the region. They might even tell you a few things about the mountains that the tour guides may not know about. To have a smooth conversation with the locals, I would suggest you learn a few Arabic words and phrases as well. I get that it is impossible to learn a whole new language in just a few days but learning the basic words and phrases will not hurt!
Click pictures of the scenic mountains
This one goes without saying. I would suggest you carry your camera along with you to every mountain region you visit. There is something magical about the mountains that makes it difficult to describe in words, which is where photographs come to the rescue. Make your Instagram game strong by capturing the stunning mountain ranges with your camera!
Since there are not many cafes and restaurants in the area, you will have to pack some food and plenty of drinks with you. You can consider visiting the Hajar Mountains as a one or two-day trip where you would camp in the middle of the mountains, go trekking, discover the beauty the mountains hide and get back home!
3. Jebel Jais
Jebel Jais is the tallest peak in the United Arab Emirates. It is located in Ras Al Khaimah and is the perfect destination if you want to try out some thrilling adventurous activities. However, if you want to have an easy weekend while relaxing in the mountains, Jebel Jais is perfect for that as well!
How to get to Jebel Jais?
The easiest way to get to Jebel Jais from Dubai is through a car. Again, I would recommend you hire a car if you can drive. This will save up a lot of your time and money. But if you can’t drive, you can book a taxi too.
The drive will take you about two hours from Dubai if you take the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.
Things to do in Jebel Jais
If you do decide to visit Jebel Jais, you are going to have a wonderful time. I would recommend you visit here during the weekend and try out as many fun activities as possible. Here are some of the popular things that you can do at Jebel Jais.
Ziplining across the Jebel Jais valleys
One of the most popular activities to do in Jebel Jais, ziplining, is something you should definitely try out. The main reason behind trying it out is the spectacular views of the mountains!
Officially known as the Jebel Jais Flight, the ziplining activity has been certified by the Guinness World Records as the world’s longest zipline! It has been spread across an area of 2.8 kilometres, and you can zipline at a speed of 150 kilometres per hour! This is the perfect activity for you if you are an adrenaline junkie.
The price of this activity is around AED 425 to AED 525, and each penny you spend is worth the experience of ziplining!
A once in a lifetime opportunity, Ice Skating in the mountains is something that you will always remember for the rest of your life. Toroverde is the ice skating rink in Jebel Jais. Here, you will be ice skating about 3,000 meters above sea level, which is something that you don’t get to do otherwise.
Toroverde is open on all days except for Monday and Tuesday. The timings are 10 AM to 5 PM. And, the pricing is more on the cheaper side with AED 45 for 30 minutes of ice skating. If you do enjoy ice skating in the mountains, you can even go again for it!
You might be thinking that there are plenty of trekking courses in the world, then what is so special about Jebel Jais? Well, the fact that the trekking course at Jebel Jais is 1 kilometre long and requires you to climb, walk and zipline to reach the destination is what makes it so interesting. You will be accompanied by experienced guides throughout the trekking course, which will last you about four to five hours.
Keep the dressing code in mind while opting for this trekking experience. You cannot wear converse or your fancy shoes to finish this trek. I will recommend you invest in good trekking shoes that are sturdy and have a good grip. For clothes, wear something comfortable such as cargo shorts and tube tops. And hey, don’t forget to wear sunscreen before you go trekking. Considering the amount of time you will be spending out in the sun, the chances of your skin getting tanned are quite high!
The price of the trekking experience is AED 342. But it is a little more if you go trekking on the weekends with AED 395. If you have a tight budget, you can plan your visit to Jebel Jais accordingly and opt for weekday trekking.
Jais Adventure Park
One of the most interesting adventure parks in Jebel Jais, the Jais Adventure Park offers you many more ziplines and a suspended obstacle course.
Jais Sky Tour is a huge network of seven ziplines and nine platforms that will surely get your adrenaline pumping. You will also witness a beautiful aerial view of the mountains from the zipline. On the other hand, the Jais Sky Maze has some really thrilling things waiting for you. The maze has swinging loops, wobbly bridges, and rope swings!
The price of both adventures is different. The Sky Tour will cost you AED 200 for an hour, and the Sky Maze will cost you AED 75 for one hour.
Puro Express at Jebel Jais for your hunger pangs
Puro Express is the most famous restaurant you can find in the region. It offers some really delicious food items and snacks at affordable prices. It is located 1,300 metres above sea level and can be the perfect spot for you to take a break from all the adventures and activities in Jebel Jais.
4. Jebel Hafeet
One of the most important parts of the United Arab Emirates, Jebel Hafeet, is the highest peak located in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. It is located 1,240 metres above sea level and offers its visitors a plethora of activities and things to do.
Although you can visit Jebel Hafeet at any time of the year, I would say the best time to visit would be during the colder months, from November to January. Since you are getting away from the country and its hot and humid temperatures, you might as well visit in the colder months to enjoy everything the mountains have to offer to their fullest!
How to get to Jebel Hafeet from Dubai?
Driving is the easiest way to get to Jebel Hafeet from Dubai. But if you want to opt for public transport, you can do that too. Take the metro and get down at Deira City Centre. From there, take a bus from the bus station to Al Jubail Bus Station, Sharjah. Change the bus from Sharjah to reach Al Ain Bus Station. And from there, you can easily get a bus to your desired location.
Although this may sound a bit tedious, it is a great option if you do not know how to drive or want to spend a hefty amount on booking cabs or taxis.
Stay at the Mercure Jebel Hafeet Hotel
This is one of the most popular hotels to stay at in Jebel Hafeet. The rooms in the hotel are humongous and offer every possible amenity you can think of. Not just that, there are three restaurants and a swimming pool as well. The restaurants offer authentic meals in Italian, Moroccan, and French cuisines. This will cut down on your efforts to find a good restaurant in a mountainous region.
Things to do in Jebel Hafeet
There are some very interesting things to do in Jebel Hafeet. The place also narrates the United Arab Emirate’s transformation from the Bronze Age to modern times. Although Jebel Hafeet does not offer many adventures or outdoor activities, it is interesting in its own ways. If you are a history lover, it is a perfect place for you! You will get to learn so much about the transformation of Abu Dhabi. Trust me, it will be worth it!
Explore the tombs
When you visit Jebel Hafeet, you will realise that it is the home to many tombs. In the foothills of Jebel Hafeet, there are more than 500 tombs that date back to over 5,000 years which marks the beginning of the Bronze Age.
Around 1959, Danish archaeologists explored this site and found ceramic and copper vessels in the tombs. This shocked the whole world, and now, many tourists travel to Jebel Hafeet to visit these single-chambered tombs. If you love history and historical sites, Jabeel Hafeet will not disappoint you!
A cultural masterpiece in Abu Dhabi, Jahili Fort is quite famous among tourists. Zayed The First established the fort in the 1890s, and it served as the home to the Al Nahyan ruling family. But in 2007 and 2008, the fort was restored to be renovated as a museum. It’s now open for the public.
The fort holds both temporary and permanent exhibition galleries that you can check out. If you want to know all of the histories of Abu Dhabi, then the Jahili Fort will have a lot to offer you. Once you are done exploring the fort, you can relax at the park next to it.
Visit Al Ain Zoo
Visiting the Al Ain Zoo is another interesting thing to do near Al Ain. This zoo has the world’s largest man-made safari. You can spot different species like, lions, rhinos, tigers, barbary sheep, among many more. Visiting the zoo can be a laid-back experience because it does not require you to do much.
The zoo has five interactive galleries too, namely – Sheikh Zayed Tribute Hall, Abu Dhabi’s Living World, Looking to the Future, Abu Dhabi’s Desert over Time, and People of the Desert. If interested, you can speak with the authorities at the zoo to check these galleries out!
So what are your favourite mountains in & around Dubai?
Okay, so that was quite a list, huh? I understand that visiting all the mountains on your solo trip to Dubai may not be possible. There is so much to do and see in each mountain range that one trip will not be sufficient. But hey, there is always the next time, right? To make the most of your visit to the mountains, all you have to do is pack all the essentials and take out a few days from your itinerary to Dubai, and set on an adventure to have the time of your life!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.