I have recently shifted to Dubai. Like any other single woman, I had my own apprehensions about relocating to the Emirates which is considered the Mecca of tourism. The city is known for its records in every sphere especially infrastructure. When I first visited Dubai as a traveler, I visited all possible tourist attractions available and to be covered on a five day trip. But this time when I plan to stay a bit longer than a tourist, my agenda was to explore the off-beat wanderer in me and bring out the hidden gems the city had to offer. Lot of people assumes that Dubai being a desert doesn’t have much to offer except the beach hotel deals and that is the only way to relax. I was not ready to settle for this and I started my search. That’s when I found Jebel Al Jais.
Before we go ahead, let’s get to know this place a bit. Jebel Al Jais is a peak on the border of UAE and Oman, with an altitude of 1950 meters above sea level of course. It is the highest peak in UAE and is counted in one of the less traveled roads. However, it has now gained some popularity and is frequently ventured by avid travelers and bikers.
Fridays being particularly lazy in Dubai, we started off our around 4 pm that evening. The breeze was cool and moist in the pleasant month of February. Google map came in handy and made it easy for us to drive without getting lost. The drive that looked easy initially became quite risky by the end of it.
Barracuda Resort is the best option for a short refreshing break which is always welcome in Dubai weather. The journey after that was quite an easy drive for a while before we entered the single lane road drifting us away from the city lights. We crossed a small pond often referred to as Wadi in the local dialect and on the way towards the peak, I saw many small houses built on the sides and though there were no humans to be seen around waling, I wondered who comes and stay here? After dark, it was like living in middle of nowhere. But to my surprise, the houses built there had water tanks and few of them also had gardens. This made me wonder if a farm house can be rented for a weekend getaway once in a while. This can be a good place to relax and unwind after a week’s hard work.
The main road that leads to the peak started only after we went past the notice board after the pond. The drive became more scenic and exciting as we climbed higher and higher. Though the roads are broad enough for two vehicles to cross by easily yet there were no railings or thresholds on the side which made the twists and turns very thrilling and dangerous at the same time. As we moved higher the view from the window was mesmerizing with mountains all around and a steep valley down-under which was spectacular. The road looked like a serpent crawling up to reach its prey while cutting the mountains and making its own way. The mountains looked like pieces of stones placed strategically to form a huge block resembling a hill. We were spell bound by the fact that the temperature dropped down considerably as we moved up but the air pressure clogged my ears for a while. It will be good idea to stop for few minutes in between to acclimatize to the altitude if you are travelling with children.
The traffic increased and we could see many vehicles coming behind us. The roads were well lit and had all traffic signs which you see in UAE. There were also signs of land sliding warning for drivers to be careful while driving as there was construction going on at some points throughout the way. We reached a point where a piece of land was protruding on the side towards the valley. No wonder the travelers thronged there to get a glimpse of the breathtaking view of the valley. There was couple of such points till we reached the end of the cemented road and each of the point was filled with holidaymakers who were all set to enjoy their weekend. There were families, college goers, sightseers and some globetrotters like us who just love driving to unknown destinations to find something new.
The road ahead was under construction but we being the group of adventure seekers, drove towards it. But luck usually not being on our side, gave us a hard time as we ran short of fuel and therefore had to return unless we wanted to get stuck. With a heavy heart and lot of careful maneuvering skills to cross the vehicle coming from opposite direction, we managed to turn back. The view was even more arresting to the mind as one could have almost a 360 degree view of the valley. You feel like you are on top of the world, but I was imagining falling down and breaking into pieces. Not a good thought when there is actually a possibility of it happening.
Well, much to the dismay of so many people, I came down safely. Spending a night there is also a good option if the weather permits. The air is generally cold even in summers and camping in not a bad idea at all. The cluster is one of the coldest areas in UAE and this surely will make it as a hot spot in summers with temperatures ranging between 10-15 degrees Celsius. Remember to stock up on food and water as there is absolutely nothing to buy on the way once you leave the city. It is more than an hour’s drive back to the city if you wish to buy anything. We decided to return to the city while lot of others stayed back for camping.
For now Jebel Al Jais is not widely known among residents let alone tourists, but the near future will witness it as a much-traveled destination.
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