Regardless if you like Dubai or not, you just cannot argue that the landscape around the United Arab Emirates metropolis is rather boring: flat land on desert sand. However, the U.A.E. does have some very different areas. Especially the Northern area of the country is very interesting and almost has Alpine character. It may be rather surprising for many tourists that you need to drive some two hours from Dubai to reach the highest point of the country. The U.A.E. is up to a height of 1,892 meters. The point is a part of Jebel Jais, which is peaking at 1,934 meters However, the summit is located in the Oman.
During a trip to the Emirates in February 2022, I took the road trip to the highest point possible to drive to on the U.A.E. side, which is at 1,484 meters. Hope you enjoy taking me on that road trip.
Jebel Jais – Overview
Jebel Jais Road and the mountain are located in the very North of the United Arab Emirates, close to Ras Al Khaimah. The map below shows the beginning of the Jebe Jais Road, the pictures already reflect driving along Al Beeh Road, which finally crosses the border to the Oman, if you do not enter the road up the mountains. Please note that most rental car companies at least require a special permit for that.
The trip from Ras Al Khaimah to the 1,484 meter point is about a one hour drive and 45 kilometers. The road is paved and easy to drive and does not require any special car. In rainy days, some wadis might be flooded. At multiple points, you may have to be aware of cattle on the road. The road is open 24/7, there is no toll or similar expenses. However, there is also no gas station, so that you should have fueled up the car appropriately.
Jebel Jais – The Road Trip
The first section of the trip before the roundabout is on a two-lane road. The scenery with the rocky mountains next to the road is spectacular – especially if you are used to the rather boring, flat desert in other parts of the country. There are some opportunities to watch some of the dams like the Wadi Qida’a Dam, which is the one closest to Ras Al Khaimah. You just cannot miss the crossing to Jebel Jais Road, which leaves to the left hand side of the driver – it is the very first roundabout you are passing.
Right after you entered the road, you see one of the first paintings on the road. On the picture below, you see that the graphics and paintings of Jebel Jais Artwork. They are printed on cloth and fixed to the rocks. Here and there you pass snack point and base camps of tour companies. The canyons get steeper, even though you are still on a rather flat road. This is also when Jebel Jais Road rather turns into a three lane road. The curves get narrower, the elevation steeper and here and there, you even run into a serpentine curves.
A Recreational Place
Regularly, there are major parking lots, which are serviced in a way that they typically have a toilet and a snack bar. Most locals use these places either to enjoy themselves. Some just start hikes from there – the temperatures are significantly lower than at the coast – or have a picnic or a barbecue. I have been up on Jebel Jais rather early, but on the way back down, quite some places were already quite filled. There is also the Jebel Jais Viewing Deck, which I will feature in a separate posting.
The pictures below have been taken close to the alpine coaster Jais Sledder. This is about the highest point you are allowed to regularly travel by car. I don’t have the exact data, but I guess that you are around 1,350 to 1,400 meter high. The parking lot there was already quite full, you also see the barriers to go up higher, which is possible with a reservation, see next section.
Jebel Jais – Jebel Jais at 1,484 Meters
This area of Jebel Jais offers a couple of adventures, from hikes to zip-lines and similar things. If you pre-booked, you may drive to the parking lot of the Adventure Park. You may also go up to 1,484 meters if you have a reservation for the restaurant or the cafe of the 1484 by Puro, which is the highest restaurant in the U.A.E. The road continues, but is only available to services.
I did not go for one of its thrilling options, but enjoyed a second breakfast there. The lovely pancake with fruit and a lemon and mint mocktail were awesome. Of course, I also loved to amazing views from up there. The two items were some 75 AED, roughly 20 EUR – which is a bunch, but also a very memorable experience. There is a minimum amount for the restaurant. The opening times of the service is daily from 8:00 to 19:00 hrs. This means that you can typically enjoy the sunset from that amazing place, before you head down to the coastal area.
Jebel Jais – My View
I felt that driving up Jebel Jais might turn into the highlight of my February 2022 trip to the U.A.E.. It definitely fulfilled that expectation. The road trip is just beautiful, I loved the very different landscape. Finally, the views from the mountain are great. Yeah, it is a bit of expansive to dine at 1,500 meters in the U.A.E. at the top. But the food is great and the experience is so memorable.
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