Jebel Jais is the highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates and is part of the Hajar Mountains which stretch from the United Arab Emirates through to Oman.
The mountain range was formed some 70 million years ago and the highest peak tops at 1934 meters above sea level.
Visiting Jebel Jais is an amazing day out for residents and tourists who are looking for a change of scenery from the Abu Dhabi and the Dubai skyscrapers and malls.
Getting to Jebel Jais is not that hard. It takes about two and a half hours from Dubai and four hours from Abu Dhabi. The best way to get to Jebel Jais is by car – whether this is your own car or a rental, but I will explain other alternatives in this guide to visiting Jebel Jais.
How to get to Jebel Jais from Dubai by Rental Car
One of the easiest and ways to get to Jebel Jais from Dubai is by car, either by your own car if you live in the UAE or by a rental car. Renting a car in Dubai is fairly easy, it is actually cheap and it allows you to explore parts of the country – like Jebel Jais – other tourists won’t normally visit. Renting a normal sedan will cost you about $20 a day. Obviously, if you choose to rent a 4×4 or a blitzy sports car, it will be more expensive.
How far is Jebel Jais from Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Coming from Dubai, take the Mohammed Bin Zayed Road E 311 (Old Emirates Road). At RAK, an indication board directs you to Jebel Jais, which is about 90 kilometers from the city. The roads to the mountain are great. In fact, we went up on the mountain in a Nissan Sunny and we had no problems climbing the mountain or navigating the road. Other roads into the Hajar mountains might not be so well-kept, but the one leading to the top of Jebel Jais is.
The view of the mountains surrounding Jebel Jais is breath-taking. There are a number of view points you can access and 8 hairpin turns from which you will have an amazing view onto the valley and the surrounding mountains.
Jebel Jais is a 2 hour drive from Dubai and a 3.5 hour drive from Abu Dhabi.
How to go to Jebel Jais from Dubai or Abu Dhabi
We already talked about reaching Jebel Jais by rental car from Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
If you are not very keen on driving, there are a few other ways you can get to the mountain without renting or driving a car.
Can you get to Jebel Jais by Bus
From the Dubai international airport, the RAK tourism luxury buses will take you to Ras Al Khaimah from terminal 1 and 3. From the Union bus station in Dubai you can get the Hamra bus for aed 25. Busses operate from 8am to 9:30pm and depart every 90 minutes. As far as I know there are no busses going from Abu Dhabi to Ras al Kaimah directly. This means you will first need to take the bus from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. Busses from Abu Dhabi to Dubai are very regular and depart from Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. Tickets cost about 25 aed pr $6.
At RAK, you can either rent a taxi or book a tour to take you to the mountain.
Can you get to Jebel Jais by Taxi
Once you are in Ras Al Khaimah you can rent a taxi to go up the mountain. A round trip will take about two hours, thirty-five minutes and costs approximately $110-$130.
I would not recommend doing this of it can be avoided as it is massively overpriced. If you are willing to shell out that much it is better to spend the money on a tour.
Can you get to Jebel Jais by private car or transfer
You can book private cars to take you to Jebel Jais at RAK, but it is an expensive service and not advisable for those on a budget.
Many transport companies rent private cars in Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Contact private car companies operating in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a quote to go to Jebel Jais.
Visiting Jebel Jais by tour
Another way of going to Jebel Jais is by tour. This gives tourists the opportunity of seeing the mountains with a tour guide and a (private) minibus. A tour guide takes tourists to the mountains for a tour and activities and explains the rich history of Ras Al Khaimah and Jebel Jais. You learn more about the mountains and the villages you pass on the way and get to see the beautiful scenery unfolding in front of you.
What to do on Jebel Jais
Once you are on or near Jebel Jais there are a lot of great and fun activities to do on your own or for the whole family.
Lots of local people go up the mountain to picnic, active residents and tourists hike the Hajar mountains while the extreme sports enthusiasts can partake in the Jebel Jais Flight zip-line.
If you are a dare-devil, you can opt for the “Jebel Jais Flight”. It is the world’s longest zip-line at 2.83km long where you dangle 1,680 meters in the air with nothing but a safety harness keeping you from falling into the abyss.
The zip-lines stretch across 28 soccer fields, and it was officially named the world’s longest zip-line by the Guinness World Book of Records in 2018.
It cost around $90 to ride the zip-line and get the thrill of a lifetime.
Tour the Jebel Jais Viewing decks
Along the road on Jebel Jais there are multiple viewing decks and panoramic parking lots where you can stop to take pictures or stretch your legs. On the top of the mountain you will find a viewing deck park from where you have a great view over the winding roads and the zip-line.
Almost all of the viewing decks are free to visit. There are toilets available. These toilets are pretty clean but it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own toilet roll. The viewing deck park on the top of the mountain has an entrance fee of 5 AED ($1.2) but there are clean toilets available and picnic benches on which you can eat food bought at the two available restaurants.
Cross the road to get an amazing view over to the other side of the mountain range.
Trekking in the Hajar mountains
There are 11 marked trails in the Hajar mountains with ranging difficulties – some are easy while others are challenging.
Hiking the mountains can take anything from 1.5 to 18 hours. Although you won’t be able to hike Jebel Jais completely, you will be able to enjoy breath-taking views and paths.
Barbecuing on Jebel Jais
Many locals take up little camping barbecues onto the mountain to picnic. These barbecues are easy to find in the local supermarkets.
You can buy meat and condiments in the city of Ras al Khaimah. There is a big Spar Supermarket in the mall. If you come from Dubai you can buy your food in Spinney’s, Carrefour or Lulu’s.
Restaurants and food on Jebel Jais
The road to the top of Jebel Jais is quite bare. There is nothing around but a few viewing decks. Where I would have expected to see food trucks on the viewing decks, there were none except for on the one before last viewing deck which had a little shop selling chai, samosa and crisps. It was very busy and because of the reasonable temperature and the full bins, there were quite a lot of wasps and hornets around. We opted not to stay there but rather to drive through to the top.
At the top in the viewing deck park (AED 5 entry) there are two little food barracks which I will discuss here.
Purro Express is a very simple Pizza Joint. They sell two kinds of pizza: vegetable and margarita.
Their pizza is quite nice and comes on a crispy base. They also sell Karak Chai for AED 10 (about 10 times the normal price) which was the worst Karak tea I ever had.
The pizza was fine but I would recommend going for the vegetable one as the margarita is quite bland – they are also the same price if I am not mistaken.
Although we ate at Purro Express, Muse cafe was our very first choice. The man running the little cafe, however, told us they had run completely out of food (which sounded odd to me).
Puro cafe serves a variety of food ranging from sandwiches to pastas and salads.
This left me with a bad feeling as, when I was queuing to buy a coke a couple minutes later, he offered the 2 gentlemen in Kandora the sandwich my husband would have ordered. We are used to that kind of behaviour in the UAE, but still – it’s just annoying when it happens.
What tours can you take to Jebel Jais
Another way to experience Jebel Jais is by tour. There aare a variety of tours offered from Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi. I will give a short overview of the tours offered to Jebel Jais.
Mountain Picnic on Jebel Jais From Ras Al Khaimah
A great way to see Jebel Jais is to have a picnic on the mountains. A tour guide will take you up the mountains where you will have a picnic on traditional Arabic seats and adults will be offered champagne.
This is a private tour with pick up and drop off included. When requested there will also be vegetarian options provided.
Jebel Jais Mountain Tour
This private Jebel Jais mountain tour will take you from any point in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimaih straight to the top of the mountain.
Although there is no foor included, you can always have a bite to eat at one of the food stalls on top of the mountain.
Water and soft-drinks and pick up and drop off are included in this tour.
Experience Ras Al Khaima – Jebel Jais Mountain, Al Wadi Desert, and Dhayah Fort
Want to do more than just drive up the mountain? This great tour lets you experience all of Ras Al Khaimah in one day.
Ras Al Khaimah is quite a rustic emirate and overall there is not that much to do. That is why this tour is a great fit for people who want to experience this emirate without losing too much time. The tour is in fact a desert safari cum Jebel Jais. This means you can visit the mountain and afterwards enjoy the beautiful Wadi desert with a barbecue and a dance act to close the day.
If you were planning on seeing Jebel Jais AND doing a desert safari, this tour is a great fit.
Wadi Kub Exploring
The Hajar mountains are known for their beautiful Wadi’s. A Wadi is a lake or a body of water nestled in the mountains.
This is for hikers who wish to trek to Wadi Kub. With a certified mountain guide, you do not have to fear getting lost in the mountains. You are accompanied by wilderness first aid certified personnel, this tour company takes the safety of their clients seriously, as they assign a local tour guide to show the hikers the way. You would definitely have a unique experience.