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Cities Guide >>> Sharjah                                                                    Book A Hotel

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Sharjah is an emirate geographically contiguous with Dubai, with daily traffic streaming to and from creating long traffic jams at rush hours. People will generally live in Sharjah and work in Dubai because the cost of living is cheaper in Sharjah, but the best jobs are in Dubai.

Unique amongst the Emirates in that it has coastline on both the West and East coast of the peninsula. This is by virtue of being split into exclaves of Kalba, Khor Fakkan, and Dibba Al Hisn.

Talk

As in the rest of the UAE, Arabic is the official language, with most residents actually speaking other languages entirely - particularly Hindi and Urdu. English is widely spoken in shops, souqs, and hotels.

Get in

Most people will arrive either via Sharjah International Airport or Dubai International Airport. Sharjah centre is around 15 kilometres from Sharjah Airport and 20 minutes taxi ride from Dubai International Airport (dependent upon traffic).

There is a shuttle bus connecting Sharjah international airport to Sharjah centre (Rolla) running all 30 min and costing 5 AED. From Rolla one can take a bus to Dubai for another 5 AED. To go to Dubai International Airport take a taxi that will set you back at around 100 AED and do the trip in 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

Get around

There is no public transport in Sharjah, which means that visitors will need to have their own wheels or rely on taxis. Sharjah's taxis have historically been unmetered, and although some of these remain, several new companies operating metered taxis have become operational. They are similar in quality to Dubai's taxi fleet.

Taxi Drivers, although mostly courteous, do have the tendency to refuse passengers if the time of travel coincides with rush hour traffic. It is advisable to plan your travel well, allowing for traffic jams which could take upto an hour/hour and half to get out of.

See

The emirate itself has some middle of the road beach resorts in addition to having the reputation for being a center of Islamic education.

The public buildings in the Emirate were all designed by the present Shaikh (a qualified architect) and make a nice visual change from the usual fare of skyscrapers in the other Emirates.

 

The "Blue Souq" (Souq Al Markazi or Central Souq) is an interesting, if slightly shambolic, shopping centre hosting around 600 shops in two wings. The ground floor shops tend to stock gold and expensive designer clothes, with the upper level containing shops stocking carpets and curios from as far afield as Afghanistan and Tibet. Haggling over prices in the upper-level shops will frequently attract massive discounts. A great place to buy gifts and traditional goods. Considered superior to Dubai for carpets by Western expatriates. Another souq worth a visit is Souq al-Arsah (considered to be the oldest souq in the country).

The Heritage District of Sharjah city is dominated by the Sharjah Fort Museum. The fort itself has been lovingly restored by the present Shaikh, and the museum provides something of a glimpse at social history of the Emirate. Many exhibit signs, however, are solely in Arabic, with those in English often being rife with errors.
Also in the Heritage District is the Islamic Museum. This is a fascinating place for any visitors with an interest in the faith, as there are handwritten Qur'ans, letters from the Prophet to other leaders of the time and various artifacts from Mecca itself. There is also a comprehensive display of Arab handicrafts.
Most sites in the Heritage District have certain opening times set aside solely for women. Visitors of both genders should make certain of these on arrival in the city.

Do

  • Jetskiing is very famous around summer time in the Khalid Lagoon.
  • F1 Boat Races happen around the man-made island in the Buhaira Corniche sometime around December.
  • Must go to the "Eye of the Emirates". (Qanat al Qasba)
  • Qanat al Qasba has a beautiful mosque right by the canal.
  • Food chains ie. Nando's, 1.618 that serve the most delicious foreign food. Across Nando's there is a ferry that gives you a boat tour around Sharjah.
  • Several diffent yearly festivals take place, and each one is a wonderful cultural experience. There are many fun activities at these festivals such as camel rides, henna, delicious Arabian foods and dishes, and much more.

Eat

The ubiquitous shawarma is sold all over Sharjah and makes a very cheap and hearty meal.

Drink

Sharjah is known as a 'dry emirate' which means the consumption of alcohol within Sharjah is forbidden.

Sleep

  • Sharjah Youth Hostel,  Not a particularly appealing hostel; the furniture is run-down, the bathrooms are shady, the location is suburban and the clientele is mostly South Asian guest workers, rather than the typical hostel crowd. But it's by far the cheapest place to stay in town. There is currently no web-based reservation system. Send them an email and wait for the confirmation or call after sending the mail to confirm. The dorm is currently priced at 60 AED.
  • The Suites Hotel Apartments, located in central Sharjah near the Majarah Souqe and close to the shopping areas. The Apartments are only 15 minutes away from Sharjah airport and 30 minutes from Dubai International Airport and are available from around 50 USD per night, a good option for groups or families.