Sharjah

Travel Guide Middle East United Arab Emirates Sharjah

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Introduction

Noor Mosque

Noor Mosque

© Fahad2078

Sharjah (الشارقة) is the capital of Sharjah emirate and the third most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is located just a short drive northeast of Dubai and has about 850,000 inhabitants.

Sharjah is the third largest in area of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the only one to have land on both the Persian Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Oman. Sharjah is next to Dubai and is effectively a suburb of it, with commuter traffic creating rush hour traffic jams. Expatriates generally live in Sharjah and work in Dubai because cost of living is cheaper in Sharjah, but better jobs are in Dubai.

The emirate is considerably larger than Dubai, with coastline on both west and east coasts of the peninsula, and with exclaves of Kalba, Khor Fakkan, and Dibba Al Hisn. The road to the east coast goes through rugged Al Hajar mountains. Public buildings in the Emirate were all designed by the present Shaikh (a qualified architect), a nice visual change from the usual fare of skyscrapers in other Emirates.

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism website has sections on business, heritage, leisure, education, and coast.

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Sights and Activities

  • Heritage Area - Good overview available here including a few restoration of old houses. The Heritage is situated near the Corniche between Burj Avenue & Al-Maraija Road. Many historic buildings have been reconstructed with traditional materials. The most interesting sites are Al Hisn Fort, Literature Square with House of Poetry, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Sharjah Heritage Museum and Souq al-Arsa. Most sites in the Heritage Area have opening times set aside solely for women. Visitors of both genders should make certain of these on arrival in the city.
  • Sharjah Archeology Museum, Sheikh Rashid bin Saqr alQassimi Rd, ☏ +971 6 5665466. Sa-Th 9AM-1PM, 5-8PM; F 5-8PM. The museum explore the changing environments experienced by the region's inhabitants from the Stone Age to the present day through displays of artefacts, coins, jewellery, pottery and ancient weapons. Investigate a dig in progress, explore models of burials, houses and tombs and see the first forms of writing in this area. Adult 10 dirham, children 5 dirham.
  • Blue Souq (Souq Al Markazi or Central Souq). An interesting, if slightly chaotic, 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.
  • Sharjah Desert Park (28 km from Sharjah on the road to Al Dhaid). Su-Th 9AM–5:30PM, F 2PM-5:30PM, Sa 11AM–5:30PM. It has three components spread over 1 km²: the Natural History Museum, Arabian Wildlife Centre and the Children’s Farm. The museum provides people of all ages with an opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna of the Arabian Desert and has five main exhibition halls: A Journey through Sharjah, Man and the Environment, A Journey through Time, The Living Desert and The Living Sea. The Arabian Wildlife Centre showcases the rich diversity of fauna in the Arabian Peninsula as well as teaching about species which have become, and are becoming, extinct. It contains more than 100 species of animals, and is divided into a reptile and insect house, aviary, nocturnal houses, viewing area and a section for large predators and monkeys. The children’s farm gives children a chance to come into close contact with farm animals, such as donkeys, goats, sheep and chickens. Adult 15 dirham, child (12–16 years) 5 dirham, child (under 12) free.
  • King Faisal Mosque, Al-Ittahid Square. This magnificent mosque was a gift of the Saudi Arabian King Faisal. It was opened in 1987 and has space for 15,000 people. There are separate prayer rooms for men and women and the mosque has an Islamic library with more than 7,000 books. Admission for Muslims only.
  • Sharjah Aquarium, Al Meena Street,Al Khan Area,Near Sharjah Maritime Museum, ☏ +971 6 528 5288. The Sharjah Aquarium first opened its doors on June 16, 2008. It features deep-sea creatures. Sharjah Maritime Museum gives you a close-up look at the local fishes and lets you learn about Sharjah's historic coasts and ports. 35AED per adult (Age 13+ yrs), 25AED per child (age 2-12 yrs), below 2 yrs free. 90 AED Family (2 Adults + 3 Children).

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Weather

Weather in Shajrah generally is warm to hot and dry. The hottest months are between June and September when temperatures can rise up to 45 °C degrees Celcius or even more. Humidity can be high as well along the coast. Still, the best time to visit are from October to April with warm and dry conditions, although some rainshowers are possible during the wintermonths. Temperatures are mostly between 22 °C and 27 °C during these months.

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Getting There

By Plane

A great alternative for some low-cost airlines to get to the United Arab Emirates is the Sharjah International Airport which has flights to most major cities in the Middle East and also to various cities in India and other countries in southern Asia and eastern Africa. It is the main hub for budget carrier Air Arabia, which has the bulk of flights, including to/from Ahmedabad, Aleppo, Alexandria-El Nouzha, Almaty, Amman, Assiut, Athens, Bahrain, Bangalore, Beirut, Casablanca, Chennai, Chittagong, Coimbatore, Colombo, Damascus, Dammam, Delhi, Dhaka, Doha, Goa, Hyderabad, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Jaipur, Jeddah, Karachi, Kathmandu, Khartoum, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kuwait, Kiev-Boryspil, Latakia, Luxor, Mumbai, Muscat, Nairobi, Nagpur, Najaf, Peshawar, Riyadh, Samara, Sana'a, Tehran-Imam Khomeini and Thiruvananthapuram.

There is a shuttle bus connecting the airport with Sharjah centre (Rolla) running every 30 min (5 dirham). Public bus route 111 (10 dirham) runs hourly from the airport via Al Qusais Bus station to the Metro's Rashidiya station in Dubai.

Dubai International Airport (DXB IATA), in the neighbouring emirate of Dubai, has many more international connections and will be the more popular gateway to Sharjah. To go to Dubai International Airport by taxi will set you back at around 100 dirham. You can travel by public bus to or from Dubai International Airport by using Dubai's local bus service and the inter-Emirate bus service.

By Car

Taxis can travel from Dubai to Sharjah and vice versa without any restrictions.

By Bus

Bus travel to Dubai is possible via an inter-emirate bus service run by the Government of Dubai Road and Transport Authority. Most buses arrive at Al Jubail bus station, next to the Sharjah Fish market and the Sharjah Fruit and Vegetable market, nearby to the Central Souk. A bus from Sharjah to Dubai can take about 1 hr and costs 5 dirham. Timetables can be found at the RTA website.

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Getting Around

Public buses are by Sharjah Transport, There are seven local and three express routes. Dubai's RTA also offers express commuter bus service. Licensed taxi companies are Sharjah, Emirates, Citi, Union, and Advantage. Taxi plates are reflective green, which helps to spot them at night. Flag fall is 3.50 dirham, then 1 dirham every 650 m, and the minimum fare is 11.50 dirham. There is a surcharge of 20 dirham to go into Dubai.

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Eat

The ubiquitous shawarma is sold all over Sharjah and makes a very cheap and hearty meal. Khuboos made of wheat also a cheap food available at very cheap.

  • Mushmaool Arabic Grill Restaurant, Al Miraj Building 1, beside Megamall Entrance 3, Abu Shagara, ☏ +971 6 5754244. Noon-4PM & 7PM-midnight. Mushmaool is good food and amazing service. Provides the best grill in town and an outstanding dining experience. Committed to provide quality food and a healthy dining experience as close to as what you get at home. 35 dirham/person.
  • Seashells, Ahmed bin Dar-eish Square, Al-Chan Road (near Raddission SAS Resort), ☏ +971 6 5283501. Sa-Th noon-3PM, 7PM-midnight. Fish restaurant serving fried or grilled shrimps, tuna fish and hammour or a seafood platter at reasonable prices.
  • Lasani, Sameer Al Mahmood Building, King Faisal Road, Al Majaz 1, Al Majaz (Near RAK Bank), ☏ +971 6 573-0075. Pakistani barbecue and oriental food. One of the best Pakistani food in Sharjah.
  • Syed Al Biryani, Shop#2, Ezza Tower, Al Nad Qassmia, opp Crystal Plaza Hotel, ☏ +971 6 5506699. House of great taste. One of the best restaurants in Sharjah.

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Drink

Sharjah is a "dry emirate" which means sale or possession of alcohol within Sharjah is almost entirely forbidden. There are three exceptions:

Sharjah Wanderers Club. Members and their guests only. Founded in 1977 as a sports club for rugby and diving, it has a pool, tennis courts and lighted rugby fields. There is a British bar which sells spirits, wine, bitter, lager and stout and which serves traditional British food. Alcohol is available at the duty-free and business class lounges of Sharjah International Airport. If you have a personal alcohol license, you may bring in alcohol from other emirates and consume it at home.

Also, it is legal to transport alcohol through Sharjah if your final destination permits it (such as from Dubai to Fujairah). Some police may not be familiar with this rule though.

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Sleep

  • Holiday Inn Sharjah (in the heart of the Central Business District), ☏ +971 6 5599900. Check-in: noon, check-out: 2PM. 180 rooms, lobby lounge open 24 hr, Al Dana Dining Restaurant, health and fitness centre, sauna, shuttle service to access the beach (distance: 2 km) Single or double 270-430 dirham.
  • Lou' Lou'a Beach Resort, Al Mina Rd, ☏ +971 6 5285000.
  • Al Reem Suites, Sharjah (Al Reem Hotel Apartments, Sharjah), Alqulayyah Sharjah (at Rashid Bin Khadim Square (opposite Khuthubah R/A), on the way to Ajman cornish Rd, very close to Radisson Blu resort), ☏ +971 6 5647700. Check-in: noon, check-out: 2PM. A well-furnished serviced apartment hotel. Rooms available at reasonable rates (monthly and daily basis). Room service available. Airport drop and pick up services, city tours and shopping centre drops are available upon request. Spacious and well arranged rooms. 180 to 350.
  • Citymax, Wahda Rd, Abu Shagara District, ☏ +971 6 598 5000. A nice hotel offering luxury mattresses, wide screen TV, 24-hr room service, vending machines on every floor, at very affordable rates located close to city's industrial, historic and shopping areas. Free cabled internet in rooms and free Wi-Fi in the lobby. A restaurant, a 24-hr coffee shop, sauna and separate gym for gents and ladies are also located inside the hotel building. 210-450 dirham.
  • Crystal Plaza Hotel Sharjah, #66496 Al Qasimeyah - Immigration Rd, ☏ +971 6 5722575. In the heart of Sharjah. This three-star property takes pride in its contemporary amenities and friendly services. For leisure breaks, Gold Souk, Mega Mall Sharjah, and Heritage Center are just a few minutes away. From 355 dirham.
  • City Hotel, ☏ +971 6 561 5600, ✉ CityHotel@emirates.net.ae. Inexpensive and in the centre of town between Rolla Square and Municipality Roundabout and 10-15 minutes walk from the bus/taxi station. Rooms contain a fridge.
  • 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 no web-based reservation system. Send them an email and wait for the confirmation or call after sending the mail to confirm. Dorm 60 dirham.
  • The Suites Hotel Apartments. It's in central Sharjah near the Majarah Souqe and close to the shopping areas. The Apartments are 15 minutes away from Sharjah airport and 30 minutes from Dubai International Airport and are available from around USD50 per night, a good option for groups or families.
  • Millennium Hotel Sharjah. One of the most luxurious hotels in the UAE and provides top class service and rooms. The hotel is usually full booked so it is always better to book before arrival.
  • Al Mulla Hotel Suites, Buhaira Cornich, Opposite Marbelle Resort & Holiday Inn, ☏ +971 6 5745333. Costs about USD85 for a huge one-bedroom suite that comes with kitchen and living room - can fit about 4 people.
  • Al Sharq Hotel, 10 Al Ghuwair St, Rolla Square (just in front of Rolla garden), ☏ +971 6 5620000. It's in front of Rolla Square, opposite the main shopping centres, and surrounded by government departments and close to the Corniche. Shuttle service to the beaches and shopping malls.
  • Radission SAS Resort Hotel, Ahmed Bin Dareish Square, Corniche Rd, ☏ +971 6 5657777.
  • Grand Hotel Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan al-Awal Rd, Al Chan Beach, ☏ +971 6 5285557. Double room city view 800 dirham, sea view 900 dirham, single room city view 700 dirham, sea view 800 dirham.
  • Holiday International Hotel (on the edge of Khaled Lagoon), ☏ +971 6 573 6666.
  • Radisson Blu Resort, Sharjah, Corniche St, ☏ +971 6 565 7777. Standing along the white-sand beaches of the Arabian Gulf, this five-star Radisson Blu Resort is close to Sharjah's historic features. Complimentary shuttle service to shopping areas in Sharjah and Dubai.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are fairly common in the larger cities, and web censorship is at times odd, but rarely obtrusive. Free wifi is rolled out over the country, starting with Abu Dhabi en Dubai in 2014 and 2015, and many places like hotels, restaurants, bars and coffee places have free wifi as well.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code is 971. Emergency numbers include 999 (police), 998 (ambulance) and 997 (fire), though the general 112 number can be used as well.

The mobile phone network uses the GSM technology and use is widespread. The format for dialing is: +971-#-### ####, where the first "#" designates the area code. Key area codes include Dubai (4), Sharjah (6) and Abu Dhabi (2). Calls to mobile phones use the operator's area codes: (50/56) for Etisalat and (55) for Du.

If you bring your own cellphone, be sure to switch off roaming to avoid high costs, or otherwise purchase a local SIM card from Du or Etisalat. You need your passport with valid visa to purchase the SIM card.

Post

Emirates Post provides services in the country. It's fairly affordable and reliable and many post offices keep long hours from Saturday to Thursday, usually from around 7:30am to 8:00pm or even a little later. Most are closed on Fridays, though some are open for a few hours. If you want to send packages internationally, you might want to use companies like DHL, TNT, FedEx or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and competitively priced. A good alternative is the country's own Empost UAE.

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Accommodation in Sharjah

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Sharjah searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

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This is version 8. Last edited at 8:42 on Jul 12, 19 by Utrecht. 49 articles link to this page.

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