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Sharjah, UAE » City Info

Sharjah, the third largest emirate of United Arab Emirates is a singular representative of how history and heritage predominates the city's landscape. Compared to Dubai, Sharjah adopts a conservative way of life where liquor and co-habitation by unmarried couples is banned. Further, the rules of decency and public behaviour are firmly rooted in Islamic tradition. Even though the glitz and glamour is missing in Sharjah, it offers its fair share of attractions and entertainment to those who dare to take the untrodden path. In 1998, Sharjah was catapulted to the ranks of 'Cultural Capital of the Arab World' by UNESCO thanks to its beautiful mosques, Souqs (Souks) and the numerous, well-maintained museums. Making use of modern day conveniences balanced by the traditional flavour, Sharjah heads into the 21st century with pride and passion.

10 Top Sharjah Landmarks

  

Al Jazeera Park (Al Montazah) ( Visit Site )

The Al Jazeera Park has been specially constructed for families on a 100,000 square meter island surrounded by the Khalid Lagoon. One of Sharjah's favoured attractions, the park is perfect for a thrilling day out for children of all ages. It features a swimming pool, mini zoo and an amusement park in addition to a number of rides to suit all ages. The park is also home to a number of facilities including a cafeteria where people can buy snacks and drinks plus a kiosk for souvenirs and toys. Other than cars and boats, there is a train that takes visitors around the park to allow them to plan their picnic.

Opening Hours: Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm,
Tuesday evening for Ladies only, Public Holidays and Eids: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

  

Sharjah Desert Park ( Visit Site )

Sharjah's Desert Park area provides access to three venues – The Arabia Wildlife Centre, The Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum and a Children's Farm. The Arabia Wildlife Centre houses the largest collection of Arabian wildlife in the Middle East. They are kept in as close to their true, natural surroundings as possible. Built completely indoors with a walk-through aviary, visitors get to catch a glimpse of rare species such as the Arabian leopard and venomous viper at a close (but safe!) distance. There is even a Children's Farm located next door where kids can pet and feed domesticated animals. Nearby, the Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum are dedicated to preserving the knowledge of plants and animals for future generations to admire and understand.

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, Friday: 2:00 pm to 5.30 pm,
Saturday: 11:00 am to 5.30 pm, Closed on Tuesday

  

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization ( Visit Site )

Sharjah's Museum of Islamic Civilization showcases exquisite Islamic artefacts from around the world in its seven expansive display areas and galleries. Located in the Al Majarrah area, the museum was once a traditional Middle Eastern souq (souk) but today it is a centre for researching, developing and collecting Islamic masterpieces for local and international tourists.

Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Friday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Closed on Sunday

  

Sharjah Aquarium ( Visit Site )

To promote and encourage tourists to take part in the conservation of oceanic marine life, the Sharjah Aquarium is equipped with 20 large water aquariums with a rich and diverse collection of marine life native to its seas. With more than 250 species of marine animals, the aquarium is home to a number of majestic sharks including several reef sharks, colourful fish, delicate seahorses and moray eels. There's also a lot more to discover at the aquarium including smaller marine life found in the coral reefs, lagoons, rock pools and mangroves.

Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Friday: 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Closed on Sunday

  

Al Qasba

Located at the heart of Sharjah waterfront, Al Qasba is a true, unique package where children and families can discover Arabian culture at the various theatres, galleries and activity centres. On the other hand, the place is for entrepreneurs too, who can do business in the Multaqa Al Qasba conference halls. Various outdoor and indoor activities such as Abra rides, the Al Qasba Musical Fountain, a Kids Fun Zone and the Etisalat-Eye of the Emirates Ferris Wheel, all guarantee a fun filled, relaxing day at the Al Qasba. Later on, dine at world famous restaurants and shop your heart out at the glittering retail centres and kiosks.

Abra Ride Opening Hours: Saturday to Wednesday: 4:00 pm to 12:00 am, Thursday, Friday & Public Holidays 4:00 pm to 1:00 am

Kids Fun Zone Opening Hours: Summer: Daily, 4:00 pm to 12:00 am, Public Holidays 2:00 pm to 12:00 am Winter: Saturday to Thursday: 10:00 am to 12:00 am, Friday: 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

  

Sharjah Heritage Museum ( Visit Site )

Sharjah Heritage Museum preserves 'objets d'art', precious to its rich customs and traditions. One can admire handicrafts from a time when people survived only on pearling and fishing. The museum is famous for its antique crafts, silks, currency, herbal medicines and jewellery.

Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Friday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Closed on Sunday

  

Sharjah Archaeology Museum ( Visit Site )

As the name suggests, the Sharjah Archaeology Museum preserves all the archaeological records relevant to Sharjah's history since excavations started in 1972. Coins, weapons, artefacts, jewellery and pottery used by the region's inhabitants from the Stone Age to the present day are displayed at the museum for visitors to appreciate, learn and enjoy.

Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm,
Friday: 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Closed on Sunday

  

Sharjah Discovery Centre ( Visit Site )

The Sharjah Discovery Centre is a hands-on activity centre for children where they get to learn and understand the importance of science and technology through play. There are seven themed entertainment areas which allow the kids to shop in the supermarket, test their five senses, become a star on TV, climb a wall, etc. Later, they can get quench their thirst and eat some of the delicious cakes and sandwiches at the café next door.

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, Friday & Saturday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm

  

Sharjah Science Museum ( Visit Site )

The Sharjah Science Museum is committed to educating visitors of all ages through various interactive displays exploring life, aerodynamics, science experiments, cryogenics, space, etc. Young children are allotted their own play area where they can discover and learn about the world around them. The café next door provides snacks and beverages.

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, Friday & Saturday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm

  

Central Market (Blue Souq)

The biggest Souq (Souk) in Sharjah built according to Islamic requirements, the Central Market is located on the Khalid Lagoon. It is the main shopping hub for Sharjah residents who buy their daily needs at the 600 shops, spread over two wings. The outside walls of the market are fitted with blue tiles, giving it its popular name 'Blue Souq'. One wing is dedicated to gifts and electronics while the other one trade in precious jewels.

Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm;
Fri 9:00 am to noon, 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Top Activities

  

Souqs & Bazaars ( Visit Site )

The true essence of shopping lies in Sharjah's Souqs (Souks) and bazaars where colours, aromas and sounds intermingle to reproduce a colourful replication of the emirate's history. The Central Market or Blue Souq, Khaled Lagoon, Souq Al Arsah, Souq Al Bahar and Souq Al Ghuwair are famous for their extraordinary collection of handicrafts, jewellery, oriental carpets, rugs and Arabic cosmetics & textiles. Some of the oldest in the UAE, tourists are spellbound by the architectural beauty of these Souqs. Bargain for some henna, perfumes, aromatic oils, spices and Arabic clothing at these picturesque bazaars.

Most Souqs are open from 9:00 / 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 10:30 / 11:00 pm

  

Malls & Shopping Centres ( Visit Site )

Sharjah is a valuable discovery for a shopaholic where they can shop for tax free oriental carpets, Middle Eastern sweets, jewellery and hand crafted goods at the infinite shopping centres and Souqs (Souks). Moreover, shopping doesn't just imply buying a wide range of products. It is a full blown activity where the shopper dines, watches movies and entertains themselves all day long, under one roof. Most of the shopping malls are open from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm on weekdays and Saturdays and from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Sundays. Some of the famous malls, to buy reasonably priced goods are the Safeer Mall, Sahara Centre, Sharjah City Centre and Sharjah Mega Mall.

Beach Activities ( Wikipedia )

With the Gulf of Oman on one side and the Arabian Gulf on another, Sharjah strikes a chord with an abundance of beaches and beach activities. The sun kissed public beaches at Al Khan and Al Mamzar provide free access and optimum opportunities for sun bathing. For tourists interested in snorkelling and diving, the blue sparkling waters offer the depth and transparency to admire the beautiful marine life. Although swimwear is banned on public beaches, hotels along the coastline of Sharjah offer the privacy and freedom to use their private beaches although for a charge. Some of the other beaches in Sharjah are the Al Corniche Beach, Khor Fakkan beaches, Khaled Lagoon & Al Buheirah Corniche. Dress appropriately on the beaches, especially the ladies.

Desert Activities

The face of Sharjah is prominently made up of the shifting waves of desert dunes. From time immemorial, people have made the desert a place to stay, rest, and entertain and to expand their boundaries. There are lots of desert activities one can partake in while in Sharjah. Whether it is challenging the dunes in a SUV vehicle or on a quad bike, the desert presents a big opportunity to adrenaline junkies. Besides, there are the impressive Wadi trips in the Al Hajar Mountain range from Dibba up into the Mussandam Peninsula. Experience the rugged landscape and the harsh conditions of the desert.

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Lounging in the Parks ( Visit Site )

The greenery of the landscaped parks provides a striking contrast to the desert hues. Of the 40 parks spread across the city, the Al Jazeera Fun Park is the most enchanting as it enthrals youngsters with a mini zoo, swimming pool, and an amusement park. The Sharjah National Park, Green Belt Park and Al Majaz Park are places of rest, relaxation and tranquillity where one can enjoy barbecued food, play games and picnic in the peaceful surroundings.

  

Eye of the Emirates observatory wheel ( Visit Site )

Located in the Al Qasba hub, the Eye of Emirates observatory wheel endows a 360° panoramic view of Sharjah city sprinkled with landmark buildings, green parks, museums, Souqs (Souks) and the Gulf coastline all the way to neighbouring Dubai. The observatory wheel is open from Saturday to Wednesday, 4:00 am to 12:00 am, Thursday & Friday, 3:00 am to 12:00 am

Sharjah Water Festival & F1 Boat Races ( Visit Site )

In December, during the principal tourist season of Sharjah, the emirate gears up for an action packed sporting experience. The Sharjah Water Festival which takes place at the Khalid Lagoon features a wide range of recreational water activities especially for families and children. Giving another dimension to the Sharjah Water Festival is the F1H2O World Championship involving spectacular F1 powerboats the race takes place on the big final day of the Water Festival. It's a spectacle that you should not miss!

Top Sharjah FAQ's

Q.1) What is the capital city of United Arab Emirates?

Ans: The capital city of United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi.

Q.2) What is the official language spoken in Sharjah?

Ans: The official language of Sharjah is Arabic, but tourists need not fear since English is widely spoken and understood.

Q.3) Where is Sharjah located?

Ans: Sharjah, located on the west coast of UAE is the only emirate to be surrounded by both the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. In fact, it owns three enclaves, Kalba, Dibba Al-Hisn, and Khor Fakkan bordering the Gulf of Oman.

Q.4) Do tourists have to follow any restrictions during Ramadan?

Ans: Tourists should follow the below piece of advice during the month of Ramadan since disregarding the laws and customs could have serious implications -

- no consumption of alcohol or pork
- conservative dressing
- no eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset in public in front of the Muslims
- no public display of affection in public, including holding of hands and kissing

Q.5) What is the best time to visit Sharjah?

Ans: Since temperatures can soar beyond 40° C in the summer months from May to September, the winter months from October to April are the best months to visit Sharjah. The average temperature during the winters hover around 24°-25° C during the day, but in the night it gets cooler.

Q.6) How safe is Sharjah for tourists?

Ans: Sharjah is relatively safe for tourists since the crime rate is low and severe punishments are strictly enforced. However, if you find yourself in an emergency, you can contact the following services -

Police: 999
Fire: 997
Ambulance: 998
Electricity, Water, Gas: 991

Q.7) What is the local currency in UAE?

Ans: The local currency of UAE is Dirham or Dhs with the abbreviation AED. Tourists can exchange foreign currency and traveller cheques at the airport, hotels, Money Exchange Centres, banks or local moneychangers.

Q.8) What are the alcohol restrictions in Sharjah?

Ans: Sharjah is tagged as a "dry emirate" since sale or possession of alcohol is banned, except at the duty free business lounges of the Sharjah International Airport and Sharjah Wanderers Club. In addition, those with a personal alcohol license can bring in alcohol from other emirates.

Q.9) Which museums should I visit in Sharjah?

Ans: Sharjah is well known for its museums displaying the rich, cultural life in the emirate. Here's a list of a few -

  1. Al Eslah School Museum
  2. Al Mahatta Museum
  3. Sharjah Archaeology Museum
  4. Sharjah Art Museum
  5. Bait Al Nahboodah
  6. Bait Khalid Bin Ibrahim
  7. Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamed Al Qasimi
  8. Sharjah Calligraphy Museum
  9. Sharjah Discovery Centre
  10. Sharjah Heritage Museum
  11. Sharjah Maritime Museum
  12. Sharjah Science Museum
  13. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
  14. Sharjah's Natural History and Botanical Museum
  15. Sharjah Aquarium
  16. Sharjah Hisn
  17. Majilis Al Madifaa

Q.10) How is the shopping scene in Sharjah like?

Ans: Shopping in Sharjah is an extremely rewarding experience. There are gold jewellery malls like the Gold Centre as well small shops that sell everything at bargain prices. It gets more interesting with the Blue Souk, a 600 shops extravaganza selling everything from carpets, curios, gold to designer clothes.

Q.11) Should I obtain a health insurance before travelling to Sharjah?

Ans: Sharjah health care services are developed and one gets timely help in an emergency. If you want the expertise of a costly private hospital, health insurance is must. Otherwise, the government hospital in case of emergency, will allow you to stay for a max of 24 hours.

Q.12) What type of clothing should I carry when travelling to Sharjah?

Ans: Since Sharjah is an Islamic state, wear respectful clothes that cover every inch of your body except the face, to avoid offending the local people & culture. Follow this especially during Ramadan. Also, since the climate is hot, light weight summer clothing is suitable but do not forget to bring in sweaters or jackets during the winters as the evenings are quite chilly.

Q.13) What is the Time Zone of Sharjah?

Ans: The standard time zone of Sharjah is UTC/GMT +4 hours. No daylight saving is observed. The time zone abbreviation is GST - Gulf Standard time.

Q.14) How do I get around in Sharjah?

Ans: Sharjah has an effective public transportation system comprising of buses, metered and non-metered taxis and inter-emirate travel. The routes are well distributed throughout the city & emirate, plus the tickets are comparatively inexpensive. However, if you prefer to hire a car in Sharjah, there are many online car rental companies that offer good quality, new vehicles at competitive rates.

Q.15) Who is the ruler of Sharjah?

Ans: H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi III is the current monarch of Sharjah who has ruled since 1972 , apart from a six-day period between June 17 and 23, 1987 when his brother Sheikh `Abd al-`Aziz bin Muhammad al-Qasimi tried to take his place.

Getting Around in Sharjah

Getting around in Sharjah is extremely effortless, since there are a variety of palate-pleasing options on offer. Visitors can choose from buses, taxis and car rentals depending on where and when they want to travel. Car rental gives you a choice of intimate travelling in addition to deciding the day, time and travel route. It presents much more flexibility than public transport.

There are a lot of fixed taxi stands across the city, operated by various franchisees authorized by the Sharjah City Public Transportation Corporation. These metered taxis cost AED 3.00 (upon entry) between 6:00 am - 10:59 pm and AED 4.00 (upon entry) between 11:00 pm - 5:59 am. Then for every 162.5 meters, it is AED 0.25. To drive to the airport or Dubai, an additional surcharge of AED 20.00 is added to the fare. If you are sharing a taxi then the charge is AED 7.00 (upon entry) from Al Rolla Square/Industrial Area Square.

Moreover, the Mowasalat operated bus routes also proffer an excellent option of getting around the city. People with disabilities are provided with an accessible ramp and comfortable seating space in the bus.

There are a few intercity bus services operated between the seven emirates with separate fares for the final destination and remaining stations.

Bus System

Sharjah City Public Transportation Corporation has handed over the franchise of operating the public transport system to KGL Passenger Transport Services. Known locally as Mowasalat, the bright orange-coloured buses offer a comfortable journey along Sharjah's pre-decided routes. The map can be viewed and downloaded from their official website. Frequent passengers can pay their ticket fees electronically on the buses using the Sayer card which is cheap, compared to the paper ticket payable to the bus driver in cash. The Sayer Card costs AED 45, AED 90 and AED 180 plus a one time payment of AED 5 for the card cost. It can bought/recharged at the Al Ittihad Terminal or Al Jubail Terminal. Mowasalat also provides transport service to and fro Sharjah International Airport. Furthermore, KGL Passenger Transport Services offers transport between Sharjah City, Ras Al Khaimah, Khor Fakkan, Kalba, Fujairah, Masafi, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Hamriyah Free Zone, Dhaid, Madam, Dibba Al Hisn, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai.

Taxis

Sharjah City Public Transportation Corporation has awarded operation of taxi services in the emirate to different franchise companies, who own the license to drive taxis in Sharjah city and emirate, including shopping centres, airports and residential areas. The companies are Sharjah Taxi, Emirates Taxi, Citi Taxi, Union Taxi and Advantage Taxi.

For people with lower income, there are separate taxis operating on a fixed route at a fixed rate, without using a meter.

Car Rental

You couldn't ask for a more relaxing travel, provided that you rent a car in Sharjah from a reputed dealer. Discover the emirate of Sharjah at your own pace within the confines of a private, luxurious car. Since international driving license is replaceable, one can easily get the required driving license to explore Sharjah. Moreover, there are a variety of cars offered by online rental companies at competitive prices that will fit your budget. Book an exotic car or a rugged SUV to enjoy an adventurous trip to a neighbouring emirate; say Dubai or Abu Dhabi. As petrol is cheap in the Mid-East countries, car hire turns out to be quite an economical option. However, one must remember the driving laws and regularly check the speed limit, since Sharjah is known to be strict when it comes to implementation of laws.

Communication in Sharjah

An excellent communication network is essential to establish a smooth flow of information. But this happens only when all nodes of communication such as telephone, post, internet, newspapers, etc. work in tandem with each other. In Sharjah, travellers can use coins or pre-paid Etisalat card to call people. Phone cards are available at any of the grocery shops, shopping centres, Etisalat offices and bookstores. If you are calling locally, the city code is 06 but if you are making an international call to Sharjah dial +971 6 followed by the phone number. If you want to dial a mobile number from outside of UAE, dial +971 050/055 followed by the phone number.

When it comes to the print medium, Khaleej Times and Gulf News are the two main English newspapers read in Sharjah. If you want to send a letter to your friend or family members, Sharjah Central Post Office is open from 8 am to 5 pm from Saturday through Thursday. Call 572-2219 for more details. To buy mail letters, stamps and parcels, 24-hour postal services are available at petrol stations in Sharjah at Al Garhoud, Al Wasl Road, and Safa Park. DHL and FedEx are the two main courier companies in Sharjah.

Etisalat offers the choice of surfing the internet without subscribing using the Dial 'N' Surf service. Just call 600200100 and get connected.