The Best of Sharjah for you
Sharjah is given the name of ‘the cultural capital of the United Arab Emirates’. The city has some of the best known museums, cultural architectures and artifacts of the ancient era excavated from the dwellings over the years. Moreover, Sharjah is a thriving cosmopolitan city that adheres strictly to the Arabic culture and traditions and is forever working towards preserving its heritage.
Here’s a glimpse of Sharjah tour from a backpacker’s view.
The History of Sharjah
Sharjah has a rich history that dates back to 5000 years and the city was, for a very long time the wealthiest region of the UAE thanks to the thriving activities of pearl trading, farming, fishing and hunting. The regular invasions by the Portuguese followed by dominating trade regulations by the British decreased the city’s economic growth. With the British presence officially ending in the year 1971, Sharjah started again from the scratch and today is one of the most visited cities of the UAE.
What to See
The museums of Sharjah are simply unbeatable. Starting from the Archaeology museum, science museum, and the museum of natural history and desert park; they are beautifully designed offering valuable information of the Arabic history starting right from the stone age. The Sharjah art museum regularly holds various events and social gatherings so, confirm before you visit the place or else it may get crowded.
Spend some time at the historical site of Al Hisn- the two story ancient fort built in the early 18th century and understand the rich history of the city through the exhibition of ancient coins, arms, jewellery, ammunitions, and a peek into the pearl trading of that era. The place is a storage of some of the most amazing ancient pictures and maps of the Arabic country.
The Al Dahid road has the famous Discovery centre and is one of the best known attractions of the city. This amazing state-of-art museum has seven special theme areas exclusively designed to promote interest of technology and science amongst children. But adults too love to visit the place for its benevolence.
Where to Shop
Sharjah has some great shopping avenues for both the modern shoppers and the ones looking for antique handicrafts. There are many souqs (term for market in Arabic) are located near the Corniche road and offer great stuff at bargained prices. One of the most famous souq of Sharjah is the Blue souq also known as the Central souq. The largest souk of the city, Blue souq although sells all kinds of jewellery including gold, silver and other precious metals, it is the place to find the traditional Omani and Yemeni ornaments. Other than that, you can find a range of electronic items, garments, cosmetics range, and the other regular items.
Tips for value for money shopping:
- Please do not say yes to the first price quoted by the seller. Bring down the prices, at least 30% down. Don’t worry, haggling is taken in good spirit at these souqs.
- Not every seller is saying the truth about the quality and ancient value of the product so beware. Either google the ways to find out the authenticity of the product or befriend a local who knows the ways.
- If you’re looking for more pocket-friendly shopping, consider going to the City Centre mall. The items are a bit cheaper than others and has a wide range of options for souvenirs.
- Take a one-day tour from the reputable local tour operators like Rayna tours and see the best of the city attractions economically. You can further decide to revisit any attractions if you want to.
Where to Eat
Sharjah has a range of high-end restaurants serving the finest delicacies of the Arabian and world cuisine. But if you’re looking for some pocket-friendly places serving delicious food, here are the best choices.
If you’re looking for the perfect blend of mild and spicy cuisines within your budget, Hotel Katis, located at the Al Qasba road is the right choice. Serving Chinese and Indian cuisine, the interiors of the restaurants are basic but the taste is worth every penny you pay. Seashells restaurant located at the Al- Chan road is your best option for authentic Middle Eastern cuisine at affordable prices. The place is crowded during the evening hours so either reach a bit early to grab a seat without waiting or don’t be ready to wait for the seating space.
Where to Stay
Although there are plenty of cheap hotels and accommodations available for stay in Sharjah, dormitories and hostels makes for the best staying options for backpackers on a budget. There are various youth hostels available for easy staying options within your budget. The hotels too, are available for under $20 if you want a bit of extra comfort. Al Gaddah hotel suites located at close proximity to Dubai border makes it a great place to stay in budget. The Sharjah Hostel in the Sharghan Area of Old Muroor is located right in the heart of the city and comes within your budget too. It’s always better to do some research and book your accommodation beforehand.
Beyond just the Tourist Attractions :
There’s a lot you can do to help yourself and the others in Sharjah through various volunteering organizations that offer assistance to the tourists and through them give valuable services to the deprived. Sharjah city of humanitarian services offer various opportunities for the underprivileged. The city also has a cat and dog shelter volunteer program working towards saving the lives of the abandoned animals. For more information, log on to firstname.lastname@example.org
The American University of Sharjah also offers opportunities to take part in numerous volunteer groups catering to the student’s interests. Creating awareness on health issues, importance of road safety, and taking care of the abandoned elderly and infants are some of the major programs offered.
Some tips for a great trip to Sharjah
- The normal tap water is safe to drink, if you don’t want to spend on the bottled water.
- The weather in Sharjah is hot and humid, so it is advisable to bring along full sleeve clothes and heavy sunscreen to prevent tanning and skin burn. The best time to visit Sharjah is from November to April.
- Some important emergency numbers of Sharjah are: Ambulance- 998 and 999, Fire- 997, Police- 999, Sharjah Police Headquarter +97165631111