Say hello to the Cultural Capital of the Arab world – SHARJAH!!! It’s an important Emirate of United Arab Emirates situated on the Arabian Gulf. When I took the polls on our Instagram and Facebook pages, about the best UAE Cities for a weekend getaway, Sharjah was a clear winner with all our readers! Your wish is our command, and our timing couldn’t have been any better. As within a week, off we went on our weekend trip to Sharjah as guests of the Tourism Board. This was our first visit to Sharjah and we were extremely kicked as one glance at our itinerary and we were floored by what this Emirate has to offer. Sharjah combines their cultures and traditions topped with all the modern facilities that make it one of the most loved Emirates of UAE with tourists from all over the world. It is also just a quick drive away from Dubai and it is increasingly becoming a hot favourite destination for weekend getaways amongst the other emirates and for Indians as well. I truly appreciate their huge outdoor spaces, the way they have maintained the greenery all over and their enriching way of life.
I’m listing below a few places that you definitely should add to your Sharjah itinerary if you want to truly experience all that this Emirate has to offer:
Mleiha Archaeological Centre – Mleiha is one of Sharjah’s central region cities that connects the East coast to it’s West Coast and you can plan an entire day here! The Mleiha exhibition will take you through the history of the village of Mleiha dated all the way back to 2600-2200 BC.
Make sure to travel back in time with different exhibits from the Pre-Islamic and Paleolithic ages. After spending the first half of the day here, you can plan your lunch at the Mleiha Café which is on the ground floor. We loved the super healthy and nutritious food here.
Mleiha Desert – The 2nd half of the day was dedicated to visiting some of the oldest archaeological sites in Mleiha and visiting the Mleiha stables. If you too are adventurous like Salman, then do not miss out on their various activities like – dune bashing, buggy bashing, cycling, camel rides, paragliding, trekking, etc.
I was floored with how they have preserved their eco-tourism and archaeological tourism in such an authentic manner.
Overnight Mleiha Camp + Star Gazing – This was the first time ever and a one of a kind experience for the two of us. Not less than a perfect Bollywood film setting.
Imagine, camping in the middle of the desert, dining around a bonfire, star gazing, as you both pick your favourite stars from the clear night sky, without any “light pollution”, taking a camel ride to your tent, and sleeping in the desert with cool winter breeze playing with your hair!!!
You HAVE TO experience this at least once in your life.
Sharjah Centre For Astronomy & Space Sciences – Do you love space exploration and astronomy? Then you are in for a real treat. You can now get a first-hand experience of all the pre-existing scientific theories that have helped shape the very Universe that we are a part of and understand it even better in the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences.
They also have one of the best 3D projection domes that showcase so many different planetarium shows!! Not to be missed when you are here.
Al Majaz Waterfront – It is located right in the heart of Sharjah and this waterfront has a breathtaking view overlooking the famous Khaled Lagoon. You have plenty of dining options here and we loved the Emirati cuisine at the famous Al Fanar restaurant.
This also happens to be one of the most popular leisure destinations of Sharjah with attractions like the Musical Fountain, mini golf park, the Maraya Art Park and the Splash Park for kids. Al Majaz Waterfront is also well known for its series of events and festivals held throughout the year which makes it a hot favourite with different tourists. Did I mention about the FREE WI-FI??
Al Jubail Market – It is also known as Souq Al Jubail. This is the place all fish lovers need to visit, especially if you want to experience the local Sharjah culture.
It is well-known for the famous “Fish auctions of the fresh catch of the day” that are sold off within seconds.
Shopping At Central Souk – Commonly referred to as “Blue Souk”, and it also happens to be one of the main shopping hubs of Sharjah. It has a separate section dedicated to gold market and another one for clothes and electronics.
We got a PS4 Pro from this market for 11,000 INR cheaper compared to India. Visit this place for some affordable shopping!
Kalba Bird Of Prey Centre – Wanna experience the popular Arabic tradition of “Birds Of Prey”, then look no further.
This centre has a collection of so many species of local birds and is considered a famous sport with both tourists and locals. You can spot barn owls, snake eagles, long-legged buzzards and different types of vultures here.
Kalba Kingfisher Lodge – I found this experience very romantic. You get to stay in tents, travel through small boats, and hop onto a buggy ride through the desert to get here.
This also happens to be a wildlife conservation and you’ll just fall in love with it’s setting – a private island surrounded by beach on one side with natural mangroves and a lagoon on the other end.
Stay tuned for PART 2 of this article to get to know which other places come highly recommended for your weekend getaway to Sharjah.