Things to do around Sharjah

A love affair with Sharjah had already commenced and there was too much to see, marvel at and be awed of in this Emirate. In the days that followed, daily excursions near Sharjah to Al Hajar , Mleiha and Khorfakkan ensued and led to startlingly surprising discoveries. While the architecture of the city mystifies, the bustle of the souks enthralls and the skyline excites, the areas around the emirate reek of natural beauty.

You might want to see both these contrasts in the video below:

On one end are endless sand dunes, with desert winds blowing creating ripples, on the other are the blue waters of the Gulf of Oman, with the sea breeze blowing creating ripples.

The ripples on Khorfakkan beach
The ripples on the dunes of Mleiha

So when you have time in hand, while in Sharjah, here are some day excursions you can take, absolutely doable with a little bit of the hills, a little bit of the sand and a little bit of the shores!

The magnificence of the Al Hajar mountains

Al Hajar mountains: Distance from Sharjah : 100 kms

 Raw, rugged and rocky. The drive to the Al Hajar mountains via the East coast, welcomes you with panoramic views of deep ravines and layers of mountains as if they are stacked one behind the other.

The wonderful journey to Al hajar mountains

 

Where skies meet the hills

 

Curvy roads lead the way and the mountain breeze keeps company as you venture deeper into the mountains, standing tall with gravel and devoid of vegetation.

The mountains with gravel and rocks

 

It’s a different kind of a mountain range, sparse trees, mostly shrubs, minimal greenery, yet majestic in their own way. The Al Hajar mountains are one of the tallest in the Arabian plateau.

 

Layers of the Al Hajar range

Drive from Sharjah to Fujairah via the East coast road and watch the landscapes change from cityscapes to dry deserts to rugged terrains

 

. The Al Hajar mountains stretch all the way to Oman and for that stretch you’d need an Omani visa and a 4×4. For the Fujairah stretch, you can drive straight past with the blue waters of the Gulf of Oman giving you company.

Cloudy skies and a long winding road

Somewhere at a pit stop, I came across a group of locals, camping at a spot overlooking the valley, cooking their own food, lighting a small fire and celebrating their weekend.

Locals

Stop at the Friday market on the East coast road to interact with the local tribes selling traditional carpets, fresh fruits and vegetables and clay pots.

There is an array of colours at the market with fruits imported from various countries on display. Hop in a shop where carpets from Afghanistan and Iran are exhibited and marvel at the grandeur of the handwork.

Khorfakkan beach: Distance from Sharjah: 134 km

 

Drive straight to Khorfakkan for a tete a tete with the gorgeous blue waters of the Gulf of Oman. The drive is as mesmerising as the destination. With Oman just 2 km away, you are tempted to head straight to Musandam, but wait. I strongly recommend a visit to Khorfakkan first. As your eyes meet the magical blue, you wonder if you are in UAE in the first place.

Khorfakkan means the creek of two jaws and it belongs to Sharjah even though it is geographically bordered with the emirate of Fujairah.

There are island trips offered by boatmen and you can kayak as well. But if you would like an entire stretch of the beach to yourself, hop into the Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa, a luxury resort just 1 km away from the main town, with picturesque views of the sea from their rooms.

View from the room at the Oceanic resort

Even if you do not stay, you can dine at their sea facing restaurant or indulge in a spa with a view.

The private beach at Oceanic resort

The hotel offers kayaking packages as well.

You can see the Khorfakkan port at a distance, with container ships bobbling in the sea.

Khorfakkan is easily one of the most beautiful areas along the east coast of UAE, with its laid back charm and raw natural beauty.

Al Bidiyah archaeological mosque: 

The Al Bidiyah Mosque

 

Enroute Khorfakkan, you will come across a yellow structure situated on a small hillock. Masjid Al Bidiyah is built of mud bricks and stone and has a unique structure, quite unusual for a religious building in the emirates.

 

The mosque has a roof with four pointed domes and supported with an internal pillar and is known to be as old as 1400 AD.

The mosque is bordered with shrubs and cacti, giving the place an Arabic desert feel. A stop at the mosque on your way to Khorfakkan is recommended if you are a history buff and like all things ancient.

 


Besides, it is right alongside the highway with no detours.

Mleiha Archaeological centre  : Distance from Sharjah: 62 kms

 

Nestled in the desert dunes of Sharjah, is an ancient , well preserved archaeological site called Mleiha.

Ancient Mleiha is a treasure trove for lovers of archaeology. The place has an intriguing history and a guided tour of the museum provides breathtaking insights to the history of Mleiha and the role it played in the evolution of the human community.

The exhibition centre has classic interactive displays where one can browse through various areas: geology, hydrology, natural resources across basins, gravel, mountains and springs. Walk through the different periods of human civilisation: The Iron Age, the Bronze Age, Neolithic and Palaeolithic.

After the guided tour, one can step out and witness the fossil rocks and the dunes  by means of a desert safari.

It is an adrenaline rush as you enter 4x4s and gear up for dune bashing. The drivers follow a trail and take you around these ethereal natural structures which make you wonder in awe.

This desert safari stresses on the natural exploration bit rather than the cultural bit and is far less commercialised than the ones in Dubai. (So do not expect any belly dancing here!)

 

Watching the sunset over the dunes was a calming and gorgeous experience and what’s better, it wasn’t even crowded!

 

A definite must do if you love to don the explorer hat and dig into ancient history of a place. Do not skip the museum tour as it helps to understand the geology of the place.

 

Other Emirates:

UAE offers a plethora of options for every kind of traveler: the adventure seeker can head to Ras Al Khaimah. The architecture lover can head to Abu Dhabi for visiting the Grand Mosque, the shopper can head to Dubai for mall hopping or indulging in a laid back luxury stay at JW Marriott in Dubai, one of the many Dubai hotels and the beach lover can head to Ajman for a quiet, low key break.

 

If you thought Sharjah was boring, well you clearly haven’t explored it enough. Head out away from the usual attractions and discover dunes, rocky mountains and blue waters that reek of the natural beauty of this emirate.

 

The uncommercial desert safari at Mleiha

P.S:I was invited  to Sharjah by Sharjah Tourism Authority and Air Arabia, but needless to say the views in this article are my own.

101 thoughts on “Things to do around Sharjah

  1. You are one of those travel writers in India whom I love to follow. Your images, write-up everything is so captivating. Wish I could learn some travel writing tips from you 🙂

  2. Wow! Sharjah’s natural beauty is just impeccable! I always assumed the place to be an arid desert, but those beaches and mountains look so stunning! Camping & cooking in these mountains is just perfect! The ocean view resort is just impeccable!

  3. Wow, I hadn’t even heard of Sharjah before this post but now I really want to go. The desert is INCREDIBLE! I love the colors you were able to capture. Also we have to hit up the beach while we are there too!

  4. I’ve never heard of Sharjah, but it looks amazing! I can’t believe how red the sand is and how blue the water is. I would love to go there myself and see the archeological center and experience the natural beauty in person.

  5. I didn’t know that Sharjah has such beautiful landscapes! Al Hajar mountains look quite surreal and Oceanic Kharfkenn resort looks like a destination in itself!

  6. Oh the colours and the earthly rugged beauty! I wish to explore the middle east beyond the fancy urban landscapes and Sharjah sure seems to have a bit more than modern architecture to offer! Lovely pics Divsi 🙂

  7. This post is truly an eye-opener. I never imagined such a magnificent landscape. Pictures of the craggy mountains, the vivid green sea and the velvety sand desert are breathtaking.

  8. I’m super impressed by the diversity of landscapes in Sharjah – from the mountains to the sand dunes and the Gulf of Oman (which looks stunning BTW!) I’ve only visited Dubai in the UAE but would love to explore other emirates soon 🙂

  9. First of all I would like to say, such beautiful pictures. Sharjah looks so spectacular, I have been only to the cricket stadium and not all the other places. Now I think I should plan a trip again to just go see these beautiful places and landscapes.

  10. The pictures are wonderful, they really capture the feel of the landscape. We didn’t know how beautiful the area is and that the Emirates are so much more than just glass fronted tower blocks and shopping malls.

  11. Your shots are amazing. Especially love the color contrast between Khorfakkan beach and the dunes of Mleiha. I so want to go there now. 🙁

  12. This was an extremely interesting journey, documented fantastically well with your photos. Certainly, there is an interesting juxstapoition between the bleak, barren beauty of the mountains and the sudden explosion of colour when you reach the coast. Oman is such an underrated country!

  13. Lovely post Divyakshi…you showed me a very different Sharjah than what I had in mind! It’s certainly on my list now and I hope I won’t have to skip the next opportunity to travel there 🙂

  14. Wow. I didnt know that sharjah has such a diverse landscape. Must arrange a visit soon from here in Doha. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Have always been wanting to go to Sharjah! This looks fantastic. Such an easy access to so many beautiful places from sharjah!

  16. Looks like quite an amazing experience eating local fruits and meeting the locals! Such a contrast too with the water and the desert sands!

  17. A set of stunning pictures and that too so many of them. I actually saw them thrice before even starting to comment 🙂 It looks a lot different than Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

  18. To be honest, I always thought Sharjah was boring. I passed it once when I was going to Oman and I clearly see that it has changed a lot. I also use it as a hub for my Asian journeys. But you have really discovered new Sharjah to me.

  19. Khor Fakkan beach was always my favorite amidst all the beaches in UAE. I remember finding a lot of oyster shells on this beach as a kid. Are they still there? Loved all your pictures. They really got me nostalgic.

    1. Thanks Ami! The beach is a beauty! We visited the private beach which was a part of the resort, so sadly there weren’t any oyster shells there.

  20. Such a naturally rich place is Sharjah. I never heard of any place with sand,sea,mountains all so close at one place together. This is really surreal! Thanks for this beautiful virtual tour, Divyakshi.

  21. I had no idea there’s so much in Sharjah for a traveller. Lovely locales and the beach looks so inviting! Thanks for sharing such a comprehensive guide on Sharjah, definitely going to visit these places while in UAE next.

  22. Wow, I never knew about this facet of Sharjah. The mountains are so stunning. A ride to those hills would be such an amazing experience. Another beautiful place in the middle east.

  23. My first memory of Sharjah are those Indo-Pak cricket matches they used to host. Sadly they no longer do so but it seems there are many more things to be done in that city. Amazing photographs and video BTW.

  24. I have been to Oman so I saw Al Hajar mountains from the other side. A pity I did not have some extra days to explore Sharjah, it looks like a cool place! Beautiful pictures by the way

  25. Very informative post, Divyakshi. Have never been to Sharjah so all this interesting information here sure helped widen my perspective about the place. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Wow! I had no idea Sharjah had so much to offer. It wasn’t even on my radar, but your post has bumped it pretty high on my must-visit list.
    And the pictures are stunning! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  27. Your post and pictures have refreshed me up. Sharjah is so beautiful. The mountains are beautifully stacked and actually for a moment seeing the blue color of sea, i thought I had deviated from the post.Thanks for sharing.

  28. I would never have thought of visiting Sharjah… but, WOW your pics just blew my mind! The beach, the desert, the fruit market… I definitely want to visit that corner of the earth now. is it possible to hire a car for a road trip?

  29. I have a friend who went to Sharja and when I saw his post on fb, I said I would want to visit it as well. Glad I stumbled this post and showed me that there’s more in this lovely place. Your photos are stunning as well and it makes me want to go there right away!

  30. Spotted the car! Wow, it really give a sense of perspective of how huge the mountains are. The water in the Gulf of Oman is just stunning, it doesn’t even look real. There looks to be so much to do around Sharjah, and you have captured some really great recommendation.

  31. What a beautiful place! I can’t believe how amazing those mountains are.. then near by you have to most stunning beaches… and a desert! This is truly paradise. I would love to check out Sharjah! Your photos are remarkable.

  32. Whenever I thought of Sarjah, I could picture only sand dunes and deserts. Your writeup and pictures completely changed my perception. I will love to visit here, particularly the beaches look so pristine

  33. This place looks stunning. The stunning blue water, you can actually see the corals (dark black spots in the water). The rugged mountains and roads. The pictures of the rugged mountains have come out superb. Would love to visit here. I remember Matt Le-Blac driving a Ducati in the Omani mountains in one of recent episodes of Top Gear.

  34. It must be a great place to visit. Your pictures are fantastic. I love desert safaris. It would be awesome to do it once again.

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