Part of a trip that brought me to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Palau, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands before being cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic in Fiji.

United Arab Emirates: Sharjah

– visited February 2020 –

I prefer travelling overland to flying. Airplanes are faceless and look more or less the same everywhere. Land borders all have their own charm. Faced with the option of flying out of Saudi Arabia or leaving overland to the United Arab Emirates, I chose the latter.

United Arab Emirates is not just a name but the country really consists of seven united emirates that handle their internal affairs independently. Cosmopolitan Dubai is probably the most well-known, oil-rich Abu Dhabi is the biggest and most powerful (it functions as capital and the president of the UAE is usually the emir of Abu Dhabi) but who has ever heard about Ras al Khaimah (totally oil-less) or Ajman (small but industrious). Sharjah is at least known to travellers as it is home to an international airport. In fact, Sharjah airport is only about 20 km as the crow flies from Dubai International Airport. The Emirates all have their own flavour, including large differences in development and wealth. Whereas in Dubai you see women in miniskirts on the street and you could easily go to a bar and have a drink (although technically you need an alcohol license) the sale of alcohol is totally forbidden in nearby, conservative Sharjah. To make itself a name Sharjah has bet on culture and developed a heritage area with several museums.     

Come with me on a short walk through town: