The best of Ajman, the most unnoticed of the United Arab Emirates

In this article we will discover the best of Ajman, the smallest of the seven emirates. Ajman is famous for its calmness and beautiful beaches. Nevertheless, to the eye of many international travelers frequently the emirate went unfairly unnoticed. Lately, the city has developed its economic sectors in a way that the government could build many infraestructures and get plenty of options of sightseeing such as museums, the fort and shopping malls. As a tourist destination, it offers a sunny vacation, some of the best sandy shoreline and an enriching historical experience. 

What to expect from Ajman

The Emirate of Ajman is small, welcoming and quite tolerant with foreigners and expats. Archaeological discoveries around Ajman provide evidence that the city was an important Bronze Age settlement. Within easy reach of the city are the mountain towns of Manama, with its small fort, and Masfut, known for its colorful marble.

Ajman is a monarchy like the rest of the emirates. The government has recently encouraged technical education among the population. Lately, the population has grown considerably in recent years, due to the influx of immigrants from the neighboring emirates like Dubai or Sharjah. The economy was very much into manufactures in the past and more recently turned to technified industry. Close to the Corniche the authorities built the Ajman Free Zone, with the capacity to house about 1500 companies and receive more than 1000 boats a year for trading. The port and free zone of Ajman are currently the main contributors to the economy of the emirate.

In terms of tourists, Ajman is a destination focused on culture and beaches. You can do outdoor sports or simply enjoy nature without any hassle. The small areas of sandy desert outside the city support sparse seasonal growth of wild grasses and scrub, gaf trees, and the occasional date palm and the fruit tree plantations characteristic of Masfout. 

What to do in Ajman

Ajman City Centre

Ajman is a pretty sleepy place compared to other Emirati cities. The city has grown from its port along a creek which splits the territory in two. Ajman has a pleasant coastal promenade that stretches out onto a fine white sand beach. Around the Fort there are some renovated buildings forming a kind of a heritage town easy to walk along. Next to this center we find the nice and relaxing Ajman Park and Saleh Souk. 

Ajman Museum

Ajman Fort was once Ajman’s first line of defense in the 18th century. Currently, this is the city’s museum. The exhibits here focus on the local traditional lifestyle, with dioramas of typical daily life, as well as archaeological finds from nearby sites. There is an excellent display of Emirati weapons and a display of manuscripts. The fort was used in the past as the ruler’s palace and later as the location of the city’s police station. The main archaeological features of the fortress are its two wind towers, two watchtowers and a large gatehouse now with two cannons.

Ajman Dhow Building Yard

Dhows are proper icons, pure symbols of the Arabic coast and an alive testimony of its glorious past. On the north side of Ajman Creek, the Dhow Yard is known as the largest dhow building center in the world and one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the area. Dhows are created using traditional tools and manual skills that have been passed down from generation to generation. The Dhow Yard in Ajman also manufactures the sprinters that participate in the Dubai Powerboat meets. Between 20 and 30 boats are built at a time, and anyone with an interest in this ancient craft should definitely pay a visit here.

Amina bint ahmad al ghurair mosque

Excellent modern mosque, designed in white with traditional decorative patterns. Its minaret is separated from the central building of the mosque.

Amina bint ahmad al ghurair mosque in Ajman, United Arab Emirates

Mowaihat

Mowaihat is an archaeological site that is located on the outskirts of Ajman city. It was discovered in 1986, when workers were laying a new sewage pipe. The archaeological digs found a circular tomb of the Umm al-Nar type many examples of soft stone pottery and painted Umm al-Nar vessels. 

At the time of its discovery, the Mowaihat Tomb was the first evidence of the occupation of Umm al-Nar in the Northern Emirates. Later discoveries on the Gulf Coast at Al Sufouh gave evidence in the same direction. Tourists can admire the finds discovered on the site at the Ajman Museum.

The 3 beaches of Ajman

The coastline around Ajman is lined with luxury hotels, each with its own private patch of pristine white sand. Known for some of the most beautiful beaches in the United Arab Emirates, this is the place to go if you’re looking for some serious relaxation time in the sun and sand. 

Photo by Dovi on Unsplash
Photo by Dovi on Unsplash

From North to South the beaches are Ajman Open Beach, Al Zorah Beach and Ajman Beach. There is also on the coast a Fishing Point and a picturesque Marina. 

Saleh Souk 

This is the old school commercial center of Ajman. There are many stores of clothing and useful utensils for daily life. It is real and beautiful and it can be a good stopover to rest up from the heat since the roof of hurdles blocks the direct sun. 

Al Jarah Cultural Centre

Ajman shows its rich cultural life at the Al Jarah Cultural Centre. The visitor will  get to know more about the rich history and traditions of not only Ajman but the whole UAE. A must-do in Ajman for history lovers. They offer an open-shelf library, a library for children and a theater for all the functions and workshops.

Al Zorah District

This is a new waterfront quartier still in construction. It is in front of Al Zorah Beach and it has luxury hotels, apartments and restaurants. The preserved coastal section in Al Zorah District includes one million square meters of protected mangrove forests. For tourists, this is a nice area for strolling amid the shallow lagoons surrounded by mangroves and excellent bird watching opportunities. It is possible to spot more than 50 species of migratory birds, including huge flocks of flamingos. Tourists can also go paddleboarding, kayaking, boating and of course nature walks.

Manama 

Manama is 72 kilometers from Ajman City, in the Hajar mountain. It has a small fort, which is currently being converted into a museum dedicated to local history, and is the closest city to the new Al Naseem Nature Reserve, also still under development and not open to the public. 

Masfut

Masfut is 124 kilometers southeast of the city of Ajman. The road to Masfut, with the landscape changing from the dunes to the Hajar foothills, is one of the biggest attractions of a trip in Ajman. Masfut is a good place to go hiking and exploring nature in the mountains, since the temperature is always cooler than the coast.

Al Tallah Camel Race Course

Camel races are still very popular at least in the Middle East region. In Dubai or Abu Dhabi are harder to find but Ajman is one of the best places to do it. At Al Tallah Camel Race Course they mix tradition with modern technology. The visitors can be part of the show by driving the remote-controlled robotic jockeys. Camel races are every Friday and Saturday, early morning. 

An annual camel festival is also held in February. It features a host of activities and attractions, including a camel beauty pageant.

Where to stay in Ajman

There are more luxurious options than accommodations on a budget. Here we recommend some top hotels as well as middle-range and economic accommodations. Just take a look at what is more convenient for your pocket

How to get to Ajman

Plane

The closest International Airport is Sharjah which is 26 kilometers far from the center of Ajman. 

Car

This is the most comfortable way of arriving in Ajman. However it can take more or less the same as a bus of the 50 km that separates Dubai from Ajman. 

Bus 

From Dubai you can catch E400. This option is cheaper than traveling by car or taxi. The ticket is 12 AED and you can pay in Dubai with the NOL Card. The journey starts at Union Metro Station and ends at Ajman Bus Station. It takes around 50 minutes and the buses deopart every 30 minutes. If you come from Sharjah it is possible to take the same bus at one of their stops on its way. 

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