For approximately just under an hour’s drive north-east of Dubai, between the neighboring Emirates of Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain, lies the resort area of Ajman.
Ajman is as beautiful as Dubai but however you should expect to experience a more quiet, intimate and delightfully low-key yet still providing the renowned 6-star hospitality synonymous with the Middle East for a much cheaper price. Here are 7 reasons to head to Ajman and experience its authenticity.
Kayak in The Mangroves
The Al Zorah Nature Reserve is a protected wetland that is not open to the general public. This area can only be experienced through guided tours. The Al Zorah Nature Reserve is an invigorating green space experience, in an inland creek that extends over 2 square kilometers of biologically and ecologically rich wetland. Home to the fish nursery of the coast, the creek and mangrove are designated as conservation areas. The mangrove trees grow to a height of 3-5 meters and have bark that can appear either gray or white. A large variety of rare and migratory bird species can be found in the various parts of Al Zorah lagoon and mangroves. You should also know that about 58 different species of birds, including resident flamingos, inhabit this ecosystem, thus making it a good idea to discover the birds of the UAE as well as those migrating to that part of the world.
Go on a desert safari
Being in the world’s biggest sandpit, it’d be a great shame not to take advantage of a desert safari and what better way to travel than in a vintage open-top 1950s Land Rover.
Keep your eyes opened for wild birds, Arabian oryx and gazelles along the way. Discover the authentic emirati life in a Bedouin camp and learn the art of Arabian bread and coffee making. Enjoy music and dance heritage-style and as the sun sets behind the dunes. You can also enjoy your own personal falcon demonstration – a sport that dates back more than 2,000 years.
You can also experience a short night-time camel ride which is also an experience not to be missed which usually happens before tucking in to a three-course Arabian dinner under the stars with traditional music and dance as an accompaniment.
Enjoy the culinary experience
For Arabian authenticity, the Qdeemk Ndemk Cafe, handily across the street from the Fairmont is a great stop to taste the authentic Arab cuisine.
The retro interior, featuring an eclectic mix of 1950s and 1960s memorabilia, includes a full-size 1960s Mercedes parked in the middle of the eating area.
Go for brunch where you can try ‘’balaleet’’, a traditional sweet and savory dish made from sweet vermicelli cardamom, rose water and saffron topped with scrambled eggs and Oman bites, basically a chip butty with cream cheese and chai karak. Don’t forget to try dessert. They are also known for their small doughnuts dripping in local date syrup.
You can also tour the city to find local street food by foot. It would definitely be an experience in itself.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
Since the UAE comes with a number of rules and regulations, there are various norms that one should keep in mind.
Both men and women have strict dress codes, with a focus on modesty to respect in Ajman if they don’t want to get fined. Women should not wear dresses, skirts or shorts that are above knee-level.
Skin tight or transparent clothing that describes the body should also be avoided. As for men, they must not wear clothing with rude slogans or designs.
You can easily get around Ajman using public buses
Beware of unauthorized taxis
Despite efforts to cease operations of taxis without a permit, these are still in existence in Ajman. Beware of these unauthorized vehicles since they are unregulated by the law, there may be cases of theft and kidnapping. It’s always better to stay on the safe side in an unknown city.
Whether you are married or unmarried, public display of affection, such as kisses and hugs are strictly forbidden in Ajman . Holding hands is however allowed, but only to married couples.