Sharjah is the third largest Emirate and the only one that has a coastline on both the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Dibba, Al Hisn, Khor Fakkan and Kalba cover the East Coast and of the main land include the Islands of Abu Mousa and Sir Abu Nu’air.
Sharjah has been named The Cultural Capital for its commitment to art, culture, education and the preservation of its heritage.
It is about 176kms from Abu Dhabi and 10kms from Dubai.
The climate in Sharjah is the same as the rest of the UAE, lots of sun shine and blue skies.
The temperatures are between 25 to 28 during the day and at night around 15 degrees Celsius.
During the summer months June to September/October the temperatures go over 40 degrees Celsius, and can get very humid. Even at night it does not cool down much.
Otherwise the daily newspapers usually have a section on the weather forecasts or you can contact the Sharjah metrological office on 5084680, for those who would like to organise a fishing trip or picnic on a good sunny and less windy day.
The requirements for VISAs are similar to other Emirates, just make sure you apply for the right one.
The Visit and Transit Visas have a limited number of days to stay, the citizens of the Arab Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain are exempt
Visit Visas are renewable the others, Tourist, Transit, Multiple Entry for Business visitors, are NOT renewal.
Most countries, including UK, USA, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Japan can get a visit visa on arrival, valid for 60 days and can be renewed for 30 days.
For more information you can contact the Sharjah Immigration office on 5726777 or the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority on 5562777. Otherwise it is always important to check with your Embassy before travelling to the UAE.
Customs & Import or Export generally,
There is a 5% duty charged on all goods brought in for commercial purposes, this is based on the invoice value of the goods.
There is no duty on goods being exported or a limit on how much.
There is No Customs duty on personal effects, though there are restrictions on certain goods being brought into the country.
The duty free allowances are; 2,000 cigarettes, 400 cigars, limited quantity of perfumes, Non-Muslim and Adults ONLY are allowed to bring in 2 litres of wine and 2 litres of spirits.
For those Pet lovers, there is no quarantine for recognised pets, but you will need certain documentation before bringing them over. This does not apply to Horses, by the way.
The documents are; Import letter from the Ministry of Agriculture & fisheries in Dubai. Telephone number is 04 2958161. The requirements are a Rabies vaccination certificate, not more than one month and less than six months. Finally a health certificate attested by a vet from the country of origin.
For the Residents;
The rents in general can be less expensive than in Dubai that is why a lot of the residents who want more for their money rent a bigger place in Sharjah.
You can get a nice 4 bedroom villa with a pool and big garden for around 90 – 150 K. Depends on the area and whether it is new or old. For a new one it can go up to 160 - 200K.
A 3 bedroom apartment you can pick up for about 65 to 100K, depending on the area as and age.
Real estate agents such as Better Homes and Cluttons or others you will find in the local newspapers will show you what is available in your budget, although you can negotiate on the rent they are asking. So don’t hesitate to see some above your budget. (http://www.khaleejtimes.co.ae/, www.gulfnews.com/classifieds)
There are a lot of 3 to 5 star hotels that you can chose from.
The well known names such as Coral Beach Resort, Sharjah Carlton, and Radisson SAS Resort are right on the beach.
Those near the city include the Marbella Resort, Holiday Inn, Holiday International, Sharjah Rotana and Al Bustan ,Millennium Hotel just to name a few.
There are others short term serviced apartments as well, like the Mina House, The Suites and Buhaira Residence.
This site www.sharjah-welcome.com has a good list and contact details if you need more details. This site also lists schools, entertainment, places of interest, current events.
Similar to Dubai and Abu Dhabi,
Electricity: It is 222/240V. the sockets are the same as the UK three pin system. Others like the US and Australia would need an adapter.
Gas: There is piped natural gas available in most areas, otherwise the Gas bottle Companies do replacement deliveries at your home, if your house is still not connected. So handy to keep their numbers on the fridge door, most have stickers and drop them at your gate.
The government hospitals like most offer free emergency service but you may have to wait in a queue also they are primarily for locals. Most residents go for a medical scheme with an insurance company to save on the private hospital service.
Al Qassemi Hospital 5386444
Kuwaiti Hospital 5242111
Al Dhaid 8828777
Kalba 09 2777011
Khor Fakkan 09 2370222.
Your consulates might be able to help recommend doctors in your area, as they have a list of the medical services available.
The costs vary but a general consultation fee is about DH150 to 200.
There are lots of banks and money exchange facilities in Sharjah.
The big banks HSBC, Standard Chartered, Emirates Bank International and Mashreq Bank.
Mostly open from 8am to 1 pm on Saturday to Wednesday and Thursdays from 8am to 12noon.T hey all have toll free numbers and web sites if you need to contact them.
All banks and some Currency Exchange places close on Fridays, but those that open are usually after 4 pm.
Thomas Cook, UAE exchange Centre and Wall Street Exchange are 3 main centres you can contact.
As a Muslim country there are over 400 Mosques in Sharjah but as a society it is tolerant of other religions so there are churches to attend, here are some:-
Filipino International Christian Church 538 6339
The Marthoma Church 567 4876
St. Gregorious Orthodox Church 566 9622
St. Mary’s Syrian Church 566 3384
Michael’s Catholic Church 566 2424
St. Martin’s Church of England 566 3388
There is a lot of Arabic and Asian schools, however there are a number of British ,Australian, American, International and European schools to chose . And it is important to put your child’s name down as soon as possible too.
Most schools start from 8am and finish between 12 noon to 4pm, this depends on the grade and the school, Saturday to Wednesday. For instance Choiefat International School starts at 8am and the primary school finish at 3.10pm but the higher grade students stay on till 4.10pm or even 5.10pm.
Most schools have their own school buses at extra cost.
Here is general list of a few schools that might be of interest, full list in “Sharjah the Guide”
Scholars International Academy 800 7447 www.scholarsinternational.com
International School of Chouiefat 5582211 www.iscdxb-sabis.net
Victoria English Speaking School 5663835 www.victoriasch.ae
Sharjah English School 567 2779 www.seschool.ae
Sharjah American International School 538 0000 www.sais.ae
Sharjah German School 567 6014 www.dssharjah.org
Our Own English School 538 6486
Sharjah Ladies’ Club Nursery 565 5511 www.sharjahladiesclub.comLycée Georges Pompidou 552 3430 www.lgp.ae
American University Day Care Centre 505 6175
Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services 566 0667 www.schs.ae
Sharjah Autism Centre 524 3131
The Modern International Centre for Speech 553 7544
Sharjah set up an impressive University city in this region, called the Sharjah University City. It has an American University of Sharjah, University of Sharjah Men’s and Women’s, Higher Colleges of Technology for Men and Women, the Police Academy and the Library.
The campus is surrounded by beautiful gardens and street lights and lots of roundabouts.
The facility is still expanding there are plans to have primary and secondary schools later on.
Contact Numbers for the Universities are;
American University 558 5555
University of Sharjah (Men) 558 5000 (women) 5585111 (women)
Higher Colleges (Men) 558 5222 (women) 558 5333
Sharjah is a great place for bargains and it also has some huge modern shopping malls plus some beautiful Souqs.
Shopping hours in the souqs are from 10am to 1pm then 4 to 11pm every night. The malls usually open from 10am to 10pm or 12 mid night.
Going in the morning is a good way to avoid the evening traffic jams, but know how to get there as remember the hours are shorter. Mornings also makes Grocery shopping a lot easier and most can be done in any Spinneys, Union Co-operatives, Choithrams,Carrefours and are located in most of the big malls.
Sahara Centre www.saharacentre.com is at the border of Sharjah and Dubai, and has a number of good shops, like The One, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Spinneys, Toys R Us plus a cinema and a bowling alley. Along the Sharjah/Dubai Highway (Al Ittihad Rd) there is Ansar Mall, Safeer Mall with Al Taawun Mall close by.
The Al Wahda road has many furniture shops, small boutiques, restaurants, Sharjah City Centre is also along this road, and has Woolworths, Carrefour, Sun & Sands, Mother Care.
King Faisal Street has a large range of banks, restaurants, furniture and white goods showrooms, computer and stationery shops
The Mega Mall www.sharjahmegamall.com is in Abu Shagara area and this has Union Co-operative, Mango, etc and a big entertainment area for the children and a cinema.
Then there is the Blue (Central) Souq, where you can pick up some nice Iranian, Afghan carpets, silver and gold jewellery, and other Arabian, oriental and Persian handicrafts.
Al Arsah (the oldest souq in the UAE) situated in the heritage area has fascinating shops with antiques, jewellery and a delightful centre area where you can relax with a mint tea or a fresh juice. Check out the Iranian Bazaar, textile shops, local craft and clothing.
On the Corniche along the Creek you will find a lot of textile shops, spices, perfume and handicraft outlets. Then there is the Rolla Bazaar where you can get some great bargains on clothes, shoes, bags, Indian Saris
The Buheira Corniche around Khalid Lagoon is a busy hub of Sharjah city with Crystal Plaza, Al Fadan Centre and hosts of shops and restaurants ranging from florists, Lebanese sweets ( try Al Samadi), The Chocolate House in Crystal Plaza; take a picnic and relax on the grass with the locals under the palms next to Al Noor Mosque, roller blade, play ball or be lazy and order take away from one of the many restaurants. Visit Buheira Grand cinema on the Corniche. Stroll around to the beautiful Qanat Al Qasba www.qaq.ae where there is usually an event or exhibition or something on at the auditorium. Have a ride on the Eye of the Emirates, hire an abra across Al Khan Lagoon
Eat at one of the many restaurants e.g. 1.618 or Shababeek Lebanese
The Industrial areas are where you will find a lot of the car accessories outlets, garages for tyre repairs, car repairs, bathroom, kitchen, accessories, from tiles to ceramics, upholstery and wrought iron. These seem to be grouped by trade or product making it a little easier to negotiate this maze of businesses.
Try the Fish, Fruit and Vegetable, Plant and Pots and Birds & Animal Souq (only go there if you want to rescue some poor creature) around the Blue (Central) souq area. These are places worth visiting in the mornings, there are lots to choose from at great prices.
Sharjah has some wonderful furniture warehouses in the industrial area:-
Lata’s 572 3842; 050 646 9755 (Also in the Blue Souq and the Madinat, Dubai)
Lucky’s 534 1937; 050 632 8750
Pinky’s 534 1714; 050 628 2759
Mr. Khan 562 1621; 050 646 7285
Sports & Leisure
Lots to choose from bowling to horse riding, ice skating, martial arts, golf, football, cricket, tennis, hockey and many other water sports. Fishing, jet skiing, sailing, wind surfing, etc.
Sharjah Wanderers Club is a good place to start, it is popular with the expat community, this is the only licenced club serving alcohol. There are lots to do there, tennis, squash, yoga, golf swimming gym, might help to join as a member for the members discounts.
Sharjah Men’s college usually has some soccer camps going on for the kids, so contact them if need more details on 5585222 or the Sharjah Sports Club on 532 3333. The Sharjah Cricket stadium hosts some major tournaments, so to find out the can be contacted on 532 2991.
The hotels located on the beaches offer most or all the water sports so contact anyone of them for offers, costs and timings.
For a full list visit www.sharjah-welcome.com or “Sharjah the Guide”, of course there are always new ones opening up, here are a few favourites:-
Kamat Indian Vegetarian 5599044 King Faisal Street
Gazebo Indian Next to Kamat in King Faisal Street
Al Fawar Lebanese 559 4662 King Faisal Street
Automatic Lebanese 572 7335 Buheira Corniche
Hattam Iranian Sahara Centre
Bangkok Town Thai 556 8282 Between Corniche & Al Khan
Fish Market Seafood & Fish 533 1310 Al Wahda Road
Moulin d’Or Bakery & Café 574 9797 Beheira Corniche
Café Undici Italian 574 0175 Marbella Resort
Lots of entertainment for the children. The amusement centres and cinemas are mostly in the malls. There is an Adventure Land in the Sahara Centre, the Antics Land in the Sharjah Mega Mall, The Discovery Centre on the airport road is a must for all the kids from toddler to 12 years. Foton World in the Al Taawun Mall and Magic Planet in the City Centre.
The are lots of parks to go to during the cooler months. No dogs or smoking of shishas allowed in parks. Although most of the parks are free, the Al Jazeera Park is the only one that charges, it is opposite the Blue Souq on the Khalid Lagoon. Mondays are for ladies and children only. It is open from 15.30 to 22.30pm Saturday to Thursday, Fridays 9.30 am to 22.30 pm. The charges are DH5 for Adults and Children DH2.
Al Majaz, Alssafya, Ladies Park, Green Belt and Sharjah National Park, are the other ones open to all.
Sharjah Art Museum with monthly exhibitions; Very Special Arts offering art classes for disabled and able bodied youth; Emirates Fine Art Society, promoting local artists work; Sharjah Art Galleries – The Studios contemporary artists are invited to use these facilities there is a restaurant above overlooking the Creek. Arabic Calligraphy Square a centre for display and learning of traditional Arab and Islamic art forms.
Sharjah Art Institute offers courses in painting, drawing, sculpture and other art forms. Art classes are also offered at the Sharjah Ladies Club. Sharjah Institute of Theatrical Arts offers performances details of these are on www.sdci.gov.ae
Al Mahatta Museum, Archaeological Museum, there is also a Desert Park which has the Arabian Wild Life Centre, Children’s Farm and Natural History Museum. Also the Sharjah Science Museum and Learning Centre
You can contact them on;
Al Mahatta Museum 573 3079
Archeological Museum 566 5466
Natural History Museum 531 1411
Arabian Wildlife Centre 531 1999
Children’s Farm 531 1127
Sharjah Art Museum 568 8222
Ambulance 998 999
Al Qassimi Hospital 538 6444
Al Zahra Private Hospital 561 9999
Kuwaiti Hospital 524 2111
Zulekha Private Hospital 506 9200