Page update - Sep 19, 2022
Fujairah is a small emirate in the UAE, covering an area of only 450 square miles (1,166 square kilometers). Only the emirates of Umm Al Quwain and Ajman are smaller. The population is about 255,000 people (data for 2021, estimated), fewer residents are only in Umm Al Quwain (about 75,000). Despite its modest size, Fujairah can be an excellent choice for a vacation, as we will talk about on this page.
At the time of updating this page (September 2022) the Emirate of Fujairah is open for tourists. Most hotels are open. Tourists fly to Dubai or Sharjah airports, and after travel by land to Fujairah. E700 bus (from Dubai) is operational again starting May 19, 2022.
Fujairah is located in the very east of the UAE on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. The emirate is divided into two parts by a small strip of coast land that belongs to the Emirate of Sharjah. The map on the right shows the location of the Emirate of Fujairah, click on the picture to enlarge to full screen.
All of Fujairah was once owned by Sharjah, and it was only in 1901 then Fujairah declared its independence. This fact should please tourists, because Fujairah has more soft rules on alcohol and dress-code, while in Sharjah there is a strict "dry law" as we talked about in detail in our review "Alcohol in Fujairah and the UAE".
Fujairah is not rich with natural resources, and in older times the important sources of wealth were agriculture, fishing, cattle breeding, pearl diving. It was only trade that always brought a lot of money to the treasury of the local rulers. The Wadi Ham trade route, guarded by the Al Bithnah Fort, came from the center of the Arabian Peninsula. This economic structure has existed there for centuries and has remained similar in modern times.
But the main difference between Fujairah and other emirates is the climate.
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Firstly, the entire territory of Fujairah is covered by mountains, except for the coast. It is the only mountainous emirate in the UAE. Secondly, Fujairah is located on the coast of Gulf of Oman (Indian Ocean), rather than on the Persian Gulf as the other emirates in the UAE.
As a result, the climate is milder than in Dubai or Abu Dhabi - the average annual temperature is lower. The average rainfall is 5 inches (125 millimeters) instead of 3.7 inches (94 millimeters) in Dubai or 2.2 inches (57 millimeters) in Abu Dhabi. Read the review "Weather in the UAE by month" for details. The climate allows the development of outdoor agriculture, which is almost impossible in other emirates.
Winter is called the "rainy season". Heavy rains are rare (see the picture near, click to enlarge), and the loud name "rainy season" often causes smiles to experienced travellers. During the winter period there are 3 inches (75-80 millimeters) of rainfalls. For comparison, in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic during the autumn (considered the rainy season) rainfalls are 13.7-14.7 inches (350-400 millimeters). Hainan in China during August-September-October (considered the rainy season) receives about 40 inches (1000 millimeters) of rainfall.
Fujairah owes its rare rains to the clouds brought by the wind from the Indian Ocean in winter. The Hajar Mountains covers most of the emirate, creating a microclimate on the coast with higher humidity, lower temperatures, and a pleasant breeze.
Many wealthy people from the UAE, attracted by its mild climate, buy villas and country houses in Fujairah. This is the second popular holiday destination for UAE nationals with Al Ain being the leader.
Fujairah is not in great demand in the global tourism market. There are many reasons for this - poorly developed transport infrastructure, not many attractions, the local international airport is small, and others. But the emirate authorities want to remove those disadvantages and are taking steps towards development.
At the north, near the border with Oman, the Al-Fujairah Paradise resort (Paradise El Fujairah) is under construction, with a total project estimate of more than USD 800 million. The resort will consist of 1000 respectable villas, hotels and beaches with developed infrastructure. Its construction began back in 2005, was planned to finish in 2008, then rescheduled for 2009, and so on. It is now difficult to say in what state the project is as there is no news about it for a long time.
The authorities of Fujairah are interested in tourists from the UAE and the neighboring Arab countries. The flow of tourists from Europe is of secondary interest to them. There are no plans for the development of the local international airport, but highways to other emirates are actively being built.
The Fujairah International Airport (code: FJR) has only one runway, one passenger terminal can load or unload only 15 planes - very modest figures. Its undoubted advantage is the proximity to the city of Al Fujairah - only 0.6 mile (1 kilometer), and a cab ride will cost minimal money.
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All the local cabs are owned by a single state-owned FTC (Fujairah Transport Corporation). Cabs are the main public transport in the emirate. Recall that the metro in the UAE is only in Dubai, it is the Dubai Metro. There is only one bus line inside Fujairah emirate. It is the Al-Fujairah-Dibba line with addition stops at Murbah, Khorfakkan and Diba Al Hisn. If your hotel is located in Dibba then the route has value, but in other cases it has not.
Intercity bus service is presented only by routes Fujairah-Dubai and Fujairah-Khor Fakkan. Tourists are expected to travel around the emirate by cab or rent a car.
If you desire to visit Fujairah, but not to stay in local hotels, you can get there by bus or cab. The distance to Dubai is only 75 miles (120 kilometers). In one day, it is quite possible to swim in the Gulf of Oman, sunbathe on the beach, and see all the significant attractions of Fujairah, which we will talk about in detail later.
The bus has the number E700, departs every 45 minutes or 1 hour, travel time is 2 hours, ticket price is 25 dirhams (AED). In Dubai, the bus departs from Union Square in Deira district. In Fujairah, it stops at Old Plaza Cinema/HSBC. Visit our "Money in Fujairah and the UAE" page for the current exchange rates of UAE dirham.
An important tip for tourists. The first few rows of the seats in the bus are reserved for women. If you are a male travelling alone get on the back rows of seats.
Read our detailed review "How to get from Fujairah to Dubai and back".
The flights to Fujairah airport from European countries are rare, and we do not expect there will be more in the near future. If you have bought a package tour to Fujairah then get ready to fly to Dubai or Sharjah airport and spend from 2 to 4 hours by bus to your hotel.
There are only about three dozen hotels in Fujairah. The most famous of them is the Radisson Blu Resort Fujairah 5*. Even in this expensive hotel prices are quite reasonable (by the UAE standards) - USD 150 per night for a room for two guests. Fujairah is one of the cheapest emirates of UAE for life and vacation.
Fujairah has no oil reserves. The economy is based on income from the seaport and subsidies from the UAE government in Abu Dhabi. Coming there is a good chance to see how the UAE is dependent on oil and what life would be like without oil wealth.
The main source of food for the locals has always been the ocean. The fishing industry is still thriving today. Any tourist can look at the variety of fresh fish in the local markets and visit the Friday Market (pictured near, click to enlarge). Restaurants offer a wide variety of fish dishes.
The important source of the emirate's finances is the seaport. We have already written that the land route from Fujairah to Dubai is 75 miles (120 kilometers), but the sea route is 3 times longer - about 220 miles (350 kilometers). Ships have to circle the Musandam Peninsula.
Many ships prefer not to sail to Dubai to refuel, rest, replenish supplies, repair or offload cargo, but to stop in Fujairah port.
The Habshan-Fujairah oil pipeline leading to Fujairah Port from Abu Dhabi was inaugurated in 2012 and is now used to load oil tankers that do not need to travel the extra 250 miles (400 kilometers) to Abu Dhabi either.
The region's economy also boasts cement factories, stone processing plants, and mining. Agriculture supplies residents with fruits and vegetables.
Fujairah has opened a free economic zone, which the emirate's authorities planned to repeat the success of the Dubai Free Zone in the port of Jebel Ali, but no serious economic boom has happened.
There are no skyscrapers in Fujairah, nothing like the Burj Khalifa, no large shopping malls like the Dubai Mall, no man-made wonders like the Dubai Fountain. Fujairah cannot be called a poor emirate, it is more suited to the word "humble". However, there is a lot to see for tourists.
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The most colorful local entertainment. There is an opinion that it is a modified bullfighting tradition brought by the Portuguese when they controlled the Persian Gulf (we talked about this in the review "History of the UAE"). But there is another opinion that it is a purely Arab tradition.
There is no blood and murder as in the Spanish bullfighting. The bulls are not fighting with a torero, but fight with each other, trying to push the opponent out of the circle. The technology of this competition is more similar of Japanese Sumo wrestling, but between bulls, than to Spanish bullfighting. The photo near shows this competition (click on the photo to enlarge). Make sure it is exciting and not scary.
The fights are held in open areas with almost no stands. There are no special arenas for this entertainment, such as Las Ventas for the Spaniards. No one is betting. Let us remind you that gambling is strictly prohibited in Islam, and you should take that into account and behave correctly in the UAE.
The bullfights are held only in the second half of November and the first half of December. If you want to see the bullfights then come to the United Arab Emirates at this time.
The oldest mosque in the UAE is located in Fujairah. Al Bidya Mosque was built back in 1446 from bricks and soil. This mosque has only 4 domes, although similar mosques of the same period found in Yemen, Oman, Qatar have more domes - from 7 to 12. In addition, the Al Bidya Mosque has no minaret.
No wood was used at all in the mosque construction, which ensured its good preservation, but caused to a big problem - it is impossible to determine the exact age of the structure. Recall that radiocarbon dating requires something organic, and the Al Bidya Mosque is made of soil and brick, there is nothing organic in its construction. The date of 1446 was determined indirectly, by assigning the mosque the age of the two neighboring watchtowers, assuming that all three structures were built at the same time.
You will not find anything amazing there. The decoration of the mosque is modest, the area inside is only 570 square feet (53 square meters). This is not the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi with its record-setting chandeliers and carpets. Al-Bidyah Mosque is first of all a historical landmark, of which there are almost none in the UAE.
Fujairah has 4 major shopping malls. Three of them, Fujairah City Centre, Century Mall, Fujairah Mall, opened in 2012 and the fourth, LuLu Mall Fujairah, opened in 2014.
Which one to choose? The question is complicated as each one has its own advantages. We recommend Fujairah City Centre (pictured near, click to enlarge) as it has a good quality website to help you navigate and plan your time. The website is in English. Its second advantage is the Magic Planet entertainment center, which is surely interesting for children.
They are located next to each other. The fort looks new and ancient at the same time. We can only applaud the excellent work of the restorers who used only original materials.
The architecture of the fort is said to be unique, there are three round and one square high towers which offer a panorama of the old city.
There are no outstanding exhibits in the museum, but the collection is interesting. Ancient ceramics, weapons, tools, cutlery, national costumes. The museum content was collected from archaeological sites throughout the emirate.
It takes about an hour to see the exposition. Ticket price - 5 dirhams (AED). Opening hours are from 8 am to 6:30 pm and only on Friday from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
The coast of the Gulf of Oman is considered the best place in the UAE for diving. There are the richest fauna and coral reefs. Rental prices for equipment are quite reasonable - 200-300 dirhams for a dive.
In the waters of the Gulf of Oman, you can meet moray eels, turtles, stingrays, sharks and many other interesting species. Separately, you can order a swim with a whale shark as they often appear there. Night diving is practiced in Fujairah, but it is difficult to say how safe it is and what you can see with a flashlight.
Fujairah has enough places of interest for tourists. This is Al Bithnah Fort, which has been guarding the caravan routes since ancient times. Heritage Village allows you to see in detail the life of ancient Arabs, their customs and traditions. Ain Al Madhab Gardens will delight you with green and freshness even on the hottest summer day. Numerous markets on Fridays offer the opportunity to buy delicious fruit, vegetables, and fish.
Fujairah is perfect for tourists who have already visited Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and are looking for a new experience in the UAE. But for first-time visitors to the UAE, Fujairah is also an interesting adventure.
- There is no need to fear sharks on the beaches of Fujairah as there have been no cases of attacks on tourists so far. However, Fujairah has become famous as the place of the loudest shark attack on a fishing boat! Read more in our review "Sharks in the UAE".
- There are many hotels offer the All-Inclusive system in Fujairah. However, in the UAE the concept of AI is blurred. Read more in our review "All-Inclusive in the UAE".
Have a great trip to Fujairah, and read our other helpful pages about the emirate and the UAE (see the list of the pages below).
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