A seasoned road-tripper will ask you to pack light, stock up on water and don’t forget your back-up printed maps, in case the GPS stops working . A style blogger, on the other hand will advice 3 pairs of sunglasses, spare swim suits and a compact blow-dryer as the absolute essentials. Well, I’m a bit of both, with a voracious appetite for travel so my packing list is… quirky, to put it mildly but handy nevertheless.
Here’s what you need to know for a fantastic roadtrip from Dubai to Fujairah:
Distance: 181.1 km
Time: From Jumeirah Lake Towers to Fujairah City Center Via Emirates Road took 2 hours including a gas station stop.
It’s a scenic, gorgeous drive alongside the cacti-strung yellow-red desert and rugged wadis (canyons)of Fujairah, passing several terrains of land. The winding roads in the mountains gradually descend into a beautiful seaside stretch with the ocean one side and the bare, rustic Hajjar Mountains on the other.
Fujairah has this charming, small beach town vibe about it, which I loved. The city center has pretty much everything in terms of food and supplies, but there aren’t too many supermarkets apart from these in the Emirate, so make sure you stay very close to the city center for convenience.
For sightseeing, I passed by the Al Bidayah mosque, between Al Aqqa and Khor Fakkan – a mudbrick structure which happens to be one of the oldest mosques in the UAE, built in AD 1446. It’s not spectacular to look at, but it does have a quaint little desert garden and the mosque is steeped in history so it makes for an interesting visit.
Another place of interest is the Fujairah Historic Fort, which I missed but would have loved to visit. Made from rocks, mortar, mud and plaster, the sand-colored fort actually changes color from between deep orange and light brown, depending on the location of the sun!
We booked the Concorde Fujairah for a night, close to the city center However, we faced a few hiccups, as we found out that breakfast was not included in the rate and that there was no free WiFi in the room ( AED 60 per 24 hours). Also, someone had to come into the room to fix the router after we checked in. Although it did say it’s a 5 star rated hotel, it didn’t quite match up and I was a tad disappointed by the experience.
Another factor was that the hotel was 40 minutes away from our main destination for the next morning! So we eventually did skip the breakfast at the hotel and opted for a Subway sandwich on the way to Al Aqqa.
An absolute must-do in this gorgeous Emirate is snorkeling and diving While I’ve already gone diving before, I opted to snorkel this time in the shallower ( 5-10 meters) blue-green waters of Fujairah. I was delighted that atleast one of the two locations we snorkeled in, had excellent visibility and a very vibrant marine life to observe.
The Al Boom Diving Center at Al Aqqa, Fujairah took the two of us in a high speed motor boat shared with three other divers and two instructors onboard for AED 250 each. We left at 9 am for an expedition which took us to two dive sites (30-45 min at each site) – Dibba rock, which was okay in terms of visibility for snorkelers, although the divers reported spotting two Black-tip Reef Sharks and Sharm rocks, which was excellent for snorkelers (but again, the divers spotted turtles and we didn’t!). What we did see were porcupine fish, boxfish, moray eels, cuttlefish and other tropical reef species.
I can think of no better way to spend a birthday afternoon, than swimming alongside shoals of beautiful fish in the most dazzling colors and nature’s symmetry- an overwhelming experience for any nature lover and marine life enthusiast. In all, Fujairah is a must-do for residents of the UAE and even visitors. I’d love to take friends and family on this road trip- such a unique way to explore the country. Fujairah gets a thumbs-up – I cannot wait to come back for a dive!