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Umm Al Quwain

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Ideal duration: 1-2 Days

Best time: November - March (Read More)

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"“Umm al-Quwain: a fishing village amidst the city culture”"

Umm Al Quwain Tourism

Umm al-Quwain is the least populous and the second smallest emirate of the United Arab Emirates. The emirate covers an area of 750 square kilometres. Umm al-Quwain is a city not exposed to catastrophic urbanisation like its neighbours and the city still remains reminiscent of its past as a fishing hub.

Umm al-Quwain at first seems a neglected city, and it actually is to some extent. The city has no extravagant malls or luxury hotels to boast off and is still reminiscent of a fishing village, with dhows carved out on the beach. What the city lacks in infrastructure and urbanisation, it more than makes up for with its large population of green turtles and mangroves. The emirate contrasts starkly with its other siblings, especially in the pace of life which is laid-back and peaceful. The rents here are less than a third of what it is in Dubai. The place has an authentic charm, an exhibit to what UAE was before modernisation. It effectively represents what UAE was before getting its oil wealth; undeveloped, neglected, torn-down and relatively poor. It still basks in the remains of its once-flourishing fishing culture as evident from the importance of seafood export to its economy. Umm al-Quwain exports seafood all over Europe and Middle-East.

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Umm al-Quwain is a place of immense archaeological interest. Various flintstone tools have been extracted across UAQ. Evidence of a full-fledged ceramic industry that existed as early as the 3rd century B.C have also been found in the area. The modern history of Umm al-Quwain began around 200 years ago. The Al-Ali tribe shifted from the Al-Sinniyah Island to their present location due to a scarcity of water resources. A sheikhdom in Umm al-Quwain was established in 1775 by Sheikh Majid Al Mualla. Sheikh Abdullah I signed the General Maritime Treaty 8 January 1820 thus accepting a British protectorate. This was done to keep the Ottoman Turks out. The position of Umm al-Quwain on the route to India made it important enough to be recognised as a salute state with a three-gun salute just like Ajman, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah. Sheikh Ahmad II joined the UAE federation which included its neighbours Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah on 2 December 1971.

Nightlife is limited to a few sheesha bars in the city. The emirate otherwise has no nightlife and alcohol too is hard to come by, especially when compared to the rest of UAE. There are no public bars in the city.

Although Umm al-Quwain isn’t exactly a shopper’s paradise, there's enough material to momentarily satisfy your shopping senses. The city has a couple of malls with good enough brands. The local shopping centres known as the souks can also prove to be very interesting places to shop with a wide variety of options across several types of Arabian clothing, cuisine and souvenirs.

The most fascinating thing about the city would be the fact that it has no mega malls or world class resorts, in stark contrast to its neighbours. The place has a distinct retro feel to it and the old town area has very few landmarks, namely the fortand the museum. There's an island right off the coast named Al Sinniyah. The island is protected by a lagoon and sees several varieties of seabirds annually. Umm al-Quwain is nothing like the rest of UAE. Its startlingly rural and breathtakingly raw. An offbeat destination in a very touristic country.

Despite being seemingly small and rural, Umm al-Quwain still houses all the major restaurant chains in the world and there are also excellent options to discover authentic Arab cuisine. These options won’t take up too much of your budget either. The traditional cuisine comprises mainly of barbequed chicken, shawarma rolls, khubz(arabic bread), mandi rice, kabsa rice and so on. All these apart from international cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Continental, American, Italian etc are available in Umm al-Quwain. The city also has a myriad of cozy cafes. The city’s food culture is international, which might come as a little surprise regarding how isolated it seems from the rest of the Emirates.


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Holidify's Opinion

  What's Great?

Coasts, Mangroves, Laid back lifestyle, Perfect for birdwatchers, Historically valuable

  What's not so Great?

Rural, underdeveloped, seemingly poor infrastructure, not much to do

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How to Reach Umm Al Quwain

Umm al-Quwain has only one domestic airport. There are no public buses available either. Personal vehicles and taxis are the only option. (Read More)

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