Visiting UAE for a vacation? Like most of other travellers, are you concentrating only on Dubai and Abu Dhabi? Hold on, as the UAE is not just about these two stunning cities. There is more to explore than just overcrowded tourist attractions from this country. If you wish to visit places where crowd is less but scenic vista is more – both Ajman and Fujairah in the UAE are all set to guarantee a fantastic vacation.
Your vacation to any of these pristine Emirates will introduce you to a whole new world of natural terrains and picturesque locations. Sitting far from the spotlights of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Fujairah emirates are known for their remarkable cultural heritage and unspoilt coastal beaches.
These two emirates are quite rich in natural gems ranging from imposing mountains to exotic mangroves. You can pick any of these two emirates (or both!) for a perfect laid-back beach holiday. Both these destinations are dotted with high-end hotels offering better value for money than Dubai.
If you are willing to pick any one between Ajman and Fujairah as your next holiday destination but at the same time you are clueless how to do that, we are here to guide you through. This post will give you a fair comparison between these two fabulous emirates based on location, accessibility, which is cheaper, places to visit, things to do, shopping scene and which has got best beaches. Join us to pick the right destination for you.
Ajman is the smallest of the seven emirates that form the UAE. If you look at the map, you can spot this small emirate nestled on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, in the northern part of the UAE. Two small inland exclaves, Masfout and Manama, are also controlled by the Ajman emirate.
Ajman is mostly surrounded by the neighbouring emirate Sharjah while Manama shares its border with Sharjah and Fujairah. On the other hand, Masfout is bordered by Dubai, Oman and Ras Al Khaimah. If you consider the road distance of Ajman from Dubai, it is just 45 kilometres. It will take about an hour to reach Ajman via Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311).
Fujairah, one of the most scenic emirates in the UAE, lies along the coastal area of the Gulf of Oman. This is the only emirate that sits completely on the eastern coast. As Fujairah’s territory is interrupted by exclaves of other emirates, its boundary is demarcated partially only. Overall, Fujairah shares border with Sharjah to the South, Oman on the North and Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah on the west.
From Dubai, you have to cover a road distance of about 125 kilometres to reach Fujairah whereas the distance increases to 250 kilometres if you are travelling from Abu Dhabi.
Which is More Accessible?
Ajman enjoys the strategic advantage of being located almost in the middle of the UAE as a whole. Many roads coming to and from Ajman connects this emirate to Dubai, Sharjah and Umm al Quwain. There is no airport in Ajman but they are planning to build one in the Manama area.
To get to Ajman, it is enough to take a taxi right from the Dubai International Airport or from Abu Dhabi Airport. Taxis are also available to access Ajman from Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. Official metred taxis will cost you AED10 from Sharjah and AED40 from Dubai.
Fujairah has its own international airport that connects the emirate with all major cities of the UAE as well as the Middle East countries. We suggest you to access Fujairah via Dubai as Dubai International Airport receives more flights across the globe that too with higher frequency.
After reaching Dubai, you can head for Fujairah by availing intercity bus services. Hiring a cab from Dubai is also a quick and comfortable way to reach Fujairah via Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Highway. This 45-kilometre-long highway links Fujairah to Dubai and Sharjah in just 30 minutes. A shared taxi from Downtown Dubai to Fujairah will cost around AED25 while unshared one will cost approximately AED170.
Ajman sits close to bright stars like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah ensuring quick access to and from. However, Fujairah is too beautiful to miss just to save 30 minutes (or an hour) of journey and a few extra bucks.
Although the beauty of Ajman is often eclipsed by global stars like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this emirate is emerging as one of the most celebrated luxury destinations in the UAE. “Good things come in small packages” and you have to believe this saying once you visit Ajman, the smallest of seven emirates in UAE.
Ajman is best known for its strip of white-sand beaches that serves as the best stress-busters for the city dwellers. This emirate also holds a piece of Hajjar Mountains, expansive deserts, Masfout Mountains, gorgeous beaches and enriched mangroves.
Fujairah is known to the world for its beautiful coastline and stunning beaches. A beach vacation in Fujairah allows you to try scuba and snorkelling in order to explore the vibrant underwater flora and fauna. Several wadis and mountainous stretches in Fujairah add more to its natural beauty. The landscape of this emirate is truly diversified and picturesque.
Both Ajman and Fujairah are more about exploring natural landscapes along with a touch of cultural heritage. They both have some of the best beaches and mountainous landscapes in the Middle East.
Verdict: It is a tie.
Ajman vs Fujairah – Where is Cheaper?
Planning any vacation comes with allocating a particular budget for it. Choosing your destination majorly depends on the cost associated with accommodation and transportation. If you don’t have any idea which destination between Ajman and Fujairah will cost you more, it is best to take a look at the hotel costs and restaurant prices to get a fair picture.
The cost of a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant in Ajman is more expensive than it is in Fujairah. A pint of domestic beer price is roughly the same but imported beer in Ajman is around 25% more costly than Fujairah. A regular cappuccino in an Ajman restaurant also costs almost double the price you pay at Fujairah.
A major factor making Fujairah vacations more expensive is the transportation cost from any major city like Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. Both the emirates are quite remote but Ajman is more like a town which is very close to Sharjah and not far from Dubai too.
Vacationing in Fujairah is more expensive than holidaying in Ajman. Although both these places focus primarily on delivering exceptional beach experiences in a luxurious fashion, Fujairah requires more money to book accommodation in a beach hotel/resort than Ajman.
Now, let’s check out the average cost of decent hotel accommodations.
|Hotel in Ajman||Trip Advisor Rating||Starting Room Price Per Night|
|The Oberoi Beach Resort||5.0||AED 1,400|
|Fairmont Ajman||4.5||AED 470|
|Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel||4.5||AED 580|
|Radisson Blu Hotel Ajman||5.0||AED 500|
|Ajman Saray Luxury Collection Resort||4.5||AED 470|
|Hotel in Fujairah||Trip Advisor Rating||Starting Room Price Per Night|
|Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort||4.5||AED 1050|
|Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort||4.5||AED 1150|
|Radisson Blu Resort||4.0||AED 770|
|Le Meridian Al Aqah Beach Resort||4.5||AED 925|
|Sandy Beach Hotel||4.0||AED 820|
It’s pretty clear that Ajman offers comparatively cheaper accommodation options along with some high-end luxury stays. On the other hand, Fujairah is more about luxury accommodations.
If you don’t want to spend too much for a beach vacation or you’re travelling with a large group of people, then Ajman is always better to pick as it costs moderate but still allow vacationers to enjoy pristine beaches with most scenic backdrops.
Ajman vs Fujairah – Places to Visit
Places to Visit in Ajman
If you’re interested in more authentic travel experiences, Ajman is a real gem to explore. Apart from stunning white-sand beaches, this place has earned applause for its mesmeric kayaking expeditions through exotic mangroves. Visiting Ajman for a vacation is like is going to a private beach as crowd is minimal. You can enjoy every bit of this stunning place at your own pace.
1. Ajman Dhow Yard
The Dhow was never just a mode of transportation in the UAE. These majestic boats are considered to be one of the most conspicuous elements of Emirati Heritage. Ajman Dhow Yard is the place where you can witness how Dhows are manufactured by using traditional tools and techniques. This yard also manufactures fiberglass dhows that take part in racing events.
2. Etisalat Tower
Ajman’s skyline is not at all like Dubai. You can rarely find sky-kissing buildings here. The most talked-about skyscraper and iconic landmark in the city of Ajman is the 17-story Etisalat Tower. This structure bears a gigantic sphere at the top. Etisalat Tower showcases mosque-style elements along with some modern architectural highlights. Painted in blue and pick, represents that development of Ajman Emirate in a subtle way.
3. Ajman National Museum
Housed inside the Ajman Fort, the Ajman National Museum is the best place to more about the emirate’s history, cultural heritage and ancient Emirati society. This museum along with the fort was erected during 18th Century. This centrally located building also served as the official residence of the ruling family of Ajman until 1970.
4. Al Murabba Watchtower
Speaking of the glorious seafaring past of the Ajman city, Al Murabba Watchtower is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in the emirate. Sitting next to the azure blue sea, this watchtower looks like a piece of assurance to your wandering soul. Built in 1930, Al Murabba Watchtower underwent a complete restoration in the year 2000.
5. Al Zorah Natural Reserve
Finding so many beautiful creatures amidst an arid terrain of Ajman is not very common but Al Zorah Natural Reserve can make this happen for you. This place is the home to flocks of Pink Flamingos. Exotic mangrove patches are the highlights of this reserve that offer shelter to more than 60 bird species. This is a must-visit for natural lovers and bird-watchers.
Masfout is a land enclave encircled by the Hajar Mountains. This is a wonderful spot to take a breat from the usual sightseeing activities in Ajman. Rocky terrain of Masfout is highly recommended for hiking, mountain biking and nature camping. The 19th Century Masfout Caslte, situated at the northern edge, used to protect the area from raiders in ancient times.
7. Umm Al Quwain Beach
Umm Al Quwain is the main beach that runs along the wester rim of Ajman peninsula. Lined by hoards of beach resorts and hotels, this beach is the most popular beach destinations from Ajman. This patch of coastline is known for wide range of water sports to get indulged into.
8. Seneyah Island
Beautiful Seneyah Island is a collection of small islands just offshore from Umm Al Quwain city. Featuring plenty of mangrove forests, this is also an ideal spot to meet some migratory bird species. This island grows the Al Qaram trees which are native to the UAE.
9. Dreamland Aqua Park
When you are vacationing in Ajman with kids, you must not skip the Dreamland Aqua Park. This enormous entertainment complex features more than 25 exhilarating rides and attractions. This theme park is the best summer escape to beat the heat. Both locals and tourists flock here with their children and families for some cooling respite.
10. Ajman Marina
Ajman Marina is one of the newest and enchanting addition to the emirate’s recent development scene. This thoughtfully designed promenade stretches over a kilometre with loads of cafes, restaurants and outlets along the length. Ajman Marina is surely the best place in town to visit at night time.
Places to Visit in Fujairah
1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The most celebrated and iconic landmark in the Emirate of Fujairah is none other than the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This mesmeric structure was built in 2015 and since then it is the most beloved tourist destination in Fujairah. This grand structure brought together several architectural styles (like Ottoman, Arabic and contemporary) to create a masterpiece.
3. Fujairah Fort
To go back in time and to cherish the days from the past, you must head for the Fujairah Fort. This fort is a wonderful place to understand the immensely enriched history and heritage of Emirati people. This “oldest fort in the country” still stands tall and amazes people with its invincible and unique defence structure.
3. Snoopy Island
Snoopy Island is the most favourite and scenic place in Fujairah to enjoy a laid-back beach vacation in tranquillity. The island comes with a rocky marine outcrop in the sea that looks somewhat like the nose of popular animated character “Snoopy” and that’s how the beach got its name. This small stretch of coastline in Fujairah is best known for water sports and scuba diving to explore the enchanting world of colourful coral reefs.
4. Al Bithnah Fort
Located on the outskirts of the Fujairah town, Al Bithnah Fort is an ancient fort showcasing simple yet fascinating architectural brilliance. This small and square-shaped fort was made with humble raw materials like stones, plaster and mortar. Al Bithnah Fort is a 17th Century edifice that offers enticing panoramic views of Hajar Mountains across the Wadi Ham.
5. Fujairah Heritage Village
Sitting close to the Fujairah Fort, the Fujairah Heritage Village is a treasure chest for history lovers. This ancient village allows visitors to witness the way local people used to live in this region centuries ago. Fujairah Heritage Village also adds sufficient dose of Emirati culture and heritage to your trip to past.
6. Hajar Mountains
The most beguiling natural treasure in Fujairah is the Hajar Mountains. The rough terrain of this mountain ranges is dispersed with a number of beautiful Wadis. This is surely one of the best places in the UAE to try your skill in hiking and mountain biking. Both sunrise and sunset hours looks hypnotic at Hajar Mountains.
7. Ain Al-Madhab
When you are in Fujairah, how could you miss the very famous Ain Al-Madhab hot springs. The sulphur and mineral enriched water, gushing out of those hot springs are good for your body and the experience is enough to rejuvenate your mind.
8. Al Aqah Beach
For some amazing underwater activities including snorkelling and scuba, Al Aqah Beach is the best destination in Fujairah. This small but stunning beach is very beautiful and you can play with sea, sun and sand as much as you want with no crowd.
Things to Do
In spite of its small size, Ajman comes with tons of exciting things to do in and around the emirate. Here comes the list things to do that you must add to your bucket list while planning for a vacation in Ajman.
- Soak up the sun and spend a lazy day on any of Ajman’s untouched and pristine beaches.
- Go for a guided kayak trip through the Al Zorah Nature Reserve
- Explore the hidden gems of Manama and Masfaut Exclaves
- Take a nostalgic trip back to history by visiting the Ajman National Museum
- Have a different vantage point of the sea and the surrounding from Al Murabba Watchtower
- Strol along the bedazzled alleys of the Ajman Corniche after sunset
- Sign up for the Ajman Peral Experience to discover the history of pearl diving
- Enjoy a 2-hour floating dinner cruise with Marsa Ajman Floating Restaurant
- Explore the beautiful landscapes of Hajar Mountains
- Unfold the secrets of traditional Dhow making at Ajman Dhow Yard
- Enter the age of dinosaurs with Dino Live, the world’s biggest indoor dinosaur exhibition
- Admire the unmatched beauty of Seneyah Island lined with Aal Qaram trees
- Beat the heat with loads of fun at Dreamland Aqua Park
Now comes the list of things to do in Fujairah. This emirate knows no limit when it comes to stunning coastal beaches, spectacular landscapes and heritage sites. Let’s check out what you can’t afford to miss during your Fujairah travelogue.
- Get bedazzled with the epic beauty of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
- Have a perfect tropical and luxury beach vacation at Snoopy Island
- Learn about Emirati history and heritage of the region with Fujairah Fort, the oldest one in the country
- Go for mountain biking, hiking, nature camping or adventure driving at Hajar Mountains
- Explore underwater world of fishes, corals and marine creatures with a snorkelling session at Jazirat Al Ghubbah
- Rejuvenate your mind and body at the natural hot springs of Ain Al-Madhab
- Pick up a traditional and hand-crafted carpet from the local market of Masafi
- Shop like a local at the Fujairah Friday Market
- Click some amazing shots of Hajar Mountains from Al-Hayl Castle
- Book a luxury accommodation at any of Fujairah’s beach resorts and hotels
- Understand the secret behind the strength of all mortar, mud and stone-made Al Bithnah Fort
It is really hard to pick a winner because both these emirates come with more-or-less similar travel experiences with some twists and surprises. Ajman wins because its short distance from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Fujairah should be your pick if you are more into luxury vacations.
Where is Better for Shopping?
This may surprize many that the small emirate of Ajman actually has many bustling marketplaces. For all those shopaholics, there is nothing to feel bad while travelling to Ajman.
Here are the most sought-after shopping places in Ajman:
- Ajman City Centre
- Lulu Shopping Centre
- Ajman China Mall
- Safeer Mall Ajman
- Grand Centrale
- Dana Mall
- Nour Al Kawthar Mall
On the other hand, Fujairah’s shopping scene is not as impressive. This emirate is not for die-hard shopaholics. The best shopping opportunities in the region comes in shape of the following markets:
- Fujairah Friday Market
- Masafi Local Market
When we are talking about shopping opportunities, Ajman has much better options than Fujairah.
Which Has the Best Beaches?
Beaches in Ajman are perfect for wonderful getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Al Zoarh Beach, Ajman Beach and Al Hamriya Beach are surely the most scenic and popular beaches here. These are public beaches. The luxury hotels of Ajman own many beautiful private beaches accessible only to their guests.
When it’s Fujairah¸ stunning beaches come in abundance. The most popular beaches in Fujairah are:
- Snoopy Island and Beach
- Fujairah Public Beach
- Dadna Beach
- Umbrella Beach
- Khor Fakkan Beach (technically it’s a part of Sharjah’s exclave but it sits next to Fujairah)
The best part about Fujairah’s coastline is it is home to vibrant and enriched coral reefs nurturing a wide variety of marine creatures. So, excellent scuba and snorkelling opportunities bring many adventure sports lovers here.
So Ajman or Fujairah?
Overall, Ajman wins the contest based on our criteria above. However, iIt’s not easy to decide on your next beach destination when you have Ajman and Fujairah to choose from. Scenic beauty and sparkling beaches can be spotted in both these emirates. Hopefully, this post will help you in picking the best one that meets your travel expectations.