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Out and about in Umm Al Quwain

Sitting down by the balcony with a coffee in hand, it seemed all so unusual to me to sit amidst towering concrete and bustling traffic and uncannily think that just an hour from here, there is a tiny city out there where life is just the way its supposed to be. With calm beaches and untouched mangroves, the beauty of flamingoes gracing in the distance, the thought of UAQ will always be bliss to ponder about even for the die-hard travel bug.

This graceful emirate just an hour away from Dubai was such a splendid adventure the moment we stepped into it. We drove via Shk Mohd Bin Zyed Road formerly called the Emirates road (E311) and after some 80 or so kilometers we reached this serene silent city of Umm Al Quwain. My first impression was that I never expected this city to be this quiet. The traffic, people and the infrastructure of the city was so different than what I would expect in Dubai or any other emirate, but I guess that is what UAQ is all about. It’s different and untouched; away from all the hustle and bustle of a regular city. If you’re here, the city takes care of you. You can let yourself free and wander around in the lovely beaches or take a drive around the old city. The city is all for yourself to engage and enjoy.

With little islands dotted all around its space, UAQ makes a great place for water-sport activities like snorkelling, diving, crab hunting, bird watching and much more. But in the recent days I found out that my most favorite sport of jet skiing was missing and that people who own a jet ski are the ones who usually make use of the clear blue waters for the sport. UAQ Marine club who usually rent out Jet Ski’s are no longer renting the skis anymore. But they do give out boats, canoes and other diving expeditions. The local people are very friendly and can help you with anything from routes to car fixing to boat rides. But just be cautious on who you approach into. Not everyone seems to be the same as the ones we saw.

A stay at the Flamingo Beach Resort would work out to be a great weekend getaway for couples and families, since their rates are good and they have a well packaged itinerary of stay, breakfast, dinner and crab hunting all set into a great deal which would be a great one for anybody who wants to get out the busy city life for a couple of days. Yes, here are the tips when you get out for the crab hunting. They are not going to give you individual lights and since all the lights are fixed to the boats, it will be really uncomfortable for you to run behind the crab and the boat at once, so if you do have a spotlight on your own, do take it along. And the resort gives out rented shoes for AED5/- please wear them, don’t use your own shoes as the mangrove mud is quite a nuisance to get away from, and once you miss your shoes, there is no guarantee you will find it in the rather muddy waters and it’s a 100% that you will regret your choice while the rest of the team is busy hunting crabs on the other side. So go ahead and rent that shoe or its even fine if you don’t wear one at all (Just pray no crab should bite ya!

I bought and wore my Crocs for the first and last time for the crab hunting and it was gone in that same day. What a loss!
And in a futile effort am trying to get back my Crocs slipper somehow and yes, if you ever happen to find one blue crocs slipper out there in the mangroves, do pick it up for me and let me know about it :D

Assuming you have a car, do take it for a spin around the city, King Faisal road runs all across the center of the city, right from E11 all the way to old town, so driving on it, you will pretty much cover the entire city in one go.  Here’s one interesting tip, if you living in UAE and heading back home, do visit the Emirates Discount Center for some really good discounted groceries, am sure their prices will stun you for sure. Also get around the city for some shisha and coffee, spend your evening wandering and just let yourself loose and get lost for a while, its all worth it.

While you’re at the old town, you will surely come across an old fort, which is the one, and only surviving fort in the center of the old city. The fort is an interesting place and a must see when your in UAQ. Just park your car inside the fort wall and for AED4/- you will have the pleasure of getting back in time by seeing all the artifacts showcased in there and also a very interesting way of knowing the Arab culture and how people lived in UAQ back then. There are also well-preserved living quarters and work places of the ruler of UAQ and this fort was established back in 1770’s and was pretty much the government building till the 1960’s. And while exiting, don’t forget to write a few words on the red guest book, just so you leave a few of your words of legacy behind.

There are also some interesting spots in UAQ, which are also worth visiting. The IMAR spa for women is a great place to head out if the ladies want to take a break of their own, while the boys spend time in boats and canoes. Both the Palma Beach Resort and the Pearl Beach Resort are some of the other famous resorts within the area, which offer a wonderful place to stay and can make your weekend stay a pleasurable one in UAQ.

Once you feel like you’ve had enough of the old city, pack your bags and head out back to E11 towards Ras Al Khaimah and in 30 minutes you will hitting Dreamland Aqua Park, which is one the most sought after water parks in UAQ. You can pretty much spend a whole evening out there, the rides are pretty decent and family can have a great deal of fun if everyone is around the pool. Well, if you’re not that water park kind of person, then just take a reverse and head out to the famous Barracuda Beach Resort for some research on intoxication. Here’s where the whole of UAE heads for duty free liquor. And the moment I stepped into the booze shop, I was astonished by the ambience of the shop. I wouldn’t in a 1000 dreams thought of a place like this in the middle of UAQ desert serving more than 100 brands of liquor from all corners of the world.

You really need to be there to believe it. And the best part is, its got no cap on how much per person can buy; you got the cash, have your bash, that’s all am saying! And here’s the tip: Occasionally you might find yourself heading straight into a cop car on the way, incase you guys are travelling as a family, they usually don’t mind checking the car, but if your driving as bachelors; cross your fingers; you’re screwed.

Speeding back on the E311 towards Dubai, we were home within the next hour and sitting down by the balcony with a coffee in hand, it seemed all so unusual to me to sit amidst towering concrete and bustling traffic and uncannily think that just an hour from here, there is a tiny city out there where life is just the way its supposed to be. With calm beaches and untouched mangroves, the beauty of flamingoes gracing in the distance, the thought of UAQ will always be bliss to ponder about even for the die-hard travel bug.

Photo Credits : Google and many more people's amazing work. I don't own the rights for the images appearing on this post. 


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