Buy Travel Health Insurance
Check whether your insurance policy coves travel to the region. If not, it is advisable to purchase travel insurance prior to travelling in order to plan for any eventualities. While it is generally easy to purchase medicine from pharmacies in Sharjah (often without a prescription), hospitalisation and treatment costs can be relatively steep.
Check Visa Requirements
Citizens from some countries are required to obtain a tourist visa before coming to the UAE; others can purchase a visa on arrival, while for some there are no visa requirements. It is advisable to check with your country’s embassy before embarking. You can also check our visa section for more information (add Link: Visa Section)
Check Your Prescriptions
Consumption and trafficking of narcotics is strictly prohibited in the UAE. Carrying illegal drugs including banned prescription medicines can lead to long jail sentences and heavy fines. Double check with your embassy to make sure your prescription drugs are allowed in the UAE.
Check Your Driving Licence
To drive in the UAE you will need an international driver’s licence. If you plan on working and taking up residence in Sharjah, you will need a Sharjah driving licence. If you are involved in an automobile accident, simply remain with your vehicle and wait for the authorities.
Think Before Taking Pictures
Avoid taking photos of government offices, docks, airports, military installations etc. Never take a photograph of someone without asking for his/her permission first, particularly with local women.
Avoid Public Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is not permitted anywhere in Sharjah. The emirate’s hotels and restaurants, even those located in hotels, do not serve alcohol, nor are there any liquor stores in which to purchase alcohol. While neighboring emirates do sell alcohol to liquor licence holders.
Have the Right Electricity Adapters
Electrical sockets for 3-pinned plugs (British system) are the standard throughout the country. The voltage in the UAE is 220-240 volts, 50 cycles.
Avoid Public Displays of Affection
Public displays of affection and homosexuality are not permitted in the emirate.
Most hotels, shops and restaurants accept credit cards. Exchange of traveller’s cheques and foreign currencies can be made through international banks, larger hotels and licensed exchange houses with presentation of an ID. Moneychangers are usually open all day offering a service in the evening when most banks are closed. Exchange rates are published daily in all major newspapers.
Banks are open from Saturday to Thursday from 8 am to 1 pm or later, and are closed on Fridays and public holidays.
Temperatures in Sharjah regularly exceed 30°C and it is rarely cold, so pack accordingly. Sharjah follows Islamic law and norms, hence clothing should be modest in order to respect local customs and religious beliefs. The city’s decency code prohibits revealing clothing, and both men and women are required to cover their bodies from shoulders to knees.
SCTDA offers a comprehensive list of hotels and hotel apartments with exceptional facilities and in-house services, competitive rates and wide array of amenities to make your trip a pleasurable experience (Link: Hotels). Rates vary so compare prices and check for promotional discounts. Online booking is the preferred method to plan and book your trip, and packages with breakfast and airport pickups are often on offer.
Sharjah is virtually crime free and is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world. Nevertheless, tourists are advised to keep an eye on their valuables, especially during the busy holiday season – a little vigilance goes a long way.
Municipal service charges are automatically added to restaurant and hotel bills. In addition, you are free to tip service staff – the norm is 10%.
General Etiquette & Rules
Most of Sharjah’s public rules are based on Islamic law and visitors are advised to adhere to them. Tourists must dress conservatively and in places like mosques, visitors are required to remove their shoes and leave items such as food and shopping bags at the door.
Sharjah has a zero tolerance policy to drinking and illegal drug usage. Smoking is permitted, but is prohibited in public areas such as shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants.