Having lived in Dubai for 3 years and claiming to have loved UAE all these years, I still felt ashamed if anyone randomly asked me anything remotely related to fifth largest Emirate of UAE, Fujairah. I’d simply say I haven’t visited and their jaws would drop in surprise. After several attempts at inquiring or booking a good resort for our Eid holidays getaway, we finally decided to stay in the city and embark on a road trip to Fujairah on the next day of Eid. Since it is also terribly hot outdoors, a staycation can wait for next holidays which hopefully might see better and bearable weather conditions. Hopefully, I suppose!
More than the city, what excited me were 2-3 hours of long drive to Fujairah between the scenic Hajjar mountains and observing the clear cut road fade into unpolished coarse hills. It was time to bring all the stories that I heard and photos I saw on internet sites come alive and appreciate every moment of it. And there is always something appealing about the city surrounded by natural beauty and watching their slow paced life as compared to the harsh reality of the concrete world.
There are considerable things that might interest a traveler in Fujairah – like visiting forts, mosques, castles, watchtowers, malls and corniches but we had a straight forward plan of stopping over at the Friday market, watching the sun set at Khorfakkan beach and then dining at one of the restaurants in the city because traveling with a toddler while keeping him entertained every second in the car is no small task! Plunging in these kind of long drives after having a baby is very rare which only materialize after heap of thoughts; I don’t remember doing one myself in the city except for traveling to India for our annual vacation. So I knew this road trip got to be super stimulating and exciting. And if you are a water person there are some water sport activities for that adrenaline rush you might long for! We would have loved to stay back for a day but since husband had a working day next day, we had to drive back to Dubai on the same night.
We took the new Dubai-Fujairah highway which seem to be a much direct path between both the cities that connected us through Maleha road. After passing through the Maleha overpass we were all set to soak in the mesmerizing view our road trip had to offer. With huge rugged mountains on our either side as we drove past, we couldn’t have asked for more. Being a first time visitor, the serenity that enveloped us was a stunningly gorgeous surprise from the concrete jungle and enameled towers of Dubai. The visuals surrounding the car were a far cry from the fast paced city life. All that you want to do in an hour drive through such beauty is to stop for a while, open the windows of the car, let the fresh air brush through your hair and listen to some comforting romantic numbers.
About an hour and a half later we took the exit to Masafi and headed over to the famed Friday Market for our daily kick of caffeine. It’s no wonder why most of the tourists stop here for a break. It’s little tricky to know why the market is called so because when I inquired, it is open on all days of the week as opposed to be open only on Fridays. The stalls in the market sell carpets, fruits, vegetables, pots, souvenirs and there are also extensive nurseries where one can buy plants from.
We parked our car and as Little A slept cozily in his car seat, we took a small quick stroll (in turns) through the shops selling Afghani carpets and locally made potteries while also sipping hot tea from the thermocol cups. There were two things that reminded us about our home country – coconuts and buttas (roasted corn on the cob, very famous in India during the rainy season). We picked up coconuts and almost begged a vendor to prepare a butta because he was too reluctant to make one for reasons not known to us. Look at his make shift barbecue station with a table fan for roasting a perfectly charred butta (image below). Husband and I had lovely visions of how beautiful a place like this will be in winter or monsoons, as we overlooked soaring large hills, while quaffing down the cool coconut water down our thirsty throats and biting through the spicy corns on the cob.
We never realized how soon the time flew. It was 6.15 pm while we were still at the market and reaching Khorfakkan beach (which is an hour drive from market) for the sunset looked hardly possible. As we reached the city leaving behind us the alluring view of nature, stood on either sides of the road were scantily placed malls, lots of hotels/resorts/motels, culturally diversed restaurants/eateries and huge oil factories.
It started getting darker during the time we passed through the city to head to the beach. It was a big disappointment not having to reach the beach on time or during the day light because I am sure the sea, sand and shore would have looked more bewitching had we not seen them in the dark shadows of the night. Little A took the horse ride and had a good giggle on the swing. There wasn’t much to do though we watched large number of groups either strolling around or swimming in the sea in this awful humidity.
We went back to our car and started moving back to the city to eat our dinner. We dined at Al Meshwar restaurant (more details in the next post) located on Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Street that served Arabic food which had wonderfully done stoned interiors, satisfying lebanese food and quick service even though the restaurant was exploding with people that kept servers on their toes.
By the time we wrapped up it was 11.00 pm. We knew we had a long drive back home, so we tucked Little A in his car seat as he struggled and kept convincing us to set him free and set en route Dubai via the new highway which later connected us to the Emirates bypass road and into the city. If I had to sum up my trip to Fujairah in one sentence I’d just say – it was a relaxing breath of fresh air from the discord of the city. The journey and the drive in itself was more divine, more powerful in experience as I’d like to believe. It’s amazing to be able to sift beach sand between the fingers, experience thrilling desert safari, soak yourself in pristine clear waters from the sea, overlook huge mountains, bedazzled by high rise buildings and drive through the sand dunes all in one country. That is United Arab Emirates, which makes possible for you!