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General FAQ

Visiting Sharjah? See our list of frequently asked questions for the answer to any query you might have. Our general FAQ covers everything, from details on weather and time to local tipping customs and public transport. Leave it to us to answer all your concerns so you can make the most of your trip to Sharjah. If you do not see your question answered in our list, send us a query on our Contact Us page.

What is the local time in Sharjah?

Sharjah is four hours ahead of UTC (Co-ordinated Universal Time - formerly known as GMT) and there is no daylight savings. Hence, when it is 12.00 midday in Sharjah, it is 3 am in New York, 8 am in London, 10 am in Johannesburg, 1.30 pm in New Delhi, and 6 pm in Sydney (not allowing for any summer time saving in those countries).

Sharjah is sunny and warm all year-round. Temperatures in summer are high, ranging between 40 and 48 degrees Celsius, while the winter months stay within a comfortable 13 to 30 degrees Celsius range.

Sharjah electricity supply is 220/240 volts at 50 Hz. Square three-pin sockets are standard. It is advisable to bring a plug adapter with you, though they can be bought locally.

 Sharjah International Airport is well-equipped for physically challenged travellers. Air Arabia, Sharjah national carrier, provides “Meet and Assist” service at all times.

As a family destination, Sharjah provides kids’ play areas and entertainment facilities at public parks, malls and hotels. Baby friendly rooms can also be found at Al Qasba and Al Majaz waterfronts, hotels and malls. Kids’ menus, high chairs and play areas are common in most restaurants.

Most hotels and shopping malls offer either free or paid internet access to their guests.

Like the rest of the emirates in the UAE federation, Sharjah’s official religion is Islam, and it is widely practised. Friday is the official holy day for Muslims, where special midday mass prayers are performed. However, Muslims are required to pray five times a day. Non-Muslims are free to practice their own religions as the UAE Constitution provides for freedom of religion. To get insights into Islam, Sharjah Centre for Cultural Communication (SCCC) organizes guided tours to the picturesque Al Noor Mosque on the Buhaira Corniche on Mondays at 10 am. The tour lasts about 1 hour.

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted around Sharjah.

ATMs are available at numerous locations in the emirate, including local banks, petrol stations and shopping malls.

As a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, Sharjah plays host to a plethora of countless restaurants from Arabic to Indian, Italian to Thai, casual to fine dining. Five-star hotels or street shawarma stands, Al Qasba and Al Majaz waterfront’s trendy restaurants or rustic Bedouin cafes, Sharjah has everything that families, business visitors and tourists could possibly crave.

Municipal service charges are automatically added to restaurant and hotel bills. In addition, you are free to tip service staff – the norm is 10%.

Numerous car rental companies offer a wide array of vehicles in Sharjah. Before you rent a car, you will need to check a few things:

Do you have an international driving licence?

Do you have a valid credit card?

Do you have a copy of your passport?

Does the rental company offer comprehensive car insurance, which includes personal accident coverage?

The local currency is the Dirham (Dhs) also known as the Arab Emirate Dirham (AED). The currency is tied to the US dollar 1 US$ = Dhs. 3.67. The Dirham comes in denominations of Dhs. 5, 10, 20, 50, 10, 200, 500 and 1,000 notes. Coins come in 25 & 50 fils and one Dirham denominations.

In respect of local customs, tourists may dress conservatively, particularly in the city and public areas.

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.

While photography is permitted, except in some declared restricted areas like government buildings, military installations and ports and airports, it is polite to ask permission before taking photos of people, particularly women.

Although Arabic is the emirate’s first language, English is widely spoken across Sharjah.

Sharjah bans smoking in closed areas such as restaurants, shopping malls, hotels, and cinemas.

Sharjah Public Transport - the public buses in the City of Sharjah cover most of it and there are seven different local routes, as well as three express routes. In order to catch the bus, you need to be standing at a designated bus stop. To stop the vehicle, wave and get the attention of the driver. Access to the buses is via the front door and you can purchase a ticket from the driver (or use a Sayer Card, see below). Always hold on to your ticket until the end of the trip, as you might need to prove later that you have paid for your journey. Use the rear door of the bus to exit.

Also, if you need to take a taxi, there are several licensed taxi companies in Sharjah, including Emirates, Sharjah, Citi, Advantage and Union. Taxis are distinguished by their reflective green plates, making them easier to spot at night.

What is Ramadan and how is it observed in Sharjah?

Ramadan is the holy month in which Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Holy Quran (Islam's holy book). It’s a time of fasting, and Muslims abstain from all foods, drinks, smoking, unclean thoughts and activities between dawn and dusk. The dates of Ramadan change each year following the Islamic (Hijri) lunar calendar and based on the sighting of the moon.

Muslims break their fast at sunset with the Iftar feast. All over the emirate, festive Ramadan tents are filled to the brim each evening with people of all nationalities and religions enjoying traditional Arabic food and sweets.

During the holy month of Ramadan, shops often close for Iftar, re-open an hour or two after sunset and stay open till late at night. Food outlets and restaurants generally remain closed during the day or offer  exclusively takeaway services, and then open up for Iftar.

Non-Muslims are respectfully required to refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public places during daylight hours.

Ramadan ends with the official Muslim holiday of Eid Al Fitr, a three-day celebration characterised by gifts being exchanged amongst families, friends, neighbours and charities.

As per the law, all Sharjah visitors must have medical insurance cover. In case of emergency, hospitals will stabilise the case for free. Other treatment must be covered by a cash payment or insurance card for those who are covered. Public and private hospitals are easily accessible in the emirate.

You may call the emergency phone number for Sharjah Police (999) at any time, whether you need police assistance, an ambulance or for any other emergency situation. Calls to this number are free.

If you are involved in a traffic accident, it’s important to contact the police immediately. In case of a minor incident, move your car to the side of the road, as there are fines for obstructing traffic. You cannot file an insurance claim without a police report.

Citizens of Australia, Andorra, Austria, Brunei, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America and the Vatican State can get a free-of-charge entry visa upon arrival at Sharjah International Airport. GCC citizens do not need a visa to enter the UAE.

Air Arabia, the other UAE airlines and travel agencies can apply for entry visas. Hotels also can apply for visas on behalf of guests who book to stay with them. It is advisable to allow enough time for the visa to be approved, however, applying for the visa does not guarantee that it will be issued. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a visa through the UAE embassy closest to you. At the points of entry, an eye scan will be required.

Both the private and public sectors are off on Friday and Saturday in Sharjah, and Sunday is the first day of the week. However, some companies stay open also on Saturday.