Souq Al Arsa
The oldest market place in the UAE this was once a meeting place for merchants from Persia and India and bygone Bedouins and their camels. Stepping into this souq is like being transported back in time.
Based in the Heart of Sharjah, the Souq Al Arsa is now a covered market with air-conditioned alleyways featuring solid wooden doors, and is still home to merchants selling everything from touristic wares, to tobacco by the plant, and it's also a great place for visitors to interact with local Emerati.
Souq Al Shinasiya
Souq Al Shinasiya is one of the oldest souqs in the region, and now, beautifully renovated, it's built on the foundations of one of the most vibrant souqs in the region.
Explore the museum and discover much of the heritage of the area. The rest of the souq has been reconstructed on the old foundations that had been discovered.
In this part of town I spotted plenty of locals dining on Emirati cuisine at the nearby Al Saroud Traditional Restaurant and Arabian Tea House.
The stunning exterior resembles a train station with its curved roof, hues of blue, mosaic tiling and oversized arched windows on either end.
Inside it is a bit of a maze as one of the largest souqs in the UAE and home to more than 600 shops. Admittedly, inside it's slightly less rustic on the inside, with the modern conveniences of air-conditioning, it resembling malls from around the globe containing purveyors of clothing, gold, perfume and authentic Bedouin jewellery.
Visit a Mosque
Yes, even if you’re not Muslim you can visit a mosque. The Al Noor Mosque, the most famous of the 600 Mosque’s in Sharjah, opened its doors to the public so visitors can learn about culture and religion for free.
Designed in classic Ottoman style, Al Noor has cascading domes and two soaring minarets which is a prominent and visible piece on the Sharjah skyline.
Tours for non-Muslims cover Islamic and local culture so be sure to ask questions. They are scheduled on very specific times and days to work around the Islamic prayer schedule. Visitors will need to be modestly dressed, and females will be provided with an abaya at the entrance.
Somewhat surprisingly, photography is allowed inside the mosque, so do bring your camera!