I Travelled Solo To UAE & Explored Sharjah, Abu Dhabi & Dubai Under ₹90,000

by Nancy Johri
by Nancy Johri 639

Travellers across the world have begun to add the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to their bucket lists. The country comprises 7 emirates, which are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al Quwain. Most people have only heard of Dubai, but I explored two other emirates also during my solo trip to this beautiful country in the Middle East. The emirates are a combination of modern and traditional, as well as desert and sea. Highlights of my trip included the world’s tallest building, scuba diving, desert safari, souks, and more!

SHARJAH

1. Desert Safari

The UAE is synonymous with sand dunes, vast stretches of sand, and sunset over a huge sea of gold. You can experience this mesmerizing landscape and a lot more during a desert safari here. Sharjah was my first stop but I chose Al Aweer Desert (Dubai) to enjoy this thrilling activity. I opted for an evening safari and the package included the following:

  • Pick up and drop off
  • Dune bashing
  • Food & beverages
  • Belly dance show
  • Tanura dance show
  • Fire dance show
  • Henna tattoos, and more…

Price: 90 AED (around ₹1,850)

Duration: Half-day

 

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2. Sharjah Aquarium

If you want to explore the gorgeous deep-sea life, then you can do so here by having a close-up look at the local fish species. I am fascinated with the marine world and I lost track of time when I was there. Such is the lively, mysterious, and colorful world of the deep ocean! The aquarium is the first and largest government educational center in the UAE. It is home to nearly 100 species that dwell across an area of 6500 meters square filled with nearly 2 million liters of water!

The aquarium runs a turtle rehabilitation program that comprises taking care of the sick/injured sea turtles and releasing them back into the sea. As a part of its social responsibility, the museum authority is also organizing an annual marine environment clean-up campaign “Because We Care” for raising environmental protection awareness.

Price: 25 AED (around ₹510)

Duration: 2-3 hours

 

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3. Sharjah Maritime Museum

The lives of Sharjah’s inhabitants were strongly influenced by the sea and at this museum, you will get to know why and how. Here you can explore the interesting marine heritage and history of this emirate. In just a couple of hours, you can see and learn so much about the history of trade trips in the UAE, sea songs, Arabian pearls, traditional fishing methods, pearl diving, etc. The highlight of the museum is a gigantic boat kept in the center! If you are a history buff, then do visit this place.

Price: Entry included in Sharjah Aquarium ticket

Duration: 1-2 hours

 

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Also read: 10 Tips To Save Money In Dubai

4. Al Qasba

After a long day of exploring places, unwinding here by taking a traditional ‘Abra’ boat ride in the evening was definitely a great idea. The boat ride offered a panoramic view of the entire place that comprises skyscrapers, walkways, bridges, chic restaurants, kids’ zone, theatres, and a lot more. I thoroughly enjoyed the gleaming view of Al Qasba under the stars on this boat tour. This place is an ideal combo of entertainment and the glitz of Sharjah.

Duration: 1-2 hours

 

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5. Central Souk/Blue Souk

Love a good shopping spree? When in the UAE, visiting souks is a must! I went to the Central Souk (also known as Blue Souk) in Sharjah to have that experience. There are over 600 shops across an area of nearly 80,000 square meters. You can buy gold, jewelry, perfumes, electronics, cosmetics, gems, souvenirs, gifts, clothes, household items, and so much more. It has plenty of options for shopaholics. The building in itself is a wonderful marvel of construction. This Arabic market is the perfect amalgamation of conventional art and architecture with modern designs.

Duration: 1-2 hours

 

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6. City Sightseeing (Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour)

I decided to travel like a tourist for one day and thus, bought a ticket for one-day hop-on hop-off double-decker bus that covers all the famous landmarks of this emirate. Taking cabs in Sharjah is anyway expensive! Fortunately, the places that I had decided to visit (Aquarium, Maritime Museum, and Central Souk) were covered in its route. Apart from that, I also got to see Al Majaz Waterfront and Amphitheater. The cherry on the cake, the boat tour at Al Qasba was complimentary.

Price: 60 AED (around ₹1,210)

 

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ABU DHABI

1. Scuba Diving

Abu Dhabi was the highlight of my trip and my sole aim to include the capital of the UAE in my itinerary was to do scuba diving in the breakwater. I booked my Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) advanced open water course and scuba diving with Al Mahara Diving Center. It was my fourth dive overall and the whole experience was magical! I have also got my PADI Scuba Diver Card and now, I am qualified to dive with a PADI professional to 12 meters (40 feet). If you are also a water baby, then include this emirate in your travel plan.

Price: 1049 AED (around ₹22,000). It also includes 250 AED (₹5,100) for photography and videography.

Duration: Half-day

 

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Also read: Dubai To Abu Dhabi Travel: List Of Documents You Wil Need For Entry

DUBAI

1. Burj Khalifa

Well, this absolutely needs no introduction at all! The tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa is a man-made marvel and you will be left awestruck when you will stand in front of it and enjoy the fountain show that is presented daily in the evening at regular intervals. The 2,717 feet high building is visible from almost everywhere in Dubai. If you haven’t already experienced going on the top of any of the tallest buildings in the world, then Burj Khalifa can be your best bet. I skipped that as I already had a similar experience at Menara KL Tower (1,382 feet high tower in Malaysia).

Duration: 1-2 hours

 

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2. Dubai Butterfly Garden

This was my favorite place in Dubai and it is a must-visit for you if you are a nature enthusiast and loves interacting with it. Over 15,000 butterflies of more than 50 species are housed in 10 custom-built and climate-controlled domes. The garden is an incredible gem of not only Dubai but the wider UAE and region. Walking leisurely amidst colorful and amazingly beautiful butterflies made me feel like a princess in a fairytale! Some of them came and sat on my body on their own, while for others, I had to stay steady and patient, with my palm held out!

Price: 55 AED (around ₹1,110)

Duration: 2-3 hours

 

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3. Naif Souk

Looking for authentic UAE souvenirs, gifts, oud perfumes, or bargains in Dubai? Head to this local souk and enjoy exploring this undiscovered retail paradise. Earlier, it was a camel market but now, it’s a tourist hub buzzing with activity. I would recommend you to visit there during the evening as it is the best time to experience the liveliness and excitement of the traditional shopping atmosphere. A wide variety of authentic Arabic goods and services like henna designs, hair extensions, etc. can be availed from this general market. The best part is that you can bargain for almost everything here.

Duration: 1-2 hours

Also read: Dubai Gets A New Viewing Deck With 360-Degree Views Of Palm Jumeirah & The Skyline

UAE Malls

The malls of the UAE are enormous! I visited these 3—Abu Dhabi Mall, Dubai Mall, and Mall of Emirates. They have top-class brands such as Jimmy Choo, Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Chanel, etc. If you are a shopaholic, then you are sure to splurge here. Along with shopping stores, the malls have restaurants, cafes, cineplexes, and kids’ play zones as well.

 

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Total Trip Cost

In 4400 AED (around ₹90,000), I explored these 3 emirates of the UAE without compromising on my comfort level, getting PADI certification, and experiencing beyond my imagination! The breakup is as follows:

Flights: The flights from Delhi to Sharjah and from Dubai to Delhi cost me ₹30,000.

Accommodation: If you are on a budget holiday and plan to stay at hotels/resorts (rather than travel hostels due to the ongoing pandemic), then staying at the below-mentioned properties would be a good decision. It cost me ₹15,000 for 5 nights.

  • Sharjah: Nejoum Al Emarate Hotel
  • Abu Dhabi: Kingsgate Hotel Abu Dhabi by Millennium
  • Dubai: Al Jawhara Metro Hotel

COVID-19 Tests: Now RT-PCR and RAT are additional expenses that add to the international travel cost. I got tested four times during the entire trip and the total cost was ₹5,000.

Everything Else: Food, shopping, entry tickets, scuba diving, conveyance, etc. cost me a total of ₹40,000.

Happy travelling!

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