"Unchanged, eternal Arabia" Umm al Qaywayn by josephescu

Umm al Qaywayn Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 110 photos

There’s no need to know or to learn many things about Umm al-Qaywayn (or Qaiwain as per LP or Quwain according to others) to appreciate this place from the first sight.

The second smallest in the UAE and the least populous of the federation's seven emirates, Umm al-Qaywayn is located on one of the spits along its irregular coastline, 20 minutes and 50 dirhams by taxi from downtown Sharjah.

A fishing village dependent on pearl diving and trade, whose leaders were forced to ackowledge the more powerful state Shrajah as their liege in the early early 19th century, Umm al-Qaywayn became shortly after a pirate harbour, threatening the valuable tradeships passing by on their way to Europe. Or at least that’s the british version of their intervention in the Gulf emirates during the 1820s.

Unfortunately for the locals, no oil has been found in Umm al-Qaywayn, though some deposits of natural gas have helped introduction of electricity and a few modern improvements.

We reached Umm al-Qaywayn despite the LP reccomendation of a “somnolent” town, in search for a piece of unspoiled, pre-oil emirates. And the search proved a complete success – as if history does not flow here, we found a charming fort by the sea, deserted and even unpaved streets delimited by clay cottages and fenced courtyards, fishing boats, and natural beaches. The only thing that reminded us we were in the Emirates were the friendly Philippine waiters serving hamburgers in a fast food.

If you ever thought to moisture your feet in a sea or a lake in terms of the “I’ve been here” ceremony, the unspoiled shores near Umm al-Qaywayn are the best place to do it.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:unspoiled, pre-oil arabia
  • Last visit to Umm al Qaywayn: Jan 2007
  • Intro Updated Jan 26, 2007
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Comments (1)

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Oct 23, 2007 at 5:15 AM

    Hello and greetings from the UAE :-) I have moved to Umm al Quwain and really love it... so quiet and calm compared to crazy Dubai! Greetings from the desert / Jess

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