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What to do in Ajman

It may be the smallest principality in the United Arab Emirates, but there are more reasons to visit Ajman than you might think. Covering an area about one-tenth the size of Luxembourg, Ajman’s location right in the middle of the Emirates makes it a great destination for anybody who wants to explore the country – with Dubai and Umm Al Quwain just 20-minute journeys away to the south and north respectively.

That’s not to say that there’s nothing to see in Ajman itself. The central square is home to Ajman Museum, housed in an 18th-century fort that’s one of the biggest historical attractions in the Middle East. The museum is full of recreations of life in the Emirates’ past and fascinating historical artefacts, including ancient weapons and manuscripts, as well as exhibitions detailing traditional Bedouin religious practices.

Another great sight to see in Ajman is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Said to have been built for the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the mosque is a major landmark of the emirate and is a great example of the unique and beautiful architecture of the Middle East. It’s a particularly impressive sight when lit up at night.

There are also some splendid resorts to stay at to ensure you get the most out of Ajman’s beach life. The Kempinski Hotel Ajman, while certainly not a budget option, is as luxurious as anything you’ll find in the emirate, with its own private beach and putting green. Speaking of the beaches, Ajman’s are some of the finest in the country – white sands and clear waters, with plenty of opportunities to go jet-skiing, sailing or dolphin spotting.

While it may not have the cathedral-like shopping centres of Dubai, Ajman’s City Centre Mall is a great place to shop for luxury items from designer outlets if you’re in the mood for splashing out. However, the traditional Iranian souk offers a more authentic experience for anyone looking for locally-made pottery and textiles.

For entertainment in the evening there’s a selection of cafés, restaurants and nightclubs – unlike some emirates in the UAE, you can buy and consume alcohol freely in Ajman. While you may want to head into the more built-up areas of the Emirates to really let your hair down, Ajban’s nightlife is pleasantly relaxed and makes a good alternative for those who prefer a quieter night out.

The Winner in 7th Arabian - European photofestival 2010

Finally, if you think you’ve seen all Ajman has to offer, take the short trip to Dubai to experience all the wonderful things of the emirate – from its enormous shopping malls and busy markets to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building! If you’re travelling with a family, there are plenty of things there for kids to enjoy, such as the Wild Wadi water park and the ski and snowboarding centre. The artificial palm islands are also well worth exploring – Palm Jumeirah is connected to the mainland via a bridge and offers luxury marinas and upmarket shopping centres.