Sharjah audio tour: In search of pearl merchants and palm trees in Sharjah

In search of pearl merchants and palm trees in Sharjah

Walking Tour

45 mins

About the Tour

Sharjah prides itself on being the steady-as-she-goes emirate, but don’t let that dissuade you. It is confident, worldly, multi-dimensional, interesting, and definitely less noisy than its cousin down the road a little west from here. Join me on a wander down shaded laneways and in and out of old houses and new spaces, as together we will explore what remains of an old part of town. There are houses and mosques, museums and galleries, palm trees and pearl merchants, all waiting for you.

There are also plenty of places to stop on the way, if you want to find yourself a comfy cushion, order an Arabic coffee or a cool lime and mint juice. After all, it’s your time off, so enjoy.

You'll enjoy these sights along the way:
• peeking inside traditional houses
• contemporary design inspired by Sharjah's craft heritage
• souqs for shopping, and
• hidden little alleyways.

And there are fun stories about:
• coral farming
• what you can do with your leftover goat hooves
• who has a PhD in piracy studies, and
• palm trees on Mars (honest).

Tour Producer


Annette Welkamp

I am the Director of Culture Counsel, specialising in the development, implementation and management of art, museum and heritage projects internationally.

My life has been filled with travelling and exploring since I was little, but sadly, I don’t remember the first big trip since I was only three. It must have been a fabulous round-the-world ship journey, which included passing through both the Suez and Panama Canals.

I have been living and working in the Gulf for the past 10 years. I was drawn to the region to work on some new museums. It’s been a real adventure, during which I have gotten to know many Emiratis, and learned much about their lives, their land and their culture. Sadly, Khaleeji, the local Arab dialect still eludes me.

Having been born in Australia, I am also lucky enough to have dual citizenship, thanks to my parents who migrated there from the Netherlands. I’m told that I speak Dutch with an Australian accent and use strange old-fashioned words that emanate from Twente in the east of the Netherlands (my parent’s original base) – but I don’t believe it. It all sounds perfectly fine to me.
Judge for yourself on my walking tours of Hattem and Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Creating walking tours in interesting places is a great way of enabling others to see and experience the fascinating world that we all live in.

Please join me on a tour of Sharjah, Hattem or Utrecht.

Major Landmarks

  • Sharjah Art Foundation

  • hidden courtyards

  • Bait Al Naboodah Museum

  • The Chedi Al Bait Hotel

  • Calligraphy Museum

  • Sharjah Heritage Museum

  • Souq Al Arsa

  • Sikket Al Tauwawish

Directions to Starting Point

The start of our tour is on Corniche Street just north-east of the Al Merraijja Square roundabout, where the Corniche meets Al Marija Street. The whole neighbourhood is known as ‘The Heart of Sharjah’.

Sharjah is tricky to give instructions to, so it is best to plug the following GPS coordinates into your map app: 25.357515, 55.380436

Our destination is around 20 minutes from Dubai International Airport, but a little longer if it is peak time.

There is paid parking along the Corniche and nearby streets, and off the first lane next to Al Zahra Mosque there is a big car-park at the end near the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

For refreshments you can push the pause button when you are at the Fen Café and Restaurant, the Alarsa Café, and any of the cafés and restaurants at The Chedi Al Bait Hotel.

For shopping there's the Sharjah Foundation’s Art Shop, the heritage shop in Bait Al Naboodah, and then any of the many shops and stalls in Souq Al Arsa and Sikket Al Tauwawish. You are spoiled for choice.

Best time of day

It is lovely at most times of the day, and since many of the places on the way are open in the evenings, that too is a very pleasant time to visit.

Part of the tour goes through Souq Al Arsa which is usually open Saturday – Thursday 0900–2100, and Friday 1600–2100, but check the website first

The tour goes past a number of museums and galleries, and if they are open and you want to go in, just pause this tour, and when you are ready, just click resume to keep going. Bait al Naboodah, Sharjah Heritage Museum and the Calligraphy Museum are usually open Saturday – Thursday 0800–2000, and Friday 1600–2000, and the Sharjah Art Foundation is usually open Saturday – Thursday 0900–2100, and Friday 1600–2100, but check the website first


Many highlights on this tour can be experienced at any time of the day or year, but it will be easier for many in the cooler months of the year.

If it's a warm day, please bring a hat or umbrella, as some of the walk is outside. There are plenty of places to stop a while and revive, including places with air-conditioning.

Please don't forget your drinking water, preferably in something other than in a single-use container.


Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
In search of pearl merchants and palm trees in Sharjah