Introduction to Ajman
If Dubai is a city of superlatives and Abu Dhabi the UAE’s cultural hub, think of Ajman as the city on the cusp of the country’s economic and construction boom. The smallest of the 7 UAE sheikhdoms, Ajman is a city-state of just 260 square kilometres with a population of over 360,000 in Ajman city. Surrounded by the emirate of Sharjah and just 10 kilometres' drive away from Dubai city, its proximity to Dubai has influenced recent infrastructure, development and investment in the ‘New Ajman’ area and many other property and tourist projects.
What Ajman lacks in size it makes up for with a certain charm that’s been lost amid the breakneck pace of neighbouring emirates. In Ajman, you can find historic low-rise buildings, ancient forts and a more relaxed feel. There are also 2 universities and a medical teaching college – a rarity in the Middle East. It’s also known as a less conservative emirate with an infamous, not-so-secret, takeaway liquor outlet called the Hole in the Wall, a dedicated beachside party precinct and relaxed attitudes on par with Dubai earning it the nickname of ‘Arabian Boozer’.
There’s more to Ajman than development and nightlife, the emirate also has 2 regions outside the city: Masfut and Manama. Both areas boast rich, fertile agricultural lands and scenic sightseeing spots with mountains in Masfut and desert sands in Manama. Another drawcard for visitors is the 16 kilometres of white sandy beach with UAE-standard warm, clear turquoise waters where you can also spy dolphins and not have to share the shores with hoards of people.
It’s only a matter of time before Ajman catches up with its bigger and flashier emirates, but in the meantime it offers an opportunity to experience the UAE at a more sedate pace.