Sunday, 15 February 2015

Beach Camping and a little bit of Adventure: UMM AL QUWAIN, UAE

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

We made a mad scramble to spend some time outdoors this weekend. Very well aware that in a few weeks time the sun will be mercilessly roasting us here in UAE.

Having a taste of camping experience with our trip to Musandam in Oman, we got a little adventurous and bought our own complete camping gear.
Anyone starting out on camping in UAE must visit CARREFOUR. You get all the basic stuff there at nominal prices, good enough to last you for many winters in UAE. A simple cheap 80 AED 4 pax tent will do for a novice like us.

Now, next was the location. Where in UAE is the nearest place to set up camp?
Desert camping and mountain camping locations are aplenty, But what we were looking for specifically was beach camping because it would mean endless fun in the water. The rules in this part of the world are a little not clear. And to our best knowledge looked like these were the only places to go.
  • Al Aqah beach near Snoopy Island, Fujairah
  • Jebel Ali Beaches and Ghantoot, Dubai
  • The east coast Dibba, Fujairah 
  • Kalba, Sharjah
  • Some beaches in Abudhabi.
Fujairah was a 2 hour drive away and is known to be crowded. Dubai needed permits, the route to Dibba seemed confusing with the Oman borders, and Kalba, Sharjah and Abudhabi were a bit too far to return back in case we could not discover a good spot.
So a little more research online yielded a place closer, precisely around 30 to 40 minutes from Sharjah.
  • Al Raffah area in Umm al quwain.
We were so glad we discovered the place.

A bit of  help from Google Maps and we were on our way on the road towards Umm Al Quwain, an emirate of UAE along the west coast. Nearly 40 minute drive from Sharjah, through Ajman on a straight road, driving in the direction of Dreamland Aqua Park taking E11.

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

On the way, in Umm Al Quwain, near Emirates Motorplex,  we spot something mysterious on our left and make an U-turn to investigate. What looked like a dilapidated plane, and a small landing strip.

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

A huge advert for PALMA BEACH HOTEL was on the plane, and there were some cabins near by. A call to the hotel's number got us through to the hotel's desk, but seemed like they had nothing to do with that advert on the plane and were least interested in our queries.

Seems like the real story is about a Russian cargo plane that landed here in 1990's, but no idea why it remains here or was deserted.
Some online digging and the real story seems that this was an unofficial airfield being used for entertainment, and had closed down in the past few years. Various theories to why it landed here from making an emergency landing, to being used for trafficking in the past. May be the shell of the plane was planned to be used for a restaurant and entertainment. No one will ever know the actual story.

For now the mysterious plane sits buried in the dunes, on a decaying airfield, stripped of all its glory, as a remnant of the past, with a huge question mark as to who was the last pilot and why was it abandoned here.
Read the entire story here

That's enough of being Sherlock Holmes.

Now back on to the direction we were driving, we crossed Barracuda resorts on our left and then Dreamland Aqua park. Driving on till we crossed a tiny bridge. We reached a round about after which is the Marjan islands, a part of Ras al Khaimah with quiet a few hotels.
But the hotels are to be dealt with in summer.

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

So we took a left turn on the roundabout reaching AL- RAFAAH BEACH. A quiet stretch of beach with pristine waters, which had a few campers and caravans stationed for weekend breaks. No boards regarding regulations was posted in the area. We stopped over to ask someone who looked like a seasoned camper in his caravan, whether pitching up a tent is allowed. Seems like the place had campers staying over the weekend and it was perfectly okay to do so.

So going with the word of mouth, we  parked our car and chose a beautiful spot, where we would set up camp.
But safer to check with the municipality for any permit needed.
By 1 pm we had pitched up our tent. 

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

A little dip in the water and then we had started our barbecue. The sun did seem hot till about 4 in the afternoon. By 6 pm we were done with our cooking. Had our fill of CHAI and sat down to watch the sunset. Our skin visibly tanned/ roasted, hair full of sand and tired bodies.

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

Camping in Umm Al Quwain

Then a nap in our tent and an early dinner ensued. Longs walks on the beach and that was pretty much it. A beautiful day!

The major drawbacks were the lack of any washroom facilities anywhere in the area. This forced us to make a drive to the nearest petrol station a few meters away at least two times. This also put us off from camping overnight.

A lot of powered motorbikes riding down the beach. A few para gliders were about. And as evening wore on lots of more people on the sand cooking, eating and having fun. But we still consider it less crowded than most other beaches.

All in all, it was a great day of sun, sand and loads of fun and little bit of adventure.

If you driving down this road E11, then there are a many areas of entertainment
  • The Emirates motorplex for car and rallying enthusiasts
  • Dreamland Aqua park for loads of water fun
  • Umpteen hotels and the resorts like Barracuda (UAQ), Double tree Hilton (RAK) , Rixos Bab al Bahar (RAK). 
  • The mangroves of Umm Al quwain are down the coast here but there does'nt seem to be an entry now.
A nice stretch to explore

You can also camp in Umm Al Quwain at
Both these options are paid.

That's it for now. We guess its all summer after this week.

P.S. Please leave a campsite just as you found it, sans rubbish.

UPDATE: For some more uncoventional, fun-filled or adventurous places to visit in UAE... checkout our latest post on Ras Al Khaimah

And again if you share our love of camping then our latest post is a must read for you


The post is linked to 
The Weekly Story -wk 7


  1. Looks like you had a fabulous time, enjoying the beach and unravelling the mystery of the abandoned plane. Great photos, especially the one taken inside the tent looking down to the beach.

    1. Oh yes, Pam! We had a wonderful time. The sad part is the temperature is climbing up steadily in our part of the world, so we cant be doing this again till next winter.
      Thank you for the appreciation. That's my favorite picture too :)

  2. This sure looks like a fun trip! My parents are in Kuwait and reading this post felt like I was there with them. I am yet to explore UAE but whenever that happens, I am taking tips from you for sure.

    Have a great week ahead.


    1. Oh Tanya! it was a great day! Do visit UAE. Tons of things to do and explore. Would love to meet you up here.
      Thanks for stopping by. You have a great week too.

  3. Hi FarZain and thanks so much for the comment luv on my eclectic foyer!!!! I tried to reply to your comment directly but you came up as a non reply blogger. Super cool to see I got a visitor to my blog from the UAE !!!! Christine from

    1. Hi Christine! Thank you for visiting my blog! Loved your foyer and your blog. I have a few decor plans lined up. Would love to share with you when its up.
      Take care.

  4. Oh, how I wish to spend some time on a beautiful beach with lots of sunshine like this. We are under sub zero temperatures with bitterly cold. Your pictures are treat to our eyes while dreaming of early spring back in the neck of the woods.

    1. Thank you for the sweet compliments.
      Hehe, the grass is greener on the other side is it not. And here I am dreaming about your snow pictures and wishing the chill would last longer;)
      Thanks for stopping by!


  5. Love to see your camping posts; it encourages me to take a trip to a beach and set my tent there. Not sure how soon I will be doing that though.

    1. Hi Tasneem! Really if it were up to me I would love to camp all winter. Love the beach, love the mountains and the freedom it gives for the fast city life here. A cup of chai and a good book are the best companions on my trip. Zain loves the barbecuing part :)

      Do pitch up tent soon.. the summer is almost here!

  6. even I love camping nd this looks like so much fun

    1. It sure is, Priyanka. Had so much fun.

  7. Oh how lovely.. You sure had a fabulous time! Double Tree by Hilton at Marjan is a lovely place too.. The weather has been nice for outdoors isnt it?? Im dreading the summer... I wish it stayed this way for a little longer!

    1. We have been soaking up this beautiful weather, as much as we can. The luxury of indoors is best reserved for summer. Thank you for the tip on Double Tree, will sure check it out!