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Your guide to the hidden gem of the UAE

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Welcome

Welcome to Ajman and to the first ever dedicated sales training guide for this stunning emirate. It might be the smallest emirate in the UAE, but Ajman more than makes up for its size with a world-class line-up of exciting activities; unique, untamed landscapes; and luxurious resorts offering access to the pristine white sand beaches made by Mother Nature. It’s just a short taxi ride away from Dubai, but this quiet, natural and refined emirate is a world away!

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reasons to visit Ajman Natural beauty and authentic heritage are hallmarks of this Arabian oasis of calm. Here are some great reasons to book a trip to Ajman

1. Natural beaches With pristine shores, Ajman is widely regarded as having the prettiest beaches in the UAE. The tranquil enclave is fringed by almost a mile of soft natural sand, separated by the mouth of Ajman Creek. One of the UAE’s best beaches, Ajman Beach runs the length of the town centre, with watersports like windsurfing, jetskiing and kayaking. Several resorts have their own sections of sand and offer non-motorised watersports as part of the package.

Khadija Turki Director of Tourism Development and Marketing

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Top reasons to visit Culture & Heritage Nature & Wildlife Outdoor Adventures Where to Stay Factfile

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2. Cost-effective hotels Spreading out along the fine soft sands either side of Ajman Creek, Ajman’s clutch of luxury beach hotels are smaller, quieter and offer more value for money than some of its neighbouring emirates. Well-known four- and five-star brands such as Fairmont, Marriott, Oberoi (pictured), Radisson Blu, Ramada and Wyndham all have a presence in Ajman, most with their own slice of sandy beach and offering a range of board options from room-only to all-inclusive. ajman.travel

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3. Souq Saleh One of the oldest markets in the UAE, laidback Souq Saleh is an atmospheric treasure trove stuffed with trinkets, textiles and other traditional items. Between its coralline floor, marble columns and barasti palm-frond covered roof, the traditional souq is a portal into the Arabia of the past, sheltering scores of aromatic and colourful shops specialising in embroidery, tailoring, and handmade leather goods. At its liveliest, when locals visit in the evening, prices are comparatively reasonable and haggling is the norm.

4. Al Zorah Golf Club

5. Ajman Stud

Carefully crafted by Nicklaus Design around the natural peninsula and green wetlands of Al Zorah, and run by the renowned luxury Troon Golf brand, Ajman’s new par-72 Al Zorah Golf Club has put the emirate on the golfing map. The 18-hole championship golf course’s manicured lawns, green fairways and dune-like bunkers are landscaped around the protected mangrove-lined lagoons of Al Zorah Nature Reserve. The course includes a large driving range, the very latest equipment and offers PGA pro golf tuition.

A passion of Ajman’s crown prince, Arabian horses are the oldest purebreds in the world, famed for their beauty and grace with distinctive high tails and long necks. Founded nearly 20 years ago, the crown prince’s private stables are home to some of the finest award-winning Arabian horses. A prime equestrian facility, Ajman Stud is built in the traditional Arabic style, surrounded by desert dunes, some 30 kilometers from the city of Ajman. Visitors can take a tour by requesting an invitation, which most hotel concierges in Ajman can arrange.

6. Ajman Museum Housed inside an 18th-century fort, Ajman Museum forms the centrepiece of the emirate’s heritage district, which is currently being restored. The museum gives an insight into this pocket of authentic Arabia. Once home to the ruler’s family, it’s now the UAE’s largest heritage museum with a stellar collection of exhibits including centuriesold manuscripts, antique weaponry, and locally-excavated pottery dating back as far as 3,000BC. The courtyard showcases the ancient irrigation systems and wooden dhows the emirate was once famous for.

7. Al Zorah Nature Reserve

8. Masfout mountains

The vast green coastal forests of Al Zorah Nature Reserve are perhaps the most unexpected sight in the UAE. Designated a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention, the protected mangroves and wetlands are a haven for wildlife, providing a sanctuary for more than 60 species of bird, including flocks of pink flamingo, egret and heron. It also acts as a coastal nursery for countless marine creatures. Visitors can explore with guided kayaking tours through its lagoons and waterways.

The majestic Masfout mountains are part of the Hajar chain, which skims the northeastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. This hemmed-off enclave of Ajman can be reached via a cross-desert road trip that passes between rolling dunes before climbing into the foothills. A cool retreat from the Arabian heat, the area is a rugged and remote outdoor playground, perfect for hikes, mountain bike rides and wadi adventures. On on a rocky precipice, the tiny tower-shaped Masfout Castle is an invigorating goal for trekkers. ajman.travel

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CULTURE & HERITAGE

Authentic Arabia Discover a hidden gem packed with cultural treasures

A peaceful pocket of authentic Arabia , and offering a fascinating concentration of attractions showcasing the region’s heritage, Ajman is emerging as the UAE’s least frenzied and most cultural emirate.

Dhow boats and fish Ajman is a great place to sample the real UAE, with Ajman Dhow Yard on Ajman Creek still building traditional wooden boats and offering a taster of the Arabian past. Visitors can take a dhow cruise on the creek from Al Zorah marina, or board an Arabian abra for a tour of the waterways and mangroves. The fascinating Ajman Museum, housed inside an 18th-century turreted sandcastle that’s stuffed with Arabian artefacts such as ancient weaponry, pottery and manuscripts, is perfect for a history and culture fix. In the courtyard models of dhows and thousand-year-old irrigation systems chart the rise of civilisation and industry on the Arabian Peninsula. Once home to the ruler’s family, the fort is now the impressive centrepiece of Ajman’s heritage district. The charming, slightly crumbling Arabian-style buildings that cluster around the 4

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castle walls are being restored and repurposed to house shops and cafes with a revamped central plaza and covered walkways leading to the waterfront corniche. As part of the project, Souq Saleh has also been extended to link up with the main square and form an extensive culture and leisure destination. For a taste and smell of local life and culture don’t miss the bustling Fish Market. Head for the Al Rashidiya area near the creek and discover a huge amount of fresh seafood for sale. The catch is delivered by fishing boats twice a day directly to the market, once in the early morning and once in the late afternoon. Haggling with the fishmongers is expected and then get your fish cleaned, filleted, spiced and cooked at one of the market’s grilling stations.

Souqs and stallions Laid-back Souq Saleh shelters dozens of colourful and aromatic shops under its palm-frond covered roof, with the nearby Gold Souq specialising in all that glitters. Every morning the bustling fish market down by the creek offers a glimpse of a trade

little-changed for centuries. In the heart of the city, the graceful white and gold Aamnah Bint Ahmad Al Ghurair Mosque is open to visitors who want to learn more about Islamic heritage. Elsewhere in the emirate, the inland enclave of Masfout in the high Hajar has debuted a new local history museum. But perhaps one of the most unique ways to experience traditional Arabian culture is by a tour of of the crown prince’s Arabian horse stables, Ajman Stud, which houses the prince’s very pretty pure-bred horses. LOCAL TIP

“Hotel concierges can contact us in advance to schdeule a visit to the crown prince’s horse stables. I am always happy to show visitors around” Khalid Almamairi, General Director, Ajman Stud

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NATURE & WILDLIFE

Where the wild things are Coastal forests, golden beaches and mighty mountains – Ajman’s natural beauty is its biggest asset

From the a verdant coastal forests of Al Zorah to the natural sandy beaches fringing Ajman’s shore and up to the hefty Hajar mountains at Masfout, the UAE’s smallest emirate has much more than its fair share of natural marvels. Add to that the nearby glittering sand dunes and rich wildlife of Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and you have the best of Arabian nature in microcosm.

Gold and green In fact, Ajman’s natural beauty and scenic wonders are its biggest assets – for example, its emerald mangrove forests are probably the most unexpected sight in the UAE. An undisturbed ecosystem surrounding a natural peninsula, the protected creeks and tidal lagoons of the Al Zorah wetlands act as a nursery for marine species, sheltering juvenile fish and providing a sanctuary for more than 60 bird species including greater spotted eagles, egrets, and of course pink-plumed greater flamingos. Aside from its bounty of bird and marine life, Ajman’s natural shores of silken sand shelving into clear shallows are one of the UAE’s bestkept secrets.

The pale golden strand of Ajman Beach is often listed as the prettiest in the region, and as word spreads, the clutch of four-and-five star beach hotels overlooking the sand are helping to transform the emirate into one of the UAE’s premier beach holiday destinations. For mid-haul winter sun, Ajman offers great value and is just a stone’s throw from Dubai International Airport, making it very accessible. For the best of the Arabian Peninsula’s mountainous scenery, travellers can head out on the desert highway to Ajman’s elevated Masfout enclave, a section of the high Hajar mountains. Hikers and bikers take aim at the tiny Masfout castle, teetering on the edge of a precipice with panoramic views of the region’s rugged ravines and picturesque peaks. Hardy desert-dwellers such as reptiles, antelopes and desert larks can be spotted in Masfout, while a very lucky few visitors may glimpse the elusive Arabian leopard, which is said to roam the highlands.

Desert dreaming Desert Adventures offers pick-ups from Ajman for those who want to explore ajman.travel

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the highlights of neighbouring emirates, such as the rolling dunes of Dubai’s Desert Conservation Reserve. Here, visitors can take a safari in a fleet of classic 1950s Land Cruisers to spot endemic wildlife such as antelopes, caracal cats, Arabian hares, vultures and sand foxes. Alternatively, there’s the option to explore like a native on camel-back, visit a traditional Arabian falconry school, have dinner with Bedouins under the desert stars, or take a dawn hot air balloon ride over the desert.

LOCAL TIP

“To join our Mangrove Kayak Nature Tours, plan in advance as tour times can vary depending on the season” Elaine Keary, Head of Marketing, Quest for Adventure

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Outdoor adventures

Get out there

From desert expeditions to teeing off next to a nature reserve, Ajman lures visitors to keep exploring

The beauty of Ajman is how easy it is to explore. Visitors need only step out of their hotel and the emirate is waiting for them.

Sea you at Marsa Ajman Marsa Ajman is the emirate’s new waterfront destination, set along a watery cul-de-sac of Ajman Creek. Embodying the openness of Ajman and its close relationship with sea culture, it is set for completion in 2022. Ajman’s large new marina and the Marsa Ajman retail development sit within a cul-de-sac of the creek, offering opportunities for outdoor exploration along its waterside boardwalk. The area is a short walk from the main beachfront hotels, including the Ajman Hotel, Fairmont Ajman and Ajman Saray. Ajman Qubes was established with a vision to support energetic entrepreneurs develop their ideas in a supportive environment. The 10 UAE themed concepts include restaurants, the first Arabic Art gallery and a barber shop.

Sporting chance Seasoned golf enthusiasts will be impressed by Ajman’s new par-72 course at Al Zorah Golf Club. 6

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Crafted around the edge of the Al Zorah Nature Reserve by Nicklaus Design, its managed by Troon Golf and has got golfers seriously excited. Ajman’s pristine sandy beach, clear lagoons and natural mangroves are the perfect playground. Watersports on offer include stand-up paddle-boarding, windsurfing, jetskiing, flyboarding and banana boat rides. The Al Zorah Adventure Sports Centre and Wake Park offers activities such as wakeboarding, bike and kakyak rental and tours, dinghy sailing, stand-up paddle boarding and archery.

New horizons Visitors can explore Ajman’s wild side with guided kayak tours of the mangroves, creeks and lagoons. Quest for Adventure’s Al Zorah Mangrove Tour explores this tidal lagoon, or khor, to spot some of the rare migratory bird species that reside there. The inland creek extends over two square kilometres of biologically and ecologically rich wetland and is an important conservation area. Tours explore these ecosystems in single or twoperson kayaks and canoes .

Meanwhile, Seawings offers the chance to see a spectacular bird’s eye view of Ajman on a scenic seaplane flight across the emirate. The milder months (October-March) are perfect for exploring Ajman on foot, with plenty of options in and around the city: Ajman Marina, the Corniche, Al Hamidiyah Park in Al Helio, Rashidiya Ladies’ Park, the Sports Park, AlGarm Park and Al Zorah Nature Reserve are all popular spots for a pleasant stroll. Alternatively, check into one of Ajman’s spas for some deserved R&R! LOCAL TIP

“Ajman is a great place to try out cable wakeboarding as our wake park is safe, enclosed, and great for beginners” Brian Parry, Head of Development, Quest for Adventure

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Where to stay

Best hotels

From family-friendly beach stays to authentic Arabian havens, Ajman has a hotel for every type of traveller

Fairmont Ajman Perched at the far end of Ajman’s waterfront promenade, the five-star Fairmont Ajman boasts all the style and luxury of the emirates’ biggest and best hotels but without the high price tag. Facing a safe and private stretch of white sand, family-friendly facilities include a kids club and pool, an outdoor play area and Aqua Bounce, a floating playground and water park. fairmont.com/ajman

Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort This five-star seaside sanctuary is perfect for wellness breaks thanks to the award-winning GOCO Spa and its range of revitalizing therapies. Specialising in hydrotherapy, the spa features rain showers, cool pools, and ice fountains, plus anti-aging chromotherapy and an authentic Middle Eastern hammam. marriott.co.uk

Bahi Ajman Palace

Radisson Blu Hotel Ajman

This 254-room heritage retreat overlooking the Arabian Gulf is firmly rooted in the locale, with a distinctly Arabesque design and palatial interiors. It prides itself on offering authentic Arabian hospitality and features restaurants serving traditional regional cuisine, as well as a large shisha terrace. On the waterfront, cabanas and sunloungers dot a private section of creamy palm-shaded sand. hmhhotelgroup.com

148 stylish rooms with Apple TV and highspeed wifi, plus a 25-metre pool and a resort beach within 15 minutes of the hotel make this a home from home. Six restaurants and bars, including the Filini Italian Restaurant, the Great Gatsby-themed Jazz Lounge and Mazaj Bar & Shisha Lounge on the rooftop, plus McGettigan’s sports bar and a nightclub near by, make this hotel perfect for younger couples. radissonhotels.com ajman.travel

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Ajman Hotel by Blazon Nestled behind a wide section of pale, soft sand, the five-star Ajman Hotel by Blazon offers an excellent selection of classic aquatic and beach-side activities at the Laguna Beach Club, including volleyball, sailing and kite-surfing, plus motorised watersports like jetskiing. Tenpin bowling and karate classes are among the other top-notch on-site activities, while a choice of ten eateries keep mealtimes varied. hotelajman.com

Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah Ajman’s most exclusive hotel, the sleek and stylish Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah sits on its own swathe of silky platinum sand next to the protected Al Zorah Nature Reserve. Spacious sea-facing suites and private plunge-pool villas are spread out across serene grounds harbouring bars, spas, sun terraces, pools, restaurants and watersports’ facilities. oberoihotels.com

Wyndham Garden & Ramada Beach Hotel A sleek pool, terrace, relaxed cafe, pool bar and two restaurants, plus 179 seaview rooms make the peaceful Wyndham Garden a great budget option (wyndhamgardenajman.com). Sister hotel Ramada’s four-star suites overlook the corniche and an exclusive beach and have kitchenettes and dining areas ideal for foodies who want to be free to try Ajman’s culinary scene (ramadabeachajman.com). 7

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AL ZORAH

The Oberoi Beach Resort

ARABIAN GULF

Al Zorah Golf Club Ajman Tourism Development Department Ajman Dry Dock

Ajman Hotel by Blazon

Marsa Ajman

Fairmont Ajman Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel

Souq Saleh

AJMAN WATER FRONT

Amina Bint Ahmad Al Ghurair Mosque

Al Safiya Station

Ajman Museum

AL SAFIYA ISLAND

Radisson Blu Hotel

Ajman Gold Souq

MUSHAIRIF Ajman Corniche Mall AL RUMAILAH

Ajman

AL SAFIA

AL BUTAIN

Al Rashidiya Station

Wyndham Garden Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman Beach

Al Zorah Station

AJMAN PORT

Ajman Marina Al Marsa Station

Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort

Quest for Adventure

Ajman Fish Market

EMIRATE SHARJAH

There are several daily direct services from the UK and Ireland to Dubai International Airport, which is just 17km from Ajman City

City Centre Ajman

Ajman’s language is Arabic but English is widely spoken

The UAE’s dialling code is +971 and Ajman’s national landline code is 06. Wifi is available in most hotels

From November to March temperatures vary from 14 to 30°C. Temperatures from June to September can reach 48°C

Map & Factfile

Covering just 260km2 and with a population of 504,847, Ajman is the smallest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE

Ajman’s currency is the Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)

The electrical current is 220-240 volts. Most hotel rooms have three square pins plug, as used in the UK

Time zone: GMT +4 hours Proudly published by Selling Travel Magazine © 2020 Suffolk House, George Street, Croydon, CR9 1SR, UK • +44 (0)20 8649 7233 • enquiries@bmipublishing.co.uk • bmipublishing.co.uk • sellingtravel.co.uk • Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker, Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan, Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge, Writer: Sasha Wood, Senior Designer: Louisa Horton, Designer: Ross Clifford, Production Manager: Clare Hunter, Production Administrator: Steve Hunter, Managing Director: Matt Bonner, CEO: Martin Steady • We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Although every effort has been made to achieve accuracy, BMI Publishing Limited cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions ©bmi publishing ltd 2020

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Friday (Islamic Holy day) and Saturday opening hours for shops and tourist attractions may vary

Car rental prices start from 100 AED per day for a small car but there are plenty of taxi and bus services as well as the option of walking in the cooler months

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Ajman Guide 2020