Sharjah and its tourist destinations have always been overshadowed by Dubai’s crazy places – food, entertainment, sights… you name it and Dubai has it better. But for once we found something that we had yet to see in Dubai – Al Noor Island.
Al Noor Island is located at Al Majaz – very close to the most crowded part of the city. The entire Sharjah comes to Al Majaz on the weekends to relax. My advice would be to never drive to this part of town if you can help it. You will waste a lot of time on the gazillion traffic lights and spend a good half hour looking for a parking spot. If you really must drive there, then I suggest parking closer to King Faisal Mosque and walking from there (don’t do that in the summer, you might not be able to make it alive). Your best option would be to take a cab.
The gate to Al Noor Island is right next to Al Noor Mosque. This is where you buy your ticket (AED 50 for adults and AED 30 for kids). Yes, it’s a little too expensive for Sharjah (the first thought I had in mind was “Can Sharjah even…?”) but I promise it’s worth it.
There is a wonderful butterfly house enclosed in an eccentric building on that island with the most beautiful butterflies being bred in such a cosy, homey little environment. By the time we reached the butterfly house, the butterflies had apparently already gone to bed and very few were actually sitting outside, let alone flying. It was quite fascinating nonetheless. Anyone who comes to Dubai should come to Sharjah just to see this butterfly house at least once. There were butterflies of all shapes and sizes, their ancestors on wall frames, and their future generations (the larvae) in glass cupboards. Quite a trip that was. The butterflies sleep around 6 pm so make sure you go earlier if you want to see them all, take photos and also hold them!
The rest of the island is like a sanctuary for the monks in you. It is peaceful and relaxing beyond description and I’ll tell you why:
- It is a very small island so the sound of the waves hitting the shore is omnipresent
- There are speakers on the ground that play meditation music nonstop
- The lighting after sunset is dim and relaxing but enough for you to go about your business
- There is a small hut with cushions in a majlis setting where you can read, draw, meditate, work or just daydream.
It is just what you need during or after a super adventurous, so-much-to-do-so-little-time kind of holiday in Dubai. Apart from that butterfly house, Al Noor Island also has a little cafe that sells basic coffee, tea and chocolates. My advice for anyone who wishes to stay there for several hours would be to get your own food. The island is NOT for picnic so just get a sandwich or something in your bag and you will be good.
There is also a children’s play area in the middle of the island, which was frankly quite out of place and annoying. I mean I know the intention was to make it a family place, but it just didn’t go with the overall feel of the island. Regardless, there were a lot of places on the island, far enough from that noise, where you could relax. If there are any other places like that in the UAE (or the world), do let me know. Those are my kind of places and I’d love to visit as many of them as possible.
Other useful information on Al Noor Island
- Location: Al Noor Island, Opposite Al Noor Mosque, Al Majaz, Sharjah
- Price per person: AED 50
- Overall Ratings: 5
- What to have: BYOS – Bring Your Own Sandwich
- When to visit: Mornings (9:00 am – 11:00 am) or late afternoon (4:00 pm – 7:00 pm)
Have you been to Al Noor Island before? If yes, what did you think of it?