Update: Directions + Map for New Sheikh Khalifa HighwayIntroduction to Old Route
One of the most popular questions Googled about Fujairah is, “How do you get from Dubai to Fujairah?’
There are different routes and each driver will have their favorite.
Let me share the route I generally use and point out some of the features along the way.
Please let me know if you discover inaccuracies in the directions or changes that have been made since these notes were made in September 2008.
This document can be downloaded at this link: Dubai to Fujairah or here.
There is a significant change in the instructions (due to recent roadworks) described at this link.
Starting Point: The Dubai International Airport.
Coming from central Dubai and heading towards the east on Al Khawaneej Rd with the Dubai International Airport on your left, put your odometer back to zero as you drive under the over bridge labeled ‘Departure’ that links the airport (left) and the long term car park (right).
Generally it is good to keep in the middle lane.
At the first set of traffic lights with the large Emirates Airlines building on your right if you were to swing right at this intersection you would be heading down Marrakech Street towards the Dubai Festival City.
Keep heading straight (or east) but at this intersection you may notice that Al Khawaneej Rd is also labeled ‘Airport Road’. Don’t be confused.
Speed Limit: 80 kph Swaay, Swaay (Arabic for slowly slowly بَطيء بَطيء)
In this next stretch please note that the speed limit is 80 kph but as most cars are straining at the leash to get out of the city, this is a popular place for movable speed cameras on the left and the right.
Moving east you will see off-ramps (going right) that could take you to Hatta, Terminal 2 or Sharjah but don’t be tempted. Drive straight (parallel with the new Metro line which appears on your right).
This is Highway 89 (Green sign).
You will pass on the right the Bin Sougat Shopping Centre.
Continue in the middle lane through the set of lights at the 4.0 km mark and as you venture east you will see to your right the new Dubai Metro terminus (at 5.0 km) in this suburb of Al Rashidiya. This will be the first or the last station on the Red Line.
Keep heading towards signs that point to Al Khawaneej and Al Awir on Highway 89.
Speed limit becomes 100kph
You pass the turn off right to the small but rapidly growing suburb of Mirdif.
There is an Eppco Service Station on your right, the last one for quite a few ks.
10.4km Swaay, Swaay بَطيء بَطيء
In this next stretch of road (Speed Limit 100kph) there are some fixed speed cameras one of which is at the 10.4 mark near where there is a turn off right to Mirdif Park.
There is a major roundabout (with signs to Dubai Academic City going off to the right) but you are going straight and will exit at the 12 o’clock position on the circle. I reckon it is best to enter the roundabout and exit in the middle lane.
You’ll be reassured by signs pointing to Al Khawaneej and Al Awir on Highway 89.
13.5km-Swaay, Swaay بَطيء بَطيء
Watch out for another speed camera on your left at this point. Speed limit is still 100kph for cars, 80 for trucks.
It is still Al Khawaneej Rd but get ready to make a right turn at the next roundabout.
At the roundabout do not go straight through to the town of Al Khawaneej. Instead, turn right following the sign in its direction towards Al Awir.
This is now Al Ahmardi Road, Highway 50. It broadens from a 2 lane highway to four lanes (2 X 2).
Mosque over on the left. Get yourself ready for approaching another major roundabout.
On the D50 highway just before the roundabout there is a sign on a green board that has instructions blotted out. At this roundabout there has been a significant change.
You still come in at a 6.00pm position but you turn right, taking the road to Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi. This takes you in the opposite direction that you ultimately want to be going.
After only 200 metres, taking Exit 63 (Blue sign to Al Awir; Sharjah and Al Dhaid) you turn right like a hairpin bend on a Grand Prix track. This takes you back 150 metres where you turn right and go underneath the road and turn right again.
You drive another 150 metres (towards Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi) and turn right (another hairpin bend) but this has you on the other side of the road and now back on the highway.
You drive another 150-200 metres and finally reach the roundabout.
Aim to go through the roundabout continuing in pretty much the same direction.
If you take the first exit right you will go to Al Awir.
Coming out of this roundabout you will find you are on the Sharjah-Al Dhaid Road with ugly pylons on the right side of the road. This is where you notice you are in the desert.
If you keep on going too far you will find yourself on the Al Khawaneej Rd heading back towards Dubai and you will have to go to the next roundabout before you can return and Take Two.
More Words about Lanes
It is recommended that you stick in the middle lane. Trucks have to be in the right lane by law so this lane is slow.
The lane on the far left is the overtaking lane and if you stay in this lane for too long you will have drivers coming too close and dangerously fast. Tailgating at 100 kph (or later the speed zone gets to 120 kph) is not a pleasant feeling. Added to this (often drivers in 4WDs travelling at 160kph will flash their lights, toot their horns and do all sorts of objectionable things to let you know who is King of the Road.
22.7-23.2 kms Camels (Arabic has more than 40 words for the English word camel but Jamal جمل is the most common).
Look towards the undulating sand dunes on the left along this road and you will see some camels. There are one or two camel stables and studs in this area and a race track at the 24.2 km mark). Camel riders train them on tracks parallel with the road.
You will soon be approaching a turn off right to Fujairah. My instructions will take you another way so if you go right here you are on your own!
26.8 kms Alternative route to Fujairah and Kalba
This route is generally straight and it ends up in Kalba (south of Fujairah). There is also an exit a few metres up on the right that can take you in the opposite direction to Sharjah.
These instructions take you through a more traditional route that passes some quaint towns.
Carry on straight along this Sharjah–Al Dhaid Road which branches out into many lanes.
28.6kms Speed Limit changes to 120 kph.
Over on the left is the Sharjah Scout camp and mosque.
Somewhere along our travels we have moved from the Dubai emirate and are now in the Sharjah emirate (the third largest). Soon we will be chopping and changing from one emirate to another but don’t worry. Passports are not needed. It is the United Arab Emirates so we all get on well together or at least in theory.
You will see on the right set back from the road an Industrial building with pylons in front of it.
Start getting in the right lane and readying your car to turn off right up a slight incline that then goes down.
The blue sign says, “Batayah, Al Fujairah, Khor Fakkan.”
There is a sign here or when you get on the new highway that goes east saying, ‘Central and Eastern Region’.
This road takes you to Al Dhaid and is a major highway going east.
Speed Limit is 120 kph
Speed camera on the left.
You will see further signs ‘Batayah, Central region, Eastern Region; Highway 88
Keep following this sign, going straight east.
Cement works are over on the left. Trucks will be in right lane.
You will pass under a series of over bridges as you travel this road.
The first you go under will be bridge 8.
Speed Limit is still 120 kph for cars and 80 kph for trucks.
Speed camera attached to the middle wall separating the two sides of the road.
You will be approaching some brown signs to the:
Arabian Wildlife Centre
National History Museum and the
Keep following this major highway (now called E I 88) towards Dhaid.
You will go under the bridge over pass # 10. Keep going east.
Another blue sign to reassure you saying ‘Dhaid, Central region, Eastern Region E 88)’.
You will go under the bridge over pass # 11.
Keep going east on this highway 88, also called the Al Dhaid Road.
Don’t take any roads off to the right unless you want to stop off at:
Dulaimah Wild Life Sanctuary
You will go under the bridge over pass # 12.
You will see a sign, ‘Welcome to Dhaid City’
Speed Limit now becomes 100 kph.
You are approaching the outskirts of Dhaid with shops on left and right.
Continuing you will see a radio transmitter mast.
An Eppco Service Station on the right side but you are in a few metres going to approach a large roundabout (adorned with grass and gardens).
First roundabout at Dhaid.
If you enter this circle at the 6 o’clock position you are aiming to exit at the 9 o’clock position which takes you through the long shopping strip of downtown Dhaid. This is the capital of the central district of the emirate of Sharjah. It is a large town that services the surrounding agricultural district.
After a kilometer with a huge mosque looming on the left there is another large roundabout (at the 64.5 k mark) where you will be taking a right turn (if you approach this roundabout at 6 o’clock you hardly stay on it as you exit at a 4-5 o’clock).
There is an inside and an outside road that goes right. Take whichever one you want. The far right lane is probably preferable.
Signs point to ‘Fujairah’ and ‘Masafi’.
This is now the Al-Dhaid—East Coast Road. Speed limit is 80 kph and seems to go on forever and it feels like it you should be going faster. Most cars do.
Emirates Service Station (24 hrs) and soon after…
Mobil Car wash, lube etc.
Al Safeer Hypermarket on the left.
Blue sign saying ‘Masafi 28 kms’; ‘Fujairah 56 kms’.
You are approaching a roundabout entering it at a 6 o’clock position and you are aiming to exit at a 12.00 position going towards Masafi on Route 89.
If you were to go right around and exit at the 9 o’clock position you would be heading out to another of the seven emirates, Ras Al Khaimah (literally meaning ‘The Top of the Tent’. RAK as it is affectionately called is in the northern part of the Persian Gulf.)
Speed limit becomes 100 kph.
Speed camera in middle of the road.
If you were desperate to buy some dates, over on the left side of the road is a good place to get them and see them being dried, washed, sorted and packed. It is called Al Hashimaiah (my spelling may not be correct) and they are lovely local dates.
There are places to buy tents on the right side of the road.
Note how there is no desert after Dhaid and there is quite a different landscape. Keep a look out for the many date farms on the left and right.
You will start to see the outline of the Hajar Mountains (Hajar is Arabic for Stone) in the distance especially at the 72-73 kms mark.
Speed camera on the left.
You are approaching two speed humps (at 76.8 km mark) and there are signs to warn you from 1,000 metres away.
This is a major interchange to aid the crossing of this highway by trucks.
You are going straight through.
Eppco service Station on the right.
Go straight towards Masafi heading towards the mountains.
Do not take the road left (back to Dhaid).
As you carry on you will see a Blue sign to ‘Masafi’, ‘Fujairah’—E88
There is a further opportunity to turn left to RAK.
The great metropolis of Thoban! (the sign actually appears at 80.5 km mark)
On the right is an ENOC Petrol Station.
On the right there are many shops where you can buy swings and pottery (a local craft for which Thoban is well known)
Direction sign indicating that Fujairah is 44 kms and Masafi 14 kms.
Note the way the car is starting to climb very gradually into the mountain region.
Quarries are on the right and left and trucks are emerging 24 hours of the day getting rocks and stones for the building of big city (Dubai) buildings.
This is very distinctive landscape—naked mountains covered with little vegetation—partially marred by the ugly power pylons and huge billboards along the road.
Speed Limit sign says, ‘100 kphs’
Note the wadis surrounded by green palm trees (wadi is an Arabic word for valley or dry river bed that fills up with water when it rains). These are places that grow vegetables for the market.
The dry river beds which become filled with water when it rains. This area of Masafi has the highest rainfall in the UAE, perhaps because of its altitude and the way the area is sandwiched between the mountains.
The mountains are closing in. You will see some roads off the side of the road. Often in the winter time there will be Emirati families sitting down having picnics around these parts.
Direction sign saying, ‘Al Fujairah 36 kms’, ‘Masafi 6 kms’.
Slow down as you are approaching the Friday Market, a great place to buy carpets, mats, pottery, shrubs (from Afghanis and Pakistanis) and fruit and vegetables (mainly served by Bangladeshis from the Brahmanbaria District).
Watch the speed humps.
Interesting to see how some drivers don’t get out but place their order from the car.
There are lots of shops of the same type including a small restaurant, ‘supermarket’ (which is a small shop) and an ADNOC Petrol Station on the left as you leave the Friday Market at the 89.9 km mark.
As you leave the Friday Market you will see stupendous views, with date farms over on the left that have been there for centuries and nurseries.
Note the decline in altitude.
You are approaching the one camel town of Marbad which is part of the Fujairah Municipality. Marbad has only a few shops on the left and more shops on the left at the 93.9 km mark. Enjoy the mountain views.
Speed Limit is 80 kph because you are approaching Masafi. A chunk of this town belongs to RAK and another part belongs to Fujairah. Masafi in Arabic means ‘pure water’ (you will find Masafi water and other drinks in the supermarkets of the UAE). Masafi is known for its citrus trees and mangoes. As Masafi is the highest town and living area in the UAE (567 metres or 1863 feet) and so rich agriculturally, there has been lots to fight about down through the centuries. They say that at the border between the two emirates that divide Ma from safi there is an unfinished building which was the scene of the fighting. The conflict was only ended when the federal government stepped in and claimed ownership of the building.
Watch the speed humps as the town of Masafi starts at this mark. Look out for unfinished buildings!
There are shops mainly on the left and street vendors on the right. The mosque is further over to the right.
As you drive through the town towards the mountain range you will be approaching another roundabout.
If you approach it from a 6 o’clock direction you will want to turn left at a 3 o’clock position on Highway 89 towards ‘Bulaidha’, ‘Bithnah’ and ‘Fujairah’
(If you stayed on this roundabout and got off before going back in the direction you came you could go to Diba or Dibba).
You are now on Highway 88 or it is also called Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid… Road.
You are approaching the little town of Daftah (also in the emirate of RAK). There are a couple of speed humps to slow you down. Great fruit and vegetables markets on the right where the Bangladeshis are used to coming up to your car to serve you, if you signal to them and put your window down. This is the Daftah Drive By!
One of their effective selling methods is the ‘taste and see’ technique. They like to cut a slice of mango for you to taste and as your teeth sink into the delicious fruit and juices flow down your cheeks you will mutter “Give me 6 more”, as you clean yourself up. It works most effectively.
Leaving Daftah on the left you will see more date farms and amazing ravines and mountain views that make this scenery so different from Dubai or the desert you have recently traversed.
There is the sign to tell you are approaching Al Bulaidha, part of the emirate of Fujairah.
Sensational views on the left of the mountains with a wadi in the foreground. This would make a good photograph.
Approaching the little settlement of Bithnah.
You will see a turn off left (at 110 kms mark) to the Bithnah Fort.
Down there also is an important archaeological site.
Keep on this main road which continues to descend (as your popping ears will remind you). Date farms at 111.8 kms on left and another on the right at 114.9 km.
Poultry farm on the left at 115.8 km mark and a sign that says you have 9 kms to go until you reach Fujairah.
There is a speed hump to slow drivers down at an intersection and also in preparation for approaching the Fujairah city.
Sign to tell you that the speed limit is 80 kph.
Petrol stations on the right and left signal a gateway to Fujairah city.
Be careful with your speed as you come into Fujairah. Often there are hard too find mobile speed cameras placed between the city gateway and the first set of lights (hidden on the grass median strip under a Palm tree).
Keeping on this road you will see on the right some waste land.
On the left you will see many tertiary establishments including (in this order) Ajman University, Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT)—Men’s College, Institute of Applied Technology, Ministry of the environment—Agriculture for Eastern Region and then the NMC Al Fujairah Hospital just before you approach the first set of traffic lights.
First set of traffic lights. If you go left you would reach the prison. If you go right you will go to the Al Hayl which now includes the major industrial area for Fujairah.
Go straight ahead through the lights for a kilometer. On the road you will see a wall within which is the Fujairah International Airport.
You will come to a roundabout that is the commencement to Fujairah’s main street and shopping centre. If you enter this roundabout at a 6 o’clock position, drive almost straight exiting at a 12 or 1 o’clock position.
If you keep on going straight down this street you will eventually reach the coastline and waterfront (Fujairah Corniche).
Welcome to Fujairah! Enjoy!
Source: Some of the information about towns came from Wikipedia. Other facts and statements came from the local grapevine.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: Typical of the terrain you see around Masafi with wadi in the foreground and mountains behind.
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