The rejuvenation of Khor Fakkan is putting this old industrial town on the map for tourists and adventurers. Why not visit Khor Fakkan and find out for yourself? It is picturesque, steeped in history, and a top UAE road trip destination.
Khor Fakkan (Arabic: خورفكان) is located along the Gulf of Oman on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates between the Arabian Sea and the Shumayliyah Mountains, rising to 1,023 metres at Jebel al Hilqah. Khor Fakkan, which means “Creek of Two Jaws”, is an enclave of Sharjah, tucked into the emirate of Fujairah. It expanded around the only natural deep-water harbour in the region and became an important transit port for ships to trade with Africa and India.
Best time to visit Khor Fakkan
From November to April, Khor Fakkan is sunny and has a beautiful temperature during the day ranging from 18 °C to 30 °C, however, the evenings can be a little cool and the humidity low.
Between January and March, there is a possibility of rain and tropical storms. The climate warms from May to September with the high temperature at noon in July and August reaching 40 °C. The nights too are warm, with the temperature reaching 36 °C, with high humidity.
Best Adventure Activities | Visit Khorfakkan
Snorkeling at Snoopy Island
Snoopy Island, is located just 100 metres from the Sandy Beach Hotel. is a rocky outcrop that resembles Snoopy lying down on his back with his curvaceous belly pointing up toward the sky. Only 120m x 80m in size, it is surrounded by an underwater world of shimmering coral reefs and exquisite marine life.
We were lucky to follow a couple of turtles before they descended deeper. If you miss these, you will still be rewarded with colourful reef fish including Arabian Boxfish, Parrotfish, Butterflyfish, and Angelfish
How to reach Snoopy Island? If you are either staying at Sandy Beach Hotel or paying for a day pass, you can easily access Snoopy Island and hire snorkeling gear and kayaks from the shore.
As I was staying at Le Meridien al Aqah Beach Resort, we took a snorkeling trip with Al Boom Diving conveniently located next door. As their name suggests, you can book PADI courses and night dives too!
Parasailing in the Gulf of Oman
Parasailing is really an effortless adrenaline-pumping activity. Stand on the back of the boat as the boys do all the preparations and issue a few instructions, the boat speeds up and you ascend into the air at a steady and gradual pace. Simple!
The open parachute helps you glide along through the air with the wind in your face overseeing the beach-goers sipping cocktails and swimmers exploring the warm gulf waters. The experience is a calming one, no experience required, and not to be feared (even with vertigo). Totally recommend it!
Where to go parasailing in Khor Fakkan? Our trip was booked with Al Boom Diving – 2 for the price of 1 on the Entertainer App. Alternatively, you can take a flight out from Khor Fakkan Beach.
Boat trip to Shark Island
There are a number of small rocky islands off the coast that are fabulous for snorkeling or just taking a boat tour. It is a small island without shade or any facilities so it is worth picking up some water, snacks, and an umbrella if you are sensitive to the sun.
The snorkeling was bright with a fair bit of marine action and gets pretty choppy on the far side of the island. We had the island to ourselves which was just idyllic but I do have to mention that Shark Island is situated right behind the bright orange Khor Fakkan port. If you can block this out of your view as you relax on the white sand then you could imagine you are on a deserted island!
How to get to Shark Island? We just agreed on a price with the boat guys hanging around the promenade by Khor Fakkan Beach.
Kayaking in Al Rasifah Dam
Al Rasisah Dam is located in the Emirate of Sharjah, just 7 minute’s drive from Khor Fakkan. Originally built in the 1980s, it now has a visitor’s centre with a mosque, restroom, cafe, kids’ play area, and, of course, water activities. Nestled in the Hajar Mountains, Al Rasisah Dam is an alluring backdrop for paddling around in a kayak or pedal boat.
Hiking at Wadi Sena | Fujairah
There are a few routes you can take at Wadi Sena depending on your fitness level and time of year. I did this hike in July so we started at 6 am to catch the sunrise and avoid the sweltering desert heat.
The 7.2km route was clearly marked by a track that you drive up and cheat by getting the photos from the top for the gram without the effort. Not my style! Walking at an average pace as we were in a group, we were on the move for 1 hour 45 minutes. Even though we stopped for breakfast with the view, we were back at the hotel sunloungers planning our next adventure for the day.
Cultural Things To Do | Visit Khorfakkan
Wander around Khor Fakkan Heritage Village
Khor Fakkan heritage sites along with the nearby village, farms, and mountain watchtowers and archaeological excavations have discovered inhabitation dating back to the 16th century. Old documents, maps, and photographs were studied to help construct and restore them on the exact spot.
The rejuvenation of Khor Fakkan with the old souq, canal, amphitheatre, and traditional-style boutique hotel is changing the landscape to its’ former glory, and more!
Be historical at Khor Fakkan Al Hisn Museum
Hisn Museum Khor Fakkan was rebuilt to replicate the 1950s-1960s design of the original nearby fort and was opened to the public in April 2019.
The museum takes you on a journey through time spanning from 3000 BC (Bronze Age) right up to modern times with 16th-century invasions. The rich history narrated in the museum demonstrates how Al Qawasim has been ruling the two emirates of Ras Khaimah and Sharjah since then and their subsequent influence in the region.
The archaeological displays have been excavated from many sites across the UAE and are represented with photographs, artifacts, tales from locals, 3D models, and technology-driven means. To become a place of learning, the staff are local university graduates with backgrounds in history, social sciences, and archaeology.
Take in the views from Al Adwani Tower
Al Adwani Tower was instructed to be built by Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamood Al Adwani Qasimi in the month of Rabi’ Al Thani in 1032 AH (February 1623 AD).
Al Adwani Tower, one of the oldest sites, was once used as a defensive lighthouse to guide ships entering Khor Fakkan Port and was destroyed in 1985 to assist with urban expansion. Both Khor Fakkan port and Al Adwani Tower were restored when the area received a facelift nurturing the historical aspects.
The tower was a little smaller than I had envisaged but the elevated views of the port with the backdrop of the Hajar mountains are worth a look!
Eat fresh fish at Khor Fakkan Port
There is nowhere better in Khor Fakkan to get fresh fish than right at the port itself where you can find a few ‘Fish Cooking’ establishments. These places are pretty basic with a few tables and chairs inside but when you see they are popular with the locals, you know you will get tasty food.
I opted for Al Sayadden Fish Cooking on Khor Fakkan Port where the guy showed us our options from the catch that day. With some visual aids and the odd recognised word, we decided on ‘Supreme’ (or maybe Sea Bream) with Arabic spices, 12 King Prawns, Saffron Rice, and Salad which cost 70 AED ($19) for two people. It’s not everyone’s bag but, remember, this is the same fish in the 5-star hotels at a snip of the price and a more authentic experience.
See the action at Khor Fakkan Fish Market
Khorfakkan Fish Market is fairly small, housing 17 shops in a square shape with entrances on all 4 sides and a special area in the centre designated for cutting and cleaning fish. The walls are in a traditional Arabic style which adds some functionality allowing the seafood aroma to escape.
I guess it is better to take a gander around the fish market after you have devoured the produce in a local fish-cooking restaurant. Hotels. restaurants and local families will come to Khorfakkan Fish Market for the catch of the day, some were surprisingly large!
Take a peek at Al Bidya Mosque
The archaeological site of Al Bidya Mosque is estimated to date back to the 15th century and is the second oldest known mosque in the United Arab Emirates. It is also known as the Ottoman Mosque owing to its distinctive architectural design. The two neighbouring watchtowers called Al Bidya Towers are equally unique as the lower one is round and the upper tower is elliptical.
Visit Nahwa and Madha Enclaves
Nahwa is a second-order enclave. Though the region belongs to Sharjah, it is surrounded by the Madha enclave, which is Omani territory. Madha is in turn surrounded by the UAE.
I knew I’d hit Madha when I reached Sultan Qaboos Mosque and a welcome message from Omantel telling me data roaming charges will now apply, then you reach the national signs marking the Oman territory. If you are going trekking in this region, be prepared with data or an offline map.