Covering just 260 square kilometres and with a population 373,000, Ajman is the smallest of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, alongside Abu Dhabi (the country’s capital), Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.
Aside from the city of Ajman on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, the emirate also has jurisdiction over two small inland enclaves in the UAE – Al Manama, east of Ajman, and Masfout, located in the south of the UAE near Hatta.
The emirate of Ajman is ruled by His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the Union and Ruler of Ajman – a descendant of the Al Nuaim tribe, which can be traced back to three centuries before the life of Prophet Mohammad.
Under Sheikh Humaid’s leadership, Ajman has achieved steady economic growth; he is considered the father of the community, often holding an open council so that his people can communicate directly with him.
Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but English is widely spoken and most signs are in both languages. Arabic isn’t the easiest language to pick up or to pronounce, but a few basic words are always appreciated.
The UAE is four hours ahead of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, also known as GMT), and there is no altering of clocks for daylight saving in the summer.
Friday is the Islamic holy day, when most businesses close. Be aware that some tourist sites may be closed, while malls and other attractions may not open until around 2pm after prayers have finished.
The currency of Ajman is the Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). One dirham is divided into 100 fils. Notes come in denominations of 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5, while coins are 1 AED, 50 fils, 25 fils, 10 fils and 5 fils.
The dirham is pegged to the US dollar, and the exchange rate stands at US$1 = 3.67 AED.
Etisalat and du are the two mobile phone providers in the UAE. Both offer a temporary SIM and prepaid mobile number specially designed for tourists or business travellers visiting the UAE. For more information, visit etisalat.ae and du.ae.
The country code for the UAE is (+971) and Ajman’s national landline code is (06). Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, and Starbucks at City Centre Ajman Mall offers a free connection when purchasing food and drinks.
The standard electrical current used in Ajman is 220-240 volts AC and most hotel rooms have the plug with three square prongs that is used in the UK.
The weekend in the UAE is Friday and Saturday. Friday is the Islamic holy day, when most businesses close. Many shops and tourist attractions have different hours of operation, opening around 2pm.