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Welcome to Khorfakkan, a charming beach town along the UAE’s eastern coastline. Nestled amidst the majestic Hajar Mountains, Khorfakkan now boasts a new outdoor destination – the Shees Rest Area. Recently inaugurated by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, this rest area is poised to become a must-visit spot for locals and tourists alike. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the beloved Shees Park and Wadi Shees, the Shees Rest Area offers a unique blend of nature and culture. This comprehensive guide will delve into everything you need about this hidden gem.
Location: Where to Find Shees Rest Area
The Shees Rest House is conveniently located after the Raugh Tunnel, specifically on the Khorfakkan-Sharjah Road (S142). If you’re approaching from outside Sharjah, follow the E89 road (Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum road) and take the S142 exit leading to the Shees area. Accessing the rest area is a breeze, with three entrances accessible via a service road. You’ll find ample parking in front of the rest area, boasting over 200 parking lots and six dedicated spaces for People of Determination.
From Abu Dhabi, plan for approximately a two-hour drive to reach Khorfakkan. If you’re starting from Sharjah City, you’ll get there in just an hour, while those coming from Dubai, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, or Ras Al Khaimah should allocate around one hour and 30 minutes for their journey.
What to Expect at Shees Rest Area
1. Local Markets: A Shopper’s Paradise
At the Shees Rest Area, shopping enthusiasts are in for a treat. Explore a vibrant local market featuring over 58 shops. Here, you’ll discover an array of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and plants at affordable prices. Additionally, the market offers carpets, camping supplies, traditional pottery, and a delectable selection of food items. It’s a one-stop shop for tourists seeking souvenirs and locals looking for fresh produce.
2. Free Kids Play Area: Fun for Little Ones
Families visiting the Shees Rest Area will find a delightful surprise – a spacious, shaded playground spanning 600 square meters. The best part? It’s free for kids, providing a safe and entertaining space to run, play, and cherish memories.
3. Outdoor Theatre: Entertainment Under the Sky
Nestled in the heart of the Shees Rest Area is a shaded outdoor theatre that can accommodate up to 80 people. This venue is equipped with a projection screen perfect for hosting cultural performances, movie nights, and community events. It’s an ideal spot to unwind and immerse yourself in the arts while surrounded by the natural beauty of the Hajar Mountains.
The Shees Rest Area doesn’t stop at shopping, play, and entertainment. It also features a mosque that can accommodate up to 300 people, providing a peaceful space for prayer and reflection. Additionally, you’ll find a petrol station nearby, ensuring you’re well-equipped for your journey.
Exploring Shees Park and Wadi Shees
Discovering Wadi Shees
Adjacent to the Shees Rest Area lies Wadi Shees, one of the UAE’s cherished wadis (valleys). This picturesque valley meanders through the Hajar Mountains’ rugged terrain, offering adventure seekers a scenic drive. To enjoy the experience, consider using a 4×4 vehicle, as the route unveils rocky outcrops, traditional settlements, farmland, and enchanting date palm plantations. However, checking the weather forecast before embarking on this adventure is vital, as driving in mountainous areas during rainfall can be perilous. Valleys can flood swiftly, and strong currents pose a real danger to vehicles.
Shees Park: A Paradise Within Reach
Just a stone’s throw away from the Shees Rest Area, you’ll find Shees Park, a true oasis in Wadi Shees. This sprawling park spans 11,300 square kilometres and offers diverse attractions. Families can revel in the children’s play area, while barbecue enthusiasts will appreciate the dedicated pits provided. Shaded benches invite visitors to relax and savour the serene surroundings. The park’s centrepiece is a captivating 25-meter-high man-made waterfall, a sight to behold and a perfect backdrop for photos.
In the heart of Khorfakkan, the Shees Rest Area beckons with its unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Whether you’re a shopaholic seeking local treasures, a family looking for a fun day out, or an art enthusiast craving open-air performances, this destination has something for everyone. Don’t forget to explore the adjacent wonders of Wadi Shees and Shees Park, where adventure and serenity collide. So, plan your visit today and uncover the hidden gem that is the Shees Rest Area.