Ras Al Khaimah, the northern-most emirate of the UAE, offers its visitors a truly authentic Arabian experience; from its golden beaches, lush mangroves and terracotta deserts, to the towering Hajar Mountains bordering Oman. Along with boundless natural attractions and activities, Ras Al Khaimah boasts a number of ancient archaeological sites, giving visitors a fascinating insight into rich culture that still runs through the very heart of the local population.
Here is a guide enlisting the top things to explore in Ras Al Khaimah:
1. National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah
Formerly a palace and residence of the Al Qasimi Royal family until 1964, the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah
is now considered the UAE’s wealthiest monumental museum and features a diverse collection of historical artefacts, ancient ornaments, priceless manuscripts and traditional weapons, many of which have been donated by the ruling family and residents of the emirate. Visitors of all ages will be impressed by the museum’s rich variety of educational galleries, which provide a wealth of historical information and depict aspects of traditional life in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE. For more information, visit http://www.rakheritage.rak.ae/en/pages/rakmuseum.aspx
2. Dhayah Fort
Originally built as a 16th century fortification to defend against invading forces and now the only hilltop military tower left standing in the UAE, Dhayah Fort
offers a glimpse into Ras Al Khaimah’s riveting past while providing a modern symbol of the emirate’s enduring heritage. Military aficionados will love learning about the site’s rich backstory at their own pace through self-guided tours of the fort. Meanwhile, sightseers are sure to enjoy the breathtaking bird’s eye views of Ras Al Khaimah, framed by the Arabian Gulf and Al Hajar Mountains, thanks to the fort’s elevated position atop a rocky outcrop.
3. Trip with Seawings
Experience Seawings Urban Experience
– a seaplane adventure which takes off from the pristine shores of Ras Al Khaimah on an exciting aerial tour of the city, giving you picturesque views of the Hajar Mountains, the desert and clear blue Arabian Gulf, as well as the rich culture and heritage of the emirate.
4. Mountain Activity at Jais Mountain (Hiking, Trekking and more)
With winding roads heading towards the peak which stands at 1,934 metres high above sea level, the route offers a challenging and beautiful backdrop for hikers, mountain bikers and those looking for a scenic driving route. The mountain range also offers a number of camping spots for those who wish to spend the night under the stars.
5. Bedouin Oasis Desert Camp or Bassata Desert Camp
Live the ultimate desert experience with the Bassata Desert Village
! Enjoy a wide range of traditional Arabic activities with dune bashing, belly dancer, Arabic Tanoura, camel riding as well as Arabic barbecue. The Village also provides facilities to experience an overnight stay.
Al Hamra Golf Club
offers an eighteen-hole course (across 7,325 yards) with a broad range of facilities to enjoy the day - even off the course. The floodlit course also enables golf-fans to play after sunset.
As an alternative, Tower Links
also offers an eighteen-hole course set against the backdrop of the Hajar Mountains.
7. Water sports
A perfect activity for those who wish to either relax or enjoy a wide range of water sports
, Ras Al Khaimah’s beaches offer an extraordinary experience amongst the stunning stretches of white sand – spanning 64km of pristine coastline. The many upscale hotels available in Ras Al Khaimah also offer private beaches; some with natural lagoons for a special retreat.
For adventure seekers keen to take to the water, Ras Al Khaimah offers a great setting for scuba diving, sailing, water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing and fishing just to name a few. Many of the activities are available via the emirate’s hotels and resorts, and span from beginner to expert level.
8. Horse riding
Ras Al Khaimah is one of the few destinations where you can tick off both horse-riding in the desert and on the beach from the bucket list. The emirate offers the activity for all levels at the centres including Al Wadi Equestrian Adventure Centre
. Visitors can take lessons or go for long hacks set against the beautiful scenery of the beach and desert.
9. Banyan Tree Al Wadi
Indulge in one of Ras al Khaimah’s premier experiences- the Banyan Tree Al Wadi
, a luxury resort and experience centre in the thick of the Al Wadi Nature Reserve. Unwind at the world-class Spa
with the Banyan Tree Rainforest Experience, a signature innovation by Banyan Tree Spa that features 16 invigorating hydrothermal experiences infused with time-honoured Asian wellness philosophy. Close the day with a private dinner, complete with your own personal chef and butler, at the top of a traditional watchtower. Or enjoy a romantic cruise on a traditional dhow boat from the Ras Al Khaimah Marina, followed by a relaxing dinner at your hotel.
10. Experience authentic Ras al Khaimah food and culture
Begin your day with a traditional Emirati breakfast of Balaleet (Sweet vermicelli topped with egg) or Chbaab (pancakes) in Ras Al Khaimah City. Continue on a walking trail of Ras Al Khaimah Old Town, experiencing the simple life of past times.
For lunch, eat like a local at one of the cafeterias on the Corniche
, or at Emirari restaurant Al Fanar. Make sure to try the famous honey cake at Asayel that has been a winner with Ras Al Khaimah residents for years. Take a break and relax at the Old Corniche Beach. Take an abra (traditional small boat) to Al Qawasim Corniche
on the other side of the creek, a beautiful location with perfectly manicured lawns, waterfront restaurants, walking and running tracks and a view of the lush mangroves that are unique to Ras Al Khaimah. For sunset, make your way to the rooftop terrace of Yansoon
restaurant at the Corniche. Enjoy the view of the beautifully lit up Mohammed Bin Salim Mosque
in a distance.