When travellers think of the United Arab Emirates, they usually picture shining cityscapes, bustling nightlife and luxury shopping, but located less than one hour north from Dubai International Airport, the enchanting Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah awaits those who wish to escape to a truly authentic Arabian experience. With its crystal waters, stunning natural surroundings, rich cultural history and myriad things to do, this northernmost emirate continues to grow as one of the world’s premier tourism destinations for all the right reasons.
Witness Stunning Surroundings
With year-round sunshine, mild winters and diverse natural landscapes, including golden sandy beaches, awe-inspiring terracotta dunes and rugged mountain ranges, Ras Al Khaimah eagerly invites visitors to explore its stunning vistas.
For sun seekers who simply want to enjoy a leisure day on the shimmering waterfront, Ras Al Khaimah’s 60 kilometres of scenic coastline and marine views are sure to impress. On the man-made archipelago of Al Marjan, consisting of four picturesque coral-shaped islands, breathtaking beaches are accompanied by world-class facilities, luxury resorts, hotels and clubs.
Feeling a bit more adventurous? Then, head over to the mighty Hajar Mountains, which dominate Ras Al Khaimah’s horizon all the way down to its azure shores, and trek up to the 1,934-metre high summit of UAE’s tallest peak, Jebel Jais.
After a hard day’s hike, take a much needed break at the foot of the Hajar Mountains, just 20 minutes from the city, where the mineral-rich pools of Khatt Springs provide a rejuvenating oasis for weary travellers looking to relax.
Immerse Yourself in Arabian History and Heritage
For treasure hounds and time travellers alike, Ras Al Khaimah presents an idyllic destination for true culture enthusiasts, immersing visitors in over 5,000 years of visible history and heritage.
Saunter through the Old Town, along the seashore and up the main street of Sidroh, where open-air marketplaces, known as souks, offer traditional arabian merchandise at bargain prices, including textiles, handicrafts, herbs and spices.
Peer into a distant past at the Queen of Sheba’s Palace in Shamal, dated as early as 14th century A.D. and reputed as one of the UAE’s oldest palaces.
Leave your footprints in the sands of time at the 16th century Dhaya Fort, where soldiers once fought to protect their lands and the only hilltop military tower that still stands in the UAE. For a touch of intrigue, head south to ancestral home of the Za’ab tribe on ‘the red island’ Jazirat Al Hamra, where adobe houses and coral buildings have remained untouched for decades and cast a mysterious atmosphere.
History lovers will want to venture into the city centre, where the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum, formerly the residence of the Al Qasimi Royal family, houses a wide array of ancient ornaments and archaeological artefacts, including manuscripts and documents of great value. There are also numerous exhibits and displays throughout the museum about early settlers in the area and traditional life in the emirate.
Nearby at the Ras Al Khaimah Pearl Museum, treasure hunters can gaze upon an impressive collection of sparkling pearls, as well as the equipment used to harvest them, while learning about the importance of pearls to the region’s economy and culture.
Indulge in Endless Fun and Exciting Arabian Adventures
Whether you are interested in desert safaris or authentic camps, camel riding or falcon shows, fishing, water sports or all of the above, Ras Al Khaimah provides visitors with an array of genuine Arabian activities and adventures to enjoy.
Interact with Arabian Gazelle, Oryx and other unique wildlife on a dedicated nature reserve, or catch spectacular falcon shows at Banyan Tree Al Wadi desert resort and spa.
Spend Alladin-esque nights by a roaring campfire in the desert at Bedouin Oasis, an authentic recreation of traditional Bedouin life with real goat’s hair tents, soft cushions on the warm sand and an underground oven for an evening barbecue with mezze platters and freshly baked bread.
Just steps away, embark on a journey to the romantic Bassata Desert Village and join in on traditional activities,such as 4X4 desert excursions on towering dunes, calming camel rides and safaris, henna hand drawings and belly dancing.
For lovers of the great outdoors, the Hajar Mountains provide the perfect terrain for a wide variety of mountain sports and activities, including kayaking, climbing, camping and biking.
Golf enthusiasts should be sure to head for Ras Al Khaimah’s world-class golfing destinations, including Al Hamra Golf Club, a Par 72 championship golf course with 7,325 yards of lush greens weaving around four interconnected Arabian Gulf water lagoons. From 26th-29th October, Al Hamra Golf Club will also host leading professional players in a £243,000 tournament during the inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge, the penultimate event of the European Challenge Tour 2016 season.
To escape the heat, fun-seeking families and children of all ages are sure to enjoy the themed scenery, games and attractions of Ice Land Water Park in Al Riffa, featuring a wave pool, thrilling water slides and the cascading Penguin Falls, the world’s tallest man-made waterfall. Alternatively, you can always count on Ras Al Khaimah’s crystal clear, calm waters and cool breezes for ideal water sport conditions and choose from jet skiing, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and more.
If you prefer to be pampered in the lap of luxury, treat yourself to a traditional hammam bath, massage, facial and body treatment at The Spa at Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa. Or, take a blissful break amidst the rolling sandscape at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi’s new Spa Sanctuary Tented Pool Villas, with a wide selection of soothing massage treatments to choose from. Treatments at the Banyan Tree Spa can also be complemented by The Rainforest, an award-winning, exclusive hydrotherapy facility infused with time-honoured Asian wellness philosophy and traditions.
For peace and quiet, the lush greenery and well maintained landscapes of Saqr Park in Ras Al Kaihmah’s Kieran area provide a perfect place to unwind and relax for the evening. Or, take a pleasure walk through Al Qawassim Corniche, spread over 41,000 square feet of luxurious facilities, shops, international gourmet restaurants, cafes and genuine arabian ambiance.
For those wishing to escape to a truly authentic Arabian experience, where nature, culture and adventure all meet in one place, Ras Al Khaimah can't be beat.
From stunning destinations to scrumptious cuisine and must-stay accommodations, you'll find it here.