Ras Al-Khaimah is that pleasant, laid-back, sun-kissed part of the UAE which is a restful escape from the hustle and bustle of busy Dubai. Ras Al-Khaimah is located at northern tip of the UAE, backed by the majestic Hajar Mountains. The sea is turquoise blue and unspoilt, with miles and miles of pristine beach for play. The Ras Al Khaimah region is rich in history, as has been proven by the many archaeological excavations that have taken place here. This area has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. So there you have it – pristine beaches, wonderful sights, rugged sports on the Hajar Mountains and a rich history in a modern, atmospheric city. Plus, the world’s longest zipline! Couldn’t ask for more, could you?
1. Ras Al-Khaimah National Museum
Once a fort and the home of the ruling family till the early 1960s, the museum displays a plethora of archaeological and ethnological artefacts. These range from a collection of rare documents in the Qawasim Room, including treaties between RAK and Great Britain in the good old days. You’ll find several traditional weapons that once were used by the ruling family. You’ll also find many archaeological finds dating back to the early settlers, all the way up to the late Islamic period. You’ll also learn about the Emirati way of life before oil was struck as well. The RAK museum is one of the best tourist attractions in Ras Al Khaimah.
2. Dhayah Fort
The Dhayah Fort was built during the 16th century in order to defend the region from British attack from the sea. It’s a mud-brick fort that still stands strong on its strategic hilltop position facing the gulf. The fort has played a crucial role in RAK’s history. From the fort, you can see other watchtowers and fortifications towards the south. The famous battle between the Emiratis and the British in 1891 destroyed a great deal of the defence set up. Enjoy the immensely panoramic views from the fort's ramparts and explore the old but very atmospheric fort.
3. Jazirat al-Hamra
Jazirat al-Hamra is an abandoned fishing village that’s now almost in ruins. This place is a tourist attraction because it’s a very photogenic place. The houses of this village have been constructed out of traditional coral blocks, at a time when using coral wasn’t banned yet. The simple houses in their black coral are well preserved in the dry heat of the desert. Explore this village and take as many pictures as you like. Ponder on its unique lost-in-time atmosphere.
4. Jebel Jais Zip Line
Jebel Jais is the UAE’s tallest peak. There’s much you can do here – drive up to the summit at 1,934 meters, hike, trek, enjoy great views from viewing platforms along the route and more. But more than the beautiful far-reaching vistas, you’ll find something more recent pulling at your interests – the new Jebel Jais Zipline. If you’re a thrill seeker, you’re going to love ziplining at speeds of up to 150kph at 1,680 metres above sea level. You’ll be fitted with a special harness, and for about three minutes, you’ll be in a world of your own, screaming away in joy. Check out blog posts on the world’s longest zipline; you’ll be thrilled to bits!
5. Khatt Springs
Visit the mineral-rich hot water pools of Khatt Springs, to soak in the therapeutic and relaxing properties of the water. The Khatt Springs resort is located in a lush, green palm-tree strewn oasis, with the Hajar Mountains at its back. Enjoy soaking away your cares, worries, muscle pains and other issues in the incredibly soothing waters of Khatt Springs. When you’ve had enough, take some time to explore some of the 170 archaeological sites in the area. Over the years, archaeologists have uncovered several prehistoric tombs and mud-brick fortification towers from the 19th century.
6. Hajar Mountain Safari
Do you want to experience the true charm of the Hajar Mountains? How about signing up for a guided mountain safari, which includes a scenic drive along the mountain foothills. The safari includes various activities such as biking, abseiling, rock climbing, mountaineering and hill walking for the outdoor enthusiasts. Be sure to experience the ‘Wadi Descent’ where you’ll be traversing through the narrow waterways that flow in the mountains. It’s an exciting safari and one meant for those who truly like to challenge themselves in the outdoors. It’s also a way to know the Hajar Mountains intimately, so don’t miss out on this!
7. Iceland Waterpark
What a perfect break from the scorching heat of the city! If you have kids in your party, you cannot do better than to take them to RAK’s well known Iceland Water Park. Enjoy various thrilling rides, slides and lazy rivers and other water-based fun at Iceland Waterpark, feeling cool and refreshed. Be sure to enjoy the Penguin Falls, Mount Attack, Pengu Pool, Coral Isle, Kids Cove, Mount Cyclone and other fun rides.
8. Ras Al Khaimah Zoo
The Ras al-Khaimah zoo covers an area of one million square meters, which makes it the UAE’s third largest zoo. Be sure to admire the very beautiful and scary rare white and golden tigers. The zoo also has its share of black panthers, cheetahs, rare antelope, deer, African and white lions, wild buffaloes and more. Don’t miss out the aviary which has a collection of lovely birds from around the world. The zoo’s creatures are maintained within air-conditioned cages and pool areas. Their cage walls are decorated with 3D images that depict scenes from the animals’ natural habitats. You can get close to the animals and admire them, as there are plenty of guards to maintain safety.
9. Ras Al Khaimah Beaches
If you’re not interested in history or sightseeing, then you’ll love the pristine white sand beaches of Ras Al Khaimah. The scenery is simply magical, with miles of ocean stretched out in front of you, turquoise blue and green, under the cornflower blue sky. At RAK’s beaches you can go snorkelling and diving, and of course, swimming and beach bumming. Below the waterline you’ll find beautiful black coral colonies that are a diver’s delight. Enjoy the best of Ras Al Khaimah attractions at the emirate’s many beaches.
10. Desert Safari
RAK’s immense red sand dune desert is a beautiful landscape that simply must be experienced. It’s pristine and lovely and inspires the adventurer and poet within you. You can enjoy desert adventure sports such as dune bashing, quad biking, camel riding and sand boarding to your heart’s content. Sign up for an evening or overnight desert safari and you can enjoy a wonderful Emirati dinner with entertainment as well. RAK is well known for the Bassata Desert Village in Al Wadi, where you can gain an insight into the desert life of old.
RAK has something for every kind of tourist. If you love sunbathing and swimming, you got it. If you are an adrenalin junkie, then the Jebel Jais Zipline will have you all thrilled out. RAK is the best destination for a holiday for kids as well, so what are you waiting for?