48 hours in RAK

Date 12 Sep 2019

Discover rich traditions and ancient history

With thousands of years of recorded human history, Ras Al Khaimah is steeped in rich Arabian culture and a fascinating Bedouin heritage. Here’s a weekend’s worth of inspiration for an authentic experience in the emirate.

Thursday evening: eat like a local

Get settled into your hotel and then enjoy an Arabic dinner at one of the many restaurants in Ras Al Khaimah. Sample some traditional Emirati cuisine at Al Fanar Restaurant & Café, be sure to order the Machboos (meat or fish with rice cooked with special spices), Thereed (a local stew) and fareed (vegetable stew with bread). Alternatively, head to Marjan at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah or Al Jazeera at the Hilton Al Hamra Beach & Golf Resort for a feast of popular Arabic cuisine from across the region.

Friday morning: into the wild

Book into Alma Retreat for some peaceful early morning yoga amongst the gorgeous rolling dunes of the desert. Then head to Al Wadi Equestrian Adventure Centre to explore the desert on horseback with a guided trail. Equestrian activities are a distinguished tradition in the UAE, and here you can meet some beautiful Arabian horses, as well as camels. Next, take in a falcon show to learn about why these impressive birds of prey are so important in Emirati culture.

Friday afternoon: this is history

Visit the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah. Housed in an old fort that dates from the early 19th century, the museum is a fascinating insight into the history of the UAE, with displays of artefacts that encompass thousands of years of civilisation. From ancient pots and hunting weapons to fishing instruments and clothing, there’s lots to discover. Pearl diving in the emirate dates back to the Julfar dynasty of the 12th and 13th centuries and the Al-Suwaidi family are honoring that tradition. Visit the family’s pearl farm, which uses premium oysters from the shores of Rams to produce the world’s best Arabian pearls. Explore the charming ramparts of the fort and imagine traditional life in the emirate, then follow up with some shopping in the souqs and markets of the city. Be sure to treat yourself to an ice cream at ASHUK – a local favourite.

Friday evening: dining in the desert

Head to Bassata Desert Village or Bedouin Oasis Desert Camp and experience life as a Bedouin in a tented village set amongst the dunes. As well as a delicious Arabic BBQ dinner, entertainment includes Egyptian dancing, a falcon show, henna painting and camel riding.

Saturday morning: mountain magic

Take a drive up Jebel Jais at sunrise to enjoy incredible views and the morning breeze atop the UAE’s highest mountain. For the ultimate bucket list experience, return to ground level on the World’s Longest Zipline. Travelling down at speeds of up to 150kph from Jebel jais, this is a must for adrenaline junkies. On the way back to your hotel, stop off at Dhayah Fort, set amid date palm groves. Defensive structures have stood in this spot for hundreds of years and the hilltop fort itself played a major role in resistance against the British in 1819.

Saturday afternoon: and relax

Pause to enjoy that characteristic Arabian hospitality with some relaxation time in the spa or a lazy afternoon tea before heading home. On the way, stop off to take a quick look around Jazirah Al Hamra, an abandoned village that offers a feel of how locals lived before the rapid development of modern times.

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