The desert is the heart and soul of Arabian life in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE. It’s the birthplace…
Visiting Ras Al Khaimah
The region’s fastest-growing adventure tourism hotspot, Ras Al Khaimah is a must-visit destination for intrepid explorers, families and those seeking authentic Arabic culture and history.
Whether you are staying in Ras Al Khaimah or visiting from elsewhere in the UAE or the region, our essential travel guide provides you with all the information you need to make the most of your time in our amazing emirate.
Arriving by air
You can fly direct: Located just 18km from the central business district, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport is one of the region’s fastest-growing international hubs and welcomes flights from five international airlines: Air Arabia, Air India Express, Gulf Air, IndiGo and Qatar Airways.
From Dubai International Airport: One of the world’s busiest air hubs, DXB as it is widely known, is located a little over an hours’ drive from Ras Al Khaimah.
From Sharjah International Airport: Less than an hour from downtown Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah Airport is also the main hub for Air Arabia, one of the region’s largest low-cost airlines.
From Abu Dhabi International Airport: The home hub for Etihad Airways, the UAE’s second-largest airport is located around a 2 ½ hour drive from downtown Ras Al Khaimah.
How to reach Ras Al Khaimah by road
The UAE’s relatively compact geographical size means Ras Al Khaimah is easily accessible from all of the country’s major cities. Getting to the emirate couldn’t be easier by road, thanks to the UAE’s ultra-modern and affordable transport infrastructure.
By taxi: Grab a cab from anywhere in the UAE. Every emirate operates its own licensed fleet of vehicles, and all are regulated by their respective transport authorities. Dedicated Ladies Taxis are also available for female travellers.
Cost: Passengers flying into Dubai International Airport can expect to pay around AED250 (US$68) for an airport taxi travelling the 100km from DXB to Downtown Ras Al Khaimah. From Sharjah, expect to pay around AED150 and from Abu Dhabi, approximately AED500.
By Careem: Like Uber, Careem has revolutionised the way people book and pay for taxi services and private car hire in the Middle East. Using the Careem app, you can book one of three types of vehicles. Rates, particularly outside surge periods, are extremely affordable.
By hire car: All of the major international car hire firms are present in the UAE, alongside a number of highly reputable local companies, meaning visitors are spoilt for choice. Cars can be collected from all airports across the country or dedicated locations in each emirate, while vehicles are available for hire from just US$50 per day.
By bus: Ras Al Khaimah Transport Authority’s intra-emirate bus network operates dozens of shuttle services daily to Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. One-way tickets cost as little as AED15 one-way. All of the journeys are bookable online.
Where to stay in Ras Al Khaimah
Al Marjan Island
With 23km of incredible waterfront and almost eight kilometres of beaches, this man-made archipelago is Ras Al Khaimah’s top new lifestyle destination. It also boasts some of the UAE’s best accommodation options for families. The DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa, Marjan Island boasts a remarkable five pools, a Chuckles Kid’s Club and a unique pirate theme park, while Hampton by Hilton Marjan Island – the world’s largest Hampton with 515 guestrooms – is an ultra-modern, budget-friendly alternative that offers outstanding facilities including 750 metres of private beach, family guestrooms and a kids’ club.
The all-inclusive RIXOS Bab Al Bahr provides the ultimate family getaway, thanks to its highly flexible accommodation options and outstanding guest amenities, which include that the dedicated Rixy Kids Club and Teens Republic.
Meanwhile, the Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island presents another ideal, family friendly option. With its 300-metre-long beach, 418 guestrooms and suites, six specialty bars and restaurants, three outdoor pools, kids club and extensive water sports facilities, it’s a fantastic place to kick back and relax when not taking in the sights and sounds of Ras Al Khaimah.
Mina Al Arab
Mina Al Arab is a captivating twin-island destination located just off the coast of central Ras Al Khaimah. World-class facilities include a marina, waterfront cafés and boutiques, and even a running track, as well as high-end resorts and residences with a range of world-class facilities, from spas to restaurants.
For the ultimate beachside luxury getaway, check in to the InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort & Spa. With a selection of sea-facing rooms, suites and outstanding beachside villas with pools, which are ideal for families, as well as club rooms with extra privileges, this five-star resort is also renowned for its dining options, which include New York-inspired NoHo, ShaSha Pool Bar, and Levant & Nar, a contemporary restaurant serving inspiring Levantine cuisine.
Mina Al Arab will also soon welcome the Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort, which is scheduled to open later this year (2023). It will feature 174 guestrooms, suites and overwater villas, the latter being a first for Ras Al Khaimah.
This popular waterfront destination is home to a raft of world-class leisure and lifestyle facilities, including a yacht club, sailing club, marina, shopping mall, golf course, restaurants and cafés, and several luxury hotels and resorts.
The five-star Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is one of Al Hamra’s star attractions, known for its elegant accommodation, multiple restaurants and lounges, award-winning spa, and premium leisure facilities.
Located nearby is The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, which boasts 32 beachfront villas, each with private pools. Accessible by boat, this exclusive resort also offers tailormade dining with a focus on farm-to-table produce.
Meanwhile, the Al Hamra Village Hotel offers 219 comfortable guestrooms perfect for families, ultra-modern guest amenities and is ideally located close to Al Hamra’s 18-hotel golf course and its mega shopping mall.
Things to do in Ras Al Khaimah
Hit the water
On Hayat Island, charter a yacht and sail off into the sunset or hire a kayak and stay closer to shore, exploring the destination’s stunning and unique ecosystem.
The Al Hamra Sailing Club offers sailing and powerboat lessons, extensive water sports and hosts offshore sailing races.
The nearby Al Hamra Waterfront also offers a range of water sports and beach activities, as well as a year-round calendar of events, including festivals and pop-up markets.
Al Qawasim Corniche is another popular destination for water sports enthusiasts.
Visit the Gulf’s only working pearl farm
Head up the coast to Al Rams, the northernmost neighbourhood of Ras Al Khaimah, to learn about the UAE’s centuries-old pearl-fishing history at Suwaidi Pearl Farm. Tour the original fishing village and jump on board a traditional pearl-fishing boat to learn about the remarkable process involved.
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Strap in for some adrenalin-fuelled adventure
Jebel Jais, the region’s premier destination for adventure lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offers a range of adrenalin-fuelled experiences designed to set hearts racing. The destination’s star attraction is Jais Flight – the world’s longest zipline – which propels passengers suspended above the rugged mountain terrain at speeds of up to 160km/h.
For family friendly action closer to terra firma, check out the Jais Sledder, which slings passengers down a steel track aside the Hajar mountain range at speeds of up to 40km/h. Featuring sharp hairpin curves and undulating straights, the ride covers a total distance of almost 2km in around eight minutes.
Travel deeper into the mountains for a raft of adventure experiences, from the Bear Grylls Explorers Camp,offering abseiling, rock climbing, hiking, archery and survival courses, to 1484 by Puro – the UAE’s highest restaurant situated 1,484 metres above sea level.
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Immerse yourself in Ras Al Khaimah’s rich Arabian history
A prospective UNESCO World Heritage site, Al Jazeera Al Hamra is an historic pearling village and the only location of its kind to exist today in the Gulf region. At its peak, this thriving community featured upwards of 500 dwellings. Today, this open-air museum features a well-preserved fort, an ancient mosque, souq and extensive courtyard, which boasts a variety of dwellings constructed from locally sourced materials including fossilised beach rock, mangrove tree beams and date palm trunks.
Located at the foot of Jebel Jais is Dhayah Fort, one of the region’s most historic destinations and a prospective UNESCO World Heritage site. Climb the 239 steps to the top of the fort and take in the incredible views of the lush palm plantation that lies in the shadows of Jebel Jais to the east and across to the beautiful waterways and island dotted coastline of Al Rams to the west.
In the heart of the old city lay the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah. Situated inside an historic fort that originally dates back to the early-1600s, the museum features a number of exhibitions displaying important and rare archaeological finds and provides visitors keen insights into the lives of the early settlers of the region.