Ras Al Khaimah is home to an impressive range of things to do. You could be a UAE resident or international visitor wanting to explore the diverse landscapes, adrenaline-inspired activities, bustling souks and ancient villages. Ras Al Khaimah has it all. The following is a comprehensive list of the top 20 things to do during your stay in Ras Al Khaimah.
Al Jazirah Aviation Club is based on the outskirts of Al Hamra. Jump on board a two seater plane or gyrocopter and fly over the terracotta dunes that are synonymous with Ras Al Khaimah. Imagine seeing the various landscapes, the Arabian Gulf, artificial islands, flamingo-filled mangroves, bustling ports, and the spectacular towering Jebel Jais Mountains from the sky.
Jais Flight, the longest zipline adventure in the world, is located in the cloud-piercing Jebel Jais mountains in Ras Al Khaimah. If you are a thrill-seeker, you will enjoy the adrenaline-fueled experience that takes you at knee-trembling speeds of between 120 kmph and 150 kmph for almost three hair-raising minutes across deep ravines, canyons and through jagged peaks that lie 1680 metres above sea level.
Jais Flight, +971 50 265 6224, [email protected], https://visitjebeljais.com/adrenaline/jais-flight/
Camels are highly revered in the UAE, and camel racing is deeply rooted in nomadic bedouin tradition; it’s an extraordinary sight. The races take place on winter Friday mornings from around 06.30, so be prepared to get to the race track early. It’s worth arriving at the crack of dawn to experience the contagious energy of the owners and trainers as they battle for luxury cars, trophies and monetary compensation, adding up to millions of dirhams. There are usually between 50 and 100 camels lumbering around, waiting for their call to race.
Dhayah Fort is a castle-like spectacle in the centre of a lush oasis boasting spectacular 360-degree views from mountains across date palm trees and down to the sea. Dhayah Fort is the only hill fort that remains in the United Arab Emirates. It dates back to the Late Bronze Age (1600 – 1300 BC) when locals used it for settlement and fortification. It is an important historical monument where the 1819 battle between British troops and local Qawasim tribes took place. It’s worth climbing the zigzagging steps to take in the spectacular views.
Head to the highest restaurant in Ras Al Khaimah. 1484 by Puro, proudly occupies a prime position in the Jebel Jais mountains at 1484 metres above sea level. The restaurant affords you otherworldly views across the mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows or from its expansive terraces. The cleverly designed menu features cuisine from around the world. Choose from delicious local dishes or favourites from Italy, Thailand or Korea. There’s even world-famed fish and chips from England.
Set in the heart of the Jebel Jais Mountains, Adventurati Outdoor has a well-curated collection of hikes suitable for all fitness levels and ages, from leisurely morning rambles to full-day hikes and weekend discovery adventures. Experience this jagged terrain and walk in the shadows of the historic, millennia-old peaks. Encourage your adventurous inner soul to get out and about in nature, dream, explore and discover the remotest parts of the mountains.
Al Jazirah Al Hamra is an abandoned village comprising some 500 houses that were once occupied by the Zaab tribe. Its inhabitants left the village between 1968 and 1971. Explore the fort and watchtowers, mosque, souq and extensive courtyard houses of various designs. The dwellings are made from coral blocks and fossilised beach rock, mangrove tree beams, date palm trunks, roofing, matting and ropes and layers of seashells for drainage. The open-air museum is unmanned, so precaution is advised.
The Al Wadi Equestrian Adventure Centre at the Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert is home to beautiful Arabian horses, the rare oryx, swaggering camels and pretty desert foxes. Arabian horses have always played an intrinsic role in Emirati culture; the handsome horses are considered one of the purest breeds in the world. You can participate in horse riding lessons or a leisurely wander through the dunes on horseback. Experienced riders can gallop across the sands of the terracotta desert.
The par 72, 7098 yard, 18-hole course is a firm favourite with residents and visitors. The diverse course features a driving range, putting and chipping greens and a teaching tee. The professional course presents four tee boxes and sandy waste areas that afford amateurs and professional players a more challenging game. The course occupies a protected mangrove reserve that provides a safe haven for many aquatic and bird species, including the pale pink flamingo.
Head into the Jebel Jais mountains and hurtle down the mountains at speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour swerving through glorious panoramas with views of the spectacular coastline. The speed seems amplified ten-fold because you are sitting so close to the ground. The fully-controllable ride takes about seven minutes to cover 1,885 exhilarating metres of hairpin curves and undulating waves.
The Rainforest at the Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert is a one-of-a-kind experience in the Middle East. Explore 16 different water stations as you weave your way through a carefully considered sequence of hydrothermal experiences. There are affusion showers, aroma steam, the brine cavern, a hammam, ice igloo, a rain walk and sole therapy. The journey ends with gentle stretches and relaxation on the comfortable lounge beds and use of the vitality pool. Soft acupressure massage water jets treat stress, release tense muscles and improve circulation.
The Ras Al Khaimah mangroves are home to pastel pink flamingoes who spend their days with their heads upturned, feasting on shrimp, plankton, algae and crustaceans. The mangroves are also home to the western reef heron, Kalba collared kingfisher and the greater spotted eagle. Kayak with knowledgeable guides who will share the importance of the existence of mangroves within the coastal system. You’ll encounter a variety of terrestrial and marine life while you paddle through the mangroves.
Explore the great outdoors, camping, sustainable locally cooked food and be at one with your soul and nature. Camp 1770 is the highest camp in the United Arab Emirates. It commands impressive views of the Jebel Jais mountains, abandoned shepherd communities, date farms, busy fishing villages, and the Arabian Gulf’s turquoise waters. Join the challenging nocturnal Summit Series or practice yoga under the stars; Camp 1770 allows you to disconnect from your busy urban life.
Located in the older part of Ras Al Khaimah, Skeek is a youthful Emirati restaurant with spectacular views across the Arabian Gulf. Dining in Skeek is a fun experience and allows you to try a range of delicious Arabian food. Typically, the Emiratis enjoy ‘family-style’ dining so you can sample more than one dish. Try the delicious mezze dishes, oversized seafood platters, and mixed grill specials. Set yourself up for the day with one of their exceptionally strong coffees made with bitter beans, served black and sweetened with cardamon or condensed milk. The chefs love to share fun facts about Emirati food, so they can make recommendations if you are unsure. They also have pizza on the menu for kids.
Skeek, +971 7 221 5122, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/discover/food-drinks/skeek-restaurant-cafe/
Falcons have been an integral part of Bedouin living and hunting; the birds and the Emirati culture have intertwined for thousands of years. The peregrine falcon is the world’s fastest bird and boasts impressive speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour. Bedouins used the falcon’s razor-sharp eyesight and swift flight to capture curlews, bustards and small mammals. Watch an impressive falconry performance and see within the blink of an eye the mighty speeds they reach. Try your hand at falconry at the Equestrian Centre.
The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah is housed in an old fort. There are fascinating displays of ancient pots, hunting weapons, fishing instruments and clothing that showcase thousands of years of civilisation. The museum gives a fascinating insight into the history of Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE. Tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day; students AED1, adults AED5 and families AED15.
The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, +971 7 233 3411
Visit the Suwaidi Pearls Farm and embark on a fascinating journey aboard a traditional pearl diving boat. From the original fishing village in Al Rams, your tour will begin as your guide explains the importance of the shallow bay and its protective mangroves. Your guide will impart courageous stories of the fishermen, the diving techniques they once practised and explore the various tools they used from the trader’s box ‘bish-takh-tah’.
Learn how to shop the local way! Kuwaiti souq is not for the faint-hearted. Pricing is inconsistent, so it’s a great place to practise your bargaining skills, shopkeepers expect you to try and haggle. It’s part of the Middle Eastern culture. You’ll find everything from arty nik-naks, trinkets, synthetic fabrics and pashminas, colourful herbs and spices, mops, alarm clocks and other household goods, yellow and rose gold, souvenirs, camel sculptures and other bewildering goods are all part of the wonderment. Try the sweet Karak tea or some perfectly chilled Arabian-inspired ice cream from Ashuk, a favourite local café.
Enjoy 1001 Arabian Nights and choose from Bedouin Oasis Desert Camp or Bassata Desert Village to experience life as a Bedouin. The camps replicate typical Bedouin villages where you can experience a truly nomadic existence. Chefs will prepare a variety of traditional fayre on an open grill with succulent meats and vegetables. The buffet is served with lots of delicious Arabic side dishes and warm, freshly made bread to give you an authentic taste of Bedouin living. Watch in awe the lythe movements of the belly and tanoura dancers under twinkling stars and a crackling campfire.
Manar Mall is the largest shopping and leisure complex in Ras Al Khaimah. It’s regarded as one of the finest mid to high-end malls in the Emirate. The mall Manar Mall has everything from popular international high street clothing and accessory shops such as H&M, Superdry, Marks & Spencer, Zara and Next. Makeup and skincare brands include MAC Makeup and Sephora. Large stores like ACE, Homes R Us and Carrefour will have you shopping for homeware and DIY essentials.Novo Cinema in Ras Al Khaimah’s Manar Mall offers a variety of Novo 3D, 7-star, IMAX, MX4D and Kidz experiences for all the family to enjoy. Luminaze is playful installation that allows you to discover Ras Al Khaimah through art. Thrill-seekers and Instagrammers will enjoy RAK Airventure, a tethered hot air balloon 40 metres above the ground.