Ras al-Khaimah – the emirate, located in the north of the UAE and one of the most popular resorts in the country. It stands out among others for its pleasant climate and picturesque nature – on the outskirts it is decorated with the majestic Hajar mountains, and the Persian Gulf flows from the western side. Ras al-Khaimah covers an area of more than 2,000 km2, about 300 thousand people live in it, almost half of which are Arabs, which is a real record for the UAE.
In the center of Ras al-Khaimah there is a bay dividing it into two parts: in the north there is the resort capital of the same name and the main attractions, in the south – agricultural lands and villages. In addition, the power of the emirate extends to several small islands located in the bay itself.
Interesting to know! The name of the resort means “cape of small huts.” Since ancient times, fishermen have lived here in small villages.
Four thousand years ago, representatives of the Umm al-Nar culture lived in this territory, using a mild climate for the development of agriculture and cattle breeding. Products collected on these lands were often sold to Babylon, which contributed to the economic strengthening of the settlement, but already in the middle of the first millennium BC. e. the settlement was overtaken by a drought, which led to the decline of Umm al-Nar.
After several tens of centuries, on these lands, the Armenians formed the Arab Caliphate with its capital in Julfar – today’s Ras al-Khaimah. Since the beginning of the 18th century, the emirate has developed through piracy, but after 100 years its residents were forced to abandon this type of activity in exchange for an agreement on the protection of Great Britain from aggressive Turkey.
The modern history of Ras al-Khaimah begins at the beginning of the 20th century with the declaration of its independence from Sharjah in 1909. The emirate maintained this situation until 1972, while his sheikh agreed to join the UAE. From then until today, Ras al-Khaimah has been the last emirate to join the country.
Should I go on holiday in the UAE to Ras Al Khaimah? What is the climate in the northern part of the country, where are the most interesting sights and which hotel is better to choose? Answers to all questions of tourists – in this article.
Ras al-Khaimah is very different from other parts of the UAE: its main attractions are natural or historical, and instead of skyscrapers – small settlements and ordinary houses. The city does not go by public transport, all movements within the emirate occur either by taxi or on foot. To the neighboring regions of the UAE can be reached by bus or plane (airport 20 km from the city).
Note! There are several official taxi services in Ras Al Khaimah, but all of them do not set clear prices. Be sure to bargain with the driver and remember that the average price of a trip within the city is 10 AED.
As mentioned earlier, Ras al-Khaimah in recent years has become very popular among tourists, the reason for this is the excellent value for money. Undoubtedly, in Dubai or the capital of the UAE, you can find hotels with the same prices as here, but they are unlikely to be located on the first line, offer you an All Inclusive system or free tours.
In total, there are about 30 hotels in Ras Al Khaimah, several of them have 5 stars and represent world-class chains. For budget holidays, three- and four-star hotels are suitable, the prices of which start from 150 and 185 dirhams for double rooms. Daily rent of apartments in Ras al-Khaimah will cost about the same – from 200 AED per studio per day.
Most often, tourists choose Ras al-Khaimah hotels with the All inclusive system, but for those who stay in a hotel of a different type, there are many catering establishments in the city. Compared to other areas of the UAE, the prices in the resort’s restaurants are slightly lower – about 150 AED for dinner for two. The best establishments of Ras Al Khaimah:
- Sanchaya. Asian restaurant with an average cost of 60 dirhams.
- Mediterranean dishes are offered at Meze, which serves free drinks. A standard dinner for two in this restaurant will cost 370 AED.
- The best bar in Ras Al Khaimah – TreeTop Bar. Here you can enjoy a delicious cocktail, smoke a hookah or drink a bottle of good wine. Prices are above average, service at an appropriate level.
What to see
Arriving in the UAE, many tourists seek to see the sights of Dubai, and there are reasons for this. Ras al Khaimah has many interesting places and attractions, but they are unlikely to be able to overshadow the Dubai Mall or Burj Khalifa. We advise you to set aside a separate day for visiting all the attractions of Dubai, since the distance between the emirates reaches 100 km and several trips along this route can greatly affect your budget.
On the other hand, every corner of the UAE has its own unique places worth visiting. For example, in Ras al-Khaimah you can watch camel races, take a walk in one of several parks and hone your skills at a golf club. In addition, here you can enjoy diving and fishing, relax in nature or go on a desert safari. Among all the attractions of Ras al-Khaimah, we have highlighted for you the most popular hearts of tourists who arrived in the UAE:
The area with the most important historical sights of the resort is located in the western part of the resort. This is the oldest area of the city, where buildings of more than a thousand years ago have been preserved. In addition, you can see a 16th-century mosque and ancient watchtowers, walk along the promenade and see how local fishermen make Dau – traditional Arab boats.
The main attraction of the Old City is the former residence of the rulers of the emirate, Al-Hisn Fort and a modern museum, which we will talk about in more detail.
A two-story fort with high watchtowers, circular staircases and wide terraces is not only an example of traditional Arabian architecture, but also an interesting attraction. For over 30 years, it has been a museum of national importance, which houses several hundred historical exhibits: household items, unique jewelry, ancient weapons and historical documentation. Most of the objects presented in the museum can be touched.
Al-Hisn is open every day from 9 to 18, on Friday – from 15 to 19:30. Ticket price – 5 dirhams, children admission is free. Attraction Address: Rak City. You can download the information booklet and the map of the museum here – www.rakheritage.rak.ae/Documents/InfoCenter/en/museum.pdf.
Ice Land Water Park is the largest water park in the UAE. Almost 8 years have passed since its opening, but tourists from all over the country still come here for affordable prices and great entertainment.
The attraction is located in the eastern part of the resort, at Al Jazeera. Here, in Antarctica (this is the style of a water park), you can slide down more than 30 slides, swim in one of the 7 pools and relax in a cafe (main dishes 30 dirhams, drinks about 15 dirhams). The water park is open from 10 to 18 every day, the entrance costs 75 dirhams, the cost of a family ticket for parents and one child is 100 AED, you can order on this website www.icelandwaterpark.com/book-tickets/.
Important! Do not take food with you, as security guards check bags at the entrance and ask them to leave food outside the water park.
The highest mountain in the UAE is located in the north of Ras al-Khaimah and reaches 1934 meters in height. Almost paved roads lead to the very top, on which travelers can travel either by car or as part of an excursion (can be booked at a hotel or tourist center). From the very bottom every few kilometers there are equipped recreation areas with picnic places and toilets.
Before you go on a trip, take water and food with you (there are food vans along the way on weekends), warm clothes and a camera to capture stunning views from the top. You can park your car in a guarded or free parking lot, all of them are marked with special signs or signs.
Note! Do not take alcoholic drinks for a picnic – drinking them outside your home or hotel bar is prohibited by UAE laws.
One of the largest shopping centers of Ras al-Khaimah is located at Sheikh Mohammad Bin Salem Road and is open from 10 to midnight on Thursday and Friday, closes at 22 on other days. There is a supermarket with a wide range of products, a food mole, brand boutiques clothes, souvenir shops, author’s chocolate shop, children’s play area and cinema. Prices in a shopping center are lower than in stores near hotels, and dates and fruits from a bench on the ground floor are less than in the market. Al Hamra Mall also has a bank and a currency exchange.
Huge fields with 18 holes, more than 10 professional trainers, platforms for beginners and experienced players – all this is in the prestigious Al Hamra Golf Club. They teach the skill of tourists of any age and conduct group classes. Before visiting the attraction, you need to reserve a place on this site www.alhamragolf.com/home.aspx.
On the territory of the golf club there is a Belgian cafe, shops with equipment, a gym, a games room, a bar and a restaurant overlooking the field. The cost of classes ranges from 170 AED for children and adolescents to 200 AED for adults in 30 minutes of the game. Club members receive a discount.
There are no public beaches on the entire Persian Gulf coast; all of them have been privatized by hotels over the past 10 years. Most often, tourists stay at Ras al-Hamra hotels located on the seafront, so as not to overpay for entry each time.
Important! Despite the fact that Ras al-Hamra is one of the most liberal emirates of the UAE, it is forbidden to go in a swimsuit outside the beach or the area near the pools.
The best Ras Al Hamra hotels on the first line are the Jannah Resort and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. They offer their guests a rest on a protected clean beach with all amenities, bars and restaurants, as well as several pools with a comfortable water temperature, which is so nice to enter after the hot sea.
More budget hotels by the sea are the City Stay Beach Hotel Apartment overlooking the bay and Al Hamra Residence & Village, located a minute’s walk from the coast.
The UAE is characterized by clean beaches with well-developed infrastructure, convenient entry into the water and sand cover. In summer, the bay in Ras al-Khaimah warms up to + 33 ℃ degrees, and in winter the temperature drops to + 21 ℃. Wild beaches in the UAE are rare, most often swimming in such places is prohibited. There are usually a lot of people on the coast, but due to the fact that the beaches have a large area, there is no crowd feeling.
Weather and climate
The weather in Ras al-Khaimah is no different from other regions of the UAE. There is also no concept of the beach season, there is little rainfall and always high air temperature – from + 23 ℃ in January to + 41 ℃ in August. Most tourists come to the UAE from September to May, since in the summer it is not just uncomfortable to be outdoors, but also unsafe. In winter, the sea warms up to a sufficient level, but keep in mind that the wind, occasional rains and cool evenings can ruin your vacation.
It’s very hot here! The UAE has a law prohibiting any work activities on the street during the summer from 12:30 to 15:00. In addition, air conditioners in the country operate at full capacity not only in cars and buildings, but also at public transport stops.
Ras al-Khaimah – the only corner of the UAE, where snow fell. For the first time this happened in 2004 in the Jebel Jais mountains, not only many local residents, but also the ruler of the country came to see this natural phenomenon that is familiar to us.
How to get from Dubai
The 100-kilometer distance from Dubai to Ras al-Khaimah can be overcome in several ways:
- Take bus number 600 from the central bus station near Union metro to Ras al Khaimah Bus Station. Ticket price 20 dirhams, travel time – 1.5 hours. Tickets can be bought on site;
- By taxi. The fare will be about 200-250 dirhams, the trip time is just over an hour;
- Transfer from the hotel (about 300 dirhams) or by rented car (from 100 AED per day).
Note! An additional fee is charged for crossing the border between the emirates in the UAE – 20 dirhams per person.
Ras Al Khaimah is a great place to relax. Enjoy the waves of the Persian Gulf and the natural beauties of the UAE! Have a nice trip!
What the city looks like outside the hotels – watch this educational video.