Just a short journey from the bustling metropolises of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah is one the most peaceful, secluded places in the UAE.
Visitors dreaming of a quiet escape will find pure comfort here. A stunning landscape of desert dunes, a palm-lined coastline and picturesque mountains. Ras Al Khaimah is a picture postcard of old Arabia, dhows and minarets, and natural wonders.
Definitely consider lapping up the quieter side of the emirates here; it’s made a name for itself for being very welcoming with many exclusive luxury resorts on offer. It’s a place for disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnecting with nature. On the flip side, as the home of the UAE’s tallest mountain, it is also an ideal location for high-adrenaline adventure sports.
Here are five experiences no visitor to this emirate should miss.
If you’d like a truly unforgettable view of the emirate, or if time is not on your side, then the perfect way to see Ras Al Khaimah’s most scenic highlights is to take a 20-minute seaplane snapshot tour. From your luxurious window seat, you’ll be able to take in the vast desert-scapes, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, the corniche and the lagoon.
Ras Al Khaimah is the fourth largest of the seven emirates. However, it’s still only 373 square kilometers in size, meaning that from an aerial vantage point, much of Ras Al Khaimah can be explored quickly.
The tour begins and ends in Al Marjan Island. You’ll be whisked up and away with an exhilarating water take-off. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the stunning natural landscapes of Ras Al Khaimah with the expert help of your guide. Finally, make an equally exciting landing at the end of this unique journey.
The UAE is well-known for its record-breaking architecture and construction, and here’s another example of world-beating engineering.
Beginning at 1680 meters above sea-level, the Jebel Jais zipline is capable of propelling its thrill-seeking participants at a mind-boggling 150km/h along its nearly 3-kilometer length. Not for the fainthearted, clearly. It is, without a doubt, one of the UAE’s most adrenaline-pumping experiences and three minutes of pure joy.
Want to do this as a day trip from Dubai? Take a seaplane and private car combination as part of a Ras Al Khaimah tour package from Dubai. This experience provides stunning aerial views of both Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah as well as the zipline ride for a truly action-packed day.
Ziplining aside, the mountain views here are outstanding, too. Gaze at the expansive and stunning Hajar mountain range, which stretches out towards and into Oman and the most easterly Emirates.
The area is home to many hiking trails and rock climbing routes. Jebel Jais is a little cooler than most of the UAE and as such, provides a welcome retreat from the desert. Come well-prepared with adequate clothing, food and water, however, or consider booking a guide to get the very best experience.
The less-developed 40-kilometer stretch of Ras Al Khaimah provides a welcome contrast to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Here, instead of the big cities and large ports, you’ll find quaint fishing villages, boats bobbing on the gentle waves, and graceful white sails in the distance. Some of these settlements have been in place for thousands of years and have a rich history of pearl diving.
The quiet beaches here offer a chance to switch off, relax and recharge in truly peaceful surroundings. At one of the opulent resorts, you can soak up the sun and swim. Or take to the waters with one of the many water sports on offer.
Along the coast are ample mangrove swamps, too, which are home to many flamingos and other flora and fauna. Kayaking in these areas is a popular way of getting close to nature.
Ras Al Khaimah has a fascinating history. Like elsewhere in the UAE, the emirate has been home to nomadic Bedouin life for many thousands of years. Much evidence of historic settlements exists here, too, and there have been important archaeological finds.
In addition, Ras Al Khaimah was the scene of a bloody attack by the British just over two centuries ago. Modern historians tend to agree that this was an important turning point in the history of the region and helped shape the modern UAE.
You can learn more at some of these interesting historical sites in Ras Al Khaimah.
These crumbling ruins provide a fascinating insight into a historic fishing village. The village was abandoned in the 1960s and is now incredibly atmospheric, leading to many interesting local legends and ghost stories. It’s a photographer’s favorite spot, too.
These mineral-rich springs are open for those wishing to have a restorative soak in their warm waters. The mountains nearby provide a stunning backdrop. However, like many other hot spring sites, the area has been a hive of activity for thousands of years. More than a hundred archaeological finds have been gathered here, including prehistoric tombs.
This museum is housed in a fort that belonged to the ruling family until around 50 years ago. A captivating building in itself, it is also home to hundreds of exhibits. It is a fantastic place to learn about their cultural heritage involving farming and agriculture, pearl diving, and fishing.
It also houses various documents related to the British assault on Ras Al Khaimah. There are many weapons on display, too, so if you are interested in military history, this museum will fascinate.
Whatever your ambitions for a week, weekend, or even a day away from big city life in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah is an appealing prospect.
Unwind on a sunlounger, dabble in travel photography, reach breakneck speeds on a zipline or take the journey of a lifetime aboard a seaplane.
Mithu Agarwal is the Commercial Director at Seawings LLC, a trusted provider of commercial seaplane tours and charters in the UAE. The company offers aerial tours of the UAE, taking off from the Dubai Seaplane Terminal, Port Rashid and JA The Resort through which you can discover the thrill of travelling by a seaplane. Whisking passengers to 1500 feet, the route soars past the iconic city skylines, offering sublime views of the country’s architectural marvels.