Ras Al Khaimah is a haven for leisure lovers searching for sun, sand, sea, and adventure. Sitting on the northern most part of the United Arab Emirates, the beautiful emirate is rich with history and culture. During the Christmas holidays, my mum and I spent 3 days learning about the important and vibrant history of the emirate, as well as enjoyed the cultural sights. Research shows that Ras Al Khaimah’s civilization dates back 7,000 years, so you can imagine how much history the emirate has seen!
Here are my top 5 places to visit, when exploring Ras Al Khaimah.
Ras Al Khaimah Museum
This humble museum is built in an old fort and showcases Ras Al Khaimah’s history from the beginning, until today. Thanks to its strategic location, the emirate was a key player in the trade game and has seen traders from around the subcontinent visit it’s shores, and leave an imprint in it’s history. Visitors can enjoy learning all about the importance of the maritime region, and take a deeper look at how life progressed through the centuries.
Al Jazirah Al Hamra
Also known as the “Ghost Village”, Al Jazirah Al Hamra is actually an abandoned fishing village. There is no evidence currently to explain why the fishermen left this area, however as you walk through the maze of houses, make sure to notice their infrastructure. An important building element was to use coral and sand from the sea, which is filled with hundreds of tiny shells to support the foundation.
Al Qawasim Corniche
A beautiful stretch of 1.8 km, Ras Al Khaimah’s corniche offers tranquility to it’s visitors. The promenade overlooks a beautiful mangrove teeming with birds in their natural habitat, set against a backdrop of the Al Hajar mountains. We visited in the afternoon so it was a bit quiet, however it gets busy when the sun starts to set. There is an abundance of cafés to satisfy every taste, and you can also rent a bike to enjoy the naturally shaded pathways.
Al Dhayah Fort
Located 30 minutes from the corniche, Al Dhayah Fort is historically known for being the last point of battle between the Qawasim tribe and British soldiers in 1819. Today, it offers breathtaking views of the sea, Hajar mountains and lush date palm trees. It is the UAE’s last remaining hilltop fort having stood the test of time for more than 200 years.
If you live in the UAE, you will be no stranger to the name of the UAE’s tallest mountain. Jebel Jais was made popular last year when Ras Al Khaimah Tourism introduced “Toroverde”, the world’s longest zipline (and no I have not tried it). The mountain also features a viewing deck which offers exceptional vistas of the landscape, and can be reached either by car or public bus.
For those looking for the ultimate relaxation, Ras Al Khaimah is home to some of the UAE’s most gorgeous resorts such as the Waldorf Ras Al Khaimah with views of the sea (one of my favourite places to escape the city), and the Ritz Carlton Al Wadi which is an oasis in the desert.
Fun facts about Ras Al Khaimah:
- Ahmad Ibn Majid, one of the emirate’s most famous seaman and navigators, helped Vasco da Gama find his way from Africa to India.
- Ras Al Khaimah means “peak of the tent”
- It was labelled “The Pirate Coast” by the British in the 18th century
- By signing the Treaty of 1820 with the British, Ras Al Khaimah agreed to end piracy and slavery. This act was also the start of the British protectorate until 1971.
- You can find natural thermal baths in the Khatt area of Ras Al Khaimah
- Ras Al Khaimah opened the UAE’s first cement company in the 1970’s which paved the way for RAK Ceramics, a global provider in ceramics.
- The emirate was first known as “Julphar”
- Ras Al Khaimah broke the Guinness World Record for the largest aerial firework shell weighing just over 1,000 kg during New Year’s Eve 2018.
- It has one of the UAE’s largest date farms, with 18 different date varieties.
Interesting reading and more information:
Disclaimer: All views are my own and all photographs are © My Pink Diary, unless otherwise stated.