Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

Wadi Al Shawkha

Dhayah Fort

Jebel Jais

Ras Al Khaimah is the northernmost Emirate of the UAE, in fact its name literally translates to “head of the tent”!  Its rich cultural landscape coupled with white sandy beaches makes this an utterly desirable vacation spot for tourists and residents alike.  It has something for everyone; ancient archaeological sites for the history lovers among us, incredible 5* hotels and desert oases for those craving a little bit of luxury and tons of adventure sports including the world’s longest zipline at Jebel Jais, the UAE’s tallest mountain!

 

Here at Where To HQ we have explored, investigated and experienced your top recommendations to find a jam packed (or jam RAK-ed) itinerary to keep you busy whilst on your stay in the “Rising Emirate”.

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Where To Wanderlust - Short Stay

Friday –

Spend the day at Jebel Jais

 

After a morning’s worth of travelling, you’ll be craving some “on-your-feet” activities so head up to the UAE’s tallest mountain, Jebel Jais, for some high adrenaline fun.  There are mountain biking trails, rock climbing, a sky park and of course the world’s longest zipline. For those who are happy just snapping some photos this has got to be one of the most Instagram-able spots in RAK at 1,934m above sea level!

Hit an evening Dune Safari at Bassata Camp

 

After you're finished with your thrill packed morning, head out to the Bassata Camp for a true traditional Bedouin experience.  Enjoy an air-conditioned safari trip into the dunes and exciting entertainment as well as a BBQ Dinner.

 

Stay at the Ritz Carlton Al Wadi

 

This stunning hotel has to be seen to be believed.  In the peace of the desert, you can star-gaze to your hearts delight or just relax in your own huge bathroom!

 
Saturday –

Have a morning history lesson at Dhayah Fort 

 

After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, it’s time to head out for some history!  A must see, the Dhayah Fort is the only surviving hilltop fort in the UAE.  The fort dates back to the 16th century, and visitors can expect incredible views of the mountain range and the sea beyond.  Be forewarned though, there’s 234 steps to the top!

 

Afternoon culture at Suwadi Pearl Farm 

 

After all that step-climbing it’s time to rest those legs (and maybe gain some sea legs) for a tour of the Suwadi Pearl Farm.  This on-the-water tour takes guests in a traditional Pearl Divers boat to visit the Suwadi Pearls Farmhouse and learn about pearl diving in the region.  The question is will you find a pearl? (apparently there is only a 60% chance!). 

 

Evening chills at the Ghost Village

 

It is time to head home but the brave among you might want to take a quick stop off at Al Jazirat Al Hamra.  This eerie abandoned town, whose name in Arabic translates to “Red Island”, was once a prominent pearling village but now it’s bustling streets stand empty. There are rumours of ghostly goings-on so you might not want to stay after the sun sets!

 
 

Where To Wayfarer - Long Stay

Thursday –

Step up… to an afternoon in Dhayah Fort 

 

You’re going to kick off your adventure with a climb… of 234 steps!  At the top of this 16th century hillside fort you will be blown away by the spectacular views of luscious palms, dramatic mountain ranges and the azure ocean beyond.

 

Sunset spotting at Al Rahms Beach 

 

Grab your camera and head off to Al Rahms Beach before the sun goes down for some insta-worthy shots on what is considered the UAE’s purest beach!  If your legs aren’t too tired from all those stairs you can jump on the walking track for amazing sunset views. 

 

Stay at the Hilton Beach Resort (2 nights)

 

A Where To fan favourite! The Hilton Beach Resort offers 7 outdoor pools, a spa and 1.5km of private, white sand beach.  You will spend two nights here, maybe you could even unpack your suitcase!   You are going to need a rest after this fun-packed trip away so make sure you make the most of your bedroom’s comfy King-sized beds or soaking the evening away in your (extra) large bathtub!

City of Ras Al Khaimah

Friday –

Early morning hike at Wadi Shawka 

 

Time for an early rise!  Who needs sleep, right?!  Fill up on that breakfast buffet and pack plenty of water (and if you are anything like me – snacks!) for an epic trip scaling Wadi Shawka’s manmade staircase.  Once you’re at the top, take a deep breath and enjoy your surroundings.  Then you have a choice of routes of differing lengths heading back down to the car park.  You’ll need a good pair of shoes for this adventure.

 

Lazy Afternoon on Flamingo Beach or Spa at Ritz Carlton

 

After all that exercise is time to enjoy a lazy afternoon at Flamingo Beach.  A family friendly beach, with a large car park and surrounded by trendy cafes you can wile away the hours reading or listening to a podcast while the kids play in the waves. 

Or if you have left the kids at home and feel like treating yourself head off to the Spa and Rainforest at the Ritz Carlton Wadi Desert. Indulge yourself in the tranquillity of the rainforest rooms and at AED 150 for 1 hour it’s a steal!

 

Evening wander through Old Souk and Al Qawasim Corniche Road

 

Now that you are feeling all zen you can take a relaxing stroll down Al Qawasim Cornish Road to pick up some bargains and souvenirs (because is it really a trip in the UAE if you didn’t shop?!).  And then head over to the Old Souk to get some traditional haggling practice in.  Head back to the Hilton Beach Resort for another relaxing night.

 

Saturday –

Everyone needs a bit of culture in the morning - At Suwadi Pearl Farm 

 

Head over to the Al Rams Marina to meet your guide for a tour of the historical pearl farming industry.  You will jump aboard a traditional Pearl Divers Boat, a take a tour of the mangroves and their surroundings and finish at the Suwadi Pearl Farmhouse, a floating pontoon!  Will you discover the mystic Arabian Pearl?

 

Head to the top of Jebel Jais this afternoon

 

From sea level you will travel 1,934m above it to reach the peak of Jebel Jais, the UAE’s tallest mountain.  Here you can challenge yourself to a host of adrenaline packed activities including, of course, the World’s longest Zipline, where you will travel at dizzying speeds of up to 150kph!  If adrenaline junkie-ism isn’t your thing, however, there is also great viewing spots on the way up to the peak.

 

Spend the evening and night at Bedouin Oasis Camp 

 

Another Where To fan favourite the Bedouin Oasis Camp offers guests a chance to have an experience like no other in the desert.  You stay in Bedouin style tents in the RAK desert. You can book on to do evening activities and tours if you wish or just enjoy the secluded setting, the peace and quiet and the dazzling array of stars in the night sky.  When it’s time to settle down for the night don’t panic!  The natural material tents have all the modern amenities such as a queen-sized bed, air conditioning and an en-suite bathroom.  There is also an outdoor swimming pool and nightly BBQs to enjoy.

 

Sunday –

A morning dive at Al Jazeera Diving and Swimming Centre 

 

The waters around RAK are a firm favourite with divers, and there is no better way to explore it than with Al Jazeera Diving and Swimming Centre, RAK’s only certified dive resort. They have a focus on marine and environmental conservation, so you might learn a bit too!  Not to worry if you haven’t got your PADI license yet they also offer boat and snorkelling trips.

 

An afternoon of wonder at National Museum of RAK 

 

Finish your trip off with a wander around the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah.  This museum is chock full of archaeological and ethnological artifacts and is housed in a fort that used to be the residence of the ruling family until the 1960’s.  You can now head back home with your head full of knowledge… and tired feet!

City views of Ras Al Khaimah

 

Where To - What's there?

Hilton, Ras Al Khaimah

Here at Where To HQ we think every member of the family is important and so we have put together a list of different activities suitable for everyone.  But everyone is different, right?

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Hilton Hotel Beach, Ras Al Khaimah

For Couples:

 

Bedouin Oasis Camp

 

A Bedouin Style adventure in the Ras Al Khaimah desert.  Stay in traditional styled tents and enjoy activities and tours during your stay.  Offers couples only tents for a romantic getaway under the stars.

 

Bear Grylls Explorer Camp 

 

For the adventurous couple the Bear Grylls Explorer Camp offers a half-day, full-day and a 24 hour (not for the faint hearted) survival experience on top of Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain.

 

Al Rahms Beach at Sunset 

 

Truly Instagram-able.  Snap those perfect shots of your loved one on the UAE’s purest beach.  Extra points for an incredible sunset pic!

 

RAK Old Souk

 

Spend quality time with your significant other strolling the Old Souk, and maybe even grab yourself a bargain while you’re at it!

 

For teenagers:

 

RAK Track – Karting Center

 

Enjoy an adrenaline filled rush at Ras Al Khaimah’s only karting facility.  Find your inner speed demon and race your family with arrive and drive session which will be sure to put a smile on everyone’s face… even your teenager!

 

The Hide - Teens Club

 

Located at the Hilton Beach Club this club is just for teens.  The indoor space has a cinema room, video game station, a nail bar and even a dance room. Adults – stay out!

 

Challenging Adventure 

 

Take part in a range of exciting and challenging activities including rock climbing, canyoning, archery and treasure hunting among many more in half day, full day and overnight packages.

 

Deserted Ghost Village - Al Jazirat Al Hamra 

 

Visit the abandoned village of Al Jazirat Al Hamra which is said to be home to some ghostly goings-on.

 

For Small Kids and Families

 

Flamingo Beach 

 

A family friendly beach, which is easily accessible (awesome – when you’re laden with buckets, spades, inflatables and everything in-between!).

 

Saqr Park 

 

The largest public park in Ras Al Khaimah with plenty of green spaces, a skate park, play parks and other attractions to entertain the kids.

 

Jais Sky Maze 

 

The Jais Sky Maze is a self-guided rope course of epic proportions.  It is suitable for participants over 6 years old.  You will navigate your way around a series of obstacles 10m off the ground – try not to let your kids show you up!

 

Adults Only:

 

Hiking at Wadi Shawka 

 

Get your hiking boots on!  Clamber up the manmade steps and then head down one of the routes back to the car park.  The longest is 10km.  Make sure to bring lots of water and snacks.

 

Spa at Ritz Carlton

 

This gem of a spa is nestled in at the Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert.  Make sure to check out the rainforest room for some ultimate relaxation.

 

Al Jazeera Diving and Swimming Center 

 

RAK’s only certified diving school and resort, and with a focus on environmental protection you will leave the waters as clean and untouched as you found them. 

Tower Links Golf Club

For those budding Tiger Woods out there the Tower Links Golf Course is known as the most natural golf course in the UAE.  Framed by the Hattar mountains and a mangrove reserve this 18-hole golf course is really a thing of beauty.

 

Good for all:

 

Dhayar Fort

 

The only surviving hillside fort of the UAE, travel up its 234 steps to this 16th century fort which offers stunning views of the palm oasis, the mountains and the sea beyond.   

 

Suwadi Pearl Farm 

 

An exploration into the traditional world of pearl diving.  A guided boat tour which finishes with a visit to a floating pontoon farmhouse to learn more about this UAE pastime.

 

Jebail Jais 

 

The highest mountain in the UAE measuring 1,934m from sea level.  It’s worth visiting for the drive up the mountain alone but there is a plethora of exciting activities to take your fancy at the top.  Oh, and it’s about 10 degrees cooler up there as well!

 

National Museum of RAK 

 

The museum sits in a fort that was the home of the ruling family until the early 1960s.  Full or archaeological and ethnological treasures this is a must see for all history buffs.  A particular highlight is the ‘Traditional Life in Ras Al Khaimah’ exhibit.