[Destination Report – Pics] Ras Al Khaimah, one of the 7 United Arab Emirates, a new tourist destination


In the framework of the 10th Arab Aviation Summit, held for the third consecutive time at the newly built Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Centre (2019) in Ras Al Khaimah, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) organised a short visit to some of the emirate’s highlights.

Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Centre, venue for the 10th Arab Aviation Summit © André Orban

Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The city of Ras Al Khaimah is the capital of the emirate and home to most of the emirate’s residents. Its name in English means “headland of the tent”. The emirate borders Oman’s exclave of Musandam. It covers an area of 2,486 km2 and has 64 km of beach coastline. 

The emirate consists of several villages, such as Al Hamra Village and Mina Al Arab. Its geography consists of a northern part (where Ras Al Khaimah City and most towns are situated) and a large southerly inland exclave, as well as a few small islands in the Persian Gulf. Ras Al Khaimah has the most fertile soil in the country, due to a larger share of rainfall and underground water streams from the Hajar Mountains, which overlook the city on the landward side.

The emirate is served by Ras Al Khaimah International Airport (RKT/OMRK), but services, although expanding each year, are still scarce. Visitors usually come via Dubai airport, located some 100 kilometres south.

Location of Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE © TUBS in https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16722312

Ras Al Khaimah doesn’t have oil or gas like its richer southern neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Its agriculture produces dates, exported throughout the world. The economy has also diversified into building materials, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, and high-tech. The opening of the Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Centre also attracted a lot of business meetings and expositions. But the fastest-expanding source of income is tourism.

Ras Al Khaimah is a fast-growing tourist destination, with a focus on sun and sand vacations and also adventure tourism due to its mountains, which feature the longest zipline in the world, Jebel Jais Flight, and Jais Adventure Peak, a collection of adventure attractions opened in February 2020.

The Waldorf Astoria, one of the first and most luxurious hotels in Ras Al Khaimah, next to the Conference Centre © RAKTDA

It is home to five-star hotels and beach resorts including the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, the Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi and Beach resorts, the Cove Rotana and several Hilton hotels. More recently, an InterContinental, a Marriott, and a Mövenpick were added. In addition, RAK has a number of 4 and 3-star accommodations. 

Al Marjan Island, an artificial island reclaimed from the Persian Gulf extends a vast 4.5 kilometres into the sea. The island covers an area of 2.7 million square metres and is home to many international hotels, including the Mövenpick in which we were accommodated.

Al Marjan Mövenpick Resort © André Orban

One of the traditional activities of the emirate is pearl farming, still done in the old way by local divers. Visitors should make the boat trip to visit the Suwaidi Pearl Farm to get detailed explanations of the life and activities of pearl divers.

Suwaidi Pearl Farm traditional boat © RAKTDA

Jebel Jais is a mountain range, the highest in the UAE culminating at 1934 metres and dominating the desert.

Jebel Jais Mountain © RAKTDA
Al Wadi desert © RAKTDA

Jebel Jais Flight, the longest zipline in the world, where participants accelerate to 160 km/h, is a popular attraction. The departure is located in Jebel Jais at an altitude of some 1600 metres.

Zipline © RAKTDA

Jebel Jais hosts not only the zipline, but also the highest restaurant in the UAE, an adventure park, a viewing deck, many hiking paths, and a sledder (5 minutes to go up, and then 2 minutes down at high speed!). The highest peak is 1934 metres. A nice place to spend a day of your holiday.

Dhayah Fort is an 18th-century fortification in Ras Al Khaimah. It is the highest hilltop fort in the UAE and was the site of a battle during the Persian Gulf campaign of 1819, when British troops captured the fort after a brief siege.

Dhayah Fort showing hilltop location © AlexanderMcNabb https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73285828

Altogether, Ras Al Khaimah is a destination where individuals and families can spend a nice vacation preferably in winter or early spring when temperatures are not too hot.

Aviation24.be wishes to thank the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, and specially Waseem Dahhan, for organising the visits.

Pictures © André Orban, unless otherwise stated






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.