Places to Visit in Ras Al Khaimah
About Ras Al Khaimah
Located along the northern end of UAE’s Persian Gulf Coast, the Ras Al Khaimah emirate is located between the Arabian Gulf and Hajar Mountains. Covering a coastline of 27miles, including tranquil lagoons and golden sand beaches, it also shares the mountainous borders of Oman. This makes Ras Al Khaimah an ideal destination for all kinds of travelers.
Ras Al Khaimah has earned its reputation as a pre-eminent commercial center with an innovative, dynamic, and entrepreneurial business culture. Ras Al Khaimah is strategically positioned to serve and access markets spanning the Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and the CIS countries. Further, the time zone in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) permits it to link even markets such as the Far East to the US. To leverage this advantage, it is now developing worldclass infrastructure, airport and port facilities, making it a well-connected hub in the region.
RAK is blessed with abundant natural beauty, and given its unique location it has been allowed to strategize the economic development on two pillars, namely, Tourism and Industry. The RAK consists of 65kms of coastal silver sandy beaches, majestic mountains on the eastern side of hill resorts, unspoilt desert plain in the central region for commercial and industrial projects, green belt along the southern side for agriculture developments.
The City of RAK, the capital of the emirate, is separated into two parts by a creek. The western part known as ‘old RAK’ comprises government departments, shopping malls, educational institutions, hotels, residential areas, and new construction projects. The eastern part, known as Al Nakheel, houses the Emiri Court, few government departments, RAK Exhibition Center markets, hospitals, residential areas, all of which comprise majority of the population in the emirate.
Unlike in other parts of UAE, where expatriates outnumber nationals by the ratio 8:1, in RAK, nationals constitute half the population. The official language is Arabic, but English is widely used for business transactions.
Although, RAK seems ‘undiscovered’ at the moment, it is not likely to remain that way for ever, and is considered to be the most scenic of the emirates due to its great variation of landscapes – coastal, desert, agricultural, and mountain. Each of the regions offers different lifestyle among Emiratis. While the farmers grow date-palms on the plains, the coastal areas feature fishermen, pearl drivers, and traders. Bedouin too roam around in the desert, while there are tribes local to mountainous certain regions.
Although RAK has not experienced the kind of growth seen by Abu Dhabi and Dubai, its rather slower pace and other industries have protected it from fallout of 2008 worldwide economic recession. It is set for solid, sustainable growth when the business cycle picks up.
Ras Al Khaimah offers tourists the right blend of modern and traditional features.
Tourist destinations in Ras Al Khaima
Khatt Hot Springs
Located adjacent to the Hajar Mountains, it looks like a castle offering therapeutic hot springs, precious stone treatments, hot stone treatment, and Ayurvedic medicine. This is the right place when travelers can seek some relaxation. Located just 20minutes drive from RAK City, through the lush green agricultural land is the oasis town of Khatt, which lies at the foot of the mountains. The resort offers three natural springs of hot mineralized water, wherein visitors can relax in the therapeutic pools, and enjoy other amenities. The development of natural hot water springs in the famous tourist and agricultural area of Khatt to include private pools with attached treatment rooms, and a café, is open to visitors. The healing properties of the springs attract several Gulf residents and have become a tradition and popular family picnic location.
The waters of Khatt Springs attain a depth of 90 feet under ground level with temperatures nearing 40 degrees Centigrade. Due to its mineral content and heat, the water is said to have medicinal benefits soothing skin ailments and rheumatic diseases and muscular problems. The area is now quite popular and is visited by tourists across the world for treatment of dermatitis and rheumatic ailments.
National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah
One of the greatest archaeological wonders and the long-standing history of RAK can be gathered by a visit to the National Museum, which was formerly the fort, and the residence of the RAK Ruler.
Located in the old town part of the RAK City, behind the Police Headquarters, the Museum has several interesting archaeological items. Visitors get to explore the natural history room, with its wide collection of shells and other sea shore creatures, pearl diving, date agriculture, fishing, farming, daily equipment, weapons, jewelry, costumes, clothing items, all used in early Islam times, and visit the Quwasim room, which depicts the history of British expedition against RAK in 1809.
RAK’s Hajar Mountains is a natural wonder in the region. It slopes directly into the sea with highest point located in the north. The area is known as the ‘Ru’us Al-Jibal’, implying ‘Heads of the Mountains’. The Hajar Mountain has the world’s greatest surface exposure of igneous rock from oceanic crust and is much liked by geologists. Hajar Mountains offer excellent view of rust-colored sand dunes.
Manar Mall is the first commercial and recreational center in RAK, offering more than 120 stores, a six-screen cinema house, water sports facilities, electronic games center, a 10km circular racetrack offers camel racing from September to April, an entertainment center, dining area, promenade and a beach, apart from parking space with a capacity to accommodate more than 2500 cars.
The Carrefour hypermarket and Parris Gallery are some anchor outlets among the 120 or more retail outlets in the mall. Among the other much needed amenities offered are the money exchange, banks and ATM facilities, mall guides, tourism kiosks, baby strollers, and exclusive rooms for mother and child, all intended to offer complete relaxation to visitors.
Saqr Park is the only popular park in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, located in an area called Kieran. It is also a popular destination for weekend getaway. There are children play areas throughout the park, apart from rollercoaster, Big Splash ride, halls with electronic games, table tennis courts, shops, the ship and boats area, electronic cars, and shops. There are trains, if required, which could be used for sight seeing around the park.
Things to do in Ras Al Kaima
The sports lovers have plenty of options. You can try playing golf at Tower Links Golf Course, or ride an Aeroplane or a powered parachute at the Jazirah Aviation Club, through which you could catch a glimpse of the Arabian Peninsula and the blue ocean from above. Watching a camel race at the Al Sawan Camel track, or diving at the Emirates Maritime Sports and Diving Center, or water skiing at the Ras Al Khaimah Water Ski Club are few other options for those who love outdoor activities.
RAK offers tourists plenty of beaches to enjoy the sun, sand and sea. Moreover, several resorts and hotels have their own private beaches and lagoons, wherein visitors can enjoy water activities such as banana boat rides, wakeboarding, body-boarding and windsurfing.
Several hotels and resorts even arrange trips to desert safaris and mountains and tourists can take a one or two day hike into the mountains. A swim in Khatt Thermal Springs is another option for tourists who love to spend time outdoors.
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