Getting Around Ras Al Khaimah
Tourism infrastructure in Ras Al Khaimah isn’t prevalent, yet nor is it difficult to find a way of visiting local sites and other resorts. The means to get around is with a private car, via two avenues:
- Using the city’s taxi system, which can be easily booked from the hotel and able to take you to local restaurants, other resort spas, the sand dunes, and the ancient ruins. You can set times for a pick-up, or negotiate a price where the driver waits and brings you back. This RAK taxi company and price list is also a useful resource.
- Booking a hire car rental. This might be a cheaper option for those on a multi-day discovery and allows for your own time and exploration, even if you only hired a car for a day. Renty.ae has a good selection of car rental options in Ras Al Khaimah.
What to See in Ras Al Khaimah
Vast desert, a mountainous plateau, and ancient history complement the coastline, which makes Ras Al Khaimah a destination where you can combine relaxation with active outdoor exploration. If you think it’s all about hotel resort views, think again and seek out these landscapes and cultural activities.
Ras Al Khaimah’s Desert Sands
No trip to the UAE is complete without Dune Bashing – an exciting adrenalin rush and the only way in which you can get right into the heart of the endless rolls of golden desert. Our jeep safari ended at the Oasis Bedouin Camp, complete with food and entertainment under the desert’s starry sky – keeping alive an old nomad tradition.
Ras Al Khaimah’s Mountain Heights
Ras al Khaimah is home to Jebel Jais – the highest mountain in the country at over 1,900 meters and which marks the border to Oman. Accessible via a modern road, you can drive to various viewpoints, although the road is still in construction to reach its highest point.
Ras Al Khaimah’s Ancient History
There are many pre-historic sites to be found on the island, although they are small and easily missed if a local is not pointing them out to you.
The 16th Century Dhayah Fort in the area of Rams was mostly destroyed during the British operation of the Battle of Ras Al Khaimah of 1809 and remains a symbol of independence and a window into the old United Arab Emirates. I also welcomed the dawn of a new day from atop the crumbling ruins of ‘Sheba’s Palace’, which is said to be the oldest palace in the UAE.
Both sites are free to enter and lack any definitive infrastructure, especially ‘Sheba’s Palace’ whose climb up is so untouched it feels as if you are the first to find it.
Ras Al Khaimah’s Coastline Adrenalin
Want more than a dip in the pool or the warm sea waters of the Persian Gulf? My favorite adrenalin kick was a jet-ski ride around the bay since I always opt for the speed-fix, but other water sports include parasailing, banana, and donut boating, and stand-up paddleboarding on the resort’s private bays.
Ras Al Khaimah’s Local Culture
From a traditional souk and fish market to an abandoned Al Jazirah Al Hamra ‘ghost town’ and bold Shaikh Zayed Mosque, a wander through Ras Al Khaimah’s city pockets shed light into the Emirate’s local culture – both the nomadic past, its continuing customs, and its developing future.
Ras Al Khaimah Rules and Regulations
Alcohol in Ras Al Khaimah
Confusion remains over alcoholic consumption in the Islamic UAE. Despite there being a larger ratio of non-UAE nationals, this is still a Muslim country, where local customs should be respected.
Alcohol can be purchased and consumed at most resort bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The rules and regulations on the purchasing of alcohol here may be more fluid than its neighbors – for example, many people come from Dubai to Ras al Khaimah since you can purchase alcohol in liquor stores without a license – although alcohol is not served in local establishments outside of these licensed stores and private tourism resorts.
With regards to flying with Royal Brunei Airlines, the airline is ‘dry’ meaning that no alcohol is served on board. However, you can bring your own alcohol and drink it on board, which is something not found on other airlines.
Dress Code in Ras Al Khaimah – Is it strict?
Ras Al Khaimah is seen as the more liberal Emirate and is not as strict with the dress code to be followed by tourists. However, modest dress is still expected, as is the custom of covering the knees and shoulders when entering a public place.
Is it safe to travel in Ras Al Khaimah?
There is a huge misconception surrounding the safety of travel in Arab nations. Despite political disputes in the Middle East region, the UAE remains neutral on these issues and thus is almost separate from it. Safety is therefore not a concern, and I never once felt uncomfortable here as a woman traveling in an Arab state.
Adhere to local customs and act appropriately, as you would in any culture that is significantly different from your own, and you will not encounter any issues.
Currency in Ras Al Khaimah
The local currency of the UAE is Dirham, which can be obtained from ATMs both at Dubai airport and in the hotel resorts.
Why You Really Should Visit Ras Al Khaimah
More than just a land of embellished desert, RAK has plenty to keep the most curious travelers occupied as it begins its journey in bringing tourists to its untouched lands.
Combining coastline and culture, mountains, and historical mystery, it’s time to discover Ras Al Khaimah and see the United Arab Emirates in a different light.
- For more information about planning a trip to Ras Al Khaimah, visit the RAK tourism board site for the finer details on local events and up-to-date news.