Ras Al Khaimah has a rich history and an amazing landscape to match. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qassimi has been promoting tourism to the northernmost emirate of the UAE, and with the great upswing in the economy, they have gone to some length to support this goal. In May 2001, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority was established with the goal of a one-million growth in visitors by the end of 2018.
According to the emirate’s tourism site, Ras Al Khaimah offers a unique experience “with year-long sunshine and 64 kilometres of white sandy beaches” that attract visitors from around the globe. The “magnificent landscapes, breathtaking coastlines and rich, terracotta desert planes” offer even more to the sightseeing tourist.
As with any international travel, certain considerations need to be made to to ensure a pleasant and memorable experience. Understanding what you can and can’t do, what there is to do and see, and what kind of clothing to bring are all great starting points.
Local Customs and Laws
The official language of Ras Al Khaimah is Arabic, and while English is widely spoken and understood, it will help make things smoother for everyone if you learned some important phrases of Arabic before you visit. Besides, it’s a beautiful language to write and speak, and taking the time to educate yourself will impress the locals.
Be respectful: There is no official dress code of the emirate, but it is important to understand and respect local Muslim customs. It is thought to be impolite to expose the shoulders or knees in public, although all other modern types of dress are appropriate.
Places to See
There are many different sights to see in Ras Al Khaimah, including truly ancient tombs uncovered by archaeological expeditions as well as ghost towns, mountain ranges, and hand-built stone forts.
Al Jazeera Al Hamra
There are not many traditional places left in the United Arab Emirates, but in Ras Al Khaimah there is one a stone throw from the capital city of the same name. Al Hamra was once an island town, but has since been filled in on all sides. An old pearl fishing city, the place has since become abandoned and is widely thought to be haunted.
Golfing in Ras Al Khaimah is not out of the question. Within the capital city there is what is called the most natural golf course in the emirates. The course was built around a mangrove reserve, which provides a natural refuge for flora and fauna and a proving ground for golfers.
Ras Al Khaimah’s average temperature is a sweltering 94°F (34°C), so cotton clothing in light colors are recommended as well as sunscreen and sunglasses. It rains a small amount in February and March, but it’s relatively bone dry most of the rest of the year. To drive that point home, snow has been reported twice in the mountains which are the highest in the United Arab Emirates.