Ra's al Khaymah

Travel Guide Middle East United Arab Emirates Ra's al Khaymah

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Introduction

Ra's al Khaymah (also Ras al-Khaimah) is the most northern Emirate at the Arabian Gulf, borders the Omani exclave Musandam and is one of the seven United Arab Emirates. Ras Al Khaimah is nestled between the Hajjar Mountains on the East and the Persian Gulf on the West and shares mountainous borders with the Musandam Peninsula of Oman. With the completion of the new Emirates Highway, RAK is only about one hour from the emirate of Dubai.

H.H. Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi has been the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah since 1948. His son, H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi was appointed Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler in June 2003.

The Emirate Ras Al Khaimah combines a fascinating and a relaxing tourist hub with its calm blue seas with clean white beaches, dramatic desert dunes and the majestic Hajjar Mountains. It has numerous fascinating tourist landmarks, beautiful wildlife conservations and sanctuaries. Golf has become one of the leading tourist attractions within the emirate.

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Sights and Activities

  • Ras Al Khaimah Old City - the oldest residential area in the city of Ras Al Khaimah with an old souq, old mosque, fishing harbour and Al Hisn Fort, which now host RAK National Museum.
  • Ras Al Khaimah National Museum - the RAK National Museum is situated in Al Hisn Fort. It presents the history and culture of Ras Al Khaimah.
  • Dhow Building Station – continuation of a long Ras Al Khaimah’s tradition of dhow building.
  • Camel Race Track – taste of the Arabic heritage with excitement of the race.
  • Prehistoric Shimal – one of the oldest settlements not only in Ras Al Khaimah but also in the region, it has remains of numerous ancient constructions such as Umm an-Nar tombs (2600-2000BC), Wadi Suq tombs (2000-1600BC), a second millennium BC settlement, findings from the Sassanian period (300-632AD) and the Abbasid era (750-1250AD).
  • Sheeba’s Palace – the remains of the 16th century palace.

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Getting There

By Plane

Ras Al Khaimah International Airport (RKT IATA RAK Airport) (20 minutes from the city centre. To get there you need to take a taxi, which always run by meter and should cost you around 30 dirham from the centre. If you are staying in one of the hotels in Ras Al Khaimah, you can also arrange for a hotel pick up.). The national carrier is RAK Airways, that serves Dhaka and Chittagong Patenga in Bangladesh, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Kozhikode in India and to Cairo in Egypt. Only Oman Air and charter airlines serve the airport.

By Car

Ras Al Khaimah has a border with Oman (Musandam). It is rather easy to enter and exit the country by car. RAK has road connections with all the other emirates. The Emirates Road (E311) allows reaching Umm Al Quwain (UAQ) in half an hour, Sharjah in less than an hour, Dubai in 1–1½ hour (depending on the traffic) and Abu Dhabi in around 2½–3 hours. The old Coastal Road (E11) is slower but takes you directly to Sharjah via UAQ and Ajman. Fujairah can be reached via the mountain passage or via Masafi (E18) in about 1-1½ hour.

By Bus

There is daily modern bus service to Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah and Dubai. The buses usually leave every hour from the RAK Public Taxi and Bust Stand (Al Faisal Rd, opp. The Cove Rotana) from around 07:00 until 20:00. One way tickets cost: 10 dirham UAQ, 15 dirham Ajman, 25 dirham Sharjah and 25 dirham Dubai.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxis or rental car are your only option to move around Ras Al Khaimah. Taxis use meters, are reasonably priced, easily available and honest. You can book a taxi 800 1 700 or just flag one on the street; it should not take more than a few minutes to find a taxi.

Car rental is easily available option. Most of the roads in Ras Al Khaimah are in good condition and it is easy to find the way around (at least in the city). However, driving can be a challenging experience for those who are not used to slightly chaotic roads.

International car rentals are available in most of the hotels. There are also numerous smaller local companies around the town. You should expect to pay from 150 dirham for a small car per day.

By Public Transport

Although the RAK Transport Authority has made plans to run buses within Ras Al Khaimah, so far no public buses are available.

By Foot

Walking around Ras Al Khaimah is not easy due to the traffic, lack of sidewalks and zebra crossings and it is something not done and not recommended. For a pleasure walk, Corniche Road and beaches are the best and safest option.

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Eat

A typical Emirati food is not widely available but it can be found in so called ‘popular kitchen’ types of restaurants. Lebanese cuisine mixed with some Arabic and Indian influences is often considered a local food. What you can expect in the restaurant is traditional Lebanese mezze (hummos, mutabal, salads, falafel), kebabs, biryani, fish or lamb. Ras Al Khaimah's different cultures brought different tastes for food, restaurants of many types and origins are opened in the city. Considering a large number of Indians in Ras Al Khaimah, there are plenty of great Indian restaurants. All major international fast food restaurants chains are also present in Ras Al Khaimah and there are numerous local fast food outlets.

Vegetarians will be please to know that in most of the restaurants have at least one vegetarian option, there are also a few purely vegetarian restaurants in town and the concept is widely understood.

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Drink

Arabic coffee and tea are available almost everywhere. So are the juices made from freshly squeezed fruits. Alcohol you can get only in the hotels, although you can buy it for your private use.

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Sleep

  • Hayat Plaza Hotel, Al Corniche Rd, ☏ +971 7 2337300. Offers air-conditioned accommodation rooms, all of which have cable TV, Internet access, and mini-bar. They have simple facilities such as restaurant, bar, cafe, and spa.
  • Creek Plaza Hotel (near RAK Exhibition Centre, Al Nakheel), ☏ +971 7 2274443. Offers 49 air-conditioned rooms, all of which have cable television, mini-bar, telephone, and Internet connection. The hotel has classic bar, currency exchange, and room service. For practical services, they have dry cleaning, laundry services, safe deposit box, and wake-up call.
  • Banyan Tree Al Wadi. All-pool villa complete with spa in a nature reserve (60 of 100 hectares). Private beach club and an 18-hole championship golf course.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are fairly common in the larger cities, and web censorship is at times odd, but rarely obtrusive. Free wifi is rolled out over the country, starting with Abu Dhabi en Dubai in 2014 and 2015, and many places like hotels, restaurants, bars and coffee places have free wifi as well.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code is 971. Emergency numbers include 999 (police), 998 (ambulance) and 997 (fire), though the general 112 number can be used as well.

The mobile phone network uses the GSM technology and use is widespread. The format for dialing is: +971-#-### ####, where the first "#" designates the area code. Key area codes include Dubai (4), Sharjah (6) and Abu Dhabi (2). Calls to mobile phones use the operator's area codes: (50/56) for Etisalat and (55) for Du.

If you bring your own cellphone, be sure to switch off roaming to avoid high costs, or otherwise purchase a local SIM card from Du or Etisalat. You need your passport with valid visa to purchase the SIM card.

Post

Emirates Post provides services in the country. It's fairly affordable and reliable and many post offices keep long hours from Saturday to Thursday, usually from around 7:30am to 8:00pm or even a little later. Most are closed on Fridays, though some are open for a few hours. If you want to send packages internationally, you might want to use companies like DHL, TNT, FedEx or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and competitively priced. A good alternative is the country's own Empost UAE.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 8:26 on Jul 12, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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