When I decided to go to Ras Al Khaimah, I didn’t know too much about it aside from the fact it was one of the quieter Emirates compared to Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
While I can’t say I was expecting much apart from keeping warm in the middle of a cold April, I was pleasantly surprised how much RAK had to offer.
In just three days, I went on the longest zipline in the world, had high tea in the middle of the desert and met some local falcons.
So here’s my list of the top things to do:
Explore the desert
I’m a massive fan of the desert. I just find it so beautiful.
On my first day in Ras Al Khaimah, we took a 4×4 tour of the desert. The best thing was that we stopped at different points to be able to take pictures.
From the moment we got onto the dunes, our driver was determined to make our tour memorable, throwing the vehicle around and making it twist and turn.
At one point it seemed like we were flying through the air and all of us in the car were screaming and bumping our heads.
We stopped at the top of the hill for arabian coffee, dates and sweet treats. Our driver even drove off, leaving us completely on our own.
I don’t think i’ve heard silence like it!
Meet the local falcons
Periguine Falcons are very important to UAE culture and were crucial for hunting by the Bedouins.
The Ritz Carlton Hotel hosts nightly falcon shows showing how the birds catch their prey and operate in the wild.
We got to have them fly over our heads and even hold one.
The falcons weren’t the only attraction, the hotel is set on a nature reserve so you also get the chance to see arabian horses, oryxes and camels wandering around.
Explore the town and the mosque
Ras Al Khaimah has some beautiful resorts and hotels but to get the feel of the place, you really need to visit the old town and the mosque.
We spent time walking along the main street of the town, shopping for jewellery and fragrances.
The mosque was also a highlight. Compared to other mosques i’d been to it had a more traditional, old-time feel.
I really love seeing religious places such as mosques and churches when travelling as I feel it helps you understand a place.
Try out the water sports
During my time in RAK, I stayed at the Doubletree resort on Marjan Island. It was a great spot that had amazing views over the bay.
It also had a great beach that had plenty of water sports opportunities.
I decided to try out stand up paddle boarding for the first time and absolutely loved it. It was such hard work though and I fell over a number of times.
At one point, someone had to get out on a boat and helped me up!!
They also had paragliding and banana boating too.
Discover the abandoned village
One member of my group mentioned the possibility of visiting an abandoned village. I didn’t think that Ras Al Khaimah had anything like it but we were lucky enough to see it first hand on a free afternoon.
In the 1800s around 200 people lived in the village with the population growing to two thousand in the 20th century. Later, the entire community moved out of the area and it has remained untouched ever since.
It’s actually also been used in films including Brad Pitt’s War Machine.
The Travel Hack has more info about the Ghost village here.
Kayaking in the mangroves
When you think of the UAE, you might not think about the local wildlife.
We managed to get up close to flamingoes and jellyfish when we went kayaking in the mangroves. it was hard work as they went on for miles but it was thoroughly enjoyable.
We also got some good views of the cityscape including a stunning mosque.
Riding the world’s longest zipline
I am still pretty amazed I had the balls to do this.
Perhaps I was feeling particularly brave that day!
Would you brave the world's longest zipline?
Posted by Metro on Thursday, April 12, 2018
Riders fly over the mountain and roads (!!!) at speeds of 140 kilometres an hour (86 miles).
The journey itself takes around three minutes. A second zipline – a lot less scary – takes you back to the ground.
You’ll also be given a certificate to commemorate your experience. Definitely opt for the GoPro add on so you can record your trip.
Have you been to Ras al Khaimah? Did I miss anything? Be sure to read by guide on what to wear in the UAE.