While Dubai and Abu Dhabi have garnered most of the attention from tourists, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), the United Arab Emirates' fourth biggest city, is working hard to earn its place among the region's top attractions. RAK has recently shown significant economic diversification policies, becoming a manufacturing powerhouse spanning sectors like ceramics, pharmaceuticals, building materials, auto, and petrochemicals. Companies like RAK C&G Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar) have their headquarters there. It's true that the availability of free trade zones and industrial regions has attracted foreign investors, but the fastest-growing industry is really tourism. The emirate has also been designated as the Gulf Tourism Capital by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
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Harmony of opulence and exotic Arabian style
While other emirates have developed into ostentatious metropolises, RAK has chosen to remain grounded in its traditional culture and offer visitors a more genuine taste of Arabia. However, there is a broad variety of lodgings available in the emirate, from five-star beachfront resorts to budget-friendly motels. Cove Rotana, located on a private beach, is one of the largest and most luxurious of these establishments, offering a unique combination of modern comforts and traditional Arabian hospitality. Visitors also have the option of staying in the Waldorf Astoria, Ritz-Carlton, Radisson, DoubleTree by Hilton, and the infamous InterContinental Mina Arab, among other five-star establishments. For the most part of the year, the emirate is hot and dry, although it does have some beautiful scenery, such as sand dunes, clean beaches, and mountains.
Temperatures are often below 30 degrees Celsius from November through February, making that time of year ideal for vacation.
Because no trip is complete without trying the local food, visitors to RAK should try traditional Emirati dishes such machboos and fareed. The UAE is a cultural melting pot, so in addition to its own unique food, visitors may also enjoy Thai, Italian, Lebanese, and Indian fare. Although RAK is known as a meat lover's heaven because of its succulent steaks and excellent grilled meats, the city also has a lot to offer vegetarians and vegans. While in RAK, you should definitely indulge in the mezze platters that are served at most eateries.
The RAK Discovery
If you're short on time but still want to see something really unique in the area, consider visiting the Bedouin Oasis camp or Bassata Desert for an authentic Arabian adventure among the sand dunes, replete with belly dancers, fire eaters, camel rides, and henna tattoos. The Arabian feast, with its many different kinds of meat, rice, hummus, and other dishes, is a highlight of the trip.
The tallest peak in the United Arab Emirates, Jebel Jais, is an excellent destination for mountaineering and other extreme activities. There's so much to do here that a whole day is recommended, from exploring on foot or by bike to zipping down the Jais Sledder.
The Jais Flight is the world's longest zipline and holds the Guinness World Record, allowing you to return to the earth at a speed of up to 150 kmph. The finest restaurant in the United Arab Emirates, Puro 1484, is located atop Jebel Jais and serves a variety of foreign specialities with cool beverages and a breathtaking panorama.
Abdulla Al Suwaidi established the Suwaidi Pearls Farm in 2005 so that visitors from all over the world may learn about the region's rich pearling tradition.
At the base of both Al Hajar Mountains, visitors may get on a classic pearling boat and make their way through the mangroves to a drifting pearl farm. Immersive and full of interesting information about pearl farming and harvesting, the experience is highly recommended. The Museum of RAK is a great place to start if you want to learn more about RAK's history and culture.
Stop by the souks (markets) on your way back to your hotel if you want to buy anything, such as clothing, fabric, perfume, a shawl, or even gold jewellery.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)