Ras al Khaimah is a hidden gem in the United Arab Emirates. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Ras al Khaimah and this once-in-a-lifetime trip to this beautiful emirate convinced me that this destination is an absolute must for anyone looking for a unique and unforgettable destination. Due to its scenic beauty and versatility, it is also often referred to as the “green” emirate. The journey from Zurich via Dubai takes approximately 7 hours, while Ras al Khaimah is only a 1-hour drive from Dubai. In addition, a direct flight from Zurich to Ras al Khaimah is expected to be introduced this year. I’m happy to tell you about my experiences in this blog post and give you some valuable tips and insights to help you plan your trip to Ras al Khaimah.
Culture and History in Ras al Khaimah
My trip began in Al Jazeera Al Hamra, a former pearl fishing village known for its traditional mud houses and historic charm. Here I got an insight into traditional life in Ras al Khaimah. The beautiful old buildings already had sophisticated architectural refinements such as wind tunnels that cooled the inside of the buildings. The village was built with local materials such as coral blocks and fossilised beach rock, beams from mangrove trees, date palm trunks, roofs, mats and ropes, and layers of shells for drainage. Al Jazeera Al Hamra translates as “Red Island”.
Next I visited Dhayah Fort, perched on a hill and offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The fort is an important part of the region’s history and a symbol of resistance against the British colonial rulers.
Another highlight of my trip was the Suwaidi Pearls Tour, which allowed me to explore the fascinating world of pearl farming in the Emirates. I learned many new things about the different types of pearls, how they are cultivated and how they are made into beautiful pieces of jewellery. In the old days, pearls were extracted by free-diving pearl divers, who were only equipped with a nose clip. The pearl divers made between 50 and 100 dives per day. And this despite the fact that only one or two oysters out of about 10,000 contain natural pearls.
At the end of this unique excursion, we had a traditional dinner and enjoyed a beautiful sunset, which I am sure the flamingos also enjoyed.
Action on the highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates: Jebel Jais
Jebel Jais Mountain is the highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates at an altitude of 1,934 metres and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Jebel Jais offers numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and ziplining. At the top of Jebel Jais is an observation deck that offers unforgettable panoramic views of the coast and surrounding mountains.
An absolute must for adrenaline lovers is the Jebel Jais Zipline, the longest zipline in the world. I dared to abseil down from a height of 1680 metres and enjoy the breathtaking view of the mountains and the desert. An unforgettable experience! Afterwards, I also enjoyed the ride on the Jais Sledder, a summer bobsleigh, whereby one reaches a speed of up to 40 kilometres per hour, while descending along the Hajar Mountains.
For a culinary experience with a difference, I recommend 1484 by Puro, the highest restaurant in the UAE. Here I could not only enjoy a delicious lunch, but also admire the breathtaking view of the Ras al Khaimah landscape. An absolute recommendation and the perfect reward after an action-packed start to the day.
Afterwards, we set off for a short hike into the sunset. At Camp 1770, I was able to enjoy the nature and landscape to the fullest. During the subsequent dinner with campfire, the evening sky offered a true colour spectacle.
Al Wadi Desert: Safari and Sonara Desert Camp
Another highlight of my trip was the safari and animal feeding at the Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert, where I was able to see oryx and antelope in their natural environment. We drove through the Al Wadi Desert in an authentic safari jeep and the experienced guide told us more about the animals in the desert.
The final evening of my trip was spent at Sonara Camp, a luxurious desert camp, where I enjoyed a traditional Arabic dinner and a breathtaking show under the stars. I also tried my hand at sandboarding.
Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah
During my trip, I had the privilege of staying at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. The Waldorf Astoria in Ras al Khaimah is a luxurious hotel with a variety of amenities including a private beach, pools, spa, eight restaurants and leisure facilities. It offers 346 spacious rooms and suites with modern amenities and luxurious details. The restaurants offer a wide range of dishes, from steak to modern cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian influences. The hotel also has a golf course, tennis court and water sports facilities. The turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf can be admired from the hotel room terrace.
The culinary delights were one of the highlights of the hotel for me, along with the unique service. The hotel building is extremely impressive and truly reminds one of a palace. The resort offers something for every taste, and not only in the restaurants. Whether on the beach or in the pool, there is relaxation here for young and old. Therefore, I can really recommend the beautiful Waldorf Astoria in Ras al Khaimah to you, read more about my stay in this blog post.
My trip to Ras al Khaimah was an unforgettable experience that immersed me deeply in the culture, history and nature of the region. I can recommend Ras al Khaimah to anyone looking for a unique and adventurous trip as well as relaxation and a beautiful beach.