Ras Al Khaimah: Authentic Arabia | If Only

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Ras Al Khaimah: Authentic Arabia


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For modern travellers, Arabia is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. It’s not difficult to see why, extravagant metropolises, opulent and lavish hotels, ancient rock carvings and unique experiences are all set against the incredible desert backdrop of the Middle East. 

That’s why we think Ras Al Khaimah is the destination bound to be on everybody’s lips, as the emirate which packs the same lavish lifestyle travellers have come to love about Arabia but with one indelible quality which sets it apart from the rest: authenticity. The nature emirate is the site of 7,000 years of continuous inhabitation, something which is marked by man-made sites and awe-inspiring landscapes alike. 

Let’s have a look at what makes the nature emirate Authentic Arabia.

Dhayah Fort

Iconic to Ras Al Khaimah is Dhayah Fort, a site on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List which sits triumphantly atop a hill overlooking the city. Indeed, those who choose to climb the fort’s winding 239 steps to the top are rewarded with spectacular views. In fact, Dhayah Fort is the only remaining hill fort in the United Arab Emirates and dates back more than 3000 years! It also bears real historical significance as the battle site between British and local troops and is therefore a must for any lovers of history.

Pearl Farming

One of the industries which has shaped Ras Al Khaimah is pearl farming. A booming industry in centuries gone by, pearl diving brought prosperity to the UAE thanks to international trade and provided many Emiratis with relatively stable jobs.

Bringing this history to life is the Suwaidi Pearl Farm experience which takes visitors on a journey through the history of Ras Al Khaimah’s pearl fishing past. The tour begins by taking you on a boat from the original fishing village in Al Rams where you will hear the fascinating stories of the brave pearl divers who swam to the bottom of the ocean to collect as many oysters as they could. 

The tour then catches up to the present day at the Suwaidi Pearl Farmhouse, located on a floating pontoon, which details the innovative scientific methods of modern-day pearl farming and culminates in visitors opening their oysters to find out if they have beat the 1 in 10,000 odds of having a pearl inside! Those looking for a timeless souvenir will also have the chance to purchase some of the most divine pearls in Ras Al Khaimah.

Desert Dwelling

An integral part of Ras Al Khaimah’s history are the Bedouins: nomads who roamed the vast terracotta expanses of the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabic-derived name ‘Bedouin’ literally translates to ‘desert dwellers’ and over centuries desert dwellers have brought culture and created traditions which are celebrated to this day: traditional stick dances, belly dancing and oral poetry are to name a few. 

There are plenty of great ways to really experience the authentic side of this emirate and appreciate the true beauty of Ras Al Khaimah. We particularly recommend a visit to Bedouin Oasis Camp to experience the signature Bedouin hospitality. Found deep in the heart of the desert, Bedouin Oasis Camp is situated in a protected nature reserve which regularly homes camels, rare oryx and meandering donkeys. The authentic Arabian-style camp has an incredibly warm and inviting atmosphere and is complete with tents made with goat hair and large, plush cushions. Savour and enjoy traditional dishes cooked in a zarb: a charcoal grill which slow cooks meats and vegetables in an underground oven covered with sand. After feasting on these rich flavours, relax and be entertained by music and customary dances for an authentic Arabian night to remember.