The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has an impressive archaeological heritage and a very rich history. This area had always enticed settlers with its unique combination of all the four types of landscapes found in different parts of the United Arab Emirates: the fertile plains, the mountainous region, coastal areas and the desert environment.
The interaction of these geographical factors and the living style of people have shaped up the very special heritage of the Emirate. Archaeological excavations and finds have proved that the history of Ras Al Khaimah dates back to the very immemorial past. It reveals that an advanced civilization that carried on trade existed in this region since 5'000 BC.
Even the more recent history (19th & 20th Century) is well presented in the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah. In the recent years the Department of Antiquities and Museums has conducted several surveys to collect the data about traditional buildings. 75 standing towers built of mud-brick or stone and mortar were registered during a survey.
The UAE in general and Ras Al Khaimah in particular is well known for its folklore, folk music, folk dance and other traditional and popular art forms which embody and reflect the social, ethical and aesthetic values of the community. Traditional dances for example are meaningful movements played rhythmically to symbolize the common ideas and likes of a certain community.
Malls, Souks and Market
The fresh food markets and some of the souq areas of Ras Al Khaimah date back to the distant past when Julfar was the nerve centre of trade in the whole region.
The promising lively trade continues now as well. Besides the old Souks and Bazaars with their scent of the past, you will find fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly caught fish and freshly made bread.
Traditional Souks are found in the old town just off Al Qawasim Cornish Road close to the sea and along the creek beside the morning fish market, whilst the modern shops and mall are in Al Nakheel area just over the bridge that spans the Creek. In the old Souk area nearby shops sell interesting and traditional handicrafts, herbs and spices, an array of textiles and other merchandise, all at reasonable prices.
The more modern trade centres where shoppers can find all their needs under one roof. These modern centres provide a relaxed shopping atmosphere where shoppers can enjoy many amenities. Some of the prominent shopping centres in Ras Al Khaimah are Al Manar Shopping Centre, Al Waha Centre and Lulu Centre.
Khatt Hot Springs Spa
Just 20 minutes drive from RAK City towards the Airport, through the lush green agricultural land in Digdaga is the oasis town of Khatt that lies at the foot of the mountains. The spa consists of three natural springs of hot mineralized water, which reaches temperatures of 40 C. Visitors can relax in the therapeutic pools and enjoy the other facilities.
The recent renovation and development of the natural hot water springs in the famous tourist and agricultural area of Khatt was to include private pools with attached treatment rooms, plus a café for visitors.
The springs healing properties attract many Gulf residents and it has become a tradition and locally popular family picnic location.
The waters of Khatt Springs reach a depth of 90 feet under ground level with temperatures approaching 40 degrees Centigrade. Owing to its mineral content and heat, the water is said to have medicinal benefits for skin ailments such as rheumatic diseases and muscular problems.
The area has grown quite famous and is now visited by people from all over the world for treatment of Dermatoses and Rheumatic ailments.
The spring’s facility will offer additional Spa service by Ayurveda, which are complimented by the thermal water. The Ayurvedic treatments will be done by a team of expert doctors and therapists from the world-renowned Centre par Excellence for Ayurveda.
The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words - 'Ayur' meaning life, and 'Veda' meaning knowledge. This traditional Indian life science is the oldest form of traditional medicine known to man, dating back some 3500 years.
This annual spring event is held from January 11th – February 2nd. Culture and heritage are the most important aspects of the festival. Each year the event attracts more and more visitors from all over the region. The festival venue features a Heritage Village comprising of 35 pavilions that provide various folkloric associations with the chance to present their talents. There are handicrafts and art displays.
Moreover, there are children’s play areas, bull fighting, camel riding, football tournaments, horseracing, 4x4 dune-climbing events, desert off road competitions and motor cycling shows. The Yola Traditional Dance Contest is inspired by the Bedouin lifestyle of yester year. Contestants fling a sword, a stick or a rifle in the air, catch it and in between dances. There are spacious areas that are specifically dedicated to family camping and a sea of tents occupies this area throughout the event.
The highlight of the event is the adrenaline pumping motor sports and motor races events. Contestants blazed around the venue, racing full throttle in the sand tracks. Thousands of people crowd the venue to witness thirty modified vehicles in two main categories one for eight cylinder vehicles and one for six cylinder vehicles, participate in the fiercely fought car racing competitions. There is also the high drama of the Dune climbing events.
Legend has it, that half of the business deals in the world are agreed on a golf course. On the way those wheelers and dealers swing the odd club and knock a MaxFli A3 down the fairway towards the distant green ahead. In between bull and ball, they drive along manicured lawns in their little golfing carts from green to tee.
Every day huge numbers of visitors are taking to the fairways in Ras Al Khaimah irrespective of the summer’s heat and humidity.
The UAE boasts a number of superior golf courses, which historically centred a round Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Now Ras Al Khaimah also offers a choice of golfing experiences that are a little different from the ones you have played on before but equally as good.
The key to each course is its individual topography, which of course makes all courses unique. The way that any one course will or can be laid out is determined by the variations in elevations of the site, the nature of the ground and then where the club house might be located or the access roads.
It is incredible to think that it was not really until the early 1980s that golf was promoted to a wider audience in the UAE. Moreover, a little over 22 years later the region boasts some of the best golf courses in the world.
Ras Al Khaimah’s modern and sophisticated facilities provide a fantastic opportunity for visitors to spread their golfing wings a little further a field.
Ras Al Khaimah may still be a young upstart as a golfing destination but it is growing up fast.
Al Hamra Golf Club and Resorts
The Peter Harradine-designed Golf Club is a championship 18-hole course shaped around a large open salt-water lagoon. The 7,267 yard, Par 72 championship course is designed to ensure guests have the finest golfing experience in the Arabian Peninsula. The Club features a nine-hole Par 3 Academy course with holes ranging from 60 yards to 110 yards, a 350-yard driving range and purpose built Swing Rooms.
In keeping with the tradition and style of a links golf course, Al Hamra features humps, hollows and pot bunkers unique to golf in this region.
The 350-yard driving range offers practice either from a large grass hitting area or from the designated Astroturf mats. To compliment this fine practice area are putting greens, chipping areas and bunker / pitching areas.
With the latest zero pollution floodlights on nine holes of the Championship course, all of the Academy course and the driving range and practice facilities golfers can enjoy this ultimate nighttime golf experience.
The world-class indoor and outdoor practice facilities includes a state-of-the-art swing studios with the latest golfing technology to assess your swing, Nine hole par 3 Academy course also an extensive practice facilities with a short game area, driving range, practice putting greens and practice bunkers, all of which are fully floodlit.
Tower Links Golf Club
Tower Links Golf Club is a challenging 18 hole, par 72 golf course. The club possesses an outstanding range of facilities enabling golfers to improve their standard of play. The back nine holes and practice facilities are fully floodlit for night play.
The course is 7,200 yards in length with four tees: Championship, men, seniors and ladies, therefore providing tee-off opportunities for all standards of play.
The Tower Links Golf Academy is run by PGA Qualified Golf Professionals and features a dedicated teaching tee, a short game zone comprising of two green complexes complete with practice bunkers. The teaching tee sits away from the general range and adjacent to the indoor swing analysis centre which features multi-cameras, specialist lighting and the latest GASP Systems computer-run instructional software.
The clubhouse exterior design is based on a ‘Watchtower’ reflecting the rich history of the emirate and bringing to Ras Al Khaimah a landmark building.