Welcome to Ras Al Khaimah or RAK, as we all call it. Encircled by the enormous Hajar Mountains, Ras Al Khaimah is the UAE’s northernmost emirate, towards the border of Oman. Aside from a handful of luxury hotels, RAK is a favorite of many outdoor lovers and beachgoers. It is rather laid back, quiet, and naturally beautiful. The contrast of the mountains, the deep blue sea, and the glaring sun-soaked desert and the backdrop is simply stunning and jaw-dropping. This is why I love Ras Al Khaimah.
A few days ago, the temperature in Abu Dhabi was recorded at a high of 44c° and the highest spot was in Al Dhafra near the Saudi Arabian border. Summer is here and the sun is out, scorching hot, again! So I went to RAK and spent my weekend there. I know that the northern hemisphere is enjoying the tail end of the winter, still loving the crisp air brought by the springtime, but us here in the United Arab Emirates, where the sun shines at least 14 hours a day, summer feels like forever. Needless to say, I always want to go somewhere cool and green. My favorite place in RAK is Al Hamra Beach which is open to the public and just within walking distance of the Marina Yacht Club. It never fails to give me the soothing break that I always want. When I spend an afternoon just beach walking, I don’t leave until sunset. It’s amazing!
Going to Ras Al Khaimah can be exhausting but very rewarding. I don’t drive a car so I need to commute and take the public bus from Abu Dhabi to RAK. One good thing here in the UAE is that the public buses and road network are amazingly extensive, reducing stress in travel. The UAE is a traveler’s wish list, an exciting paradise for lovers of the beach, culture, shopping, nightlife, heritage, the desert, and the crazy bunch of skyscrapers. Who has not heard about the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab in Dubai? I bet you have!
So going to Ras Al Khaimah, I took the bus from Abu Dhabi. The bus schedule is very frequent and runs every hour. In total, the whole journey from where I live in Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah takes about 5 hours per way, including waiting time and stop-over in Sharjah. But who cares about a long journey when all you need is a quench for your thirst, with a weekend of retreat and adventure?. Have you been to Jebel Jais? Or even heard about it? It’s the highest mountain in the UAE, an extensive mountain range in the heart of the Hajar Mountains extending from the UAE to Oman. The road to the peak is stunning, serpent-like twists of paved roads from the base to the top. Jebel Jais has become everyone’s top favorite in the weekender’s list of things to do in the UAE. The government has built countless viewing decks at every major turn, providing a breathtaking vista for picnic goers and mountaineers alike. Upon reaching the highest point, almost to the peak, I looked down at the switchback roads and I could not believe my eyes I was actually on top of the world, feeling so high, breathing calmly, and looking out to the vastness of the universe. It’s a beautiful, unforgettable relief from the soreness of city life, the weekly routine of work and home. Indeed we all need time to escape and all we need is one place to drain our body, only to be recharged again to life.
I hope you enjoyed my weekend journey to the beauty of the UAE, to its glorious nature up in the Hajar mountains, barren and arid, yet crisp cool, and beautiful.