Expert recommend going beyond dune-bashing in Ras Al Khaimah
Discover why Ras Al Khaimah is the new, up-and-coming emirate on everyone's lips and see where its major draws lie through the eyes of one traveller who penned her adventure down and shared it on Huffington Post. Karen Edwards lets on the secrets to this previously barely unknown holiday destination and tells us why we should look beyond Dubai and venture into soothingly quiet Ras Al Khaimah (at least for now).
Last February Travel & Entertainment Editor, Karen Edwards, wrote a travel piece documenting her experience in a growingly popular (yet previously virtually unknown) emirate that has now expanded its tourism offer to lure more and more visitors. We’re talking about Ras Al Khaimah, the formerly shy, quiet and unassuming neighbour that at only a short 45-minute drive from Dubai, remained the best guarded secret of expats escaping Dubai’s noise and tourist crowds. Well, a secret it no longer is and Edwards’ blog piece on Huffington Post tells us why.
Retelling her visit to Ras Al Khaimah (also known as RAK) Edwards begins with her experience of driving through the rolling dunes of the Arabian desert and admiring the contrasting hues of the silky sands which come in a variety of shades ranging from mustardy yellow to saffron red. Her breath is taken away as she absorbs the views from atop one of these dunes:
“The hues of yellow and orange unfold and fold and unfold again. A bright and brilliant contrast against the hazy afternoon sky. Stunning. As we return to base at the bottom of the dunes, a camel saunters by. The seamless transition of nature and city, this is the real Ras Al Khaimah.”
Edwards continues by describing the shopping opportunities the emirate offers, which, as it turns out, have nothing to envy Dubai’s oversized malls. She says that with familiar brands like M&S and H&M dotting the Manar Mall, Britons will feel right at home, yet if they want a touch of authenticity the Al Quatye souq is where RAK’s true colours shine. She highlights the artisanal beauty of handcrafted garments such as the intricately embroidered makhoura and kandoora (local tradritional dress) flanking the shop fronts as the most inviting of flags.
If looking beyond shopping or beach-basking (yes, there are beautiful beachfront resorts in RAK, far quieter than those in Dubai for the most part) and in search of more upbeat recreation, Edwards suggests a hop to Cove Rotana on Thursdays and Fridays “for a beach party you won’t forget”. Here, she adds, you’ll get yet another spoonful of true Ras Al Khaimah flavour, where you’ll be able to soak up the colours, sounds and culture while surrounded by first-class comforts.
According to Edwards, one of the biggest factors now drawing more visitors to Ras Al Khaimah and helping put the emirate firmly on the map is Royal Brunei’s new route directly linking London Heathrow to RAK, which the writer also experienced and wrote about. She says the six-hour journey onboard Royal Brunei was pleasantly refreshing with the usual top-notch services of in-seat entertainment, meals and non-alcoholic drinks, made all the better by the attentive staff.
“A big thumbs up go to the always-smiling attendants, who not only didn’t wake me up for breakfast, but also offered my missed meal once I’d woken up.”
As an added inflight bonus she comments on the pristine estate of the toilets, which “were always sparkling – suggesting they were cleaned several times during the flight”. To this she adds that such a rare sight is hard to come by, even in 2016!
During her time in RAK, our author stayed at the palatial Waldorf Astoria, a beach-facing resort, she highly recommends and from which she ends her post as she invokes memories of her looking out onto the sea from the comfort of her room’s balcony while saying to herself “Tomorrow will be a beach day”. And that sounds like a promise no one would willingly break.
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