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Ras Al Khaimah

Thursday 21 March 2019 (UAE)   

Ras Al Khaimah overview

The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah (abbreviated as RAK, although sometimes referred to as RAK and Ruin) is one of 7 that make up the country called the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Ras Al Khaimah is also the name of a city in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Ras Al Khaimah is the usual spelling but variations might include Ras AlKhaimah, Ras Al Khaima, Ras El Kaimah, Ras Al Khaymah, Ras Al Khayma, etc.

  • Ras is Arabic for head as in topmost, and Khaimah is Arabic for tent, so Ras Al Khaimah means the top of the tent in English.
Public Parks in RAK
  • Saqr Park - large park with trees, grass, cheap entry, a few amusement rides and video games.
Ras Al Khaimah ratings and surveys

Ras Al Khaimah ratings and surveys

Activities, entertainment and events in Ras Al Khaimah
  • Beaches - public beaches are accessible and usually safe for swimming but litter can be a nuisance, watch out especially for broken glass in the sand. Some beaches have tables with shades for public use. Beach hotels have private beach clubs.
  • Golf courses in RAK
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain climbing
  • Sailing - RAK Sailing Club
  • Shooting - RAK Shooting Club
  • Sports - there are a few clubs and groups but nothing as extensive as in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Areas, suburbs, communities in Ras Al Khaimah (not a complete list)

Ras Al Khaimah areas, suburbs, communities

Art and culture in Ras Al Khaimah
Business in Ras Al Khaimah
  • See also Economy and Industry in RAK
Crime in Ras Al Khaimah

Crime in Ras Al Khaimah

Economy and Industry in Ras Al Khaimah
Education and educational institutes in Ras Al Khaimah
Geography of Ras Al Khaimah
  • Highest mountain in RAK - Jebel Jais, also the highest in the UAE, with a height of 5,700 ft or 1,930 m (approx). Although on 27 February 2012 it became a bit higher according to WAM news, which reported that "Moderate rain fell yesterday evening on the peak of Jess Mountain, which has an altitude of over 5700 meters above the sea level."
  • Map of Ras Al Khaimah
History of Ras Al Khaimah
  • Dec 2010 - Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud, son of Sheikh Saud, appointed Crown Prince of RAK.
  • 27 Oct 2010 - Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi becomes Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah after his father, Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, passes away.
  • 06 Oct 2010 - Al Ittihad newspaper reported that archeological teams from Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US discovered two 600 year old mosques in the Al Fahleen area of Ras Al Khaimah.
  • 02 Dec 1971 - The United Arab Emirates was formed without the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah initially. RAK joined the federation on 10 February 1972 (some sources say 11 February 1972, but the 10th seems to be the correct date).
Important and famous people in Ras Al Khaimah

People in Ras Al Khaimah

Infrastructure in Ras Al Khaimah
  • See also Travel to RAK section
20 Year Development Plan for Southern Region of RAK
  • January 2011 - meeting to discuss a proposal for a 20 year development plan for Ras Al Khaimah's southern region.
  • Plan to evaluate and develop transportation, infrastructure, economic, infrastructure, social, and transport needs.
  • Master plan to be designed over a 2-3 month period following initial meeting with the involvment of the RAK Department of Economic Development, RAK Municipality, RAK Department of Public Works, and other RAK Government departments.
Road projects in Ras Al Khaimah
  • Al Gasidat-Sha'ams Road - from Al Gasidat Roundabout in Ras Al Khaimah to Shaam area, 9 km, approved October 2011, project value AED 120m, construction schedule not supplied.
  • RAK Ring Road - length 32 km, completion date expected to be November 2014.
Landmarks in Ras Al Khaimah

Landmarks in Ras Al Khaimah

Living in Ras Al Khaimah
  • Cost of Living in Ras Al Khaimah - Dubai prices are mostly similar for consumer goods. However, services can be significantly cheaper, and accommodation rental costs are about 30%-50% cheaper than in Dubai. Hotel room rates are also cheaper, and other hotel facilities and goods such as beach and sports club memberships, restaurant meals, and alcohol are cheaper.
  • For Westerners, living in RAK can require some adjustment, especially if you haven't visited before, and especially if you are coming to a job in an institution that has misrepresented the emirate. RAK is more like a small village than a small city or large town. Everyone will know your business, or want to know, and facilities are mediocre although improving significantly. It's nothing like Dubai despite whatever your new employer tells you, and Dubai is not just half an hour down the road. However, if you accept that, then you will probably be much happier in RAK than all the new arrivals who have been misled. As is common with smaller communities, it becomes quite easy to make good friends fairly quickly, and there is more than enough socialising to keep most happy. Just don't expect it to be of a highly sophisticated nature.
Politics and government in Ras Al Khaimah
  • Ruler - Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al-Qassimi (2010-present).
  • Crown Prince - Shaikh Mohammad Bin Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi (announced 06 December 2010, Emiri Decree No. 23 of 2010).

27 October 2010 - Death of His Highness Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah

  • Sheikh Saqr died on 27 October 2010 at the age of approximately 92 (exact birthdate unknown). He was Ruler of RAK from 1948-2010. His son, Sheikh Saud, succeeded him as ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.
  • AFP reported on 28 October 2010 that Sheikh Khaled, another son of Sheikh Saqr, and the Crown Prince of RAK until 2003, had claimed he should be the new Ruler of RAK, saying in a video "On (my father's) passing away, I should assume his duties and obligations as the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah in accordance with the law and constitution of the United Arab Emirates,"
  • WAM issued a statement from Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, who said "I'm fully confident that Sheikh Saud is the best successor to the best predecessor. The UAE, though, lost a dear but it is getting today a ruler who inherited alot of the wisdom from his father and learnt in his school, therefore becoming qualified to participate with his fellow Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers to lead the federation march with all efficiency and ability."

2010 - possible leadership change in Ras Al Khaimah

  • In 2010, Sheikh Khalid was reportedly attempting to arrange to be reinstated as the Ruler of RAK, replacing Sheikh Saqr who was reportedly ill, and Sheikh Saud.
  • Sheikh Khalid had apparently engaged lobbyists in Washington and PR firms in California, USA to assist with his campaign, and was focusing on allegations that RAK had become a hub for illegal nuclear arms trafficking to Iran.
  • The Guardian newspaper (UK) reported that Sheikh Khalid was getting support from Israel, a rather unlikely source - The Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, has met Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al-Thani, the exiled crown prince of Ras al-Khaimeh (RAK), who asked him to help with his campaign to oust the leadership of the northernmost state in the United Arab Emirates. Oddly, Sheikh Khalid seems to have become a member of the Qatari Royal Family (the Al Thanis) in the Guardian's report. Whereas we all thought he was a member of the RAK Royal Family (the Al Qassimis). This might indicate that the Guardian doesn't know what they're talking about, which wouldn't be the first time.
  • A spokesman for Sheikh Khalid, Peter Ragone, was reported as saying "There is significant interest in the current RAK regime's relationship to Iran, particularly in the context of trying to stop the flow of arms, goods and technology from going through RAK to the Islamic Republic. Sheikh Khalid and representatives from his team meet with elected officials, high-ranking government officials and media representatives of various countries all the time. In fact, this week Sheikh Khalid's representatives are in Washington DC meeting representatives of the US foreign policy/national security establishment who are very concerned about the activity in RAK."

2003 - coup in Ras Al Khaimah

  • In June 2003, the Crown Prince at the time, Sheikh Khalid Bin Saqr Al Qassimi (Qasimi), was replaced by his half-brother, Sheikh Saud, in a relatively peaceful coup. A number of Sheikh Khalid supporters protested on the streets but the army (with support from Abu Dhabi military) and police kept things under control. There were reports of gun shots fired but no injuries or deaths as far as we know.
  • For a few days at the time of the coup, checkpoints monitored traffic going in and out of the emirate, and detours were put in place.
  • According to some reports (unconfirmed), Sheikh Khalid and his family apparently went into exile to Oman.
Population and demographics in Ras Al Khaimah
  • Population of Ras Al Khaimah is about 250,000 as of December 2011?
  • Estimated 105,000 people live in rural RAK (The National 25 December 2010)
Religion in Ras Al Khaimah

Religion in Ras Al Khaimah

Shopping in Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah is not a major shopping destination like Dubai, or even Abu Dhabi, but does have a few shopping malls to keep residents and tourists happy and cool in the hot summer.

  • Al Hamra Mall - near Al Hamra Village on the coast road to Dubai, has a Spinneys supermarket with a pork section. Our favorite of the RAK malls.
  • Manar Mall - medium sized mall with a Carrefour supermarket, also a movie theater complex.
  • Safeer Mall RAK - fairly large mall with reasonable children's entertainment area.
  • Post offices in Ras Al Khaima
Tourism in Ras Al Khaimah
Transport in Ras Al Khaimah
  • Public transport is limited to taxis which are metered, or should be.
  • Shared taxis might be available with cheaper fares.
Travel - Getting to and from Ras Al Khaimah

By air to RAK

  • Ras Al Khaimah International Airport - very few flights, most visitors and residents use Dubai International Airport.
  • RAK Airways - an on-again off-again airline, sometimes marketed as a budget airline.

By road to RAK

  • Emirates Road (good) and the Al Ittihad Highway (slower) along the coast provide access from the other emirates.
  • A coastal road continues up the Musandam Peninsula into Oman (but only the northern tip).
  • Another road through Wadi Bih takes travellers to the East Coast and down to Fujairah but there is a border crossing with Oman which is often closed, or closed to non-UAE citizens. Sometimes the road is closed due to damage from flooding. The road is not sealed and should only be driven with a sturdy 4wd vehicle.
  • Distance from Dubai to RAK is about 120 km depending on your start and finish points. From Sharjah to RAK is about 100 km, and from Abu Dhabi to RAK is about 250 km.
  • Travel time to from RAK to Dubai is often given as less than 1 hour, especially by organisations in Ras Al Khaimah trying to make a job offer more attractive. Realistically, allow 1½ to 2 hours depending on traffic and route. Residents familiar with short cuts, speed cameras, and best times to travel might be able to do it in an hour.
  • There are sometimes buses travelling between RAK and Dubai - check with Dubai Taxi.

By train to RAK

  • A UAE rail network is under development, to be operated by Union Railways Company. But date of first passenger service is not expected until after 2015 (probably several years after).

By sea to RAK

  • For most visitors and residents, sea access to RAK is impractical and difficult. No public transport exists that we know of, except possibly an erratic ferry service between RAK and Iran.
  • There are proposals to establish a coastal ferry service between RAK and other emirates - Ajman, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain.
Weather and climate in Ras Al Khaimah
  • Spring - hot
  • Summer - welcome to the sauna, very hot and humid
  • Autumn - hot
  • Winter - pleasant during the day but can be surprisingly cool at night, especially inland and especially if up in the mountains. There has been snow on the top of Jebel Jais (the highest peak in RAK). Once that we know of.
Last update Friday 09-May-2014. Page development 1H 2T 3D 4L 5C.
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.rak.ae - RAK Goverment website
  • www.rak-ia.com - RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA) website
  • www.rakpedia.com - useful expat and resident guide to RAK, with discussion forum
  • www.rak4you.org - another useful RAK website ... but offline as of February 2011? But www.rak4you.com is not anything useful.
  • www.sheikhkhalidrak.com - Sheikh Khalid website, also at www.rakforthepeople.com
  • www.rasalkhaimah.com - spam, no information about RAK


Abu Dhabi AUH ABD ADB, Ajman AJM, Al Ain AAN, Dubai DXB, Fujairah FUJ, Ras Al Khaimah RAK, Sharjah SHJ, Umm Al Quwain UAQ

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