Category Archives: UAE

Must Visit Museums and Cultural Centres in Sharjah

Located along the Southern coast of the Persian Gulf, Sharjah is one of the most populous cities in the UAE. Known for its rich history and culture, the city is recognized as the ‘Cultural Capital of the Arab World’.

Sharjah

Preserving a major chunk of Emirati history, Sharjah is home to several museums and cultural centres. For those of you looking to know more, here is a list of the most popular museums in Sharjah.

Sharjah Heritage Museum

Sharjah-Museum-of-Islamic-Civilization

First opened to public in 2005, Sharjah Heritage Museum is one of the famous museums in the city. Located in the heart of Sharjah, the popular preservatory is known for featuring durables, utilitarian items and other luxury goods, all highlighting different aspects of local life. The wide collection of items and objects at the museum include a ‘Loom’ or ‘Sadu’ (a wooden tool used for knitting woollen yarn), Aftakh (a golden ring generally worn by women on their toe), Soieih Abaya (a mantle for the head usually made of golden yarn) and crescent shaped glass bottles mostly used by babies. Exhibitions on subjects of literature and culture are organized regularly.

Maraya Art Centre

Located at the Al Majaz Waterfront, Maraya Art Centre is a famous art centre in Sharjah. Officially launched in 2006, the well known site is home to Maraya Video Archive. Featuring works of prominent Middle Eastern and International artists, the centre is home to several paintings and sculptures dating back to the early 19th century. The private collection of Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi referred to as ‘Barjeel Art Foundation’ is a popular attraction at the centre. For tourists to have a firsthand experience of the arts and culture, regular exhibitions and informative workshops are organised at the centre from time to time.

Sharjah Archaeology Museum

Located in the heart of the city, Sharjah Archaeology Museum is a beautiful archaeological museum in Sharjah. Established in 1993, the preservatory is known for featuring age-old artefacts, currencies, jewellery, pottery and weapons excavated during the discovery of the city. The golden bible, ivory comb placed inside an alabaster bowl and the ceramic dome are among the popular exhibits at the museum. On display are beautifully crafted models of 2500 years old tombs, cemeteries and houses found in and around the city.

Sharjah Art Museum

Located in the Al Shuwaihiyeen area, Sharjah Art Museum is another famous museum in the emirate. Inaugurated in 1997, it features a collection of paintings and contemporary art forms by prominent artists from the Middle East. Paintings of famous artists dating back to the early 18th and 19th century are also displayed in the museum. Fresh exhibitions, displaying works of popular artists from across the world, are regular phenomena at the museum.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

Located in the Al-Majjarah area, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization is a cultural museum. Opened to public in 2008, the preservatory is known for featuring over 5000 artefacts from across the Islamic world. Other objects at the museum include carvings, manuscripts, metalwork and scientific instruments dating back to the period. Exhibitions on Islamic culture and practices and informative workshops are organised for travellers visiting the site.

Exciting Things to Try On Your Next Dubai Visit

Dubai is such a beautiful and luxurious Middle Eastern land that people are usually lost in the glitz and glamour and go about doing the bare minimum on their visits! However, there is a sea of opportunities that you can indulge in here but you need to think beyond the obvious and find out things to do that might interest you.

The Gold Facial

If you’re feeling pricey, act like it! There is a splendid Gold Facial that you can have while in Dubai. It is obviously going to cost you a little higher than regular skin treatments, but the results they say are spectacular. It uses 24 karat gold sheets that are placed on your skin and then massaged; leaving your skin glowing and supple.

Living in an aquarium suite!

aquarium

Opt for the splendid Atlantis underwater suite that costs around £5,500 per night and you can spot hundreds of marine creatures while you enjoy a stay here! The two underwater suites – Poseidon and Neptune – boast floor-to-ceiling and look directly to Ambassador Lagoon aquarium.

Swimming with dolphins, diving with sharks!

Swimming-with-dolphins

Atlantis The Palm also provides opportunities for swimming with majestic and playful dolphins. When you get closer to this creature you will realise how docile, loving and fun they are, and you will have a great time watching them perform tricks. You can also go scuba diving and see sharks as well a number of other aquatic animals in their natural habitat. These are one of kind experiences and if you are looking to try something interesting, this can definitely be one of the things you do.

Skydiving

Dubai is famous for extreme adventure sports and you must try some of these interesting activities. Skydiving is a rare and once in a lifetime kind of experience and if it is something you have been meaning to try for a while Dubai offers the safest options for trying this extreme sport.

Fly boarding with a splash

Amongst all things new and exciting, Fly-boarding is a terrific new water sport and if you are up for trying exciting things in Dubai, this is definitely something you have to do. An inspired creation of a French Jet Ski designer, this sport will make you feel like an action movie star!

Shopping in Dubai – Check out Some of the Most Popular Souks in the Emirate!

Shopping in Dubai can be best enjoyed at one of those traditional souks and shopping complexes spread across the city, offering a flavour of authentic Arabic culture along with a wide range of products from across the region. For those of you hunting for a unique shopping experience, here is a list of some of the most popular souks in Dubai!

Gold Souk

gold-souk

For most people in the world, Dubai is the city of gold! Located in the heart of Deira, Gold Souk is Dubai’s most famous and visited souk. The popular market comprises of over 3000 gold merchants and traders dealing exclusively in 22 or 24 carat gold jewellery. Prices of these items are decided by the market rate of gold and include the charge of workmanship.

Spice Souk

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Breathe in the rich aromas of authentic herbs and spices at the traditional spice souk in Dubai. Situated on Baniyas street in Deira, the souk is filled with an incredible range of spices and ingredients from across the Middle East and other parts of the world. Popular spices available at the souk include cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, and henna along with different sorts of dry fruits, incense sticks, sheesha and tobacco. Along with the variety of herbs and spices, it is the fragrance and aroma which attracts tourists and shoppers to this market.

Perfume Souk

For those of you obsessed with heavenly scents, Dubai’s Perfume Souk is just the place for you. Located on Sikkat Al Khali Street in Deira, the market is a perfect place to pick up your favourite scents and perfumes made by essential oils and traditional ingredients. You can choose from over thousand fragrances. If you don’t like any of the available ones, there’s always the option of creating your own perfume!

Textile Souk

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Also known as Old Souk, this popular souk is situated in Bur Dubai. The marketplace features a massive range of fabrics and textiles including cashmere, silk, cotton, wool along with souvenirs, gifts and other goods. Although the area is dedicated to fabrics and textiles, the souk is also home to some of the city’s most skilled tailors to help you stitch your favourite attire with the best material from the market. Fabric and textile prices are negotiable and most shops offer a sale on special days and occasions.

Naif Souk

One of the city’s oldest markets, Naif Souk is the most famous souks in Dubai. The former camel market today feature over 1000 shops and stalls selling a wide range of products, such as textiles, goods, scents, fabrics, electronics and souvenirs. For those of you who know how to bargain, this place can turn out some terrific deals. Shopping in Naif Souk is a great way to experience Dubai’s traditional culture!

Explore the Allures of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE, is a complete family destination. The city is full of engaging attractions that are exciting for the young as well as the old.

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It welcomes you with its pretty waterside location, terrific dhow harbour, traditional marketplaces and bustling sheesha cafes. Read on to know more about some of the best attractions of this city.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

An important place of worship across the country and a popular landmark, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque welcomes you with mystical serenity. This huge mosque exhibits stunning Islamic architecture and is the largest mosque in the UAE. Built of beautiful Macedonian marble, the mosque is full of intricate carvings, stunning glass-work and mosaic tiling.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Visit the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and enjoy the thrills of roller-coaster rides and other attractions. It is the first Ferrari-branded theme park in the world and is home to numerous Ferrari inspired rides, a huge Ferrari Store and a host of authentic Italian restaurants and eating outlets. Marvel at its iconic red roof, enjoy the thrill of riding the fastest roller-coaster in the world and get entertained by lively shows – all within this indoor, climate-controlled environment of the Ferrari World.

Qasr Al Hosn

Travel back in time with a visit to the beautiful Qasr Al Hosn, which is probably one of the most popular forts in Abu Dhabi. The spectacular fort enjoys the title of being the oldest stone building in the city, which dates back to 1760. This white-washed fort was built as a watchtower, which slowly transformed into the royal abode of the ruling Al Nahyan family. History buffs will find the fort’s exhibits, photographs and archaeological finds interesting to explore as it offers a rare insight into the region’s history.

Abu Dhabi Corniche

A popular hangout among locals as well as tourists, the Abu Dhabi Corniche is a good place to spend some time observing the local culture. It is an eight kilometre stretch of road flanked by well-maintained waterfront with features such as children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants. The Corniche Beach is another interesting feature, which you should explore. Take a cool dip or sunbathe or just sink your toes in the sand at this lifeguarded beach park.

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Falconry is an important part of the local culture, and you should visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital to observe this bird’s wonderful relationship with humans. Visitors can book tours of this veterinary hospital, which includes exploring areas such as the falcon museum, the examination room and the free-flight aviary. One can even get a chance to hold these birds or feed them.

Dubai’s Offbeat yet Irresistible Charms

The dazzling city of Dubai, UAE, needs no introduction. The destination is full of amazing attractions, which go into the itinerary of every traveller visiting the ‘City of Gold’.

dubai

However, there are many lesser known attractions as well, which offer plenty of opportunities to tourists to experience new and exciting things. Read on to know more about a few of these underrated charms.

The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence

Stroll down the beautiful Jumeirah Beach Residence and treat yourself to a fun-filled shopping and dining experience. The Walk at the Jumeirah Beach Residence stretches around 1.7 kilometres and consists of roads with several shopping outlets and plenty of outdoor restaurants. These restaurants serve everything from popular local delicacies to international cuisines and fast food. As you walk along this 1.7 km stretch of shopping and eating joints, you will reach the Jumeirah Beach.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Visit the stunning Dubai Miracle Garden in Barsha South for a deeply soothing experience. The garden boasts of being the biggest natural flower garden in the world and is home to more than 45 million different species of flowering plants. Travellers can easily spend a considerable amount of time here exploring this huge sprawling garden’s lavish landscapes and colourful flower settings. The site gives you a beautiful visual treat with its topiary style majestic displays of vividly coloured flowers trimmed into different shapes such as huge hearts, pyramids, stars, and igloos. It is a good, romantic getaway for couples.

Chillout Ice Lounge

The Chillout Lounge, located at Times Square Center Dubai, is the first ice lounge in the Middle East. Travellers will have a unique experience chilling (pun intended) out at sub-zero temperatures within the confines of this lounge, while temperatures soar outside. Wear the thermal clothing provided by the lounge and keep yourself warm. The lounge is dotted with big and small ice sculptures and different types of lighting emitting a variety of colours. Enjoy an uninterrupted supply of hot soups, sandwiches, juices, hot chocolates, coffee, tea, and mock tails at the lounge.

Big Red

Another offbeat place of interest in Dubai is the Big Red. Located a little out of Dubai on the Dubai-Hatta Road (E44), this tricky dune bashing centre is more popular with the old hands at the sport. As you drive along E44, you will notice that the desert changes colour from a grey-white to a reddish hue. Many visitors choose to simply play a cheering audience rather than join the heart thudding activity.

Bastakia Mosque

Last but not the least; the Bastakia Mosque is a place to soak in serenity and bliss. Although, Dubai has many other noted and well-known mosques, the Bastakia Mosque can easily be called one of the most photogenic mosques in Dubai. It has exquisite lattice work and a stark white facade. Travellers can also stroll around to see the remnants of Dubai’s gypsum and coral city walls built in the mid-19th century.

Great Things to do on Christmas in Dubai

dubai

Visit Dubai during Christmas and you will know why it is said to be one of the best places to celebrate the festival. Maybe, that’s why tourists from across the world visit Dubai at this time of the year. Another reason is obviously that Dubai is a warm place and the weather around December is just perfect there.

So what do you do when you’re in Dubai for Christmas? Here are some tips!

Visit Local Christmas Shops

It is enthralling to see that the entire world has different interpretations of Christmas and this reflects in the different styles of decorations. You have to visit beautifully adorned local Christmas markets to see how the colours and ornaments create the perfect melange of festivity. Shopping at these local stores will give you a new perspective and help you understand how different the same the festival is, compared to most of the other European countries.

Go Frolicking in the Malls of Dubai

christmas-Dubai-Mall

Dubai has some of the most exotic and aesthetically pleasing malls in the world. You cannot go to Dubai and not check out the malls. Even if you don’t plan to shop, you need to go see the art, architecture, and the variety of brands displaying their collections; be it clothes, shoes, bags, perfumes, electronics, jewellery, or anything else that you can imagine! This will sure be a way to burn the extra calories that you are going to intake through the scrumptious food you are going to eat in Dubai.

Go Crazy on the Food

Dubai has so many mouth-watering cuisines to offer that you are going to be fattened up for sure! Try local delicacies or indulge in fine dining experiences spanning cuisines from across the world at some of the most sought after Michelin star restaurants that Dubai is home to. Try anything from the Middle Eastern delicacies or go global. Enjoy Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, English, and American food at some of the best restaurants in the world.

Go Watch a Play

Another pleasant surprise is that Dubai hosts many Christmas plays. You can watch them with your friends and family and get your Christmas cheer on! Peter Pan, The Nut Cracker, and Alice in Wonderland are some of the best ones and you should definitely go check them out. You may have to make prior bookings though, as the tickets get sold out easily.

So, the next time you plan a holiday to Dubai around Christmas, you know that there are plenty of things you can do and you won’t have a single dull moment.

Dubai for Beach Bums: Dubai’s Best Public Beaches

Dubai is better known for its awe-inspiring man-made attractions such as glittering malls, amazing theme parks, bustling souks, and Burj Khalifa; the tallest building in the world.

beaches-in-dubai

However, the ‘City of Gold’ also boasts of numerous white sandy beaches that are perfect for picnics, playing games, and enjoying waters sports. Many of these amazing beaches are part of resorts and are accessible only to the resort guests. However, Dubai has some great public beaches that can be visited for free or for a small fee. Read on to know more about these public beaches.

Jumeirah Bach Residence (JBR)

The JBR Beach is a popular beach among locals and tourists alike. The JBR beach is located beside the Jumeirah Beach Resort and is a free to use public beach, with clean facilities, showers, and beachfront restaurants. This beach, which is filled with people particularly on weekends, is the site of many popular events.

Kitesurfing Beach

Don’t forget to visit the Kitesurfing Beach in Dubai to see numerous kite surfers in action. This sporty beach is also a popular spot for soccer, volleyball, and kayaking. Also, known as the Woollongong Beach as it is close to the University of Wollongong, the beach is perfect for long walks. However, it has no facilities; so bring your own stuff.

Mamzer Beach Park

The Mamzer or Mamzar Beach Park is a huge picturesque beach. The Mamzer Park has five beaches in coves along the coastline of the park. These beaches have sheltered areas with public utilities such as changing rooms and showers. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available on rent. The area around the beach also has stores and cafes.

4×4 Beach

The 4X4 Beach is another popular public beach. It is located close to the Jumeirah Beach Park and has earned this quirky name because it is a popular spot for drivers to stop and enjoy stunning ocean and bay views.

Jumeirah Open Beach

Visit the Jumeirah Open Beach, which was earlier popular as the Russian Beach. This huge public beach is a great place to enjoy a quick swim or even bathe for hours! The beach is large and includes a 1.8km running track. Facilities include showers, public toilets, and round-the-clock shops.

Bu Qtair Beach

Explore this small and charming peninsular beach known as the Bu Qtair Beach. The beach is popular and has been named after a famous fresh seafood eating joint, the Bu Qtair. You can easily spend an entire day here.

Get Set for Dubai Shopping Festival 2017!

shopping-in-Dubai

Get ready to attend the Mecca of all shopping festivals: the Dubai Shopping Festival 2017! This month long event is an extravagant shopping festival packed with amazing activities and festivities to keep you on your toes. The Dubai Shopping Festival 2017 will mark the 22nd anniversary of this amazing shopping and entertainment event. Billed as one of the largest shopping festivals in the Middle East, the event offers discounts up to 75%.

When

The Dubai Shopping Festival 2017 will be held from 26th December, 2016 to 28th January, 2017. It is one of the longest running shopping festivals across the world.

Shoping-dubai

The event is a major tourist attraction in Dubai, not just for shopping, but also for vibrant festivities involving spectacular fireworks, fashion flash mobs, film screenings, and street plays.

Venue

There is not one single venue for the event, but the festival is held across all shopping avenues such as shopping malls, traditional souks, and flea markets across the city of Dubai. Travellers will see special deals and offers at all shops, big or small, to attract visitors. The entire city revels in this international shopping bonanza, with not just shops, but also restaurants and hotels offering irresistible discounts and deals.

What Are The Best Things To Buy?

You’ll feel dizzy at the plethora of things being sold during the event across the city. So, here is a simplified list of the best things to keep an eye for during the event.

Clothing – From designer clothes to international brands to local creations – there is something for everyone.

Gold – Dubai is already a popular destination to buy tax free gold at cheaper rates. This festival takes the incentive even further and lets you buy gold jewellery, ranging from traditional to modern designs, as per your needs.

Cosmetics – Ladies, it will be criminal not to buy international beauty brands such as Chanel, Bvlgari, Estee Lauder, and Bobbi Brown at cheaper rates during the festival.

Perfumes – Buy duty free premium perfumes brands such as Bvlgari, Chanel, Burberry at discounts.

Watches – Be it non-branded diamond-studded watches or branded watches such as Cartier, Rado or Burberry, buy all these at discounted rates.

Leather Goods – Buy Dubai’s best quality leather products, including bags, belts and jackets, or choose from international leather brands such as Condotti, Burberry, and Prada!

Home Decor – Bag beautiful home decor items including amazing floor carpets at 50 or even 75% discounts.

Electronics – Reputed international electronic brands such as Sony, Bose, Apple, Acer, and Fujitsu can be bought at very low prices here.

Local Produce – Buy local specialities such as spices and dry fruits at discounts at local stores and shops.

What Else to Look Out For?

The amazing festival is not all about shopping and sales. During the festival, the city of Dubai turns into a cultural hub with many celebrity performances, fireworks, international fashion shows, and rock concerts at cultural centres across the city. Some of the other major attractions to look out for at Dubai Shopping Festival 2017 are as follows.

•    Be sure to witness the vibrant fireworks held at night during the festival.

•    Many local companies also offer amazing desert safaris, hot air balloon rides, and dune bashing experiences as part of the festival.

•    There are several world-class concerts, musical shows, and acrobatic performances held at cultural centres during the event.

•    Learn about the latest fashion treads at fashion shows of leading international designers and brands at various venues across the city.

Kid-Centric Attractions and Activities in Dubai

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Planning to explore Dubai with your children? Well, we have a list of attractions and activities that’ll easily grab the attention of your kids and ensure an enjoyable time for them in the ‘City of Gold’. Some of these are exclusively meant for youngsters, while others encourage parents as well!

‘KidZania’

Open 7 days a week, the KidZania is an ‘interactive edutainment centre’, where the little ones can experience more than 80 role-playing professions in the replica of a real city. This ‘city’ is built to scale for children, complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles, and identifiable destinations. The role playing professions enhance the physical, social, and intellectual skills of the participants. There’s a safe and independent area for toddlers too.

Sega Republic

Sega Republic is an indoor theme park for kids and others. It features 15 breathtaking attractions and more than 170 games, ranging from cutting-edge motion simulators and virtual experiences to one of the area’s biggest assortment of skill and redemption games. Some of the ‘attractions’ are Giant Slider, Xyclone, Racer, Wild Jungle and Rope Rush. Sega Republic is open daily from 10 AM to 1 AM.

Go Ice Skating to the ‘Dubai Ice Rink’

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If your child or even you love to ice-skate, then head to the ‘Dubai Ice Rink’ right away! This Olympic-size venue has over 2,000 pairs of skates imported from a popular manufacturer in Italy to fit children and adults of all ages and sizes.

Ski-Dubai

‘Ice Marshals’ keeps an eye on everyone during public skating hours to ensure safety. To entice people further, there are awesome DJ nights for ultimate entertainment.

Al Nasr Leisureland

Youngsters will have a delightful time at Al Nasr Leisureland as it features amazing rides such as Go Kart, Bumber Car, Himalaya Ride, Helicopter & Mini Bumber. There are superb facilities for tennis, squash, swimming, and bowling as well. The Olympic-sized ice rink with gallery is an apt spot for social entertainment events, stage shows, and award ceremonies. The food at the on-site restaurants is truly admirable!

Swim with the Dolphins at ‘Dubai Dolphinarium’

Dubai Dolphinarium is a jaw-dropping attraction not only for kids but adults too! Over here, one can swim and interact with dolphins.

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The bottlenose dolphins and seals show off their master skills in various action-packed shows. Dubai Dolphinarium also hosts programmes where more than 20 different birds and parrots flaunt their spectacular abilities. There are numerous souvenirs and toys at the gift shop.

Top 10 Experiences and Activities at Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost emirate of the UAE, is a scenic paradise of several pristine beaches, splendid natural lagoons, thick mangroves, and golden deserts.

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The emirate also boasts of many heritage sites and buildings, luxury sea-facing resorts, and thrilling water sports opportunities. Here are the top 10 experiences and activities to enjoy at Ras Al Khaimah.

Bassata Desert Village

Enjoy an exotic desert experience at the Bassata Desert Village. Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy dune bashing and camel riding while experiencing other traditional cultural activities such as belly dance, Arabic Tanoura, and Arabic barbecue. Enjoy an amazing overnight camp at the village.

Khatt Springs

The Khatt Springs is well known for its mineral-rich hot springs with therapeutic properties. Heal yourselves while relaxing at the hot pools surrounded by palm trees and rugged mountains. After soaking in the waters of the Khatt Springs, explore the majestic surroundings, complete with around 170 interesting archaeological sites.

Falcon Show

Falconry is an ancient tradition in Ras Al Khaimah. For a sneak-peek into this tradition, or rather sport, check out the one-of-its-kind falcon and raptor display at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi. The display has an amazing collection of falcons, hawks, kestrels, owls, and eagles.

Ras Al-Khaimah National Museum

Visit the Ras Al-Khaimah National Museum, an important attraction in the region. The museum displays numerous archaeological and ethnological artefacts, including treaties between Great Britain and the rulers of Ras Al-Khaimah, and traditional weapons.

Hajar Mountains

Go for exhilarating trips to the rugged Hajar Mountains, which form a surrounding backdrop of the emirate. Hike the Hajar Mountains and reach its highest point, the Jebel Jais, while admiring the dynamic rust-coloured sand dunes surrounding the mountain range.

Beach Parties

Ras Al Khaimah has some very beautiful sandy white beaches, which have managed to remain almost untouched in their beauty and serenity. Winters are the best time to relax or sunbathe on these gorgeous beaches and be part of some exciting beach parties with loads of music, dancing, and FUN!

Awafi Desert

The Awafi desert in Ras Al Khaimah is one of the most popular camping sites in the area, though camping happens there only in winters. The desert is known for its silky soft sand dunes, lovely weather, and a popular annual cultural festival. Year-round desert camps can be enjoyed at Bassata Desert Village and Bedouin Oasis Camp.

Jebel Jais

Drive or hike up to the 1934-metre high Jebel Jais, which is the tallest mountain in the UAE and is part of the Hajar Mountains. Reaching the summit of this rugged and wind-swept mountain is rewarding, plus the trail offers fantastic views of the nearby valleys.

Dhayah Fort

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History buffs will love this 16th century mud-brick fort, the Dhayah Fort. It was built as a military tower on a hilltop. The surrounding area has several other ruined fortifications and watchtowers.

Al Qawasim Corniche

Visit the fabulous Al Qawasim Corniche and enjoy excellent views of the Ras Al Khaimah Creek, its mangroves and the Hajar Mountains. The corniche has some fantastic cafés, shops and restaurants set up within historical buildings, surrounded by landscaped gardens, fountains and streams, making it a popular leisure spot among the locals and tourists.