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A pearl inside a clam at a traditional pearl farm in Ras al Khaimah (photo: UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment)

Pearl diving and ice skating in Ras Al Khaimah

Mountaintop ice skating, visiting a traditional pearl farm and the option of diving for pearls are new adventures on the RAK menu.

Not content with merely having the world’s longest zipline, Ras Al Khaimah has bolstered its adventure tourism portfolio with the addition of an ice-skating rink at the Jebel Jais Viewing Deck Park.

The northernmost emirate of the United Arab Emirates is known for its Arabian Gulf beaches, but the overhanging skating rink is situated 1300 metres above sea level with views of Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain.

The viewing park features seven decks, where visitors can take in 360-degree vistas of the Hajar Mountains, formed over 70 million years ago and standing nearly 2000 metres above sea level.

It is described by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority as the perfect place to watch people taking the Jebel Jais Flight zipline and tackling the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata mountain adventure activities – and the skating. Cafés and food trucks provide “gourmet-level refreshments”.

Diving for pearls
Another of the latest attractions in Ras Al Khaimah is the opportunity to dive for your own clams with pearls inside, the authority told Standby Nordic at the recent MATKA travel fair in Helsinki.

Visitors board a traditional pearling boat decked out in traditional style to visit a pearl farm, where options include an introduction to the local nature, history and culture, an oyster opening experience, pearl diving, kayaking, touring the mangroves and a traditional lunch provided by Emarati women from the village.

Further activities on offer in Ras Al Khaimah include hiking, mountain biking, camel and horse riding, visiting the hilltop ruins of Dhayah Fort, rounds of golf, desert treks and staying with Bedouin communities. Glamping is set to be unveiled by 2020.

The tourism authority also stresses that there are resorts and shopping too, with some of the most relaxed attitudes in the UAE to aspects of a holiday important to western tourists such as beachwear and alcohol.

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