Ras Al Khaimah, meaning the ‘Top of the Tent’, is located in the northern region of UAE and lies sandwiched between the Arabian Gulf and the Hajar Mountains. Featuring a capital city of the same name, its coastline stretches for 27 miles and is inclusive of numerous lagoons and beaches while the border with Oman consists of an unbroken chain of mountains. Ras Al Khaimah is how you would expect an Arabian costal village to be. Its charm is its simplicity and is almost the antithesis of Dubai.
Foreigners holidaying or visiting with investment intentions describe the emirate as peaceful, relaxed and unspoilt. RAK’s natural beauty of the Hajjar mountains and short distance to Oman make it an attractive alternative to those tired of Dubai.
RAK initially concentrated on developing its industrial sector and has now become the world’s largest producer of ceramics under the brand name RAK Ceramics. It also created the Gulf’s leading pharmaceuticals company Julphar. It is only within the last 3 years that RAK has put more energy into the real estate sector. Diversifying into this area made sound economic sense as RAK does not have the natural abundance of oil unlike its fellow emirate Abu Dhabi. Watching the success of the Dubai property boom, RAK felt they could regenerate and develop the emirate too and with RAK’s beautiful scenery, who wouldn’t be tempted?
Ras Al Khaimah enjoyed a prestigious status of being an important trade centre during the yesteryears and a glimpse of this glorious epoch is still visible in the rich and varied heritage of the city. Overall, Ras Al Khaimah has something to offer everyone with its tranquil beaches, majestic mountains, dramatic sand dunes, wildlife sanctuaries and emerald green golf courses. But for many, the three letters of RAK are those found on some of the best ceramic in the world. Yes, Ras al Khaimah is known for its ceramics industry, globally.
Once upon a time, the harbour settlement of Ras Al Khaimah was known as Julfar and early Julfar was located in the Shamal area inhabited by a tribe named Azd. Archaeological excavations in the area revealed that residential quarters during that period were built of wood and over a period of time the port shifted location due to the silting in the channels. Owing to its strategic location, the town was the scene of many conquests involving the British and gradually usurped its independence not only from foreign powers but indigenous emirates as well to eventually become a part of UAE in 1972.
Many foreign investors are homing in on the quick investment opportunities to be had in RAK. There are now many designated areas that are available as freehold and when buying a property, you will usually be given a resident’s visa for yourself and the your family. Many existing UAE expats are interested in purchasing second homes in RAK for investment as the price of property varies enormously between RAK and say Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Some quote prices as being a third of what you’d pay in the popular Emirate states.
One of RAK’s biggest advantages will be its close proximity to Dubai. The Emirates Road, which is the main highway connecting Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman is extending to RAK and it is expected journey times form Dubai to RAK will be less than an hour. It will therefore make sense for expats to consider renting in the nearby emirates rather than pay extortionate rentals in Dubai.
Tourists who visit the area in December and January get an opportunity to witness the Awafi festival which is a three-week event filled with cultural enjoyment. This festival is held in Al Awafi, a traditional heritage village and while the food lovers are busy sampling the ethnic cuisine, the adventurous try their hand at the dramatic sand dunes drive and the rest of the family spends time shopping for souvenirs.
People living in the area lead a life of good quality as there are plenty of schools, healthcare facilities, shopping malls and a park for recreation. The majority of the country’s income comes from industries and it is courtesy of this that the region is at present the country’s largest producer of cement and the world’s largest producer of ceramics. Had it not been for severe power cuts, this area would have long since emerged as one of the most investment friendly regions of the world.