Jebel Jais UAE-…“Goodbye summer”! So I whispered to myself with a smile, as I was looking down from a strategic spot on Jebel Jais, the tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates.
I know some love summer, some don’t. Here particularly in the UAE, err, not really. I would agree with anybody bidding goodbye to the hot months here. Summer is tough, sweltering under high humidity and temperatures, sometimes even reaching up to 50C degrees. Thanks to UAE’s high standards of living, every house, building and transportation is air-conditioned.
So I packed up one weekend and headed to Ras Al Khaimah or RAK as we call it here. It’s a beautiful emirate in the northern part of the UAE, cooler and greener. It is encircled by the enormous Hajar Mountains towards the border of Oman. Aside from a handful of luxury hotels, RAK is a favorite of many outdoor lovers and beach goers. It is rather laid back, quiet and naturally beautiful. The contrast of the mountains, the deep blue sea and the glaring sun-soaked desert in the back drop is simply stunning and jaw-dropping. This is why,.I am sure, people just love Ras Al Khaimah.
When it is summer here in Dubai, when the sun shines at least 14 hours a day, summer for me feels like forever. Some days when the humidity is too high and I am not working, I just think about the beach and pools. Dubai has a lot of pretty beaches. There are many five star hotels that have their private beaches and when my pockets allow me to go for broke, I take the opportunity to wander with the sand between my naked toes, beach walking and not leave until it is sunset. It’s amazing!
After packing up my tiny overnight bag and slipping my camera around my neck, I walked up to the bus station across from where I live and made sure to catch the first bus to RAK, that leaves at 8AM. RAK is one of the UAEs best kept secrets and boasts the country’s tallest mountain, some cracking beachside hotels and also the world’s longest zip-line. The only negative is that it is a bit of a trek to get there, for one who does not have the luxury of a car. But it is not difficult at all. Thank goodness the UAE has one of the best road networks in the world, amazingly extensive, reducing stress in travel.
The UAE is a traveler’s wish list, an exciting paradise for the lovers of the beach, culture, shopping, night life, heritage, the desert,and the crazy bunch of skyscrapers. Who has not heard about the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab in Dubai? I bet you have!
In total, the whole journey from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah takes about 1 hour and thirty minutes. I told myself, who cares about the long journey when all I need is a quench my thirst with a weekend of retreat and adventure? I couldn’t wait until I arrived in RAK with some friends waiting for me in a car and the drive to Jebel Jais. The roads were simply breathtaking! It is not for the faint of heart. It’s long and winding with great views of canyons and cliffs. Jebel Jais is the highest mountain in the UAE, an extensive mountain range in the heart of the Hajar Mountains extending from the UAE to Oman. The road to the peak is stunning, with paved, serpent-like twists from the base to the top. Jebel Jais has become everyone’s top favorite in the weekender’s list of things to do in the UAE. The government has built countless viewing decks at every major turn, providing a breath-taking vista for picnic goers and mountaineers alike.
There are restaurants and food stalls so people can enjoy, sit and eat while loving the views. I was having a total frenzy with my camera, capturing every beautiful opportunity. It’s absolutely a photographer’s dream. We drove up to reach a very high point, almost to the peak and stopped for some refreshments. I looked down at the switch back roads and could not believe my eyes. I was on top of the world, feeling so high, breathing calmly and looking out over the vastness of the Universe. The winds! I loved them playing with my hair. The air is crisp and cool, nothing like the lowlands. It’s a beautiful, unforgettable relief from city life, the weekly routine of work and home. Indeed, I told myself, I badly needed a time to escape, to relax my mind and body,to fall in love with the beauty of nature, to be recharged back to life!
I hope you enjoyed my weekend journey to the beauty of the UAE, to its glorious nature up in the Hajar mountains, barren and arid, yet crisp cool and beautiful.