If you thought that Dubai Creek is just a saltwater creek that runs in the middle of the city, you’d be right, but only partially. The Dubai Creek is actually a picturesque locale, filled with a mystical aura that’s so Arabian in origin. Dubai is dotted with many man made marvels and attractions that’ll blow your mind. Yet, this natural seawater creek stands head and shoulders above it all. Somehow the Dubai Creek represents the real Dubai – everything as it was before the oil boom. Fishing, trading, pearl diving, and the simple nomadic way of life. The Dubai Creek represents the Middle East more accurately than all the eminently photographable monuments you see.
How Did The Dubai Creek Come About?
Dubai is one of the UAE’s major port cities, and it’s all due to the Dubai Creek. How did this happen? The creek has existed since ancient times, serving as a safe harbor to vessels trading along the Arabian Gulf ports. Then the creek split through the ground, sometime in the 1950s, forming a small canal.
Dubai’s then ruler, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, took up the idea of expanding the creek. The little baby creek canal was dug up and a 4,000 foot long and six feet deep canal was excavated. Thick sheet piling was put up on either side of the creek to prevent further splits. And so the famous Dubai Creek was born. Now the creek cuts through downtown Dubai, with Deira on one side and Bur Dubai on the other.
Why Is The Dubai Creek So Well-Known?
The Dubai Creek with its two adjoining districts Bur Dubai and Deira form present day Dubai’s downtown. It’s a downtown with a difference though. The entire area is reminiscent of the lost Arabian world. On both sides of the Dubai Creek you’ll find heritage buildings, museums, and old-style markets.
Bustling souqs, traditional style wooden dhows, wind towers – you’ll see all these and more in the area. The old-style markets of Bur Dubai and Deira sell perfume, gold jewelry, spices and leather goods. You can smell the spices and the perfumes from across the creek. This region has several other attractions, such as Bastakiya village and its wonderful windy old lanes and souqs; the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary which draws nature lovers from all over; and the Al Fahidi Fort and its museum.
What’s Fun To Do In The Dubai Creek?
- You can enjoy so much on the Dubai Creek. Take a walk along the tree-lined promenade along the creek, enjoying the fresh seaside breezes. All around you’ll see modern buildings sitting side by side with traditional constructions and wind towers.
- Hire an abra and cross the Dubai Creek to the other side – if you’re in the Bur Dubai area, crossing the creek will take you to Deira. It’s a very pleasant, breezy and calm crossing. You’ll enjoy watching the yachts, dhows and other vessels going up and down the creek.
- Sign up for a dhow cruise on the Dubai Creek. This is the same traditional wooden dhow, the same dhow that has been used in the Middle East for centuries. These vessels are infused with historical mystique that dates back to the ancient days of smuggling and piracy. Dhows are usually used to carry heavy cargo for trading. They are made of wood, with long, thin, hulls. Lateen-rigged sails power these boats to carry fresh produce or water along the creek. The dhow cruise boats are more elaborate, fitted with cabins and glass walls for sightseeing. Enjoy the traditional Tanura shows and horse shows on board your Dubai Creek Dhow Cruise.
- Want to experience a taste of true Arab trading? Enter the traditional markets of Bur Dubai and Deira. Haggle your way through stalls filled with wonderful carpets, perfumes, amazing spices, gold and more. You’ll be invited into stalls and offered thick and sweet Arabian coffee even as the sellers haggle vociferously. The unique thing is that the gentle hospitality and the vociferous haggling and gesticulating are both typical Arab trading traditions. You won’t find this in the west!
- Be sure to walk around the Gold Souq, Spice Souq, and Textile Souq and the Perfume Souq. Breathe in the unmatchable fragrances that hit your nostrils. Don’t miss browsing the exciting night markets, lit by traditional lamps.
- The Dubai Creek area has a selection of disco bars, restaurants, cafes, discotheques and upscale shopping centers with entertainment venues. There are plenty of nightlife options for you to enjoy here. You’ll never be bored!
- If you’re into golf, or yachting, the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club on the waterfront will be a good option to try. Every year this club hosts many golfing and yachting tournaments, including the popular Dubai Desert Classic. The clubhouse is built to resemble the sails of the traditional dhow.
- Sign up for a Dinner Cruise on a dhow or yacht and enjoy the Dubai Creek like never before. You’ll be welcomed on a red carpet, served a welcome drink with canapés, as the night floodlights bring all landmarks to focus. You’ll pass the Clock Tower, the Al Maktoum Bridge, the Deira Twin Towers, the Grand Mosque Souq and many other landmarks. A 3-course gourmet dinner awaits you, serenaded by a pianist. It is 2.5 hours of bliss on the sightseeing boat, watching the best of Dubai via the panoramic glass walls.
Where Do I Stay Near The Dubai Creek?
You’ll be spellbound to know just how many opulent, mid-range and budget hotels and hostels are there in this area. Lined up on the creek’s bank are the luxurious Park Hyatt, Le Meridian Fairway, Raffles, Copthorne, and Jumeirah Creekside. If you’re looking for budget options, try the Desert Palm, Citymax Al Barsha, Jonrad and Ibis.
The Dubai Creek is a magical place, especially at night, when bright lights light up the waterfront. The floating vessels on the dark water are all lit up as well, which turns the whole landscape into something from a fairy land.