- Dubai Creek, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai Creek – Also known as Khor Dubai, Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek in Dubai and separates Bur Dubai and Deira. Dubai Creek cuts through the heart of Dubai and traditional Arab dhows can often be seen criss-crossing the water body. A romantic dhow cruise down the Dubai Creek is a wonderful way to take in magnificent views of the Dubai skyscrapers and the beauty of the creek. Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It ends at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Some sources say that the creek extended as far inland as Al Ain, and that the Ancient Greeks called it River Zara.
Dubai creek divided the city historically into two main sections Deira and Bur Dubai and is the reason for the city’s development as a successful trading port with Iran and India. A boat trip of one or two hours down the Creek is the best way to view the attractions on both sides of the Creek traditional ships (dhows) that line the creek, remarkable buildings and four bridges that cross the Creek.
Dubai Creek is one the emirate’s most picturesque locales that particularly stick out for its traditional aura and charm. Despite the record-breaking landmarks comprising high-rise buildings and entertainment venues that dot across the city, this natural seawater creek stands as the real identity of Dubai and is a living illustration of the country’s long-standing trading tradition.
Dubai Creek History
Since ancient times, the creek has served as a safe and significant harbor for ships heading towards the ports of the Arabian Gulf region. But in 1950s, a slit occurred in the creek presumably as an outcome of heavy flock of ships. Later the HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum appointed a team to study the prospects of the creek’s broadening and expansion. With the Dubai Creek Dredging Fund especially formed for the purpose and support from the Kuwait government, a canal of about 4,000 ft long and six feet deep was excavated, with a sheet piling of 1200 ft X 11,000 ft installed on the creek’s either side. Apparently, its expansion became instrumental in positioning Dubai as one of the Middle East’s major port cities.
Dubai Creek has been the centre of trade for centuries. Excavations at nearby Jumeirah reveled a trading caravan of the Sassanids, for whom it was home and trading base from around 224 AD until overthrown by the Islamic Umayyads, who built a thriving international trading centre that peaked between 750 and 1258 AD.
It has remained an important trade centre – attracting European efforts at dominance, first from the Portuguese, then the French, Dutch and British, who finally created treaties in 1766 enabling Dubai to be a sort of free-zone for imports and re-export – particularly of gold, at a time when other places were held tightly under trading restrictions that did not here apply.
Dubai Creek Video
Dubai Creek Attractions
Running through the heart of the city, the creek segregates Dubai into two major districts: Bur Dubai and Deira. A retro feel is evident in every nook and corner of the creek and its surrounding areas. Old-style buildings that reflect rich Arabian hospitality, traditional style wooden dhows, and bustling souks – all make Dubai Creek a must-visit landmark of the city. With that being said, you can also find here a good number of futuristic buildings popping up amid the historic charisma of the region. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary – a haven for nature lovers and bird watchers, Bastakiya that is exceptional for its ancient wind tower houses, Al Fahidi Fort with a museum, and Sheik Saaed’s House are few to name of the must-visits in the vicinity.
Things to do in Dubai Creek
A pleasurable stroll along the promenade of the creek itself is enough to revel in the soothing wind and marvel at the real allure of the area where natural beauty harmoniously merges with the suave modernism. However, there are certain must-dos while you’re here – mainly an abra ride that takes you from Bur Dubai to Deira and vice versa and a dhow cruise, which not only assures you of a glorious and memorable sightseeing but also allows you to enjoy traditional entertainment shows by way of Tanura and horse show. Likewise, if not for shopping at least to experience the real Arab trading tradition, be sure to visit many of the bustling souks in the area, like Gold Souk, Spice Souk, and Textile Souk, where traders will be more than happy to see you haggling to shop your favorite items at best prices.
Dubai Creek Nightlife
As the sun goes down, the creek, along with its surroundings, become a hub of activities. Whether you’re a party-goer or a connoisseur of tastes, or a shopping freak or one who prefers to have fun with your family or friends or simply wants to immerse in the vibe of this distinct region, it has everything to cater to your unique nightlife requirements, with a whole lot of clubs, disco bars, discotheques, restaurants, cafes, retail outlets, and upscale shopping centres with entertainment venues swarming the region.
Dubai Creek Hotels
From budget and mid-range to opulent and extravagant accommodation choices, the creek’s bank is home to a huge assortment of hotels to satisfy every pocket and preference. For travelers seeking luxury, options include Park Hyatt, Raffles, Le Meridian Fairway, Copthorne, and Jumeira Creekside. Similarly, some of the decent choices for vacationers on budget are Citymax Al Barsha, Desert Palm, Ibis, and Jonrad.
Abra Ride Across The Creek
Everyone should experience crossing the Dubai Creek on an abra. You can buy a one-way ticket or hire your own abra for an hour. The Creek is the original centre of the city’s commerce and still buzzes with boats zipping up and down plying their trade and cargo. Using the abra is a great way to take in some of the older parts of the city.
From sunset to sunrise, enjoy the freshly prepared gourmet cuisine and personalised service of the Bateaux Dubai, set amongst the ambience and sights of the historic Dubai Creek. The cruise captures the wonderful contrast of old and new along Dubai Creek and the many fascinating sights along the way.
The Creek Park
The Creek Park is the second largest park in Dubai, and also among the oldest and most popular parks. The Creek Park located between Garhoud and Maktoum bridges, spanning an area of about 96 hectares is the second largest park in Dubai. It is in the heart of the old city along the shores of Dubai Creek, and is one of the oldest parks in Dubai, nevertheless, most popular too. It can also be accessed by boat, and has a landing pad for helicopters.
The Park has plenty of greenery, apart from mazes and a nature trail. The park has all basic amenities and necessary features to keep visitors wanting to get back to the park often. Apart from the various facilities that the park offers, the shore of creek is great for roller skating.
There is a nominal entry fee which has to be paid to enter the park, and you will have to pay this even if the creek is great for roller skating, as is a large stone amphitheatre area with capacity to accommodate more than 1200 people.
The Dubai Dolphinarium and Children’s City are the other popular attractions in this amazing park, which offers great views over Dubai Creek. The Children’s City section offer various views of natural science represented in the human body, nature centre and space, electricity, computer, communication and Planetarium.
The Park is well known for its serene surroundings and distinctive recreational facilities. The admission ticket is Dh.5 per person
Facilities: Cable car, Barbecue areas, Bicycles for hire, train rides, Dubai Dolphinarium, Children’s City, restaurants, small cafes, food stalls.
Working Hours: 8am to 10pm (daily); Wednesday – Ladies Day.
Old Charm with Modern Views
A beautiful 14 kilometre stretch of water running from the Northeast to the Southwest of the city, the Dubai Creek has long played an essential role in the economic development of the emirate. The tremendous growth in trade since the early days when Dubai was a centre for pearl fishing and trade has been much attributed to the Dubai Creek.
Realising the importance of this channel, the late visionary ruler of Dubai, H.H Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, ordered the widening of the creek in 1954 enabling ships of the capacity of 500 tonnes to enter the creek and thereby further enhance Dubai’s reputation as a trading nation.
Today, small to medium ships and dhows from the Gulf, India and Europe find a safe harbour when they call on Dubai. The creek separates Deira Dubai from Bur Dubai and the charming water taxis or small wooden Abras serve as an economic mode of transport, for those who wish to cross from one side to another.
The enchanting views of the city, the classic mix of old world and modern Dubai beside the tranquil waters, all make it well worth a relaxed cruise down the creek.
On the cruise you will see a mix of modern landmarks and historic sights on the Dubai Creek:
– The British Embassy Building
– Maktoum Bridge
– Dubai Courts
– The Floating Bridge
– The Clock Tower
– The Dhow Wharfage
– Dubai Chamber of Commerce
– National Bank of Dubai
– The Etisalat Building
– The Twin Towers
– Deira Tower
– The Old Souk/ Spice Souk
– The Gold Souk
– The Heritage and Diving Village
– Sheikh Saeed’s House
– The Diwan (Government) and Bastakiya
– Dubai Museum
– The Grand Mosque
– The Old Boat Port
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Dubai Creek is the natural seawater inlet from the Arabian Gulf that divides the city in two. On the northeast side is Deira Dubai and on the southwest, Bur Dubai. The creek has played a major role in Dubai’s history, originally facilitating trade with India and Africa and providing safe haven for trading ships.
There are several ways to explore the creek. Travel along the water in traditional style on an abra, or water taxi. These small, motorized wooden boats are a cheap way to get around and are the means many workers use to commute from one side of the creek to the other.
You’ll find designated abra stations at various locations along the waterway with boats departing every few minutes every day of the week. They typically slip away when there are around 20 passengers. There are no tickets; you just pay on board. You can even charter an abra for yourself.
Another way to view the creek is on a traditional dhow. You can find these tour boats on the Deira side and they offer day and night cruises.
Observe the day-to-day activity on the creek as abras, yachts and modern boats are loaded and unloaded. Make sure you bring a camera with you as the city skyline looks superb from the waterfront, especially when the buildings are bathed in bright sunlight.
Notice the distinct architectural differences between the two sides of the creek. The Bur Dubai side is the older part of the city with traditional Middle Eastern architecture. Deira Dubai is more modern and home to many skyscrapers.
Explore the area on foot along the promenades. These pretty, paved walkways are well-lit at night allowing for a pleasant evening stroll.
At the upper end of the creek is the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. It covers an area of 1,532 acres (620 hectares) of wetlands, mudflats, lagoons and pools. Here you may be able to see several species of water birds including plovers, curlews and gulls.