Also known as Khor Dubai in Arabic, the Dubai Creek is actually a saltwater creek in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was once extended to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. But it now extends across the Persian Gulf as it falls under the new Dubai canal. According to some sources, the creek extended inland as far as Al Ain and it was once called as River Zara by the Ancient Greeks.
There is no lack of activities and water sports you can enjoy in Dubai during winters. Dubai Creek connects the trading seaport to the desert through the center of the city. There is the Gulf on one side of it, and there is the Ras al Khor Bird Sanctuary on the other. So, there are plenty of wonderful activities you can enjoy in Dubai Creek to make your trip to Dubai memorable for years. The calm and cool Dubai Creek always welcomes visitors with different things one can do.
If you are wondering what to do in this hot and exciting place this winter, you should know certain things about this serene waterway. Dubai Creek has flowed over time calmly, but there are still some historical facts you should know about this very heart of Dubai
- The earliest reference that we know about Khor Dubai, or Dubai Creek, can be traced back to 1822 by a naval surveyor from Britain.
- The significance of the creek dates back to 1902, when the ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Hashar removed all customs duties on imports, in order to form a free trade zone here. Most of the trading activities were based around the creek and Dubai eventually became the leading hub for trade.
- Dubai Creek was also the start and end point for expeditions, which was once known as the bloodstream of the country’s economy. Over 3000 vessels were used in the trade, which was departed in May and returned by the mid of September. Pearl divers made around 50 dives per day and lived on a thrifty diet of fish, dates, rice, and coffee.
- Before international airport was started in Dubai, Dubai Creek was the only way to land seaplanes here. The first plane in the UAE was landed in 1937 in Dubai Creek, heading from Southhampton to Karachi. Eight seaplanes were being landed at the creek to carry passengers during World War II.
- Large vessels were not allowed to enter the creek because of limited depth. In the late 1950s and by the early 1960s, things were changed as the creek was dredged to make it deeper and wider. Over 500 tons of ships were able to anchor in the creek to increase the trade levels of the city.
- Based on the waterway, fishing was another main trade thanks to its shallow and warm waters which house a lot of marine life. Fishing was done using wooden dhows which were built on the shores of the creek.
- Until 1963 when Dubai’s first Al Maktoum Bridge was built, the locals had to travel a long distance across the waterway on the side of the creek or take a ride in the Abra. These were the only ways back then. Abras were running by oar before the introduction of motors. Today, abra still runs across the creek and you may ride them for just one dirham.
- The city was previously split into two sections – Bur Dubai and Deira, due to Dubai Creek, at the end of Ras Al Khor sanctuary. But it is now extended to the Arabian Gulf with Dubai Water Canal and turned the part of the city as an island.
Things to do at Dubai Creek
- Visit the Dubai Museum – If you really want to explore the rich history of Dubai, you might definitely visit the Heritage Village, Al Bastakia District, and Dubai Museum. Housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum was built in 1787, which is the oldest surviving building in the city.
- Ride the Cable Car – Suspended around 30m in the air, the cable car covers up to 2.3 km of distance in just one hour in the Dubai Creek.
- Cruise-de-Creek- If you want to absorb the surroundings but at your own place, there is no better idea than a wooden dhow or a water taxi to feel the old-world charm of Dubai. These are the best modes to cruise down the creek.
- Dubai Dolphinarium – You may have a close encounter with bottlenose dolphins or even click a selfie with these friendly mammals in this aquarium. Don’t forget to watch one of the most thrilling live shows.
- Shop Spices – Feel the aroma of some exotic and authentic herbs and spices and shop some for your kitchen to treat your senses at your home.
- Visit the Gold Souks – You may not have time at your home to window shop for gold every day, nor can you check out some of the most exclusive collections of gold in the world. Be sure to bargain for the price of gold when you head to Golf Souks, instead settling for the first price.
- Dhow Wharfage – Did anyone tell you that you can walk down the lane of Dhow Wharfage along the Creek? It goes without saying that it would be one of the most appealing walks in your lives. You can definitely get around the sailors and they might give you an insight into their shows if you are lucky enough.
- Enjoy the Street Performances – Several plays, street shows, fireworks and music festivals happen at the Dubai Creek. During the Dubai Shopping Festival, you can get to see the Al Muraqabat, Al Seef, and Al Rigga streets in full bloom.
- Hop the Malls – If you are in Dubai, you can never be far from the malls. A quick car ride or metro would take you to the Dubai Mall, Burjaman, or the Deira City Centre.
- Watch the sunsets – Finally, one of the most overlooked yet mesmerizing activities in Dubai is watching sunsets. It is believed that the sun sets in Dubai in a different way than any other part of the world. There is nothing more beautiful feeling than watching the sunset as you dine at one of the restaurants in Dubai Creek. It will definitely teleport you to the bygone era.