The seawater Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai), flowing between Deira and Bur Dubai in the historic center of the United Arab Emirates city of the same name, is the reason for Dubai's very existence. When trade with the outside world began over a century ago, this protected inlet was the obvious choice to develop a commercial seaport. The creek has been widened many times during the last century, and today, it's often busy with abra—small wooden water taxis—ferrying passengers between the souks of Deira on the northeastern bank and the historic district of Bur Dubai on the southwestern bank.
While water taxis are often included as part of guided sightseeing tours and serve as a practical way to see the sights of Dubai Creek while getting from Point A to Point B, the waterway can also be enjoyed via a sunset dinner cruise aboard a traditional Arabian wooden sailboat known as a dhow. Many comprehensive tours of Dubai city include a cruise on Khor Dubai or a dhow dinner cruise (Bateaux Dubai is a popular one) with visits to the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al-Arab, the Dubai desert, the Dubai Marina, and the Old City area.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Take a water taxi as a form of transportation to use Dubai Creek as the locals do.
- Take your Dubai Creek experience up a notch with a dinner dhow cruise.
- Handicap accessibility is not guaranteed on creek tours.
How to Get to the Dubai Creek
There are four stations where travelers board water taxis—two on the Deira side and two on the Bur Dubai side. From the creek, it's possible to spot palaces, mosques and other Dubai landmarks, including the Gold Souk and the Dubai Heritage Village.
When to Get There
If visiting on your own, arrive in the early morning or evening to enjoy some peaceful moments, or during the hectic middle of the day to see bustling life all around you. Expect temperatures of up to 110°F (43°C) in summer.
Dhows and Abras on the Dubai Creek
Dhows are wooden boats with long, thin, hulls, typically used to carry heavy cargo for trading. Lateen-rigged sails on one or more masts help power the boats carrying fruit or fresh water. Abras are the traditional motor-powered water taxis used in Dubai.