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.