dubai creek things to do at dubai creek
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Today the city of Dubai, a city that has come to identify an entire region, is known for its record-breaking skyscrapers, sprawling malls, and its seemingly never-ending quest to break one record after the other. These projects of grandeur may one day become the legacy of this city, but for now, the true legacy of this city continues to thrive in and around the Dubai Creek itself. Dubai Creek was once the center of the city and the place where it all began. It continues to be, if not the center of the city itself, its very soul. A trip down the creek would be to experience the transition of the city over the years, with modernity and innovation on one shore and culture and heritage on the other.
About the Dubai Creek
It is a saltwater creek stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Ras Al Khor wetlands. Though recently the creek has been extended beyond its natural endpoint, to form what is now known as the Dubai water canal. The creek separates the city into two districts, Deira and Bur Dubai. During its early days, the city grew around the creek, which acted as a natural port and was drenched repeatedly over the years to allow more cargo into the creek. It was also crucial for the city’s thriving fishing and pearling industries. Eventually, with the development of the Jebel Ali Port, the creek no longer acted as the city’s primary port but continues to handle significant trade and commerce to this day.
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Things to do
The area around the creek continues to retain much of the city's older and more traditional structures including the residential quarters of Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, the former ruler of Dubai, and the grandfather of the present Sheikh, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Shindagha. Walking around, one may notice tower-like structures rising four to five meters above the rooftops of houses and complexes, these wind towers otherwise known as Barjeel’s are a traditional form of air conditioning, which is a trademark feature of many houses in this area. The Souks around the creek still retain the same lively atmosphere as was in the city’s yesteryears and give a sense of going back in time to visitors especially the history enthusiasts.
These Souks have existed around the creek for quite some time. For centuries, goods from India, Africa, and the Silk Route were traded in these bustling districts. One can find everything from spices, leather products, textiles, gold to organic fruits and vegetables. Located on the Deira side of the Dubai Creek, you have the Gold Souk, the Perfume Souk, and the Spice Souk all within walking distance of each other and across the creek, you have the Textile Souk. This isn’t your regular retail shopping but a different experience altogether. Do remember, prices don’t drop on their own and haggling is an essential part of the whole experience.
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Going down and across the creek
The Creek has multiple road crossings at various points, but why would you drive over the creek when you could cross it in an Abra, a traditional boat. The ride cost is fairly cheap and takes only a couple of minutes and there are several operators available to ferry you across the creek. If you wish to cruise along the creek, you could do so in a Dhow, another traditional boat but only bigger. Some Dhow cruises may even offer a buffet along with entertaining performances. If u are looking to go on a Dhow cruise, the ideal time would be post sundown, for you could see the city lights shimmer over the water surface. Nevertheless, a daytime cruise wouldn’t be any less satisfying. If you wish to cross the creek on road, you can do so at the Al Maktoum Bridge, The Floating Bridge, Al Garhoud Bridge, the Business Bay Crossing and the Al Shindagha tunnel
The Creek Park and the Dubai Dolphinarium
As the name suggests the park sits right on the edge of the Dubai Creek providing you with endless views of the creek itself. The park is the second largest in Dubai, providing visitors with a Creekside retreat, right in the middle of the old city. You could take a stroll down the promenade, explore the park by renting a bike or engage in numerous amusement activities, made available at the park such as mini-golfing or go-karting. A major attraction of this park is the Dubai Dolphinarium where you can see dolphins and seals perform some exotic tricks. Wish if you could catch a glimpse of the creek from above? You could if you ride the cable car at the Dubai Creek Park.
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Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club
Fancy playing golf on the Creekside? The Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club have got you covered. Included in the world's‘ top 100 must-play golf courses’ as rated by the Golf World Magazine, the Dubai Creek Golf, and Yacht Club has it all. From a stunning clubhouse and a fine array of dining and lounge options to a thriving golfing community. Beware of the final stretch though, it’s considered to be quite a challenge.
Heritage and Cultural Sites
As mentioned earlier, though the whole area has a sought of reminiscent vibe associated with it, there are specific sites of historical and cultural interest. The area has three historic districts, Shindagha, Bastakia, and a part of Deira, which have the main traditional souks and the Faheidi Fort. The Faheidi Fort (now restored) also known as the Dubai museum is the oldest existing building in Dubai. Built as early as 1787, the fort was meant to guard the landward approaches to the town. The Saeed Al Maktoum House in Shindagha is another important historical landmark. It was the primary residence of the then ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum between the years 1912 and 1958.
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Dining and Restaurants
As mentioned earlier, you could book yourself a dhow cruise on the Dubai Creek with onboard dining as a part of your package from the many different service providers online. Alternatively, if you wish to dine while on water but not necessarily in a cruise then you should consider one of the various floating restaurants that dot the length of the creek. Feel like spending some extra cash and enjoying the complete experience of dining on the creek? Book yourself a reservation onboard the Bateaux Dubai, a glass-enclosed luxury vessel, that offers you a panoramic view of the creek as you dine on gourmet food and enjoy live music. On the other hand, if you aren’t that picky about what you eat and where you eat it and wish to blend in with the local vibe, you could grab some local delights at one of the many stalls and cafeterias as you shop through the Souks.
The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
After running for a total length of 14 kilometers, the creek comes to a magnificent end at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Though the Ras Al Khor wetlands aren’t essentially a part of the Dubai creek itself, they are somewhat an extension of the creek and is definitely worth a visit. Popular for its pink flamingos that make their presence in the winter, one can also spot reef herons, great egrets, cormorants, ospreys, and many other exotic migratory birds against a pristine and untouched natural background which alienates itself from the city’s glamorous downtowns. Ras Al Khor is home to more than 20,000 birds from about 67 species and an ideal location for nature enthusiasts and avid photographers.
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Getting to the Dubai Creek
The city of Dubai has a fairly elaborate public transport network, with cabs, city buses, and metros at your disposal. Depending on where you start from, you could hire a cab to any point on the creek. You also have Abra or water bus stations on either side of the creek, so crossing the creek shouldn’t be a problem. Further, if you are starting from the Dubai Mall, the Deira City Centre or any other point on the Dubai Metro Red Line, you could switch over to the Greenline at the Union and Burjuman stations and get off at the Dubai Healthcare City, Jadaf or Creek stations with the Healthcare City station being the closest to the Dubai Creek Park.
The Ideal Time of visit
Strolling down the Creekside doesn’t have any particular time restrictions, however, if you wish to visit any particular place along the creek, you will have to look up their specific working hours. For instance, the Dubai Creek Park is open between 8:00 AM and 11:00 PM on weekdays and on weekends and public holidays, between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM. Do keep in mind, that the working days here are typically from Sundays to Thursdays and the weekends on Fridays and Saturdays.
Now considering the fact that you will be engaging in outdoor activities around the creek, it would be recommended to visit the creek or for that matter Dubai in general, during the winter months i.e. November to April. The summers here are typically characterized by soaring temperatures, forcing you to not leave the comfort of your air conditioning.
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Q. What is the Dubai Creek?
The Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek, 14 kilometers in length from its origin at the Persian Gulf. Separates the city into two districts, Deira and Bur Dubai. It is popular for its cruises, Souks, and Heritage Sites.
Q. Where is it situated?
It is situated in the emirate of Dubai, in the country the United Arab Emirates. It splits the city of Dubai in a diagonal manner.
Q. Best time to visit the creek
You could visit the creek at any time of the day, depending on whether you prefer the morning sunshine or the city lights at night. Though the recommended time of the year to visit the creek or Dubai, in general, would be the winter months i.e. November to April.
Q. Is there an admission fee?
The creek as a whole is open to any and all visitors and requires no admission fee, however, if you wish to visit or avail and specific amenity or facility along the creek, some sort of admission fee is likely to be involved.
Q. Things to do along the Creek?
There are a number of things one can do along the length and breadth of the creek. From cruising down the creek on Dhows and Abras to shopping in the authentic souks on either side or spending a day at the Dubai Creek Park, there is simply an endless number of things to do. For a more detailed answer, go through the main article.
Q. Places of stay near the Creek?
There are plenty of accommodation options for wallets of all shapes and sizes. The Zabeel House Al Seef and the XVA art hotel are some trendy options. You could also choose to stay at a more distant accommodation, for commuting within the city is hassle-free, thanks to the extensive public transport options