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Things to Do in Dubai Creek 2024: Immerse in Culture and Adventure

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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 Dubai Creek itself. Dubai Creek was once the centre of the city and the place where it all began. It continues to be, if not the centre 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. 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 in Dubai Creek in 2024

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 metres 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 in the city’s yesteryears and give a sense of going back in time to visitors, especially history enthusiasts.

1. Shopping

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, and 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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2. 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 you 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

3. 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. I wish you could catch a glimpse of the creek from above. You could if you rode the cable car at Dubai Creek Park.

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4. Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club

Fancy playing golf on the creekside? The Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club has got you covered. Included in the world's‘ top 100 must-play golf courses’ as rated by Golf World Magazine, Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club have 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.

5. Heritage and Cultural Sites

As mentioned earlier, though the whole area has a 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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6. 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 on 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.

7. 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 to 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, Dubai Creek Park is open between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends and public holidays between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Do keep in mind that the working days here are typically from Sundays to Thursdays and the weekends are 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 characterised by soaring temperatures, forcing you to not leave the comfort of your air conditioning.

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