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The city of Dubai is divided into two sections by Dubai Creek, a natural salt-water channel that has shaped the city’s history. To the north-east is Deira Dubai, and to the south-west, Bur Dubai, where the Bani Yas tribe first settled in the 19th century, marking the beginnings of the city.
The creek was commercially important throughout the 20th century, first as a port for small vessels, or dhows, arriving from India and East Africa, then with modernisation and development it was adapted to cater for larger ships. It was also the main centre for pearl diving, forming a large part of Dubai’s economy until cultured pearls were invented in the 1930s. You will still see a lot of activity along the creek today, with boats being loaded and unloaded on the banks.
The perfect way to explore the creek is by hopping on board a traditional abra, or water taxi. Used by workers to cross from one side to the other, these small wooden motorised boats are a cheap means of transport. You won’t need a ticket, as fares are collected once you’ve climbed in. The abras depart regularly from designated stations up and down the bank, and will carry approximately 20 passengers. If you want exclusive use, you can also charter an abra.
The view of the city skyline is particularly impressive from the water. You’ll be able to appreciate the difference in architectural style between the two sections of the city, with the traditional designs in the older Bur Dubai, and modern structures in Deira Dubai. Tours of the creek are also offered on traditional dhows during both day and night. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!
There are also promenades along the banks of Dubai Creek, if you prefer to stay on dry land. They are fully paved and well-lit at night, so you can take a relaxing stroll well into the evening.
At the upper end of the creek, you’ll find the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. This 620-hectare area of wetlands, mudflats and lagoons is home to many species of water bird.
You'll find it hard to believe how much there is to do at Dubai Creek. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
If you're chasing more activities, take a look at our Bur Dubai things to do page.
This family-friendly Dubai hotel is located near the airport, within 3 mi (5 km) of Dubai Creek, Dubai Museum and Grand Mosque. Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and Dubai Festival City Mall are also within 6 mi (10 km). Health Care City Station is 19 minutes by foot and Oud Metha Station is 20 minutes.
Located in Garhoud, this hotel is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Dubai Tennis Stadium and 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from Dubai Festival City Mall. City Centre Deira and Dubai Creek are also within 6 miles (10 km). Emirates Station is 15 minutes by foot.
Located in Bur Dubai, this luxury hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Lamcy Plaza, Dubai Creek and Wafi City Mall. American Hospital Dubai and Creek Park are also within 1 mile (2 km). Health Care City Station is 12 minutes by foot and Oud Metha Station is 22 minutes.
Located in Deira, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and City Centre Deira. Dubai Creek and Creek Park are also within 2 miles (3 km). Deira City Centre Station is 20 minutes by foot.
This family-friendly Dubai hotel is located near the airport, within 2 mi (3 km) of Dubai Creek and City Centre Deira. BurJuman Mall and Dubai World Trade Centre are also within 6 mi (10 km). Health Care City Station is 12 minutes by foot and Oud Metha Station is 21 minutes.
Located in Garhoud, this hotel is 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Dubai Tennis Stadium and 1.8 mi (2.9 km) from Dubai Festival City Mall. City Centre Deira and Dubai Creek are also within 6 miles (10 km). Emirates Station is 8 minutes by foot and Airport Terminal 1 Station is 27 minutes.
Located in Garhoud, this hotel is 0.5 mi (0.7 km) from Dubai Tennis Stadium, and within 3 mi (5 km) of City Centre Deira and Creek Park. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and Dubai Creek are also within 3 mi (5 km). GGICO Station is 9 minutes by foot and Airport Terminal 1 Station is 15 minutes.
Situated near the airport, this luxury hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Dubai Tennis Stadium, City Centre Deira and Dubai Festival City Mall. Dubai Creek and Wafi City Mall are also within 6 miles (10 km). Airport Terminal 3 Station is 7 minutes by foot and Airport Terminal 1 Station is 11 minutes.