Which neighbourhood will we be exploring this week, Time Out?
It’s not a neighbourhood; this time we’re looking at the channel of water to which the city owes so much of its success – Dubai Creek.
We’re intrigued. Tell us more.
Dubai has long been an important hub for trade, a site for import and export, much of which took place in the harbour of the Creek – and judging by the number of merchant dhows lining the banks at any given moment, still does today. It was around this trading ground that a city grew – that’s why you’ll find so many of the emirate’s most important museums and cultural sites in Bur Dubai and Deira, which sit either side of the water. These neighbourhoods are also still home to textile, spice and gold souks, just as they were places for merchants to trade their wares more than a century ago.
How do you know all this?
The Creek sits in the top five must-see destinations whenever we have visitors in town. That usually results in a trip to the Dubai Museum, which tells the history of the Creek.
Where else is in that top five?
We always like to take first timers to see Madinat Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai, The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Road, but we’re not talking about that now – it’s time to get on the water.
Will we need swimmers?
Creek transport is all about the abras. These water taxis ferry passengers back and forth between various spots on either bank. Passage costs just Dhs1 to cross directly and a journey takes a few minutes only. But there’s more – you can actually hire an abra and driver for a full hour, for a private tour up the Creek. It’ll set you back around Dhs150, and take you under bridges, past the enormous dhows, many from ports in India and bearing goods from juices to tyres to cars. It’s a great way to get a different perspective on the older neighbourhoods, which have hardly changed in decades.
Only on the Dubai Creek
On-water dining is one of the greatest things about this end of town. You can eat alongside the Creek at restaurants such as the Park Hyatt’s excellent Traiteur. Or directly above the water at platform restaurant Boardwalk at the Dubai Creek Golf Club. But for complete Creek sightseeing, eat at floating restaurant Bateaux Dubai. A fine-dining experience with glass walls sailing up and down the water, it is the best way to experience slow Creek cruising.
Bateaux Dubai, Dubai Creek, www.bateauxdubai.com (04 814 555304 814 5553).