Dubai Creek in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates)

Dubai Creek is an inlet of the Persian Gulf that divides the city of Dubai in two. The former lifeline of Dubai has lost its importance for trade and seafaring, but is one of Dubai's most important sights.

Dubai Creek ("Dubai Bach"), in Arabic "Al Khor", is a 14km long estuary in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It is located between the two districts of Bur Dubai and Deira and is one of our top 10 sights of Dubai.


PICTURES: Dubai Creek in Dubai

Photo gallery: Dubai Creek in Dubai

Dubai Creek: Birthplace of Dubai

The 14-kilometre-long Dubai Creek made the founding of Dubai possible in the first place. In the dry desert on the Persian Gulf, fishermen's and pearl divers' huts were built along Dubai Creek. Gradually, merchants and seafarers also settled in Dubai and the settlement developed into an important port city. After oil was discovered in 1966, Dubai literally exploded.

In the 1970s, the creek was enlarged so that it could also be navigated by large ships. Dubai Creek thus became the most important port in Dubai and an important motor for the flourishing oil industry. In the meantime, however, Dubai Creek has lost economic importance in favour of the two major ports of Dubai. For tourism, the former lifeline of Dubai is still a functioning source of income.

On the Road at Dubai Creek

Artfully decorated tourist dhow on Dubai Creek, the city's lifeline - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

Historic Bur Dubai and modern Deira are connected by three busy bridges, the Al Maktum Bridge, the Al Garhud Bridge and the Business Bay Bridge.

In addition, wooden water taxis, so-called abra, operate regularly on Dubai Creek. Tourists also like to use these to go around the sights on Dubai Creek and experience the picturesque contrast between old and new in the two parts of the city.

Sights at Dubai Creek

A ride on a dhow on Dubai Creek, an absolute must for any Dubai visitor, UAE - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

The most original way to get around Dubai Creek is to take a trip on a traditional "dhow", an old wooden boat that has been sailing on Dubai Creek since the birth of Dubai and is still loaded by hand today. If you then enter one of the cafés on the banks of Dubai Creek and observe the hustle and bustle, you can really immerse yourself in the oriental world of yesteryear.

Tip: Going on a discovery tour of Dubai Creek by dhow or abra is an absolute must for every visitor to Dubai. Simply speak to a driver and negotiate the price for a round trip. By the way, the best time to do this is at sunset, when the lights of Dubai slowly come on.

On the western shore are the Dubai Creekside Park, which delights visitors with its picturesque themed gardens, and the Dubai Children's City. About 1 kilometre past the estuary is the Old City of Dubai. Here is also the Shindagha, the former residence of Sheikh Said ibn Maktum, whose magnificent building can be visited.


The forested lagoon at the outlet of Dubai Creek is the Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and provides sheltered resting places for over 20,000 migratory birds.

Projects worth millions on Dubai Creek

The striking Chamber of Commerce and Industry building rises high into the Arabian sky on the banks of Dubai Creek, UAE - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

The "Dubai Festival City" is a city within the city and offers halls and accommodation buildings for sporting and cultural events with all conceivable infrastructure on an area of almost 5km2. After completion in 2015, the Dubai Festival City will also house a marina, a golf course and the "Canal Walk".

An extension of Dubai Creek is currently under construction. Once the extension is completed, the waterway of the Creek will form a ring road that will turn the entire district of Bur Dubai into a 15-square-kilometre island. This will turn the cul-de-sac into a navigable transport route leading from the sea through the centre of Dubai. Consideration is even being given to using the ambitious project as a replacement for some of Dubai's motor roads.

The flow of Dubai Creek made the lightning expansion of Dubai in the late 1960s possible in the first place, UAE - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

At this extension and as a continuation of "Downtown Dubai", the city at the foot of the mighty Burj Khalifa, "Business Bay" is being built. A mix of office and residential buildings is being constructed between idyllic water areas, housed in skyscrapers up to 500m high. Many of the coveted properties have a waterfront connection to the Creek and are therefore accessible by private boat.

Further office buildings are to be built at the "Jewel of the Creek", a former refinery site between the Al Maktum Bridge and the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.

Other ambitious construction projects on the banks of Dubai Creek are also in the planning stage, such as "The Lagoons", seven artificial islands on which an opera house and other cultural buildings, as well as the four "Dubai Towers" up to 500 metres high, are to be built, or "Culture Village", an ancient Arabian replica of Venice. However, many of these multi-million projects had to be stopped for the time being due to the financial crisis.