Dubai Creek flows through the Emirates historic heart. For just one dirham, abra rides provide boatloads of nostalgia while travelling between the souks and museums of Deira and Bur Dubai.
These heritage hubs recall the Bedouins’ humble and ancient past built on pearls, and then shaped by a free trade boom that brought new settlers to the creek in the early 1900’s.
Echoing that era, today’s expats – some descendants of those early traders – share authentic flavours from their homelands in a culinary kaleidoscope that compliments Emirati fare.
Popular food tours
Food tours are a popular way to explore Dubai Creek. Arva Ahmed is the founder of Frying Pan Adventures.
"One of the restaurants we stop on our tour is called Sultan Dubai Falafel," she says. "And the thing that they are known for is stuffed falafels. They stuff them with chilli, onion and sumac. These falafels are the most juiciest most filled with herbs and fragrant falafels that you’re going to find in the city."
Deira’s Waterfront market is piled high with technicolour fruit and vegetables and stacks of shellfish with legs choreographed in chorus-line unison. Here you can buy the catch of the day and have it cooked in many different ways for old-school Creekside dining.
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Until recently, the creek ended at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Here nature lovers can spot flamingos that migrate to the Sanctuary, a wetland extension of the creek spread over 6.2 sq.km. It features a variety of mangroves and lagoons perfect for migrating birds - the sanctuary is home to over 180 species of birds.
Following its expansion as Dubai Canal, the creek curves past book-shaped Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, high-rise Business Bay and beach-hugging Jumeirah before it’s reunited with its source - the glittering Arabian Gulf.