dubai marina at nightDubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, and one of the largest cities in the Middle East. It is the gateway to the region for many tourists, and is also a popular destination. It is a glitzy and glamorous city that prides itself on its many accomplishments, including the tallest building, the world’s largest fountain, the world’s only 7-star hotel, the Burg Al Arab, and many other superlatives.

Dubai Creek

But there’s another side of Dubai that many visitors will enjoy exploring. The waterway that divides the old part of the city in half is called the Dubai Creek. Although a tunnel for vehicles has been built under the Creek, the most popular way to cross it is on an abra. These water buses travel all day between the section of the city called Bur Dubai on the southwest side of the Creek and Deira on the northeast side.


Used mostly by residents of the city, it’s a fun and inexpensive way to get from one side of the Creek to the other, and to experience a bit of local life. Visitors will also enjoy the views from the abras. There are abra stations located up and down both sides of the Creek. Abras depart when they are filled with passengers.

Abras can also be hired for private tours. This is a popular thing to do around sunset. Prices are negotiable, and the guides often provide interesting facts about the area.

Souks and Mosques

Both sides of the Creek will be of interest to tourists. Bur Dubai and Deira are full of busy souks (markets), museums, mosques, apartments, hotels, restaurants, interesting landmarks, public buildings, and examples of traditional and modern architecture.

Bur Dubai

Bur Dubai is the historic district of Dubai and is home to the Dubai Museum, a must-see for all visitors to the city. Located in an 18th century fort, the purpose of the museum is to help visitors understand the history and culture of the area. In the museum visitors will see fishing boats, traditional houses, and exhibits about camels, falconry, costumes and trades.

There are several other historical landmarks located in Bur Dubai, including the Bastakiya area with its famous wind towers, Sheikh Saeed’s House, and Sheikh Obai Bin Thani’s House.

Bur Dubai is also famous for its “Old Souk” (also known as “The Textile Souk”), the Grand Mosque, the Diwan (the Ruler’s Office), Shri Nathje Jayate Temple (a Hindu temple), Heritage Village and Diving Village.


On the other side of the Creek, Deira is the old financial district of Dubai. It is a residential area as well as a busy commercial centre. Here the tourist will discover the delights of Dubai’s souks: the Gold Souk, the Covered Souk, the Spice Souk, and the Perfume Souk. There is also a fish and vegetable market.

Other points of interest in Deira include the Al Ahmadiya School, the Burj Nahar Watchtower, and the Dhow Wharfage, a beehive of activity with workers constantly loading dhows, the traditional ships of the Middle East.

Many people pass through the Dubai Airport on their way to other destinations. Travellers are encouraged to stop in Dubai and see what it has to offer, especially the historic districts on either side of the Dubai Creek.

About Edward

Edward Alan Kurtz is an American writer. He specializes in writing works of fiction and non-fiction for children, as well as travel books and articles. Mr. Kurtz was born in Pennsylvania and completed several university degrees. He lived for many years in Honolulu, Hawaii, and now lives and writes in Thailand.