No experience speaks to me more of Dubai than riding across the Creek on one of the countless abra boats that cross between the two halves of the old town. I’d be hard-pressed to guess whether there are more abras or seagulls on the Creek, but while the birds will eventually die the abras look like they stopped aging again right around the advent of the internal-combustion engine.
On both sides of the Creek, large dhows sit tied to the river embankments. Some offer tourist excursions up and down the waterway, while others load up with cargo for trips to Saudia Arabia and the Gulf.
As night falls, when the sun dips low over the Creek and the lamps of Old Dubai’s mosques and towers start to light up, the view is hard to beat. I can think of few better places in the world to sit and smoke a hookah for an hour.
I’ve visited Dubai several times, and the touristy bits of the city are super easy to navigate independently. If you’d rather take a guide, though, I’ve also worked as a photographer for GetYourGuide and found them to be pretty bearable.