Some cities have to be seen by water,and Dubai is a prime example. The creek is at the heart of the city’s hustle and bustle and the marina offer views of some of its most cutting-edge architecture and modern living. Only 90 minutes away is Musandam, one of the best areas for dolphin spotting. Get an insight into Dubai that can’t be seen from land and hop aboard one of the many boating trips available.
Hilton Jumeirah is a great location for water sports, offering a wide range of activities.If you’re not staying there as a hotel guest,you’ll have to pay for beach access, but activities such as speedboating, parasailing,waterskiing, kayaking, sailing, banana boating and deep sea fishing, make it well worth the fee for thrill-seekers.
All activities take place in the marina area, near Jumeirah Beach Residence. Most activities run from early morning until sunset, so there’s plenty of opportunity to try a few pursuits.It’s advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment, as priority goes to hotel guests.Hiltonia Beach and Pool, Hilton Jumeirah Tel: 04 399 1111
Cruises around the marina are run by mostmajor tour operators, but to add a little extra excitement to the proceedings, fishing trips are a popular alternative. Hop aboard Blue Banana’s Fishing Boat, with built-in sonar to ensure the best odds of hauling a catch fresh from the Gulf. The four hour trip includes all fishing gear and bait as well as space to laze in the sun when all that hard work becomes too exhausting.
It doesn’t get much more idyllic than spending the afternoon cruising around the marina, past Atlantis and Jumeirah Palm and pulling in the occasional barracuda. The boat drops anchor just as the sun starts to set, giving you spectacular views of the marina at dusk. It’s also perfect timing to take your catch of the day and set up a beach barbeque a little further along the shoreline on the open beach.
Half Day Fishing for Four, Dh2,800 Tel: 04 436 8100
There are several ways to experience dhow cruises in the UAE. Prettily lit evening cruises run up and down the creek, there are dhow marina tours chugging along Dubai’s spectacular coastline, and snorkeling tours that leave from the tip of the UAE and head into Musandam in Oman. Tours leave from Dibba, an area on the UAE/ Oman border, before slowly heading down the Omani coastline, stopping off at regular intervals for snorkeling and swimming as well as lunch.
The area is a hotspot for divers because of the spectacular clarity of the water and diverse marine life, including turtles, reef fish and dolphins. Musandam is often called the Norway of the Middle East for its dramatic fjords and breathtaking, barren scenery, so make sure you pack your camera. Most tour companies, such as Absolute Adventure, offer several different packages and you can usually haggle down the price, so discuss the options before you book to ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re after.
The experience tends to be very relaxing (unless you choose a particularly choppy day), and the tour companies are suitably lai-back about schedules, so you can often negotiate on where the dhow stops and for how long.
Daily dhow cruise, Dh250 Tel: 04 345 9900
Be at one with the sea at Jebel Ali where,after a short safety briefing, you can zip through the surf on a jet-ski. The hour’s ride around the quieter waters in this area of the city will give you more than enough time to master the sport and allow you to practice some of the more adventurous techniques.
Jet-ski experience, Dh395 Tel: 800 2080
Bateaux Dubai, a glass-shelled boat moored in Bur Dubai is one of the best ways to view the creek. A two-and-a-half hour journey up and down the creek will allow you plenty of time to take in the hustle and bustle of one of the city’s most traditional areas.
A lot of the city’s trade still takes place dockside in the spice and textile souqs, while just behind the high-rise modern buildings and neon lights provide a stark contrast to a more simple way of life. The dimly lit, luxury floating restaurant is the ideal location for a romantic night out.In addition, the four-course meal of eastmeets- west fusion food and welcome drink makes it a great value evening.
Bateaux Dubai from Dh260. Departs daily at 9.30pm from opposite the British Consulate on the creek. Tel: 04 399 4994
Catamarans have excellent novelty value,and they’re great fun too. A good option for those who want more action than a sleepy dhow will provide, but a less fast-paced journey than on a speedboat, a catamaran will cut through the waves effortlessly. Dream Days offer a catamaran cruise that will take you around Atlantis and near the Burj Al Arab for four hours. A BBQ lunch, watersports, swimming and snorkelling facilities are also on offer as part of the package.Blue Banana offers an alternative.
Aimed at those in a party mode, its Catamaran Party Cruise is a five-hour trip from the creek to the Burj Al Arab and back. A live DJ spins tunes while revellers enjoy their two complimentary drinks (other drinks are available to purchase) while they swim and dance the afternoon away. The catamaran is big enough for 80 people, so it can get quite raucous.
Catamaran cruise, Dh449, 800 2080
Catamaran party cruise, Dh250,Tel: 04 436 8100