Dhow Wharfage

Dhow Wharfage information

Dubai , United Arab Emirates
along Baniyas Rd
Getting there
Metro: Al Ras
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For a glimpse of Dubai's long trading history, stroll down the Creek for photogenic close-ups of brightly coloured dhows, precariously loaded to the hilt with everything from air-conditioners to chewing gum to car tyres. This type of long flat wooden vessel used in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf has docked here since the 1830s when the local Maktoum rulers established a free-trade port, luring merchants away from Persia.

Today’s dhows trade with Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Oman, India, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. Most of the wares are re-exported after arriving by air or container ship from countries like China, South Korea and Singapore.

Try to chat to the sailors if you can – if you find one who speaks English, you may learn that it takes a day to get to Iran by sea and seven days to Somalia, or that dhow captains earn as little as Dh400 a month. If your sailor friend is in a chatty mood, he may even regale you with real-life pirate stories. The pirates that stalk the waters off Yemen and Somalia sometimes make life very tough for Dubai’s hard-working dhow sailors.