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A Dhow is a traditional Arab sea-trading vessel usually made of durable wood. Dhows have been innate part of the Emirati history. The trade of pearls, spices and gold were the largest sources of income for the UAE for many years in the past. When in Dubai, you can see that traditional dhows are still sailing into the Dubai Creek. They trade spices and textiles with Iran and other neighboring countries in the Gulf region. They are often parked on the Diera side of the Dubai Creek in Old Dubai and can be seen up close on our Old Dubai Walking Tour.
In Dubai, you can experience a Dhow from the inside, on an orchestrated Dhow Cruise on the Dubai Marina. The Dhow is parked in the waters of the Dubai Marina which is lined on both sides with some of the most iconic buildings in Dubai. The Dhow itself sparkles with lights in the dark as it slowly treads the quite waters. If you are into night-time photography, there are some very good photo opportunities on this cruise.
The Dhow has a capacity of 200 guests. The Dhow Cruise features a buffet dinner as well. After being picked up from your hotel, you are brought to the JBR end of the Dubai Marina to board the Dhow. Typically the Dhow sails around 8:30PM but these times change subject to weather and the Holy month of Ramadan. When on the Dhow you are seated along with other guests and offered a soft drink and some snacks. The lower deck of the Dhow is fully air-conditioned and hence comfortable for guests throughout the year.
After the Dhow sails, the buffet dinner opens. Also there are live performances such as Tanoura dance. The sail time is usually 90 minutes to 2 hours. The dinner is usually Indian food with some selections of Arabic cuisine. The Dhow is a pleasant experience for those who are looking for an evening activity in Dubai. It allows people to wind-down, chill out and look out at the lovely Dubai skyline.
While Dhow Cruise on the Marina is a popular tourist activity in Dubai, in the past, it has received mixed reviews from guests. While the sail times are pre-determined, sometimes the Dhow is delayed in its start time. There is no live commentary or guided tour when on the Dhow. Therefore sometimes it is difficult to learn about the route, or the buildings and attractions built on the Dubai Marina.
The Dhow experience can be most enjoyable if you are in a large private group of your own. It is also best suited in the prime winter weather of December through February. During these months you can stand out on the upper deck and soak in the views in the cool Dubai breeze.