Things to do in Dubai

A guide to experiencing the Dubai Canal

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Dubai, the city of superlatives, never ceases to amaze the world and itself, in terms of what is possible and what is not. With an artificial island, a snowpark in a mall, the world’s tallest building and a 7-star hotel, this Emirate has shown us time and time again that anything is possible. And yet again, they have outstretched the imagination of man and created the Dubai Canal, a 3.2 kilometer long waterway, stretching from the Creek in Old Dubai all the way to the Arabian Gulf.

The Dubai Water Canal is one of Dubai’s most expensive and environment-friendly projects. Yes that’s right, the streetlights used in the canal are completely solar powered and apart from being just an attraction, the canal serves as a functional transportation system and provides great connectivity within the city itself. One can traverse through the canal on a boat or ferry, but to truly enjoy the experience, sitting atop a traditional Arabic Dhow or an Abra would be the ideal way to go.

All You Need to Know About the Dubai Canal

Dubai Canal Cruise

Environment Friendly

As mentioned earlier, The Dubai Canal is an environment-friendly project taken up by the Government, keeping in line with its goal of being a sustainable city. The canal is divided into 3 distinct parts:

  • The Water Network: This basically consists of 3 water bodies - The Canal itself, which runs from Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Gulf coastline and the Crystal Lagoon in Safa Park.
  • The Green Network: This network connects Safa Park to the Jumeirah Beach Park, offering a leisure experience like no other.
  • The Public Realm: This is the developable land surrounding the canal, consisting of eateries, retail shops, sitting areas etc.

Dubai Canal Timings

Since it is a free and open area, there are no timings as such. Visitors are free to roam around the canal whenever they like, however, the waterfall show happens between 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

How to Reach Dubai Canal

  • By Car: If you are planning to come via car, go on the side of Sheikh Zayed Road leading towards Dubai World Trade Center. Right before you reach the elevated area of the highway, take the exit that is beside the St. Regis Hotel. This will lead you under the Sheikh Zayed Road Bridge, where you can park your car.
  • By Metro: This is the most convenient way of travelling to the Dubai Canal. Simply take the red line going towards UAE exchange and drop off at Business Bay Station. Walk across the bridge to the other side of the road and head towards the Sheikh Zayed Road Bridge, where you will find a lift beside the pathway, which will take you straight to the Canal.

Facilities Available at Dubai Canal

  • There are 5 pedestrian bridges, of which 3 connect both sides of the canal, perfect for a leisurely stroll. The second bridge over the canal has a concrete slope for cyclists to use.
  • The area around the canal has dedicated footpaths, running tracks, cycling lanes and sitting areas for the visitors to use and enjoy.
  • The canal also has smart charging stations ensuring that you’re never out of battery! Each of the pedestrian bridges have elevators on both sides.

Transport Facilities at Dubai Canal

There are multiple ways of sailing through the canal. You can either take a ferry or a water taxi to travel from one place to another. There are 3 daily ferry trips starting at 10 :00 AM, 12:00 PM and 5:40 PM from the Jaddaf Marine Station. Take a look at the ferry timings. Present at all stations (9 marine stations in total, 5 along the canal and 4 on the Business Bay side) are on-demand water taxi services that you can avail. Another option is to hop on to a traditional Arabic Dhow and indulge in Dhow cruise coupled with dinner and entertainment onboard. Lastly, you can make your way across the canal in a traditional, open-air Abra! This 45 minute, fun ride starts from the Sheikh Zayed Road Station, from 5:30 PM - 11:00 PM, every 45 minutes. Do keep in mind that a minimum of 8 passengers is required for this experience.

Dubai Canal Cruise - How to best experience the Dubai Canal

Given the multiple modes of traversing the Dubai Canal, the two best ways to experience the Canal however is via a Dhow Cruise or an Abra Ride. Both these water borne modes of transport are authentically Arab and add sedate aura to the whole experience.

Dubai Canal Dhow Cruise

Dubai Canal Cruise

Take a relaxing cruise along the Dubai Canal and experience the glamour of Dubai from a different perspective. As you sail through the waterway, you will get eye-catching glimpses of Dubai’s beautiful skyline and also get a chance to see the famed Arabian Gulf, Dubai’s prominent Business Bay and Safa Park, all at once. This truly is one of the best ways to experience and enjoy the serenity and beauty of the Canal.

Dubai Water Canal Dhow Cruise with Dinner

  • Take a 2.5-hour dinner cruise on a luxurious modern dhow in Dubai Water Canal.
  • Feast on a 3-course international dinner.
  • Enjoy traditional forms of entertainment such as the tanoura dance and a puppet show.

Why You Should Take A Dubai Canal Dhow Cruise?

Soak In The Glittering Banks Of The Dubai Water Canal
Dubai Canal Cruise

The tour begins at the designated pier at Dubai Festival City Mall and ends at the same pier after about 2-2.5 hours. Whilst on the Dhow, you will encounter some wonderful sights of Dubai and get a chance to enjoy this wonderful city from the waters. As mentioned earlier, you will be able to view some landmark sights like the Business Bay Bridge, Safa Park, Dubai Festival City Mall, JW Marquis Hotel and the Westin Hotel. In the distance you can even make out the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.

Your Dhow will be passing under the pedestrian bridges that go across the canal and one of these bridges is inspired the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This bridge even has an electrically-controlled waterfall, that actually stops when ferries or boats need to pass through. It is truly a remarkable sight to behold.

Indulge in a night of authentic delicasies and traditional entertainment
Dubai Canal Cruise

On this cruise, you not only get to enjoy the views but also a delicious three-course, international meal. To further add to the allure, your meal will be serenaded by traditional Arabic music, along with two traditional dances for entertainment.

Know Before You Take A Dubai Canal Dhow Cruise

The cruise departs daily, at 8 PM from the pier near Dubai Festival City.

The entire cruise takes between 2-2.5 hours to complete. The experience ends at the same pier where you boarded from.

Dress Code:
It is best to be dressed casually for the dinner cruises. The setting is primarily informal and hence, smart casuals should be fine.

• Dubai Water Canal Cruise tickets
• Welcome refreshments including dates and coffee
• 3-course dinner
• Mineral water and soft drinks
• Live entertainment including dance and music
• Optional hotel pick-up and drop off

Dubai Canal Abra Ride

Dubai Canal Cruise

An Abra is Dubai’s most traditional mode of transport and has been used by the locals for eons. It is essentially a boat made completely of wood, that can accommodate small groups of people. The Abra has become a symbol of the city’s heritage and history, and for tourists and visitors, sailing on one of these vessels is the ultimate Emirati experience.

On this tour, you too get the opportunity to sail through the Dubai Water Canal on a traditional Abra, and according to most people, this is the absolute best way to enjoy your time on the canal.

Dubai Canal Abra Ride

  • Take a 1.5-hour sightseeing cruise on a traditional abra in Dubai Water Canal.
  • The cruise includes unlimited mineral water, soft beverages.
  • Take in stunning views of Dubai’s architecture that lines the Dubai Water Canal.

Why You Should Take A Dubai Canal Abra Ride?

Get a Chance To Experience the Stunning Sights of Dubai from the Traditional Wooden Boats
Dubai Canal Cruise

Like the Dhow Cruise, the Abra ride too kicks off from the pier near the Dubai Festival City Mall and ends at the same point. On this 1.5 hour cruise, you will be able to take in all the sights of the Dubai and see some of its most famous buildings, including the Ras Al Khor Sanctuary, Business Bay, Burj Khalifa, Business Bay Bridge, Sheikh Zayed Road waterfall bridge and hotels such as JW Marriott Hotel, Westin and St. Regis Hotel. There really is no better way to see the city in all its glamour, making this something you do not want to miss on your trip to Dubai.

Know Before You Take A Dubai Canal Abra Ride

The Abra cruise departs everyday at 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM from Dubai Festival City Mall.

You have the option of choosing the duration of your cruise. You can choose between a 30 minute, 60 minute or 90 minute cruise.

Dress Code:
As the setting is primarily informal, it is best to come dressed casually

• Abra Cruise tickets
• Mineral water and other refreshments

Dubai Canal Yacht Cruise

Dubai Canal Cruise

Marasi Business Bay is Dubai's first yachting destination along the Dubai Water Canal. This 12 km promenade is brimming with water homes, floating restaurants, cafes and other entertainment options making for the perfect view from a luxury yacht.

You can opt for a breakfast, lunch or dinner cruise and experience the city on a 3 hour long leisure cruise. The plush interiors of the yacht will ensure that you can relax and enjoy stunning views of the city. The upper decks are spacious, and the lower deck has three cabins, along with washrooms. The cruise starts from the Marasi Canal and after passing by several spectacular attractions such as the Business Bay District, Burj Khalifa, Cheese Building, Burj Al Arab and many more ; you'll be dropped back at the starting point. While you're enjoying these views, the cruise also provides a palatable meal with a selection of Croissants, Muffins and soft beverages for breakfast and lamb kofta, burgers, salad, desert juices and beverages for the afternoon and evening tour.

Dubai Canal Yacht Cruise

  • Savor a relaxing cruise on a luxury yacht and behold Dubai from a new perspective on the spectacular Marasi Canal.
  • Bask in the sunshine or mingle with other guests while you relish some of the finest food.
  • Enjoy five-star hospitality & a red carpet welcome on this luxury yacht.

Why You Should Take A Dubai Canal Yacht Cruise?

Glide by the uber-cool Marasi Canal
Dubai Canal Cruise

The Marasi Canal is all things dreamy- quite literally! You have palm lined marinas, water houses, a 60,000 square meter park, over a hundred shops and many boutique cafes; all of them constructed to perfection. Cruising on a yacht while witnessing these views is nothing short of marvellous. Chances of witnessing these views from land are sparse, so why not experience them from the glittering waters of Dubai! To add on, you can feast on a scrumptious meal while you're lounging on the deck of your yacht.

Indulge in utmost extravagance
Dubai Canal Cruise

With a red carpet welcome, a freshly prepared spread and a variety of beverages to choose from, a yacht cruise on the Canal is an extravagant experience. With three lavish cabins on the lower deck and a spacious upper deck, you can expect a regal affair.

Know Before You Take A Dubai Canal Yacht Cruise

The Yacht cruise departs everyday at 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 5:30 PM, daily from Marasi Marina, Business Bay, Dubai

The morning and sunset tours are for 2 hours while the afternoon tours are for 3 hours.

Dress Code:
As the setting is primarily informal, it is best to come dressed casually

• Barbecue and soft beverages in the afternoon and evening tours.
• Pastries and juice during the morning tour
• Red carpet welcome.

Ready For Your Dubai Canal Cruise?

Here are other Dubai Dhow Cruises that are famous and much sought after. The views are splendid and the experience is out of the world! Check them out.