Dhow dinner cruises are a popular tourist attraction in Dubai and Khasab, Oman. That’s not what we are talking about, though.
Away from the “romance” of Dubai harbour, motorized dhows are still used by traders crossing the Persian Gulf from Iran to UAE and Oman with goods. Can you hitch a ride with them?
Our experience says UAE or Omani Immigration authorities do not allow foreigners to travel to Iran on small dhows from their ports – these captains have special travel permits allowing them to come and go as they please and are not sufficiently regulated to satisfy Immigration officials that you will arrive safely. Dhow captains are generally more than willing to oblige.
You can get a dhow to Hormoz island, if you arrange it in advance. It will be a motorized dhow, not a sailing dhow.
For a longer journey on a sailing dhow, your best bet is to look further south on the shores of Eastern Africa.
Bandar Kong, next to Bandar Lengeh, is the ancient dhow capital of Iran, interesting in its own right for those with a passion for the history of dhow sailing in Iran (courtesy of Ali Parsa). This might be a good place for those with the time to sniff around – I am sure interesting experiences can be had by the one willing to dig a bit deeper.
For more on crossing the Persian Gulf by boat, see Persian Gulf ferries.