Abra Ride across Dubai Creek
At some point during your trip you must integrate a crossing of the Dubai Creek into your scoping out of the city. It’s probably on the day that you view old Dubai and travel from Bastakiya to peek at the gleaming gold of the Gold Souk in Deira.
Forget the fact that taking an abra ride is the most cost effective to cross the Creek -it’s also the most enjoyable way to witness its beauty. An abra is a small motorized water taxi, which used to be the main mode of transport many years ago. It is now a well-respected tourist icon as well as a quick getaway from Bur Dubai or Deira especially when traffic in the Al Shindagha tunnel or other bridges beggars belief. The abras are popular with tourists and commuters as they are a quick hop on hop off method of transport. They are also surprisingly therapeutic. Dn’t just take our word for it!
The abra ride commences when the boat is full, at normally about 20 passengers. The fare is collected during the journey which is 1 Dirham per person. Abras are also available for private hire and whilst on a ride you’ll experience one of Dubai’s most authentic journeys taking in sights such as the curvy National Bank of Dubai, Creek Park, Creek Club and the dhow harbour, plus all the other beautiful landmarks and souks.
As the abra follows the snake-like channel ancient traditional Arabian houses which pass by on both sides are strongly reminiscent of the architectural style of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and even Tanzania. There is a genuine feeling of history as you step on board.
Finally, if you can stomach peeking into the murky waters, you’ll be surprised that it is home to a variety of fishes, weeds and coral reef. If you do trying to take a peek, be careful not to slip in!
Points to note –
The best time to embark on an abra ride is at dusk on a weekday as the air is cooler, the abra not as crowded and the light would be just sufficient to enjoy the sights.
There are no life jackets so beware.
As a courtesy, it’s best not to sit next to a woman you don’t know or if the boat is full, leave a small gap.
Don’t stand up or you will get a rollicking from the captain!
You can hire an abra exclusively for an hour for 100Dhs. Speak to the captain.
An alternative to abras are water taxis for which you can use your nol cards. They are air conditioned and perfectly fine, but you don’t get the whole experience of getting on the wooden boat and feeling the history of Dubai.
When – The abras begin operating at 11 in the morning and a boat can be hailed every 20 minutes from the assigned station till 11 in the night.
How long – Each abra ride lasts for 10 minutes and the arrival and departure stations are fixed.
Location – Several Abra stations are dotted along on either banks of the Dubai Creek.
Cost – When travelling with other commuters, the cost is AED 1 (cash only) per person but for a private ride you would have to pay AED 20. Similarly, an hour long tour would cost AED 100
More Info See Dubai’s official portal dubai.ae