Dubai's waterfront epitomizes the city's personality, and a cruise along the 10km-long Creek is the best way to witness the clashing of the historically old & the new modernity.
It costs 1 Dhs (Dirham) to cross the creek, or you can hire the boat for only yourself/your group & pay Dhs 10.-
Many people use Abras to go to work, as they are cheaper than taxis or buses & avoid the ever-increasing traffic on the 2 bridges & 1 tunnel that enable you to cross the creek (Shindagha Tunnel, Maktoum Bridge & Garhoud Bridge).
The boats seat up to 30 people and fill up quickly. Be careful as you really do NOT want to fall into the creek... it is not the cleanest of waters! Crossing from to the other side takes about 5-10 minutes.
TIP: Most Abra drivers are now also cashing-in on the massive flow of tourists that want a more "private" experience during a creek cruise. They will take you up and down the creek for about 1 hour, a great opportunity for some gorgeous photographs of the city. The price for this should not exceed Dhs 80.- Anything more & you are being ripped-off.
(1 US Dollar = 3.67 Dirhams.)
There are several Abra stations along the creek,
but the main points are located near the Gold Souk (Deira), near the Rivoli Building (Deira) and near the Textile Souk/HSBC Building (Bur Dubai). There are very useful tourist maps (see picture) at the Abra stations, and the main stations have been rennovated for passenger safety. There is also a Tourist Information Counter near Bur Dubai Abra station.
MEN: Please try to not sit exactly next to a woman on a full Abra. Respect this gender-seperated society & let women sit next to women. You'll notice that even if the Abra is very full, men will try to leave a gap between themselves and a woman.
News Article: http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Traffic_and_Transport/10098380.html
--> There are also Water 'Buses' that are airconditioned & seat approx. 25 people. One crossing with the bus costs Dhs 4 (one-way).
The traditional way of getting across the Creek between Deira and Bur Dubai has been on an abra , a boat that's about 28 feet long and which can transport a couple dozen people. You board at stations on either side of the waterway and sit on what is effectively an unpadded dais atop the boat. Since the Creek is so well protected, it's rarely rough enough to cause anyone to worry about falling overboard even though there are no guard rails. The crossing takes about 5 minutes -- depending on the destination landing -- and costs 50 fils, or half a dirham, which is around 15 cents US. During slack times of day, these same boats will take you on 2 hour cruises for under $5.
One great way to see Dubai from a different perspective is to travel bz abra (water taxi) on Dubai Creek. You can simply just cross the creeck for 500 fils or else you can rent a boat for yourself and travel up and down the city at leisure; the price here really depends on your baraganing skills. The best time to make such "cruise"? Just before sunset - when the buildings reflect the light of the sun going down, and the entire city looks like it's made of gold.
Half boat half raft, this is really an efficient and cheap way to cross the creek.
The lively docking stations evidence the typical hustle and bustle of middle east, but transport seems to be safe and to flow quite well. I didn't check the price, but it seems to be cheap, seing the popular use of it.
The main mean of transport in the city center in the Abra. Dubai’s old town is divided by the Dubai creek, which is also the harbour of old Dubai. There are no bridges in the northwestern part of the city center, just two tunnels close to the coast. This makes the Abra the ferry of the old town. For just a Dirham perperson, you’ll can get on board of this archaic wooden boats which bring you to the other side of the creek. The Abras have lost a little of their old tradition after becoming motorized. But at least, the Abras are still there and part of everyday life. There are two stations of them on every side of the creekwhere you will find somebody pointing out which one is the next Abra to leave. Although some of the people look as shady as the ones wanting to sell you a Dubai Creek tour, you can trust them as long as they show you one of the small wooden Abras. Just get on board, pay when money is collected (preferable by coins, but smaller bills are also changed) and enjoy the view while you’re being transported to the other side.
We hired an Abra [water taxi] for a personal tour of the Dubai Creek. As we walked down to the wharf, I saw the Abra driver push his full load of men off the boat, so he could take us two ladies on the tour. I was mortified.
Firstly, because the disgruntled men had to find another boat to take them across the river, and second, if the driver could get rid of 14 people and make enough money with the two of us, we were probably paying way too much! But we had a lovely cruise up the river.
Next time around we did the local thing and paid 1 dirham (30 cents) for a ride across to the other side.
A ride across the Creek is a great way to see close up the old & new buildings that line either side. The departure points on both sides are close to the entrances of the souks.
As these are commuter vehicles they can get busy at certain times. This however allows you an insight into Dubai for many of its citizens. It is possible though to hire your own Abra & have a tour of the Creek.
There are three ways to cross the creek between Deira and Bur Dubai districts:
(1) By Abra
(2) Rashid Al Maktoum Bridge
(3) Al-Shandagha Tunnel
The cheapest of these is by Abra which is small boat very popular among locals to cross the creek. There is regular Abra traffic between Bur Dubai and Deira. At both sides they have Abra stations and you can enjoy the ride by paying just 50 Fils (appox one cent).
It was fun crossing the creek by Abra and I would strongly recommend you to try it.
The Abras (عبرة in Arabic) are traditional noisy old wooden boats. They are running constantly, ferrying people across the Dubai Creek.
Typically as they stop the passenger disembark and around 20 people waiting will scury aboard and pay the driver the small fee for the crossing. Ther are six boarding stations and they are available 7 days around the clock - every few minutes during the day.
I suggest u to take an Abra ferry from one side of the Dubai Creek to the other as this is a very low cost way of taking in the sights, smells and sounds of old Dubai. The ferry ports are crammed with dhows and their crews transporting goods to and from Dubai. And on both sides of the creek you have no problems finding the shops and souks.
And u can take many photos as u seat inside and can capture the both sides of the Creek at the same time, enjoy ... :)
Plying at the demand of the customers, these descendants of ancient arab crafts now with modern motors, ply between one side of the creek to the other. Just half a dirham ( about 15 cents usd). very pleasant way to travel. Mostly men travelling, since the country is mostly men ( I would dare say over 70% of the population is male ). Gliding past modern buildings, an odd mosque or two . I sat with many other fortune seekers to this arab land, as the sun set over the creek, with this boat gently going from one coast to the other. My best experience in the 12 hour lay over in Dubai
The most scenic way of getting across the Creek between Deira and Bur Dubai is by taking a ride on a traditional Abra (long boat). You just kind of jump on and off. Watch your step! Seating is on long benches. The cost is half a Dirham (about 15 cents US) and only takes about 5 minutes. Take your camera because you will get some of the best views of Dubai. Magic!
Please note: For Female travellers, please allow room between you and local men. They don't see many ladies on these boats and cultural modesty means they need to afford you extra space.
Take an abra to cross the creek. This is a cheap and convenient way to move between Deira and Bur Dubai without getting caught in a massive traffic jam on the road. The abra departs from its station when it's full - which happens very fast. The fare is only Dh1. There are two stations on each side of the creek conveniently located near tourist spots like the textile souq, gold souq, Dubai Museum etc. While crossing, you can have a nice view of the merchant dhows on the Deira-side as well as a beautiful skyline of Bur Dubai and Deira.
If you do not want to share the abra with mostly South Asian commuters, you can pay for the whole abra. I think it costs Dh30.
Nobody suggested me to get around by bus. Everybody said it was too hard, not enough frequent and only indians would travel by bus anyway. They didn't thought that I was a budget traveller who cannot always afford a taxi even if this is cheap!
Anyway, I tried to get around with the bus and at least I succeed. You have to be patient and careful and you have to read the schedule exactly! The bus is very cheap and crowded with indians. I was always the only non indian! It was a great experiences and I'm sure you'll have much more fun while travelling by bus threw dubai than in a taxi!
RTA (Road and Transport Authority) is doing a splendid job in easing traffic congestion in Dubai. They have introduced water taxis which are air conditioned. these taxis ply across the Dubai creek. the fare is affordable and experience a pleasure.
RTA is also working on the Metro Rail Project with it Green & Red Lines connecting most of Dubai Metropolis - work is in progress and expected to be completed on or before the completion time, as is the case with most of the Government projects in Dubai.
New Air Conditioned buses have been pressed in service. It is a must have experience to feel the hectic pulse of growth in Dubai. RTA Toll Free Number in Dubai 800 90 90.
The simplest way to cross the Dubai Creek (bridges are few and far between) is by Abra - the small boats that ply the waters from bank to bank. Jump on board, take a seat and the boat slips away as soon as it is moreorless full. Your 1 AED will be taken off you on board. It takes only a few minutes and they run every few minutes, linking in particular the souqs on either side of the Creek.