Dubai is well known for its tall skyscrapers, extravagant malls, and lavish way of life. But in addition to its glitz and glamour, the city is home to some of the most breathtaking natural landmarks. One of these attractions is the calm waterway known as the Dubai Abra Creek Crossing, which gives visitors a special vantage point on the beauty of the city. The Abra Creek Crossing is a traditional wooden boat ride that crosses Dubai Creek. Since it was the preferred location for early settlers, the UAE's first significant port, and the location where the pealing industry flourished, the bustling Dubai Creek has been vital to the community for generations. Learn more about this serene gem in Dubai and all the things you can do in and around the Dubai Creek.
About Dubai Creek
The Dubai Creek also known as Khor Dubai is a natural seawater inlet that separates the city into two sections, Deira and Bur Dubai. It is a historic waterway that has played a significant role in Dubai's growth and development. It extends about 9 miles inwards and forms a natural port that has traditionally been used for trade and transport. The creek also acted as a safe harbor to trade along with other ports of Arabian Gulf, it split through the ground in the 1950s to form a canal. The Creek was once a bustling trading port, and it remains an important waterway for trade and commerce today.
Both locals and tourists alike enjoy using the Abra boats as a means of transportation. The boats are driven by experienced boatmen who can easily navigate the constrained waterway. Passengers can sit on wooden benches in the small, straightforward boats. Although the boats are not fancy, they do provide a unique and endearing experience that is difficult to find in contemporary Dubai. The Creek is also home to numerous bird species, such as flamingos, herons, and egrets. It is breathtaking to see these magnificent birds flying over the water.
Passengers can marvel at the breathtaking views of the city skyline as the boat flies across the water. The Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Frame, and the Dubai Creek Tower can all be seen from The Creek, which provides an interesting vantage point. It is truly breathtaking to see these massive buildings in opposition to the still waters of the Creek. In addition to being a scenic landmark, the Abra Creek Crossing offers a unique cultural experience. The boats are a significant aspect of Dubai's history and have been in use for centuries. Discovering Dubai's natural beauty is made possible by the Abra Creek Crossing. The experience is peaceful and calming due to the lush vegetation lining the waterway and the boat's gentle rocking.
The word ‘Abra’ comes from the Arabic verb ‘abara’ which means ‘to cross’. The Abra is the city’s oldest form of transportation which makes it a symbol of the city’s heritage and culture. In this classic hybrid of a half-boat and half-raft, you can discover the beauty of ancient Dubai. It is a great way to connect with Dubai’s history, heritage, and culture. There are four stations sprinkled along Bur Dubai to Deira where you can spend as little as AED1 for a brief one-way trip on these traditional boats. There are about 150 Abras that run every few minutes throughout the day and can fit about 20 passengers each. Admire spectacular views of old Dubai including traditional houses, wind towers and minarets. These sights are interspersed with signs of the city’s trajectory towards modern living, featuring landmarks like the Deira Twin Towers and hotels or commercial buildings in glass facades gleaming against the water. Buy a one-way ticket, hire your own Abra or book a dhow trip to explore further down the creek if you want to see even more of the city by water.
Types of Abras:
With a modern twist on the traditional Abra, there are multiple types of Abras that ferry through Dubai. These include:
· Petrol Abra – This contemporary yet traditional Abra combines the best elements of both worlds. Using the most up-to-date technology, you can cruise safely without sacrificing the old-fashioned experience. Take a ride to see the city's soulful side.
· Air Conditioned Abra - This abra ride provides a comfortable cruise in a fully air-conditioned environment by fusing the style of a traditional abra with the newest technologies. This Abra offers you the chance to comfortably cruise through Dubai Creek during the summer.
· Motorized Abra - Take a trip on this classic half-boat, half-raft to experience the charm of old Dubai. The most used form of abra on the creek is this one, both among locals and visitors. On this traditional abra, experience Dubai unlike any other.
Abra Routes around the Dubai Creek:
The motorized abras travel across the Dubai Creerk on two major routes. There are four main stations, two on the Bur Dubai side in the south and two on the Deira side to the north of the creek. These stations are Deira Old Souk Abra Station, Bur Dubai Abra Station, Al Sabkha Abra Station, and Dubai Old Souk Abra Station. Deira Old Souk Abra Station is located close to the Spice Souk.
Route 1: The first route connects Bur Dubai Abra Station with Deira Old Souk Abra Station, which is close to the Spice Souk (west of the Textile Souk). CR1 is the RTA route code.
Route 2: This route connects Dubai Old Souk Abra Station to Al Sabkha Abra Station, which is located just southwest of Baniyas Square. It receives about 70% of all abra rides, making it the busier of the two routes. CR2 is the RTA service code.
Available from Al Jadaf Marine Station to Dubai Festival City is the Air Conditioned Abra (BM2). While there are numerous routes offered by the Petrol Abra, some of them are Al Fahidi - Al Sabkha (CR4), Al Fahidi - Deira Old Souq (CR5), and Al Seef - Baniyas (CR6).
Operating Times of Abra:
Abras on Route 1 are open daily from 5 am to midnight, whereas those on Route 2 are open around-the-clock. A trip on the Abras on route 1 takes 5 minutes, while a trip on route 2 takes 7 minutes.
Fare of Abra:
You can buy tickets to board the Abras at affordable prices. The motorised traditional Abra costs AED 1 per person and AED 120 for a one-hour private charter. Air-conditioned Abras and petrol Abras (from Dubai Creek) cost AED 2 per person.
Things to do at Dubai Creek:
1. Take a stroll along the Creek
Dubai Creek is perfect for when you wish to walk along the serene beauty of Dubai. It's an easy path with souks, shops, and restaurants for pit stops, making it a no-brainer for romantic evening strolls with your significant other. Take the route from Al Fahidi to Al Seef, which will take you through Old Dubai with a touch of modern polish and the historic areas of the UAE. Everything is there, from ice cream parlors to coffee shops, and the architecture ranges from traditional Arabic to contemporary container-style buildings. This is the best activity to do near the Creek!
2. Shop till you drop at affordable prices!
Dubai is without a doubt one of the biggest shopping hubs in the world. Both affordable goods and items from luxury brands are available for purchase. The city is every shopaholic’s dream destination. Visiting the souks at Dubai Creek is undoubtedly among the best things to do. You can visit some of Dubai's traditional markets on either side of the Creek. The Gold Souk is on the Deira side, and there are more textile stores on the Bur Dubai side. In the Spice Souk, you can purchase fresh herbs, spices, ingredients, medicines, and more. In the Textiles Souk, you can purchase fabrics, clothing, and other items.
Also Read: A Guide to the Best Dubai Souks and Markets
3. Dhow Cruise dinner
Getting on a Dhow Cruise is a thrilling thing to do in Dubai. Two hours can be spent riding on these Dhow Cruises through Dubai Creek. In this distinctive setting, savor delectable Arabic cuisine and the majestic view of Dubai. As your cruise starts to sail over the waters of Dubai Creek, there are countless sightseeing opportunities. They also have live performances throughout your dinner hour from the best local artists to keep the energy up for you. For your amusement during the ride, there are also belly dance, magic shows, puppet shows, and Tanoura. Surely, one of the most romantic things to do in Dubai is a Dhow Cruise.
4. Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club
There is no better place to play golf than right next to Dubai Creek's sea breeze, which is why Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club has gained popularity among local golfers. With its central location in the city, this award-winning course is one of Dubai's most beautiful 18-hole Championship and Par 3 golf courses. It has a cutting-edge academy, fantastic 19th holes, and one of the holes even has a platform to tee off on the creek. Finish the game, then relax at QD's or the Boardwalk while enjoying some tasty refreshments.
Things to do nearby:
• Dubai Frame
• Creek Park
• Children’s City
• Dubai Dolphinarium
• Museum of Illusions
• Al Fahidi Neighborhood
• Dubai Museum & Al Fahidi Fort
• Shindaga Museum
• Coin Museum
• Coffee Museum
• Meena Bazaar
• Gold Souk
• Al Seef
Places to eat at and on either side of the Dubai Creek:
At Dubai Creek:
· Hello Fruits
· The Stuffed Burger
· AB’s Absolute Barbeque
· Max’s Restaurant
· Denny’s Yakitake
· Aroos Damascus
· Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant
· Coffeetea Fusion Café
· Minato Restaurant
· Rajdhani Street
· Arabian Tea House
· Grub Shack
· Little Bangkok
· Mumbai Express
· Al Ustaad Special Kebab
· Doors Freestyle Grill