Abra – The Traditional Boats of Dubai

abra boat dubai

The name ‘Dubai’ brings images of luxury, opulence, skyscrapers, shopping malls, theme parks, and record-breaking structures and architecture into our minds. However, not long ago, the city of Dubai was a simple fishing village, which was contained in and around Dubai Creek. The creek is the only natural water body in the city and is also the most significant part of Dubai. It is here that the Emiratis settled when they moved from their desert villages. The Dubai Creek divides the city into two: Bur Dubai and Deira. While there are several ways of crossing Dubai Creek from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice versa today, it was not the case a few decades ago. During those times, an abra was used for traveling through Dubai Creek. In this post, you will get to know everything about the abra ride Dubai.

A. What is an Abra?

An abra is a traditional wooden boat that can be seen plying along Dubai’s water. This humble vessel is somewhere between a raft and a deck boat. Abra comes from the Arabic word ‘Abara’, which means ‘to cross’, and this is exactly what it does. Earlier, it was used for transporting goods and people from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice versa. Although there are several means of transportation between Bur Dubai and Deira, the abra boat ride Dubai is still an active mode of transportation.

B. Abra Ride in Dubai

Popularly known as water taxis, there are more than 150 abras in Dubai. Each abra has the capacity to carry 20 people at a time. The abra transport system begins at 6 in the morning and continues till midnight. You can either choose to buy a one-way ticket or book a whole abra to explore the area for an hour or more. You will find two abra routes on Dubai Creek, one that goes from Deira Old Souk Abra Station to Bur Dubai Abra Station and the other from Al Sabkha Abra Station to Dubai Old Souk Abra Station. The second route is busier than the first one.

Apart from the Dubai Creek, you will find abras sailing on Dubai Water Canal, Burj Khalifa Lake, Al Seef, Dubai Festival City, Global Village Lake, and Madinat Jumeirah. While the abras on Dubai Creek are for both transportation and tourism, the abras on the other places are purely for the purpose of tourism.

If you find yourself dreaming about rides, dive into our guide to dhow cruise Dubai Creek and Dubai Marina.

C. Different Types of Abras

Types of Abras boat

Several types of abras can be found in Dubai, although their designs are similar to the original ones. Here we discuss the different types of abras available in Dubai.

Motorized Abras: These are the most commonly found abras in Dubai, especially on Dubai Creek. The design of these abras is similar to the original ones; the only difference being the original ones were rowed manually, while the latest ones are motorized. The steering of the abra is at the center, while passengers sit sideways, facing away from each other. These dhows are only found on Dubai Creek, and cost only AED 1 per person.

Air-conditioned Abras: If you are visiting Dubai in the summer, an abra ride during the day can be quite uncomfortable due to the extremely high temperature. In this case, an air-conditioned abra will be a good choice. Although it looks quite similar to the motorized abra, this one has glass windows that make it possible to enjoy sightseeing in a cool setting. The driver has a separate cabin that is located at the front of the abra. The cost per person on this abra is AED 2.

Electric Abras: The electric abras look similar to motorized abras. The only difference is that they run on electricity. Electric abras sail on the Burj Lake, the largest manmade lake in the world, which is located right in front of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. An abra ride on the Burj Lake is the best way to view the Dubai Fountain Show at a close quarter. It is best to book your Burj Lake abra ride tickets in advance.

Petrol Abras: Petrol abras on Dubai Creek are used for transportation, while the ones on Dubai Water Canal are used for tourism purpose. They are mainly used for sightseeing, similar to dhow cruise Dubai which sail on Dubai Creek and Dubai Marina. If you are opting for a petrol abra on Dubai Creek, you will have to pay a minimal fee of AED 2. However, the petrol abra ride on Dubai Water Canal is a bit expensive. It costs around AED 25 per person. Moreover, you also have the option to book the entire abra at a price of AED 300 for 60 minutes.

To enjoy a more upgraded cruise, find the best yacht charter in Dubai.

D. What to Expect on an Abra Ride on Dubai Creek?

Abra Ride on Dubai Creek

The abra ride is the best way to enjoy sightseeing. The Dubai Creek represents old Dubai, where several old monuments and historical sites have been preserved. One of the major Dubai Creek attractions is Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, which is home to traditional houses made of wind towers and minarets. You will also get glimpses of the souks of Dubai, Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, etc. here. Apart from these, you will get to see the modern side of the city in the form of the commercial buildings, hotels, and most importantly the Deira Twin Towers. An abra ride during the day will give you the chance to see the hustle-bustle of Old Dubai, while an abra ride after sunset is the best way to enjoy the glittering view of the city.


An abra Dubai ride is one of the things that you must do if you want to experience the authentic and traditional side of Dubai. Going on an abra ride is one of the most unique things to do in Dubai.

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