Before Dubai became one of the most sought after places for travel and vacation, the country has been getting its livelihood from fishing. This is where the famous Abras or old boat used in the past came from.
If you visit Dubai, you will have a glimpse of their livelihood and some pictures of these abras in museum or any historical places that was preserved here in Dubai.
What if we tell you that you can actually ride this old way of transportation with minimal cost? And it is in some ways much better than the new boat rides that they offer in the city. It is also a good option if you want to travel by sea to see the city surrounding.
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Ride the Abras for 1 dirham!
The usual tour packages in Dubai includes going to the desert to experience the fine sands and the local way of living, roaming around the high-end places of the city, the magnificent sky scrapers and different theme parks.
Don’t get us wrong, these activities are definitely a trip worth going but it is also great and wonderful experience to see Dubai in a different perspective.
Far away from the bustling urban setting and experiencing the normal daily life of the resident of the country.
This is how to do it!
Take the nearest metro from your place and head down to Ghubaiba Metro station located on the Metro “green line”.
Once outside the metro, look for the port. You can actually ask around the people walking in the busy streets of Ghubaiba. You can also try using your sense of smell, as the salt water smell is strong there.
Seriously speaking, you can find it opposite the city centre, just walk a couple of meters away from the city centre and you will find the port where you can pay 1 dirham to ride the abra.
There are signs within the area so it will be very easy to find. We tried it during the night but it is suggested to try it in the morning. It will give you more view of the surrounding old Dubai.
There are two stops for the Abra, and we took the first stop leading us to the spice market and Gold Souq(means market in Arabic).
The spice market has lots of good finds inside it, you can buy different kinds of spices for cooking, tea leaves, and variations of nuts. Who knows, you might see some interesting souvenirs while you’re inside the market.
The Gold Souq on the other hand will be full of Gold shops inside it. It is a long pathway with shops in both sides. Inside this long pathway, you can be mesmerized with the glistening jewelries.
If you have the money, you can also buy inside these shops as it might be cheaper there compared to other places in Dubai.
Our Abra Experience
We took on the Abra, after alighting from Al Ghubaiba Metro Station and asking around on which way to the port.
It was relatively easy to find and we went directly to the line waiting for the next Abra to board. The line was quite long during that day as it is a weekend and night time at the same time.
After queing, the guard asked the people lined up to slowly make their way to the Abra. Our turn came after two Abras has been filled up with passengers. We made our way to the Abra and slowly walked in to the small boat which is a bit unstable because it is in the water.
You have to maintain your balance and make sure to hold onto something stable while choosing a seat as there is no railings in the boat. A wrong step can cause you to fall into the wide open body of water. Nobody wants that to happen to them, so always make sure that you’re standing on something a little bit stable.
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Once all are seated, the boat driver collected the 1 dirham fee from each passenger. After that, the boat made its way through the waterway. It will take around 5 to 10 minutes travel time depending on where you want to go.
The Ghubaiba Abra Alternative
If you don’t want to go to Al Ghubaiba to ride one of these Abras, or if you don’t have any business around the area, you can try out another option.
This one goes to Dubai Festival City(DFC). There are a lot of ways to reach DFC. We usually use the Rashidiya metro route then from there, hail one of the cabs and ask them to bring us to DFC. This will cost around 22 Dirhams for two persons one way.
This option that we’ll give you is much cheaper and much more enjoyable than the Dubai Metro ride.
How to reach DFC via Dubai Water Taxi?
Use the Dubai Metro, from your point of origin, alight the Metro station at Burjuman station. If you’re already coming from Burjuman Metro then good for you. From there, transfer to green line going to Creek.
Once inside the train going to Creek, alight on the last stop which is Creek Metro station. Take the exit on the right side(very easy to locate, the exit where “zoom” is located).
Go down from there and follow the pathway leading to the Al Jaddaf Water station. Make sure that you have enough balance in your metro card before leaving the metro station.
There is a counter inside the water station from you to replenish your card balance, but it is fairly less hassle if you have it done while your still inside Creek metro station.
Once inside, just ask the guard on duty where the line is for passengers going to DFC and line up on the queue. the ride costs 2 dirhams per person. quite cheaper than how our usual route. A one way ride will only cost 10 dirhams for 2 people. It is faster and less hassle as well. You just need to wait as the boat rides every 20 minutes.
We lined up and waited around 20 minutes as the boat rode already when we arrived. The view inside the station is quite refreshing and the station is very clean compared to the one in Al Ghuibaiba.
After the boat arrived, we were asked to walk to the port and board the boat. The Abra this time is quite different than the one we previously rode. It is enclosed but with windows on both side and is with aircondition inside.
It is quite a level up for an additional 1 dirham Abra ride. The Abra this time is quite modern but is still fun to ride as you get a different view this time. The travel took around 7 minutes to finish and we directly alighted outside DFC which is for us was very convenient already.
There goes our short feature of the Dubai Abras. We found another possible route but have not tried it yet. Once we succeeded in testing it, we’ll update this article for you to read and become a guide.
If you’re a resident of Dubai and have not yet tried the Abras, we suggest you get on to this location and test it. It is a different kind of experience than the normal advertised tours.
It is cheap but clean, it is fun, very convenient and can give you a different perspective of Dubai.
Til our next adventure! Keep posted as we will release an article regarding Abu Dhabi next!