Abra is a traditional boat used to cross the Dubai Creek which is a natural river that passes through the land for about 10 kilometers. This channel, which the ancient Greeks called Zara, marked the starting point in the construction of the city of Dubai.
The word Abra comes from the Arabic verb “abara” which means to cross.
Abra is the cheapest and fastest way to move between Deira and Bur Dubai, the two historical districts of the city, joined by two bridges and a tunnel, making it the symbol of the city’s history and heritage.
Abras are small motorised water shared taxis that can hold up to twenty people, and many of Dubai’s residents and tourists consider them the most popular means of transport to cruise around the Dubai Creek.
You can discover the charm of Old Dubai when crossing the Creek on this boat and it is the real way to see the Creek and enjoy it!
The fare to cross the Creek on board an abra is only 1 dirham (less than 30 cents per dollar) per passenger and route to be paid in cash directly on board, just a bit like a gondola in Venice, but definitely cheaper.
About 150 abras are currently operating in Dubai, carrying more than 16 million passengers each year. In the past, the small boats had also the role of shuttling between large commercial ships, which could not enter in the Creek due to the low draft, to the main land, transporting any kind of goods.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Creek was the most important port in the region, where hundreds of boats that traded between India and Africa arrived. In the second half of the twentieth century, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum drained the estuary and reinforced the piers, for the proper management and increased of the maritime traffic in Dubai.
When you are in Dubai you should visit the old city and you have to cross the Creek on board of a traditional Abra. You will really enjoy the charm and the nice atmosphere of the city’s heritage!