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Water Travel in Dubai: A Simple Guide to Navigating the City’s Waters

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Dubai, an advanced metropolis known for its skyscrapers and luxury shopping, also offers a unique way to explore its beauty through water transport. We bring you a simple guide to help you discover the joy of navigating Dubai’s waterways, whether you’re a tourist, a curious resident, or a student joining a course in Dubai and looking for new adventures.

Dubai's Water Transport Network

Dubai’s water transport system, managed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), is important to the city’s infrastructure, offering various modes such as abras, water buses, water taxis, and the ferry. Each mode of transport provides a different experience tailored to various needs and preferences.

Abras: The Heartbeat of Dubai's Waterways

Derived from the Arabic word ‘abara’ meaning ‘to cross,’ the abra is a transport system linked to the history of Dubai. These traditional wooden boats have been ferrying people across Dubai Creek for decades, offering a glimpse into the city’s past. At present, this iconic water transport system in Dubai is available in two types:

Traditional Abras

For those looking for a more authentic experience, these abras provide a serene and leisurely ride. These abras serve as a bridge across time, allowing passengers to experience the cultural beauty of a city that is both timeless and modern. The motorised traditional abra will enable passengers to explore the soulful side of Dubai Creek, providing affordable transport between key locations in Deira and Bur Dubai, with options for private charter. Meanwhile, the electrical traditional abra offers an eco-friendly way to visit Dubai’s iconic attractions, with special routes to Global Village, catering to tourists seeking a gentle ride with minimal environmental impact. Together, these abras facilitate a memorable exploration of the city’s scenic beauty.

Modern Abras

This transport method blends tradition with innovation. It offers a contemporary cruising experience equipped with the latest technology for safety and comfort. The air-conditioned abra provides a cool, comfortable journey from Al Jaddaf Marine Station to Dubai Festival City for just AED 2 per person, combining traditional design with modern amenities. The petrol abra, with a capacity for 20 passengers, updates the traditional abra experience with modern technology, ideal for those looking for both safety and traditional charm. The petrol heritage abra provides a unique journey through Dubai Creek and the Dubai Water Canal, mixing historical sights with modern views for AED 2 per trip or AED 25 per hour per person. You will get a comprehensive view of Dubai’s evolution, from its rich history to its modern skyline.

Water Buses: A Modern Twist on Waterborne Commuting

Water buses add a modern touch to Dubai’s water transport network. This air-conditioned and advanced abra system offers a cruise experience with hop-on, hop-off service covering four stops in the Dubai Marina area: Marina Terrace, Marina Walk, Dubai Marina Mall, and Marina Promenade. Designed to be modern and less noisy, the water buses feature comfortable seating for 20 passengers, including a designated area for wheelchairs, and an hourly rental charter package is available. The Dubai Water Bus route map includes affordable fares for various segments within the Dubai Marina, with prices ranging from AED 3 to AED 11. Nol cards, required for fare payment, can be purchased at the stations. Key features include:
Air-conditioned interiors: Ensuring a comfortable ride away from the desert heat.
Panoramic windows: Offering sweeping views of the surrounding area.
Accessibility: Equipped with facilities for passengers with disabilities, ensuring everyone can enjoy the journey.

Water Taxis: Personalised and Luxurious

Looking for a way to skip the bustling city traffic in Dubai? Water taxis offer a stylish and efficient alternative, with 40 stations spread across two zones. Zone 1 features iconic views between Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah, offering sights of Dubai’s impressive skyline. Zone 2 offers a serene journey through the heritage-rich areas between the Creek and Dubai Water Canal. With the capacity to seat up to 20 passengers, these air-conditioned water taxis ensure total privacy. To book a ride, passengers can reach out to the RTA. The service covers many pickup points, including exclusive destinations like Bluewaters Island and Dubai Marina Mall in Zone 1, and cultural and historic stops such as Al Ghubaiba and Dubai Festival City in Zone 2. It offers:
Flexibility: Operates on a on-demand basis, allowing passengers to choose pickup and drop-off points.
Comfort: Spacious seating and privacy, ideal for groups.
Versatility: Suitable for sightseeing, special occasions, or a luxurious way to get around.

Dubai Ferry: Exploring the Coastline

The Dubai Ferry offers a prime opportunity to experience the city’s beautiful coastline through six key routes, including an inter-city option, within a comfortable, fully air-conditioned setting. Designed to accommodate up to 98 passengers, including space for two wheelchairs and stroller access, the ferry ensures convenience and accessibility for all. Additionally, the ferry is equipped with LCD screens for entertainment and restroom facilities. For those seeking a more personalised experience, an hourly rental charter package is also available.

The ferry operates various routes with specific timings and fares, such as the Al Ghubaiba – Dubai Canal route and vice versa, with tickets priced at AED 50 for Silver Class and AED 70 for Gold Class, offering two daily trips. The service extends to Dubai Marina and Bluewaters with similar scheduling and fare structures, including round trips and specific routes like Al Ghubaiba – Sharjah Aquarium, with lower fares of AED 15 for Silver and AED 25 for Gold Class. A minimum of 12 passengers is required for certain trips, and not all payment methods are accepted at every station, so carrying cash is advised.

Making the Most of Your Experience

Navigating Dubai’s waterways offers more than just a means of transport; it’s a way to experience the city’s culture, history, and modernity from a unique vantage point. To know more about the scheduled service timings and fares for these water transports, you must refer to the official RTA website. So, embrace the opportunity to see Dubai from its beautiful waterways with our English school in Dubai, ES Dubai.

– Please note that all the information is based on the data provided on the RTA website as of 20/12/2024. For latest information visit the official RTA website.

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