Once I moved to Sharjah, I had all my friends in Bur Dubai where I used to live before. There was no inexpensive way for a 15-year-old to go back to Bur Dubai on the weekends to play some cricket or meet old friends.

But there was some hope, in the form of a wooden boat. This is how it worked… you take a taxi from Sharjah, this taxi would allow you to share the ride with other passengers, four passengers per taxi. That was like 5 Dhs per head. That taxi would drop you at Nasser Square in Deira. From Nasser Square, Abra is like 5-minute walk but it still used to be a drain because of the heat and humid weather.


After reaching the Abra (Boat) stop, you open up your ears and eyes and follow people who are flocking towards the Abra that is going to leave once it has 20 passengers. It was 50 fils to go from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice versa. Thats like less than 50 cents roundtrip. The whole trip was about 6 Dhs, instead of around 50 Dhs if I were to use the taxi back and forth from Dubai and Sharjah.

The Abra ride itself is around 7-8 minutes, the water is blue, the buildings are scenic and the breeze is relaxing. This is one thing about Dubai that it believes in preserving the ancient practices and ethnic heritage when in today’s world, they can offer the same roundtrip in an electronic air conditioned boat.


  1. Nido October 27, 2006 at 11:34 am

    whoa! a wooden boat….dang thats pretty fun! I wonder if they have private abra boats though….
    well anyhow I can’t wait to check them out…which I hope is soon, so pray for me!!!

    P.S: I just realized that all da ppl sitting on the boat are desi! n im not very surprised…ha ha

  2. ZaddY - Site Author October 29, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    Yeah they do have private abra boats, they take u for a 30 mins or 1 hour tour depending on what you pay them.

    The second pic above is of someone on a private abra tour.

    Dubai has more desis then the locals, thats why you see them… who will drive the hummers if Arabs start using abras? lol

  3. Ali November 3, 2006 at 5:48 am

    Yeah well… Abra is still as it was many years back with some minor but important changes for example, its now more safe to sit in boats because i can remember many people used to fall down in water while trying to reach the edge of the boat and when getting off the boat. Sometimes even i thought i would fell in the water and i was really very afraid of it.
    I myself haven’t been to Abra for a long long time and i would love to experience the same thrill again…

  4. Zehra March 11, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Oh Gosh!!! I’ve travelled on the Abra too! But it was more for the fun of it rather than a nessecity. Have to say though just Dhs 11 to go back n forth shj-dxb.. smart work. 🙂

    I agree its not easy to get used to “hopping” on or off the abra. I know i fussed a bit before I’d get on it. LOL.

    Nice to see this post – reliving some memories 🙂


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