Dubai's rickety wooden abras (small motor-boats) ply the short distance between the north and south banks of Dubai Creek. They carry up to 100,000 people a day, and show visitors a unique perspective of the city. If you are in Dubai when the weather is mild, this is a must. Two stations on either side of the Dubai Creek, just before it opens to the Arabian Gulf, take local traders and tourists between the souks and business districts or Deira and Bur Dubai. It costs just AED1 for the five-minute journey, and the boats run around the clock (though the number of boats drops between midnight and 5 am), departing from the quayside when full (around 20 passengers). These same abras will be offered by touts for a tour. An hour costs AED100, and you will have the entire boat to yourself and the skipper. It may seem a high rate but it is set, so don't bother trying to bargain.
A 36-seat air-conditioned water bus operates on four lines, along almost identical paths to the abras, between the souks and trading areas of Old Dubai daily from 6 am until 11 pm, around every 10 minutes at peak times. Each journey is AED4.
Luxury, air-conditioned water taxis can be taken from destinations along the creek and out to the Dubai beaches, but they are not cheap, with just tiny distances starting at AED60. They can be chartered from AED400 per hour, so this may be a better alternative for a larger group.
Dubai Road and Transport Authority. www.rta.ae.