A Secret Way to See Dubai – Do What the Locals Do

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Dubai skyline from the Dubai Ferry.
Dubai skyline from the Dubai Ferry.

Dubai Ferry – The Best Way to See Dubai from the Water

Earlier this year I had the chance to spend a few days in Dubai. During my visit, a friend who lives there suggested I take the Dubai Ferry. He said it was the best kept secret in Dubai. I decided to find out for myself.

While they have added a few more tourist oriented routes, the main Dubai Ferry route runs between Al Ghubaiba ferry terminal in Bur Dubai and the Dubai Marina Mall in the south of the city. Both stops are within a five minute walk of the Dubai Metro.

Dubai Ferry
The Dubai Ferry route.

As you can see from the map, the ferry passes near all of the modern Dubai marvels including the World Islands, Burj Al Arab and the Palm Jumeirah. Of course, the Dubai skyline is a marvel in and of itself.

My Dubai Ferry Experience

Dubai Ferry Terminal
Al Ghubaiba Dubai Ferry terminal in Bur Dubai.

I decided to board the Dubai Ferry in Bur Dubai at the Al Ghubaiba ferry terminal. After getting slightly lost during the 20 minute walk from my hotel, I found the small ferry terminal and located the small ticket booth. There were maybe 15 people waiting for the ferry and boarding began five minutes before the 11am departure.

Inside of the Dubai Ferry.
Inside of the Dubai Ferry.

The Dubai Ferry is very nice and modern with a section of indoor seating and a snack bar. There is also a “Gold section” which is similar to a 1st class cabin. No one utilized it during my trip.

Instead of sitting down, I followed my friend’s recommendation and headed straight to the back of the boat. There are no seats back there, but you get fantastic views from both sides and there are some barrels that you can straddle if your feet get tired.

Pulling out of the Dubai Ferry terminal.
Pulling out of the Dubai Ferry terminal.

As the ferry began to pull out, the Dubai skyline emerged from behind the buildings in the dock. The airport is also not far from Bur Dubai, meaning there were some great plane spotting opportunities. I was in heaven.

Airplane spotting from the Dubai Ferry.
Airplane spotting from the Dubai Ferry.

Out On the Open Water

After a few minutes of moving along at a slow pace, we finally reached the open water and were treated to sweeping views of Dubai. It was fantastic. Before long, we were cruising next to the white sand World Islands. I had hoped to be able to see their shapes, however we didn’t really get close enough to see much.

The World Islands from the Dubai Ferry.
The World Islands from the Dubai Ferry.

A few minutes later the Burj Al Arab came into view. It is a striking building and I couldn’t resist taking a selfie in front of it. As we passed the Burj Al Arab, I could see the Palm Jumeirah with Atlantis in the distance.

The Dubai Ferry doesn’t go out around the Palm Jumeirah, but instead travels underneath the Dubai Monorail at the entrance to the islands as it begins to pull into the Marina area.

Burj Al Arab from the Dubai Ferry.
Selfie in front of the Burj Al Arab to prove I didn’t fake it. (Please ignore my horrible sunglasses!)

The Marina area is clearly the newest and wealthiest part of Dubai. I was impressed with the varied architecture among the buildings. Every building features a different and unique aesthetic. The only thing that binds them together is the modernity of their design. It is all a little over the top just like everything else in Dubai.

Another shot of the Burj Al Arab from the Dubai Ferry.
Another shot of the Burj Al Arab from the Dubai Ferry.

Speaking of over the top, I also noticed an abundance of luxury yachts in the Marina. In fact, I think I saw more yachts in this small area then I have seen everywhere else in the world combined.

After being dropped off at the dock in the Marina Mall, I walked around for a few minutes before walking to the Metro station to head to my next destination.

Mega Yacht & the Dubai Marina area from the Dubai Ferry.
Mega Yacht & the Dubai Marina area from the Dubai Ferry.

More Information & Costs

The Dubai Ferry costs 50AED or around $14 for the normal Silver ticket and is half price for children between 2-10 years old. For the route I took, the journey was one hour from terminal to terminal.

Pulling into the Dubai Marina Mall area on the Dubai Ferry.
Pulling into the Dubai Marina Mall area on the Dubai Ferry.

For more information you can visit the Dubai RTA website. My friend has warned me that websites aren’t frequently updated in Dubai. It is probably best to verify everything when you go!

Either way, if you have time, this is a great way to see Dubai! With the prices in Dubai, I guarantee it is one of the cheapest things you will do during your visit!

More Photos from the Dubai Ferry


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