The RTA ferry (Roads and Transport Authority) is one of the few places as a tourist you can view the whole Dubai skyline from and includes a trip around the The Palm.
For 50 AED per person, you spend 90 minutes in the Arabian Gulf, setting off from Dubai Marina (check times and prices on the website) arriving in Al Ghubaiba where you can catch the train, bus or taxi to return to your hotel.
You can of course do this journey in reverse but I'd recommend if you visit on a Friday to start your journey at the Marina as the Souks and museums don't open until 2.30pm.
Arriving at Dubai Marina, you need to exit on the lower ground floor with the Marina in front of you and turn left towards Pier 7 and walk approximately 500ms where you'll find the ticket office located right outside Carrefour and a lovely restaurant, La Gaufrette, where we often have breakfast of coffee and pastries before boarding the ferry around 10.45am.
The journey takes you past the new Bluewater Island and the Dubai Eye, around The Palm, providing a fantastic photo opportunity of the Atlantis Hotel, pass the Burj Al Arab and along the coast to the new Dubai Water Canal. Stay on the ferry as we're heading to the Creek, you'll get to see the whole Dubai skyline which you can capture on an iPhone 5s screen and catch a glimpse of the QE2.
On arrival at Al Ghubaiba get off the ferry and turn right, following the creek side for approximately 200ms to Brjeel Heritage Guest House where I recommend you stop for a spot of lunch and use the toilets.
If you've visited Dubai before, are here for a week or are particularly interested in the history of Dubai you can continue walking along this part of the Creek, called Shindagha, where you'll find many of Dubai's Museums, including the official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, Grandfather of the present ruler of Dubai. It is one of the oldest buildings in Dubai constructed in 1896.
Continuing through with this trip, walk back towards the ferry and continue along the creek till you reach the Abra's. Where for 1 dirham you can cross the Creek on one of these wooden boots whose name derives from the Arabic verb 'abara' meaning 'to cross' These boats are also managed by the RTA.
On the other side of the Creek are the Gold and Spice souks and are worth a visit. But I recommend if you want to eat or use the toilets, you do so on this side of the Creek. Return on the abr I'm going to take you to Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort, where you can explore the history of pearl diving in Dubai and it's development into what you see today.
To get to the fort after your abra trip continue left and you can meander through the Souk, which in my opinion is the best place to purchase your souvenirs from and pick up a pashmina or two. They is some pressure on you to purchase goods and to barter on prices in this area, but be polite and say no and carry on walking, it's fairly light hearted banter.
Don't be tempted to wander off anywhere though with anyone offering to sell you 'good quality, knock off, genuine, fake Rolex or handbags' though.
When you reach the end, turn right and you'll see the Fort in front of you. Entrance is only 3 dirham.
Don't be fooled by thinking there's very little there, in the far left corner there's a spiral walkway that leads you to an underground museum filled with the story of Dubai.
When you've finished your visit walk back towards the ferry where you can get a taxi, on the Hop on Hop off bus or follow the signs for the metro, to get back to your hotel.
If your time is limited in Dubai, I'd suggest you stop at Dubai Mall and visit the Burj Khalifa having pre booked your tickets (saves money and guarantees you a slot) from 4pm onwards. You'll need at least an hour to reach the Mall from here as the walkway from the Metro into the Mall is actually 1km long and then you need to go down to the lower ground floor in the opposite corner.
You can however (if we are friends on Social Media) give me a yell and I'll happily accompany you, if you pay for my coffee for the day.