Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dubai Mall: How to spend your day

Dubai loves to break records, and the Dubai mall tops the list for over the top attractions. We visited this mall multiple times during our week stay in the UAE for various attractions, and there are still corridors we missed! 

In retrospect, you could spend an entire day exploring this mall and still won’t get bored. Planning a bit in advance goes a long way, as these record breaking attractions get crowded! 
burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa - take pictures outside before going to the top!

Here is my advice for how to spend your day :

(First - how are you getting there? If the answer is the metro, there is a stop right at the mall. However, be prepared to walk, as it is at least a mile walk from the metro stop through indoor corridors that lead you to the actual mall. Allow extra time for this in your day!)

Burj Khalifa

Known for being the tallest building in the world at more than 160 stories, the entrance to get to the top is of course inside Dubai mall! Make reservations to get to the top a day or two in advance, as it usually sells out. People will recommend visiting at night so you can see the famous Dubai Fountain show from the top, but I noticed more than half the nights we spent in Dubai were extremely foggy at night! 

For this reason I recommend going mid morning, which has a better chance of seeing the spectacular views. Note that a regular admission ticket won’t actually get you to the top, just to the 124th floor observation tower. (For an additional fee you can get to the sky observation tower on floor 148, but we decided the view from 124 was amazing enough that we didn’t pay extra.)

burj Khalifa - at the top
Inside the Burj Khalifa - at the top
burj Khalifa - at the top view
Burj Khalifa - at the top view

Dubai Aquarium:

After the Burj Khalifa, make your way over to the Dubai Aquarium located in the center of the mall. The Dubai Aquarium boasts having the largest tank in the world, with the worlds largest glass viewing panel, and over 33,000 animals. You can view the fish and diver’s for free from the mall, but to get into the aquarium tunnel there is a fee. 

dubai aquarium
Dubai Aquarium view from the outside

We paid to go inside and thought it was well worth it as the sharks and stings rays press right against the glass! As if this wasn’t enough, there is also a glass bottom boat ride right inside the mall aquarium! It is part of an upgraded package from the walkthrough tunnel, but we had to buy it and see this in person. 

Once you have walked through the tunnel and gotten your shark selfie... you head one floor up to the underwater zoo where you then have to reserve your time for the glass bottom boat tour. Ours was almost an hour after we arrived, which gave us plenty of time to take pictures in the underwater zoo and check out the canopy floor they also built right in the mall....

dubai aquarium shark selfie
Shark selfie!

dubai aquarium underwater zoo canopy

The canopy inside the underwater zoo

Dubai Aquarium glass bottom boat
Inside the Aquarium for the glass bottom boat ride
Dubai Aquarium glass bottom boat
On the glass bottom boat
The glass bottom boat tour is actually nothing spectacular, but just the fact that your inside a mall makes it worth doing!

By now it’s lunch time, so grab yourself something from the food court as you want to save your money for dinner at the nice and pricey restaurants by the Dubai Fountains. Take a quick walk to this outside area after lunch and make a reservation for one that has a great view. The fountains run every 30 minutes starting at 6pm, so reserve accordingly.

Emirates - A380 Experience. Fly a plane, sure why not? 

Once you’ve got dinner squared away, head over to the Emirates 380 experience. This is a flight simulator where you get to fly an A380! We didn’t do this when we were here but now I kinda regret it,because, where else can you experience flying a plane without being a pilot? There is an option to make advance reservations for this as well if you are so inclined.

Dubai mall flight simulator
Probably the closest you can get to flying a plane without being a pilot...

If you have done this, leave a comment and let me know what its like!

Now that you’ve done the major experiences, stop and relax for a bit in the mall Souk coffee shop - The Majlis. Here, the coffee is made using camel milk, which sounds weird, but I promise it tastes amazing! (They also have delicious camel milk chocolate bars.)

Enjoying the Camel latte
After your caffeine pick me up, take your time walking around the mall and view all the extravagance... There are random fighter jet displays, high end sports cars, luxury stores, and plenty of things to keep you entertained.

They have 2 amusement parks - Sega World and Kidzania, and an indoor ice skating rink you could try if you haven’t already gotten your fix from Ski Dubai at the other famous mall. 

Congrats if you’ve finally made it to dinner! Enjoy your food and the fountain show, and try to see if one last time from a different angle before heading back to your hotel!

Dubai Fountains
Dubai fountains - rival to Las Vegas' Bellagio fountain show!

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