If you don’t have Dubai on your travel list yet, you should add it today! Dubai has so much to offer to tourists including unique and breathtaking architecture, fine dining, cool attractions, various types of shopping, lovely beaches, outdoor activities….. and the list goes on and on!
One of the attractions that you should visit in Dubai is the tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa stands tall over the city. At night it sparkles like a huge diamond and at 160 stories tall you can see it throughout the city. As you travel in the elevator up 14 stories, your ears pop and you feel a bit light-headed. Did I mention that the elevators go 600 meters per minute? According to our guide, the elevators are thought to be the fastest in the world. It took us just a little over a minute to reach the 124th floor…..that’s fast! It feels like you’re in the movie, Star Trek. The views from the top are breathtaking.
As you scan the horizon from 2,722 ft. above ground, you can appreciate the vision of Sheikh Mohammad. It’s a big-picture achievement and truly larger than life. The Burj project was designed to move the city from its emphasis on oil to that of tourism. Glass, steel, aluminum and concrete are everywhere to see. It looks just like a movie set, but it’s not…..it’s an ultra sleek and modern city. According to Wikipedia, the building’s cost was $1.5 billion to build in US dollars. Construction in 2004 and was finished in 2009.
There is a connection between the Burj Khalifa and the US. The architect that designed the Burj, happens to be from Chicago. His name is Adrian Smith and he studied at the University of Illinois and also Texas A & M University. He’s designed many buildings in the US, including the Trump Tower in Chicago. Obviously, he’s a specialist in designing tall buildings.
We had a great time at the Burj and we couldn’t resist being super touristy. They have a giant green screen that you pose in front of for fun commemorative photos. Some people were confused and thought that I was really walking on the beam over the top of the building when they saw it on Facebook. Now that’s a great optical illusion!
The Burj Khalifa is part of a mixed-use development in the middle of downtown Dubai. According to Wikipedia, “the development includes 30,000 homes, nine hotels (including The Address Downtown Dubai), 7.4 acres of parkland, 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 30-acre artificial Burj Khalifa Lake. Dubai borrowed at least $80 billion for construction projects.”
As I mentioned, the development includes the Dubai Mall. Even if you aren’t a mall shopper, the malls in Dubai offer so much more than just shopping. You really have to see it to believe it! We discussed the souks of Dubai in a previous post, which are a totally different shopping experience. But no trip to Dubai is complete without visiting the shopping malls. Even if you’re not a shopper, you can find something to interest you at the mall.
At 3.77 million sq. ft., the Dubai Mall is the 2nd largest in the world. There are over 1,200 stores! The mall attracts over 54 million visitors a year. According to Wikipedia, “the Dubai Mall was the most visited building on the planet in 2011.” The Dubai Mall is definitely a tourist destination and you should plan on visiting it when you are in Dubai.
One of the first things you notice when you walk into the mall is the giant Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. The tank is 10-million litre (2641720.52 US liquid gallons) and is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world. The aquarium has more that 300 species of marine animals, which also includes a variety of sharks and stingrays. My photos don’t do it justice! You could watch all the fish swim for hours. It was so cool.
The aquarium includes a walk-thru tunnel where you can get a first-hand view of the tank, as well as glass-bottom boat rides. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can snorkel in the tank or do a shark dive. Talk about an up close adventure!
The next section of the mall is called Fashion Avenue. This branch of the mall is home to brands such as Bulgari, Valentino, Brioni, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cartier….. and the list goes on and on. There’s an entire wing devoted to high-end shopping. Even if you aren’t into couture fashion, the window shopping is great fun.
As you keep walking, you see more and more things to do, that don’t include shopping!
The mall has a giant ice skating rink. It’s as large as an Olympic-sized rink! It is massive, and starts on the ground floor and extends to the second level of the mall.
Art is very prominent throughout Dubai. There are public art installations in most areas of the city. I believe public art really makes a city stand out and makes it much more interesting. The mall has a “human” waterfall with beautiful sculptures. You can see how large it is from my photograph. The wall goes from the top to the bottom of the mall and can be viewed from each floor. It’s quite unique and amazing!
Gelato stores and candy stores were peppered all around the mall. You couldn’t walk very far without seeing one. The largest candy store in the world is located in the Dubai Mall. Candylicious is over 10,000 sq. ft. That’s a lot of candy! The people of Dubai definitely have a sweet tooth. The store windows have the boxes of candy nicely wrapped like beautiful little presents. Presentation is everything in Dubai. From the buildings to the candy, Dubai is top-notch!
One unusual candy that is actually made in Dubai is camel’s milk chocolate. According to an article that I read in Reuters.com, “The company Al Nassma was established in Dubai and plans to produce 100 tons of premium camel’s milk chocolate a year. They have 3,000 camels on the Dubai farm and the farm is controlled by the Dubai government. Our aim is to be the Godiva of the Middle East, according to the company.”
The Reuters article goes on to say, ” All chocolates are produced without preservatives or chemical additives with a range of locally popular spices, nuts and honey, according to the company. Camel milk contains five times more vitamin C than cow milk, less fat, less lactose and more insulin, making it a good option for diabetics and the lactose intolerant.”
I tasted the chocolate and I really liked it. It is not as sweet as the milk chocolate that we are accustomed to here in the US, but it was really good. The fact that it may be a little healthier than most chocolate you find made it even tastier!
When you travel to Dubai, make sure you bring your tennis shoes. You’ll need them for walking around and experiencing the mall and other beautiful destinations in Dubai.
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