Sometimes scary can be good, it pushes you out of your comfort zone and often wonderful things happen there. This is exactly what happened to me on my visit to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall. Looking back, I am really proud of everything I managed to do on this day, as it was a really wonderful day.
When you visit Dubai, or even think about the city, the fist thing which comes to mind is the Burj Khalifa. It is the biggest, and possibly the most iconic, building in the world. It is situated in an area called Downtown Dubai and conveniently located next to the world’s largest mall. Whilst planning this trip I can honestly say I wasn’t fussed about visiting since I had already been to the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel which had incredible views. My photographer really wanted to visit, so in the end I decided to jump into the handbag of doom. I was skeptical; believing it would be a day filled with queues, crowds and hairy taxi rides (I’m sad to report I only discovered the delightful Dubai metro on my final day in the city). Booking tickets on Getyourguide saved lots of money and time, the hotel concierge also helped me get a taxi so I would have plenty of time to get there before my midday slot. I had read this time of day was quietest … well compared to sunset.
The entry for the Burj Khalifa is in the basement level of the Dubai Mall. As I had already bought my tickets , I was able to bypass (the first of many) queues. Then it was time to go through the security scanner, I like how they separated the scanners into male and female. My photographer felt a lot more comfortable with this. I passed a mini Burj Khalifa on the way to the queue for the lift.
One thing I didn’t realise at the Burj Khalifa, if you have a chronic illness or disability, there is the option to skip the queue. You also have the option to take one human with you to help you along this fast track to the top. I wish I had done this as wrinkly human gets very anxious in crowded places. Honestly, here at team Veganosaurus, we were taken aback by this wonderful idea and loved seeing people, who often would avoid these places, taking advantage so they could experience the Burj Khalifa too.
Going up in the lift was so quick and easy, which was great because the lift was filled to capacity. At the top I was greeted by another small queue, I was starting to get a bit (human note: very) impatient about standing and only seeing feet. In hindsight it was a good thing (not the staged photographs) because there was a lot of space at the windows to see the beautiful views!
On my travels I have been one very lucky Adventursaurus. Each time I’ve visited a tall building to see it’s views of the city, I’ve had a very clear day. Downtown Dubai and the creek were visible 450 metres below me, along with the world islands and the Palm. Walking in a circle around level 125, I got a great view out into the desert, which I think might go all the way to Oman. I was so high up, I even grew some wings!
Passing the huge beautiful chandelier as I went to level 124, my first stop was the balcony. This had a wonderful view of Sheik Zayed road and the tiny skyscrapers below. It was very scary outside, I didn’t stay long because it was very windy. Making my way around the windows on this level, I briefly stopped to wave at my hotel, Dubai Marina and the Burj Al Arab. It was an amazing view but by this time I was getting a bit sick of the building crowds. The sun was glaring on the windows making it hard to see the city below. As I stood in the queue for the lift to the bottom I was treated to a display of the Dubai fountains (making me excited to watch the display at ground level). Then it was time to leave the vertigo inducing views of Dubai and go back to ground level.
Seeing the fountains from so high up made me very excited to see them up close. I walked around outside for a while but sadly couldn’t get close enough to see the fountain’s lunchtime show. The crowds were also getting a bit to much for me so I decided it was lunchtime. There are numerous restaurants in Souk Al Bahar, but as I’m on a budget I opted for one of the restaurants upstairs in the Dubai Mall. I opted to go in Paul on the 2nd floor. Turns out it has great outdoor seating with a view of the water and is vegan friendly! (But more about the food, and photogenic mojitos, in a separate post).
Refueled and raring to go, I set off in search of the Apple store. A waiter had recommended this as a great place to watch the fountain show (skeptical but willing to try anything to avoid the crowds, so I decided to give it a go). The Apple store is set across two storeys and has it’s own balcony. If you want to go on the balcony get there about 30 minutes before the show you want to watch. The shows start at 6 pm and run every 30 minutes, each show lasts for only 5 minutes. The upper level has floor to ceiling windows. Most importantly it is relatively quiet, unlike on the bridge outside. One downside is you are unable to hear the music the water dances too. Katy Perry was playing in the background while I was watching it. The best part of looking down onto the fountains, meant I could see more without the stress of the crowds. But, if you want great photographs go outside. This is the only one I took which didn’t have a lot of reflections ruining it.
I’d definitely recommend watching the Fountain show on a night when it is dark, so you can see the Burj Khalifa lit up too. The fountain show is still lovely to watch during the day though I do have a slight fascination with glittering city lights and where better to see them than Downtown Dubai.
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