I am drawn to “Old Dubai” because it’s what I think of when I think of the Middle East, and because it’s so utterly different from what I am used to. Malls? Not as interesting. No doubt about it, though, malls are an integral part of living in Dubai. Instead of meeting at a pub, or a square, people go to the malls, and there are plenty of them. This city is downright mall-crazy!
Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world. It features an ice rink, an enormous kid entertainment venue, the world’s largest indoor gold souk, a towering aquarium and underwater zoo, a supermarket, a large organic grocery store, movie theater, and of course, around 1,200 retail stores, sprinkled with countless cafes, restaurants, and candy stores. Outside, there is a dancing water fountain coordinated with music , next to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Here are some photos from recent visits to Dubai Mall:
The Gold Souk (these were taken around 10 am when the mall opens. No one is at the mall in the mornings and parking is a breeze.)
Many of the light fixtures were so pretty!
Negotiating the largest mall in the world.
Pretty window display
The chocolate and candy stores are always the most tempting! Forget Chanel and Gucci!
Successful shopping trip
The most delicious sweet buns from PappaRoti Cafe
Camels, daggers, falcons and sheiks – your typical souvenirs from the UAE. 🙂
Aquarium (from Wikipedia: The Dubai Mall Aquarium has the world’s largest acrylic viewing panel which can withstand pressure of 10 million litres of water used in the aquarium, but its transparency gives visitors clear views of over 33,000 marine animals on display. It’s the largest suspended aquarium in the world.)
Check out this big crowd admiring the aquarium on a typical Thursday night. These photos were taken at night when there are tons of people at the mall. Even at midnight, when it closes, there are still lots of people ice-skating, drinking coffee and shopping.
Armani Cafe – clearly a favorite with the locals
Waiting outside for the dancing water fountains – much like the ones outside the Bellagio in Las Vegas, but surprise surprise, bigger.
Burj Khalifa from Dubai Mall