Dubai Mall

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!

The Waterfall

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


About Lynda

Longhorns and Camels is a blog about exploring Dubai from the perspective of an expat from Texas. It features stories about living in Dubai including descriptions of local culture and popular activities in the region. It also includes photography of the UAE and other countries abroad. It has been recommended by several well-known guides for expatriates: InterNations, ExpatWoman and Expat Focus.
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6 Responses to Dubai Mall

  1. Judy says:

    Agree about the mall culture in Dubai! I have a Philippino friend in Dubai who goes “malling” with his friends at the weekend 🙂 Dubai has a shortage of people-friendly public spaces and so, together with the climate, malls are the logical place for people to gather.

  2. lyndasm says:

    Yes – I can see myself going “malling” (I like that! :)) more often as it starts to warm up – it’s already getting quite toasty and it’s only March!

  3. Becky Lane says:

    This is really hard for me to wrap my head around. I’m another Texan who spent time in the middle east, but it was Bahrain, in the mid-70s! Our favorite pastime was to go wandering around down in the souk, but it was a far cry from this! I’m sure the aquarium is great, but I hope, when you go wandering around in the older parts of town, that you still get to browse through stalls of exotic spices, and see shopkeepers sipping thick coffee out of little glass cups.

    • lyndasm says:

      What a cool experience you must have had! You can definitely still experience traditional life in the souks, but in Dubai it seems to take a back seat to all of the new development. The souks and historic area are definitely my favorite part of town, though! By the way – I couldn’t figure out how to leave a comment on your blog – but wanted to say that I love all the old photos! What a great idea to blog about those experiences now that the technology is available.

  4. joanfrankham says:

    Wonderful photos, I was there a year or so ago, thanks for the memories, I love the dancing fountains also.

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