Places to Visit, Things to do

One heck of a shopping centre: The Dubai Mall

Having been to America 9 times, I feel like I am quite au fait with supersize everything; from food portions, pavements, shops, even insects and the grass! But it feels like Dubai went one further.

After driving in the rental car that I have for the next couple of weeks, on their supersize roads, navigating the organised chaos that largely consists of last second decisions to cut across 4 lanes to exit the highway, in addition to a lack of indicator use… we arrive at Dubai Mall.

Despite my fear of a potential car accident on the way, the drive in was simply stunning on the near approach to the mall. All of the visible dustiness of the UAE faded, leaving a huge set of shiny glass skyscrapers to welcome us.

We got lost in the car park. Accidentally exited. Had to loop round and start again.

Dubai Mall is the largest in the world. It is made up of different sections to help guests find their way through the numerous routes. From Fashion Alley to The Village, I felt overwhelmed with choice.

The Souk was a particular favourite area of mine simply because I wouldn’t find anywhere like it back home; offering accessory outlets, traditional Arab clothing and handicraft stores. It also bizarrely had it’s own Dippy the dinosaur, like the one that recently left the Natural History Museum London. What’s not to like about a 155 million year old dinosaur skeleton?

155 million year old diplodocus dinosaur in The Souk at Dubai Mall

It wasn’t just the dinosaur either, there are various things to appreciate and admire all throughout the mall. The Dubai Mall features an aquarium with over 33k aquatic animals and a 270-degree walkthrough tunnel, cuisines from across the globe, a KidZania to keep the little ones entertained, a 22 screen cinema, an olympic-sized ice rink, as well as various art installations both permanent and some temporary. I also managed to find a unicorn cupcake too – sweet.

Unicorn Cupcake from Project Cupcake near the Aquarium in the Dubai Mall

The best bit though? Head to the Apple Store. No, you don’t need to upgrade your phone or splurge on a Mac. The Apple Store has a huge balcony overlooking the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) and the Dubai Fountain which hosts a water/music/light show, similar to that of the Bellagio in Vegas.

The fountains perform to a range of different songs from classical to contemporary Arabic and world music. There are two shows around late lunch, then 6pm-11pm the show is every 30 minutes. This is truly a must see in Dubai.

With over 1200 shops and services, you’re bound to find whatever you’re looking for, if you look long enough. Some people were being driven around on mall ‘taxis’… it must be all that walking. Despite leaving at 11.30pm at night, I don’t think we even saw a third of the mall. Guess we shall have to go back.

P.s. a big difference between the UK and Dubai is the shopping returns policies. A lot of places do not offer refunds and their exchange periods are incredibly limited… one shop gave me 3 days for an exchange if I changed my mind. Make sure you’re sure before you buy.

​​​You can always check out more of what I have been up to on my IG: @LondonJem

Butterfly ceiling art installation
Rainbow string art installation

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