Truly, the media does not exaggerate. If anything, the pictures and videos do not do justice to the actual experience itself. Most malls are dedicated to retail shopping and dining at most. However Dubai Mall is like a spectacular mesh of shopping, dining, leisure and entertainment. I mean, what doesn’t it have?!

Since summer is just around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to share my experience and also reveal my list of top things to do in Dubai Mall.

  1. Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Now I’m not a huge fan of fish but even I was wonderstruck. The underwater zoo was technically a glass walkway inside an aquarium with fish on the other side.

It has approximately 33,000 aquatic animals. My favorite were the stingrays. They have their mouths on the underside of their bodies so when they stuck themselves to the tunnel head it seemed like they were smooching glass. Cracks me up every time I think about it.

The Aquarium also offers diving activities and 30 minutes of close encounters with sharks! So all thrill seekers out there, who live and breathe adventure, this is the go-to stop.

  1. Ice Rink

The next stop was the Ice Rink. Being in Karachi the only ice rink we had was in Arena. I never had much fun because it was too small. The one at Dubai mall though, was Olympic-sized. I was itching to glide across that wide expanse.

People of all ages were there on the rink, skating without a care in the world. And don’t worry if you cannot skate. They offer programs for both beginner and advanced skaters, so you can join in the fun too!

  1. Fashion Avenue

I was quite lucky. My vacation took place in mid-May and almost all brands were on sale. So it’s safe to say that I pretty much raided Bath and Body works, Payless, Monsoon, H&M, Vinci and Kate Spade.

Pakistan has recently witnessed an influx of foreign retail brands however we still have long way to go. So for all you shopaholics out there, Dubai Mall is your ticket to paradise.

The different categories of retail they have is enough to make your eyes pop. Everything whether it be books, stationary, chocolates, confectionary, cafes, fast-food, fine dining, electronics, cosmetics, accessories, sportswear, gifts, toys, furnishing or general fashion, all of it was present.

They have more than 1200 brands on board which cater to everyone’s needs. Even if you don’t feel like shopping, just roaming around and enjoying the sights is enough to lift your spirits.

  1. Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is not part of Dubai Mall but it is right next to it, so in my opinion a trip to the mall is not complete without visiting the world’s tallest building.

Now I was on a budget which meant I could only afford to go to level 124.It was surreal. Imagine being on ground zero and covering a distance of 452 meters in under a minute. The elevator obviously adjusted to air pressure and inertia so I had absolutely no clue as to how fast it was actually going.

Once I reached the observation deck, I knew the trip to Burj Khalifa was totally worth it. It was like a miniature city lay beneath us with ants as cars and Styrofoam, colored to match the concrete and plantation. People weren’t even visible!

To sweeten the deal there was even a photo booth with cheesy backgrounds for tourists. I pretended to fall off the edge of Burj Khalifa on a surf board. The photo turned out pretty good too.

I also visited the souvenir shop and got myself some key chains and a travel mug.

  1. Dubai Fountain

So I planned my itinerary in such a way that I could visit Burj Khalifa in the morning, which would give me enough time for Dubai Mall. It was night by the time I was finished.

So imagine my surprise when I’m leaning next to a railing outside the mall, massaging my tired shoulders when I’m blinded by a flash of colors and sweet soothing music enters my ears. The lake in front of me started to erupt as water sprinted towards the sky and began dancing to the music.

Just when I thought there was nothing else to impress me, this happened. Next to it, Burj Khalifa lit in several colors that beamed in tune with the music. I was awestruck. It was a breathtaking extravaganza of water, sound and light.

The perfect ending to my first day in Dubai.








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