Dubai Mall Aquarium glass

UAE 2010: Dubai Mall (Aquarium, Underwater Zoo & Gold Souk) – Part 1

Date: 7th April, 2010

After a tiring walk around Bur Dubai the previous day, I had to give my feet some rest.

But I was just too damn excited about today. And so, as Azhad headed off to work early in the morning, I too got ready to set out early for the Downtown Dubai site.

I took the metro (from Union Station) to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall (of course they were going to get their own stop). As soon as I stepped out…

Burj Khalifa from Metro Station
… there it was!

It really is a beauty, unlike the last building that earned the title “tallest building in the world”.

There’s a bit of a walk to be had to get to Dubai Mall (there’s a bus service too but I chose to walk just to see the surroundings)

Burj Khalifa Emaar site offices Downtown Dubai
EMAAR is the company behind the Downtown Dubai
Burj Khalifa surrounding office buildings
Offices, (empty) offices, and more (empty) offices everywhere…
Burj Khalifa construction worker Dubai
Thousands of people like him build that

Dubai Mall man suit palm treesSignal outside Dubai Mall workersI got into Dubai Mall through the parking lot — because I couldn’t find any other entrance that side.

Dubai Mall architecture

Dubai Mall parking space lot
Parking capacity: 14,000 cars

I had gotten to Dubai Mall quite early. Most stores hadn’t opened or were just waiting for the first customer to walk in. I was going to check out the mall of course, but first things first. I wanted to buy tickets for the observation deck on Burj Khalifa. The observation deck was closed just a few weeks after it had opened due to some technical snags. It had re-opened only a week before, so I knew there was going to be a mad rush for the tickets.

But finding the ticket counter for At The Top proved a bit difficult (at first). Since there wasn’t anyone at the information desks, I simply followed the signs out to the Burj Khalifa thinking, well, that the counter would be at the ground floor of the Burj Khalifa itself.

Burj Khalifa Dubai steel morning
What US$1.5 billion gets you
Downtown Dubai The Address old town
The Address hotel on the left
Dubai Mall The Address panorama
A panorama comprised of 5 photos

Problem is, when I tried to get to the entrance of the Burj Khalifa, that didn’t seem possible either. Everything was cordoned off due to construction work still going on or was restricted access. I asked around but ended up back inside Dubai Mall.

Once inside, I finally found a security guard and asked him how I could get to the At the Top counter.

Dubai Mall Ermenegildo Zegna
I followed his directions and took the lift near the Ermenegildo Zegna store

I was instructed to go to the food court at the ground floor.

Dubai Mall Caribou Coffee At the Top ticket counter

The ticket counter only opens at 10am but at 9:45am, a few had already started a queue. I asked if tickets were available for the morning but they said only ‘Immediate Entry’ tickets were available.

You see, they have two types of tickets. The regular admission ticket costs Dhs 100 (Rs. 1200/US$27/€21) but needs to be booked a few hours/days in advance. But if you need to see it “immediately” or (truth be told) just show up at the ticket counter, you have to pay Dhs 400 (Rs. 5,100/US$108/€86) if you wish to go in then itself.

I ended up buying tickets for the 4:00pm slot (they let people in every 30 minutes) and also three tickets for a later date.

And now that I had plenty of time to kill until then, I began checking out the empty mall.

Dubai Mall basement storesBut as I got up to the first floor, I got distracted by the Dubai Aquarium. So I bought the Dhs 50 (Rs. 630/US$13/€10) ticket to see the largest (& probably the only) indoor aquarium in the Middle East. (The Dhs 50 ticket is the aquarium plus the Underwater Zoo. The standalone ticket for the Aquarium is Dhs 25)

Dubai Mall Aquarium glass
This holds the Guinness Record for the ‘World’s Largest Acrylic Panel’
Dubai Mall Aquarium glass reflection
There’s over 30,000 species of fish in this tank (or so they claim)

And then you enter the tunnel.

Dubai Mall Aquarium insideDubai Mall Aquarium dome sharks

Dubai Mall Aquarium baby sharks
They have a lot of sharks…

Dubai Mall Aquarium Sting rays

Dubai Mall Aquarium Stingray
… and a few stingrays

Dubai Mall Aquarium glass domeYou can check out the HD video I took here:

Once you step out the tunnel, the path takes you past souvenirs and a themed restaurant.

Dubai Mall jungle theme restaurant… before leading out to the escalator that takes you up to the first floor.

There, you find the entrance to the Underwater Zoo.

Dubai Mall Aquarium Underwater zoo

Dubai Aquarium underwater zoo otter
Dubai Mall Aquarium underwater zoo water rat
Water rats

Dubai Mall Aquarium Underwater zoo water rats

Dubai Mall Aquarium Lionfish raysDubai Mall Aquarium goldfish

Dubai Mall aquarium Dory Marlin
Dory and Marlin are still friends^, awwwww…

Dubai Mall Aquarium clown fish volcanoDubai Mall Aquarium fish eye

Dubai Mall Aquarium rainforest facts

Dubai Mall Aquarium school tour
The operations at the back

The aquarium was obviously very popular for school kids.

Dubai Mall Aquarium underwater penguins workerDubai Mall Aquarium underwater penguins swimmingDubai Mall Aquarium underwater penguin staring

Dubai Mall Aquarium underwater zoo jellyfish
Dubai Mall Aquarium eels

Dubai Mall Aquarium underwater zoo garden eels

Dubai Mall underwater zoo coming attractions
There’s more coming

Here’s a video I took:

Dubai Mall Aquarium from top
From outside the Underwater Zoo

Dubai Mall Aquarium touristsAfter that, I checked out the rest of the mall.

Dubai Mall floors Versace storeDubai Mall Joseph Joes cafeDubai Mall interiors ceilingDubai Mall Bloomingdales store

Dubai Mall Pucci store
Pucci: Poor man’s Gucci*

*not really

Dubai Mall Harman House showroomDubai Mall Sony showroomDubai Mall ceiling sunlightDubai Mall waterfallDubai Mall souk Harley DavidsonDubai Mall KidzaniaDubai Mall Exoto Tifosi Circle8 shopDubai Mall Sega RepublicDubai Mall Crocs Asics

Dubai Mall Wooden floor lobby
If there ever was a material used in construction, you’ll find it used for Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall chandelier domeDubai Mall Sephora JumboDubai Mall botique runway digital screenDubai Mall ground floor ceilingDubai Mall UAE flag lobby entrance

Dubai Mall sofa rest stops
It took advantage of these everywhere around the mall

After nearly an hour of window shopping, I decided to have lunch at the food court at the basement, near the At The Top counter.

Dubai Mall Fatburger beef
Lunch was at Fatburger, which I never tried before

The burger was okay, nothing exceptional. Of course, I only had the regular beef burger. (Not really ‘Fat’, just regular)

After lunch, it was back to roaming around a bit more. This time I explored the Gold Souk.

Dubai Mall Gold SoukAs the name suggests, this is the section of the mall dedicated to just gold stores and other pricey items.

Dubai Mall Gold souk ceiling chandlier

Dubai Mall Gold souk tree open spaceDubai Mall gold souk treeIt was also the quietest part of the mall.

Dubai Mall gold souk shopsGiven the high price of gold now and the fact that there wasn’t a whole lot of folks shopping anyway, it wasn’t surprising to see very few customers walk through these corridors.

Dubai Mall Gold souk chandelierDubai Mall Gold souk lit up domeDubai Mall gold souk shoppers

And with that, I was out.

Dubai Mall chairs fountain waterfallDubai Mall Element Roadster DinerI also walked past the only Olympic-sized Ice Rink in the Middle East.

Dubai Mall ice skating rink OlympicDubai Mall ice skating rink Olympic Reel CinemasIt was 3:30pm by this time, so I decided to make my way back to the lower basement.

Dubai Mall lower basement escalatorsI waited near the At The Top counter for my turn to get in

Dubai Mall At The Top gift store
The At The Top gift shop

(This is just part 1 of what I saw today, part 2 is when I went up to the Burj Khalifa observation desk)

[^ ‘Finding Nemo‘ reference]

Next posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Burj Khalifa, At the Top (and Wafi Mall) – Part 2

UAE 2010: Mall of Emirates and Times Square Center

UAE 2010: Driving around Dubai (Souk Madinat Jumeirah, The Atlantis & The Palm Islands) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Dubai Marina, Jumeirah, The Walk and David Guetta concert – Part 2

UAE 2010: Showing my parents the sights of Dubai; inside Ibn Battuta Mall

UAE 2010: From the desert sands of Abu Dhabi to the corniche

UAE 2010: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – Ferrari World and Yas Marina Circuit

Previous posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Heading back to the Gulf after 7 years

UAE 2010: Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (& back)

UAE 2010: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

UAE 2010: Heading to Dubai by bus; checking out Bur Dubai

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  • Loiyumba


    So they got lots of Nemo there. Nice.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Yeah, quite a few 🙂

  • M.P.Sreedharan


    Dear Mithun,

    On my first attempt I saw your sojourn at Dubai and I got impressed.I am yet to see the whole lot. I am informed by Divakaran that there are a lot more to see. I am seeing them in instalment, and might take some more time.
    The photographs are excellant. The tone and the grit is that of a pfofessional photographer. As there are some photographs of “Geographical ” I could make some comparison. and I find that they are compatrable. IYour travelouge is also good needs some styling. I find that you have a flare for writing and your language is also far superior. Congratulations. Keep it up. Wish you all the very best.
    Thanks and with Love

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank you uncle for your kind words.

  • Sheeba Retheesh


    Photographs are excellant ,keep it up.
    Good bless you.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank you Retheeshetta

  • Jasen


    Nice work on your blog! Great pictures and comments

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank Jasen.

    By the way, you don’t need to paste your comment multiple times. The first time you comment on my blog, you need me to approve it — only then will it show up.

  • Hamid Reza


    Again great photos gathered together. And yeah I all forgot to mention your great ability of writing. It’s nice, cool, kind and appetizing.
    Congratulations on you and yours.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks Hamid

  • nidhan


    idh kalakki

  • Abel woldeyohannes


    eeee….. indeed it was stunning the way u express urself events,curcumstances,everything… it sounds great.. Godspeed….

  • Harshad


    Hi Friend,
    Gr8 writing and photo shooting.
    Keep it up,

    Can you advise how much time you taken for this tour in Dubai mall completely.


    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Pretty much from morning until 4pm Harshad. If you wish to see the Dubai Fountains, you’ll need to wait until 6pm.

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