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…
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)
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.
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.
I was instructed to go to the food court at the ground floor.
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.
But 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)
And then you enter the tunnel.
Once you step out the tunnel, the path takes you past souvenirs and a themed restaurant.
There, you find the entrance to the Underwater Zoo.
The aquarium was obviously very popular for school kids.
Here’s a video I took:
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.
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.
And with that, I was out.
(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]
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