Ibn Battuta mall China court panorama

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

Date: 10th April 2010

After a tiring previous day (and only hitting the bed at 4am), I got up early to receive my parents from Bur Dubai bus stand as they were visiting from Abu Dhabi. Since today and tomorrow were all going to be ‘family time,’ we were going to be staying with my father’s friend, in his nice, posh little flat in Karama.

Once we all landed at my father’s friend’s place post-lunch, we rested for some time before heading out.

It was back to Dubai Mall for me — but for my parents, despite having lived in Abu Dhabi for nearly an year, it was going to be their first time experiencing Dubai Aquarium and At The Top of Burj Khalifa.

First up, the aquarium: Dubai Aquarium from entrance outside glassDubai Aquarium little girl baby shark

Dubai Aquarium little sting ray Acha touch
My father really enjoyed being this close to sea creatures

Dubai Aquarium narrow sting ray tube

Dubai Aquarium under sting ray face
That’s what a stingray’s face looks like

Dubai Aquarium dome lots of fish

Dubai Aquarium divers working
Well, hello there!

Dubai Aquarium darkness Dubai Aquarium from outside Dubai mall crowdsFor more photos and videos from inside Dubai Aquarium, check out my first post. Next up, we waited for our turn to go up the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai Mall At The Top gift shop parents
My parents at the At The Top gift shop

Burj Khalifa statistics At The Top entrance

Burj Khalifa statistics Story in numbers facts figures
200+ storeys; 95kms – from where one can see the top of the spire; 12,000 slaves… sorry, labourers; 57 elevators; 500,000 tonnes – weight of the empty building

I had booked for an evening slot for the At The Top visit, hoping I could see Dubai all lit up. But as we got up, the sun was still very much above the horizon.

Burj Khalifa parents At the Top view
Regardless, my parents loved the view
Dubai Financial Center from Burj Khalifa evening
Dubai financial center
Burj Khalifa floors above At The Top
That’s how many floors there still are above the observation deck
Burj Khalifa sunset over The World islands
The sun setting over the yet to be completed The World islands
Burj Khalifa tourists watching sunset
Watching the sun set from atop the world’s tallest building is a great idea

At The Top Burj Khalifa tourists watching sunsetDowntown Dubai construction site from Burj Khalifa For more photos and videos from At The Top, check out my first post.

We finished our tour of Burj Khalifa, made our way out and to the Dubai Fountain site. The $200 million-plus Dubai Fountain is an attraction built on the artificial (duh) lake just outside Dubai Mall.

Dubai Mall The Address hotel at night
The Address hotel in the back
Dubai mall Dubai fountain site at night
The crowds wait for the show to start

Built by the same people behind the famous Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas, Dubai obviously had to up the ante. So these fountains shoot water up higher, 500 feet high (150 metres)!

Shows are every half an hour between 6pm to 10pm. Here’s the show I saw: Since it’s free, and since I can’t afford to go to Las Vegas just yet, this was great!

Burj Khalifa Mithun parents portrait
Me and my folks in front of a massive concrete & steel Christmas tree

Burj Khalifa glowing dubaiAfter the show, we made our way to the buses that drop visitors to the metro station.

Pink Porsche Dubai mall parking
Why, why would someone do that to a Porsche?
Burj Khalifa glowing at night dubai
Architectural beauty

The next day with my parents…

The next morning, I took my parents to Bur Dubai for some shopping and to show them around. Bur Dubai souk morning

Bur Dubai souk father pushing cart
My father considering ‘post-retirement’ work

Bur Dubai souk morning wide angleBur Dubai souk morning shopsBur Dubai souk station morning Bur Dubai souk Indonesian shop

Bur Dubai souk Chinese man with father
My father bothering some random Chinese dude for a photo

After showing them the souk station, I took them to the Hindu temple (photos of both can be seen in my first post). Bur Dubai Hindu temple tourists Bur Dubai souk Hindu temple entry exitBur Dubai Hindu temple entry exit Poojasri fashions

Bur Dubai souk park parents sitting
Taking a break from all the walking

Bur Dubai morning old buildingBur Dubai mosque roadBur Dubai mosque blue sky

Bur Dubai creek morning pigeons
Pigeons by the creek

Bur Dubai creek pigeons bouysAnd with that, we were done. Took a taxi and headed back to my father’s colleague’s place. He offered to drop us off near Jebel Ali power station, where we had been invited for lunch by our relatives.

Inside Mr. Nandakumar's Peugot car with sunroof
Inside Mr. Nandakumar’s Peugot

Once again, it was a drive on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Emirates Towers Dubai from car
Emirates Towers

Glass building Sheikh Zayed roadGlass building construction Sheikh Zayed roadSheikh Zayed road tall buildingSheikh Zayed road row of buildingsSheikh Zayed road Dubai Marina construction

Dubai Hard Rock cafe Sheikh Zayed road
Those guitars used to be where Dubai’s Hard Rock Cafe was

Sheikh Zayed road office towersMetro line train Sheikh Zayed roadDnata travel center Dubai office twin towers

Jebel Ali station flat view
The view from my uncle’s flat near Jebel Ali power station, where he works

After lunch, we decided to check out Ibn Battuta Mall, which was nearby. This was the last major mall I had yet to see and the one my friends highly recommended, just because it was different.

The mall business in Dubai is, let’s just say, quite cut throat. For such a small state, Dubai has some of the largest malls in the world. And since just about every mall offers the same set of stores, mall operators come up with differentiators to draw the crowds in.

What’s the differentiator for Ibn Battuta Mall? For one (if you haven’t figured out already), it’s named after the great Muslim explorer Ibn Battuta. The entire mall is themed after his travels across China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Andalusia with a section dedicated to each zone.

We parked near the China entrance. Ibn Battuta mall parking lot DubaiIbn Battuta mall Chinese entranceIbn Battuta mall Chinese corridor China courtEach of the sections have a lobby with a major attraction specific to that zone. This is what the China court looks like.

Ibn Battuta mall China court panorama
Panorama comprised of 6 shots

The main attraction here being a replica of a Chinese sailing ship supposedly used by Ibn Battuta in his travels. Ibn Battuta mall Chinese ship modelIbn Battuta mall Chinese boat fountainIbn Battuta mall China court ship

Ibn Battuta mall Grand cinemas IMAX
Ibn Battuta Mall houses the only IMAX screen in Dubai

From China, we then moved on to India. Ibn Battuta mall India court from ChinaIbn Battuta India court shopsIbn Battuta India court lobbyIbn Battuta India court dome chandlier

Ibn Battuta India court elephant rider
India Court’s big attraction

From India into Persia. Ibn Battuta mall Persia court from IndiaIbn Battuta mall Persia court kids roomsIbn Battuta mall Persia court main dome Ibn Battuta Mall Persia court armillary spherePersia Court’s big attraction is a replica of a Starbucks Coffee outlet*.

Ibn Battuta Mall Persia court dome Starbucks
*just kidding

From Persia, you have two paths to Egypt. Ibn Battuta Mall entry Egypt court

Ibn Battuta Mall Egypt court street lamps
Both paths eventually meet
Ibn Battuta mall Egypt court corridor
The Egypt Court houses a lot of history, facts and trivia about Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta mall Egypt court trade middle agesIbn Battuta mall Egypt court across North AfricaIbn Battuta mall Egypt court life of traveller

Ibn Battuta Mall Egypt court travel mapIbn Battuta mall Egypt court pyramid

Ibn Battuta Mall Eqypt court lampsAnd finally Andalusia.

Ibn Battuta mall Andalusia court entryIbn Battuta mall Andalusia court corridorIbn Battuta Mall Andalusia court ceilingIbn Battuta Mall Andalusia court center statue

Ibn Battuta Mall Andalusia court fountains
Andalusia Court’s main attraction

Ibn Battuta mall Andalusia court flight ceilingWith that, we had conquered all five regions of Ibn Battuta’s mall. So we made our journey back, passing by more displays.

Ibn Battuta mall Andalusia court India displayIbn Battuta mall Eqypt court display

Ibn Battuta mall China hall pillars ceiling
Back in China Court

Ibn Battuta China hall ceiling

Ibn Battuta Mall truly is a must-see in my opinion. It was a good move on Nakheel Properties‘ part to use a theme like this to set the mall apart from Dubai’s other shopping centers.

Once out of Ibn Battuta Mall, we wished our relatives goodbye and took the metro to Bur Dubai bus stand. I was heading back to Abu Dhabi.

Dubai bus to Abu Dhabi at nightAnd with this, ends my Dubai sojourn — for now.


Next posts in this series:

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

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

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

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

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