You hate it or you love it. That’s what we always heard, but just as with Las Vegas we wanted to go and check it out for ourselves. Our conclusion is that we love it. We don’t think you need more than 3 to 5 days but during that period there is plenty to see, explore and experience. We skipped a few things in favour of lying a couple of hours at the pool from our hotel and get some sun before flying back to the wet and cold Belgium in winter time.
Impressive! Currently (2023) still the highest building in the world with it’s 828 meters. When you stand at the bottom of the building and watch up, you really need to put your head in your neck to be able to see its top. I advise to check the tower out during daytime and nighttime, as the experience is completely different. An option would be to go in the afternoon, go up to visit, wait till sun goes down and it gets dark and then get back down.
There are 2 options to visit Burj Khalifa. Either you take the regular ticket which brings you to level 124 and 125 or you take the vip ticket which brings you to level 148 and then still you visit level 124 and 125. We were not convinced that those few levels higher justify the price or would change the view drastically. We took the regular tickets. Even that we bought tickets within a certain timeslot, we had to queue for over 1 hour 30. Which means that we entered the queue at 15:00 and reached the top only just before 17:00. The vip tickets were able to skip the line, and get priority at the elevator, so you that is a choice you’ll have to make if that justifies the extra price. A week earlier we were in the Ozone bar in Hong Kong which was on level 118 and hence the feeling or views did not blow us away.
Towards the evening there is a fountain show which starts at 6pm and then every 30 minutes. The show is nice and certainly with the projections on the Burj Khalifa a nice experience. Every time there is a new show with a new song, so not a regular repetition. Dubai is known to have mostly the best, biggest, most expensive, … however, to my opinion the fountain show was not that extraordinary. I remember that the fountain show behind the Petrona Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur was better, as there the fountain used multiple colours whereas in Dubai it was always plain yellow light. Obviously that is very subjective and don’t get me wrong, it stays a beautiful show.
Dubai Marina is stated to be man-made built. There are plenty of skyscrapers hosting thousands of people. The Cayan Tower is a twisted tower and a main visual point in the area. This area can get quite crowded in the weekend, when people go for a walk around the marina which is a 7 km loop. In the evening plenty of restaurant boats sail off to watch the skyline and have dinner. When the lights go on, it’s quite a magical place, so take enough time to enjoy it. One thing that caught my attention was a mobile airco on the terrace of a restaurant. While we are used to heaters in Europe, I never saw a mobile airco outside before.
A great example of good marketing in my opinion. This is the biggest frame in the world and is 150 meter tall and 95 meters wide. You can go up with an elevator and then cross to the other side to go down again with the elevator. While crossing to the other side, there are blurred tiles and when you walk over them they become transparent so you can look down. Price is affordable, but we had to queue for half an hour. On top there was again a queue for the elevators. Luckily we spotted that you can also go down with the elevator which take people up. Most people just join the queue on the other side, but know that you can skip it. From outside the Frame is really impressive and deserves your time, but I’m less convinced a visit is a must do.
It is the largest mall in the world hosting over 1200 shops and is one of the most visited buildings in the world. It is so big that you can easy get lost and I can recommend the app with a handy route planner to get around. It is really insane how big this is and how crowded it is. Here you can really shop till you drop and it has probably all fancy fashion brands in the world. Certainly in the evenings and in the weekend it can get extremely busy where you have to queue to get on a moving staircaise.
When you are done shopping, you an still do plenty of other things, like go ice skating, visit the skeleton of a dinosaurus, check out a huge fountain or visit an incredible big aquarium. The latter has sharks and stingrays in it. You can see a lot of fishes from the outside of the aquarium but you can also visit it. People can also snorkle or dive in the aquarium.
Bur Dubai offers a chance to discover a different side of Dubai which still retains the charms of a past era. In the historic zone of Bur Dubai, you can still see traditional houses, historic windcatcher towers and even parts of the ancient city walls. It is also the place where you find several souqs whereof the most famous one is the Gold Souq. It’s an area that got extended in the past year and find really dozens, maybe over hundred juwlery stores. It’s very crowded and worth seeing, but after a couple of minutes you have seen it. Unless you are really looking to buy something.
Where to stay?
The Radisson Blue Media City hotel is a 4 star hotel which exists out of 2 buildings which are connected via a skybridge. An impressive intercontinental breakfast is served where a chef is present to make you a fresh omelette. It offers 2 swimming pools, one on the second floor and 1 on the rooftop floor. The hotel is onveniently located within walking distance to the metro (650 meter). The sports bar serves alcohol and food. We visited the bar twice and we can recommend the food as it was both tasteful and affordable.
Before our first visit we doubted where we would want to stay. Should we pick something close with Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, in Dubai Harbour or at the sea side. In the end we picked this Radisson Blue and we were happy with our choice.