Downtown Dubai


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Dubai is a city of superlatives—the biggest this, the tallest that—and of explosive growth. When James visited over a decade ago, new skyscrapers were springing up everywhere. And the same was true when we visited in late November as part of a trip to the United Arab Emirates to watch the final Formula 1 race of the season.

We spent our first day or so exploring Downtown Dubai, a 20 billion USD development completed in 2010. The complex covers an area of 0.77 square miles (2 km sq) and includes the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world by land area, the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building the world, and the Dubai Fountain, the largest choreographed fountain system in the world.

Below are trip highlights from November 15th through 17th, 2018 en route to and in Dubai, UAE. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

11/15/2018
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Halloween Room

Spitfire, just visible at the back, checking out the Halloween room at Kat & Ko boarding cattery. This will be his temporary home for a couple of weeks while we’re travelling.
11/16/2018
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Dubai

A first view of Dubai from our hotel room at 1:30am shortly after we arrived. We’ll be spending a few days in Dubai before attending the Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi next week.
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Breakfast

Breakfast on the patio of our room at the Damac Maison Dubai Mall Street looking northeast towards Dubai Creek.
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Construction

Dubai seems perpetually under construction in all directions, with cranes filling the skyline. The building partly showing on the left is being built, with another going up on the right.
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Dubai Mall

We started our tour of Dubai at the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world by land area when it in 2008 with 12,100,000 sq ft (1,124,000 m sq) of total floor space. (The New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China took that title in 2013 with 18,000,000 sq ft (1,700,000 m sq) total floor space.) Biggest or not, the mall still is vast and near-impossible to capture in a single picture. An estimated 80,000,000 people visit annually, making it the most popular retail destination in the country.
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Downtown Dubai

The Dubai Mall was built as part of the 20 billion USD Downtown Dubai complex that covers an area of 0.77 square miles (2 km sq). This photograph shows early construction in 2004.
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Burj Khalifa

The Downtown Dubai complex also includes the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, with a roof height of 2,717 ft (828 m) and a total height with antenna of 2,722 ft (829.8 m). Here we are at the topmost observation deck 1,821 ft (555 m) up on the 148th floor.
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At The Top

Looking down to Burj Khalifa Lake from the Burj Khalifa outdoor deck called At the Top at 1,821 ft (555 m). This was the highest outdoor observation deck in the world until the 2016 when the Shanghai Tower deck opened at 1,840ft (561 m). The circular structures in the lake near the bottom of the photo are the Dubai Fountain.
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Dubai Mall From Above

The vantage from the Burj Khalifa observation deck gives a better feel for the size of the 12,100,000 sq ft (1,124,000 m sq) Dubai Mall, taking up the bottom left quarter of the photo.
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Dusk

We’d booked a 4pm entry to the Burj Khalifa in order to be at the top when the sun set at 5:30. This is the view at dusk.
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Night

The views across Dubai from the Burj Khalifa is impressive during the day, but spectacular at night as the lights come up. This is looking north towards the financial district.
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Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain, designed by the same company that did the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, is the largest choreographed fountain system in the world. Every half-hour in the evening and a few times during the day, a display set to light and music is performed. We can’t hear the music from the Burj Khalifa deck, but have a great overhead view to the display.
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Queues

The Burj Khalifa is an extremely popular destination, with long queues to ride the elevators up and down. We’d purchased an upgraded ticket that allowed us to visit the topmost decks, and also gave us a fast-track through the queues, saving a lot of time.
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Fountain Show

After seeing the fountains from above, we got a ground-level view to the fountain show and could enjoy the accompanying music shortly after exiting the Burj Khalifa. The water jets make the fountain seem to dance like snakes being charmed to the accompanying Arabian music. The group of spectators on the right gives a feel for the size and scale of the fountains.
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Bice Mare

Dinner on the terrace at Bice Mare overlooking Burj Khalifa Lake. The blue lights in the background are a spectacular light show on the Burj Khalifa that played every half hour while we were there. This is the main reason we booked the table—to watch the light show and the Dubai Fountain show. The meal was excellent too.
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Fountains from Bice Mare

We loved the view to the Dubai Fountain from the Bice Mare terrace. The fountains throw an impressive amount of water and can shoot up to 500 ft (152.4 m) in the air.
11/17/2018
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Burj Khalifa

A view to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, as we head into the Dubai Mall. The roof height is 2,717 ft (828 m) and the total height with antenna is 2,722 ft (829.8 m).
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Dubai Aquarium

Looking into the 157ft (48m) tunnel through the 2.6M gallon (10M L) tank at the Dubai Aquarium. Located inside the Dubai Mall, the tank is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world and contains more than 140 different species, including 300 sharks and rays and the world’s largest collections of Sand Tiger Sharks.
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Croc

One of two very large crocodiles at the Dubai Underwater Zoo.
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Jellyfish

We love jellyfish and the Dubai Underwater Zoo had some impressive displays.
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Penguins

We also are quite partial to penguins, and enjoyed seeing these Humboldt Penguins at the Dubai Underwater Zoo.
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Fashion Avenue

Earlier this year, the Dubai Mall opened an extension called Fashion Avenue with 150 luxury brand stores. You can spend a lot of money here in a hurry. James picked up the pace and we escaped without mishap.
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Todd English Food Hall

Another Dubai Fountain view, this time in daylight, over a great lunch on the terrace at Todd English Food Hall.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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