Almost everything in Dubai is officially the biggest, the coolest, or the most expensive in the world. Dubai is the city of the world’s tallest building, the world’s biggest shopping mall and the largest indoor theme park.
The world’s tallest tower (or any man-made construction): 828 metres, or 163 storeys, or 2 Empire State Buildings tall. It took 6 years and 1.5 billion dollars to build it. The building was opened in 2010 as the centrepiece of Downtown Dubai.
The tower contains apartments, offices, restaurants, Armani Hotel, and observation decks. Tickets cost from 130 AED (for the observation deck at the 124-125th floor at off-peak hours) to 530 AED (for the observation deck at the 148th floor at peak hours). Tickets should be booked online in advance, otherwise it will be twice as expensive.
From the 148th floor the other skyscrapers look like a set of toys. It must have been a little bit scary even for Tom Cruise to climb the walls of Burj Khalifa (when he was performing his stunts for “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”).
The Dubai Fountain, set on the artificial Burj Khalifa Lake, is the world's largest choreographed fountain system. The design is inspired by Las Vegas’ Bellagio fountains, only much bigger. Dancing colorful streams reach the height of 150 metres. The overwhelmingly popular show takes place twice in the afternoon: 1pm and 1:30pm (or 1:30pm and 2pm on Friday), and every 30 minutes from sunset till 11pm.
If you want to have a better view and avoid crowds, you can buy a ticket (online or at the counter at the Waterfront Promenade) for 20 AED and watch the fountain’s dance from a special platform.
You can get a table at a restaurant with a view. At the Dubai Mall those are for example “TGI Friday’s” and “Wafi Gourmet”. At Souk Al Bahar there are also many restaurants with a good view over the dancing fountain (for example Karma Cafe or Abd El Wahab). One of the best views (and great Thai food) is at Thiptara.
At the feet of the world’s tallest tower is the world’s largest mall by total area. Not only does the Dubai Mall offer 1300+ shops, but it also includes an indoor theme park, a huge indoor waterfall, an ice rink, and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
The Dubai Mall houses popular stores like Topshop or Zara, department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Galeries Lafayette, and the Fashion Avenue, featuring high-end designers like Chanel or Elie Saab to name a few.
As a tax free area Dubai is a great place to shop for electronic goods. The Dubai Mall is a home to Huawei and Apple stores as well as for multi-brand stores Jacky’s Electronics and Jumbo Electronics.
One of the main attractions of the Dubai Mall is the giant Dubai Aquarium at the ground floor, home to more than 33,000 aquatic animals, including the world’s largest collection of sand tiger sharks. You can watch fish in the Aquarium from the mall for free, or buy a ticket to get inside the aquarium tunnels and to the zoo (from 105 AED). Meet the penguins, the King Croc (a 750 kg alligator), and other species, ride a glass-bottom boat or even dive with the sand tiger sharks if you dare.
One of the most expensive hotels in the world, especially popular among wealthy Russians and Chinese. A 321 meters tall building in the shape of a sail stands on its own artificial island on the Dubai coastline.
The hotel accommodates 202 suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 m2 (1,820 sq ft), the largest – 780 m2 (8,400 sq ft). Media sometimes call Burj Al Arab "the world's only 7-star hotel", but it is not an official status.
The fanciest suite costs more than 22,000 USD per night. If it is a little bit out of your budget, there are some tricks to see Burj al-Arab from the inside (golden pillars, dancing fountains and the enormous honeycomb-like structure of the world's tallest atrium). To enter you should have a reservation at the Skyview bar or at the Gold on 27 bar.