We only set one alarm for this morning, for 6am. Which I managed to turn off only to lay back down and go back to sleep. Luckily I managed to wake up again at 7am, which is when we had planned to meet up with the others for breakfast, so it was a mad dash to throw some clothes on quickly and get down to breakfast for 7.10am just as the others were about to call us to find out where we were. I do love the blackout curtains in hotels, but at the same time they do make it more difficult to wake up if you have to get up early because the room is so dark. At least we packed everything last night, so once we were finished eating breakfast we could just have a shower and get ready properly and then check out. I don’t understand why the tour guide had arranged a wake-up call yesterday when we had a meeting that didn’t start until about 10am, but when we’re being picked up at 8am there is no wake-up call?
The tour guide told us about United Arab Emirates on the drive from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, I thought it was quite interesting to learn more but I think some people wishes he had just been quiet. A couple of facts that stuck with me was;
– UAE is working on creating artificial clouds to lower the temperature in the summer months so that they still get tourism during those months
– UAE have created a village for some scientists to live in to find out if they can live off solar power, because due to the sandstorms that UAE get they have been worried about the solar panels getting covered and damaged, the scientists have to live in the village off solar power for a certain amount of years to prove it can be done.
When we arrived in Dubai the coach driver dropped off the people that had paid for a Dubai tour at Dubai Mall before taking the rest of us to the hotel. Because it was still quite early by the time we arrived we were not able to check in yet but the hotel let us use the facilities until we were able to check in. We got our swimwear out from our cases and headed up to the rooftop pool. All the sunbeds with parasols had already been taken so we had to lay out in the sunshine, so we all made sure we put on loads of sun cream! It was nice to just be able to relax for a couple of hours and go in the pool. Because it is so hot here the pool was more like a bath so I didn’t have to brace myself or get used to the temperature of the water.
Once we were able to check in at the hotel around 3.30pm we all got showered and ready and caught a taxi to Dubai Mall. The hotel is close to a monorail stop, but again we figured that because there are so many of us it would probably be cheaper to get a taxi, as long as we get a big taxi to share. I think the taxi was around 80AED as the hotel is at the outskirts of Dubai, near the airport.
As soon as we got to Dubai Mall we found the counter for tickets to Burj Khalifa and Phil Sr and Jackie treated us all to tickets up to the 124th floor at 9pm!
Dubai Mall is a lovely place to walk around. Just like the mall in Abu Dhabi it didn’t feel busy at all. Someone told me there is a ski slope in the mall, but I think it might have been a different mall, as I didn’t see any signs for it. But what we did see was a massive aquarium, a couple of waterfalls, an ice rink and a small football pitch. The food courts were sectioned off so that non-Muslims could still get a drink and bite to eat before fast ended. There are a lot of high-end shops in Dubai Mall, but also “normal” shops like Boots and H&M etc. It keeps surprising me how many shops from the UK and Europe is in the rest of the world.
We decided to head outside for something to eat, it is absolutely beautiful outside the Mall where you can see the fountains and Burj Khalifa, I had seen Burj Khalifa in the distance, but this time we got really close to it. It is a stunning building. We decided to eat at Carluccio’s, where we had a nice view and the food was lovely, I’ve never actually eaten at a Carluccio’s back home, might have to now. We ended up seeing the fountain show twice, the first one was at 7.30 pm and then it was on every half hour after this . I don’t know if it is normally on earlier outside of Ramadan or if it is just a night-time thing. I want to come back another night to watch the fountain show so that we can stand a bit closer and see it better.
The entrance for Burj Khalifa is inside the Mall where we got the tickets, normally I am quite good with directions and finding my way places but I think because we are a group and we are obviously talking to each other while we are walking around I had not paid attention to where we had been walking earlier and so we got a little bit lost… We followed the signs for “At the top Burj Khalifa”, but then suddenly the signs just seemed to stop. Turns out we should have taken a lift downstairs, but the lift was hidden behind a billboard type thing. We did make it to the entrance and only a couple of minutes late. Seems it is a day for being late today.
The lifts at the bottom of Burj Khalifa displays what floor the lift is on and how long the lift has been travelling for, from the ground floor to floor 124 it took 1 minute exactly! My ears popped when I was in the lift.
The view from 124th and 125th floor was amazing. The viewing area on the 124th floor is actually outside, I didn’t actually realise it at first but then I looked up and realised there was no ceiling, the heat should have tipped me off really. There is also a gap between the glass panes so you can put your hand outside if you wanted to, just make sure you’re not holding anything that could drop, as it’s a LONG way down! I would love to go back up in the daytime, maybe even to the 148th floor, but I think this might be best to do during the “winter” months, as the heat haze does obstruct the view a lot now in summer, and there’s no point paying all that money if you don’t even get a decent view. 125th floor was all inside, but still amazing view of course, and they also had a little gift shop. Phil, Paul, Ellie and I bought a frame for Jackie and Phil Sr to say thank you and we’ll put a picture of all of us in it before we give it to them.