Country #48 - United Arab Emirates Day 1

The Mall and Fountain

After a long few days of travel, I’m so excited to be heading to Dubai, United Arab Emirates today! Dubai has been near the top of my travel bucket list for a long time and I’m so excited to have two whole days to explore it. I had a pretty early flight out of Almaty, Kazakhstan and luckily the immigration line took a lot less time this time through. I arrived around 10:00am and immigration and customs in Dubai (DXB) were a breeze. I found the metro easily in my terminal and took it to my hotel, Rove Hotel Trade Centre.

The metro was a very interesting experience because the front two cars are reserved specifically for women and children. I’d never seen this before but it was honestly really nice mainly because we usually had much more space than the guys did! The metro was also really cool in that it runs without a person driving it. I arrived at my metro stop in no time and had a ten-minute walk to my hotel - no big deal, right? Nope. It was so hot. Like, we’re talking 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit. With my luggage and still in warm clothes - it was killer.

I arrived way too out of breath where I was greeted by Maria, Yolisa, and Bohdan. They were all so cool, about my age, and from all over the world! It was great talking to them about my trip for a while when I arrived and then Bohdan helped me with my bags. I cannot thank Rove Hotel Trade Centre enough for an incredible stay - it was absolutely perfect from start to finish in every way! My room was so nice and I loved the aesthetic of the entire hotel. I especially loved the room decor and the floor to ceiling window that looked out over the city! Once in my room, I fell asleep for about an hour and it was much needed to help me get through the day.

After my quick nap, I set out to explore Dubai! Today my goal was to visit Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and Burj Khalifa. I started by taking the metro (in now cooler clothes) to Dubai Mall. The walkway from the metro to the mall itself was over fifteen minutes of an elevated air-conditioned walkway. It seemed like it was never going to end but I wasn’t going to complain thanks to the air conditioning. When I arrived at the mall I found a map and planned out my visit.

I wanted to see all of the main points in the mall (the atriums, waterfall, designer section, the aquarium, etc.) and it would be no easy feat. The walk throughout the whole mall took about two hours and was exhausting. One of the coolest spots was the Apple store (of course) which was the only shop with a huge terrace overlooking the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa. It took me forever to find a place to eat (which seems ironic but it was just because I was tired and therefore unnecessarily picky) but I eventually found an Italian spot with a view of the indoor waterfall.

After eating a much needed full meal I found a really cool spot for dessert - Syrian ice cream! It was so uniquely made (basically it was rolled up and then they put the roll in a cone) and it was so tasty. Who knew! Afterwards, I walked along the designer row which was pretty empty compared to the rest of the mall but really beautiful (in terms of malls). I then made my way outside to see Dubai Fountain! The fountain was designed by the same guy who designed the one at the Bellagio in Vegas and supposedly the fountain is visible from space.

I was absolutely blown away by the first show! It was just so cool - I’ll add a video below to help show just how amazing it was. I loved it and watched multiple times over the next few hours - it got even better once it gets dark outside and the lighting started! It happened every fifteen to thirty minutes and each time it was synched to a different song. It was so cool to see and if you ever visit Dubai it should be at the top of your list!

After watching multiple times I headed back into the mall to make my way up Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world! I had already seen the building tons today as it is situated right outside of Dubai Mall and is a backdrop for Dubai Fountain (and it’s obviously hard to miss) but it was really cool to visit the inside. What amazed me most was probably how fast the elevator was (it took under a minute to get to the top) and how much you can see that Dubai really is in the middle of nowhere (surrounded by water and desert). I also enjoyed learning about how Burj Khalifa was built and how many countries (including many U.S. companies) worked together to make it possible. My absolute favorite part, though, was seeing the fountain show from above! It was so cool to see it from such a unique perspective, especially after having seen it on the ground first.

After visiting Burj Khalifa I was entirely exhausted. I made my way back to the metro and back to the hotel where I promptly crashed. I now know that it is entirely possible to walk over ten miles visiting a mall because that’s what I did today. Totally worth it, though - the mall was nice to see but Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa alone have already made my time in Dubai amazing!

48 countries down, 149 to go.

Read about my second day in the United Arab Emirates here.

To learn more about Rove Hotel Trade Centre click here.