Dubai is definitely the land of malls where you can’t drive for 10 minutes and not come across a mall. However malls here are not just for shopping, but they are more like an experience (including a cultural one). For some reason it seems like malls here intend to be a means of shopping cum entertainment cum sightseeing. Like the city, nearly every mall in Dubai has something unique to offer from ice rinks to skiing to themes to souks. And each one of them has its own unique charm and attraction.
As far as the actual shopping is concerned, while you find pretty much all the brands here (including the high-end ones) – nothing is cheaper. The only thing we found cheaper were TVs (as compared to India), rest everything was pretty much as it is in India.
So based on my experiences (including shopping and everything), please find below my top 5 recommendations of malls that one should definitely visit in Dubai –
1. The Dubai Mall – The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest mall based on its total area and my feet can vouch for it :). For shopping this mall has the latest designs for every brand possible under the sun and a full section of the high-end brands (including an Armani Café). We walked in this mall for nearly 3 full days, but I am sure that we still haven’t seen it completely. And apart from all the shopping this mall also has the following attractions – numerous restaurants and cafes, Dubai Aquarium and the Underwater Zoo, an Ice Rink, an indoor theme park, Dubai Fountains, Reel Cinemas, Kidzania and a small souk. I also loved 2 of their exhibits – one a fountain with people jumping in it and another of the numerous paper butterflies over the Armani café. For the chocolate and candy lovers, there is a huge Hersheys Chocolate World that has every Hersheys product (including memorabilia possible) and a Candylicious that sold every kind of candy possible (I am sure they had every flavor possible).
The opulence of this mall gets everyone to believe that even they are seriously rich :). We simply loved this mall (could have lived here forever) and spent many hours shopping (in the affordable sections) or generally walking around it. At the end of each day that we have spent here, we had aching feet and felt that someone should just airlift and drop us home 🙂 On one of the days we exited from the Armani Cafe exit and sat at the sidewalks to just observe all the high end cars that came here at the end of the day, and we were not dissapointed. We practically saw every expensive car there is to see here.
How to reach – You can take a direct cab to the mall or take a metro to the Burj Khalifa Metro Station and then take a shuttle bus or cab to the Mall.
2. Ibn Battuta Mall – This is the largest themed mall in the world. It has been designed to celebrate the travels of the Arabic explorer – Ibn Battuta who over a period of thirty years visited many parts of Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China. He is also considered to be one of the greatest travellers of all times. In this mall there is one court for each region that Ibn Battua visited and it has in all 6 courts – India, China, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia and Andalusia. They have recreated shops within the architecture of these countries and also included numerous exhibits from these countries. There is a large elephant from India here too :).
Though shopping here is much cheaper (as it has numerous cheaper brands and some ongoing sales in the others) we didn’t shop here much. We just walked around and saw the whole mall and clicked numerous pictures that we just kept on uploading on FB along with the country names :). It was like being in 7 countries at the same time. There is also an option of taking a buggy around but we loved our walk.
How to reach: This mall is nearly at the end of the city, hence it is preferable to take a metro to the Ibn Battuta station. The mall is just opposite to the station and all you need is to cross the roads.
3. Mall of Emirates – Before the Dubai Mall was built, the Mall of Emirates was the second largest mall in Dubai. In terms of shopping it has all the brands, but I somehow didn’t understand the layout till the end. Anyways, more than the actual shopping, the thing to see here is – Ski Dubai. Yes that’s correct, there is an indoor ski resort (in a desert) inside a mall here where you can actually ski, snowboard, toboggan, play with the penguins or just play in the snow. All you need to do is buy a pass according to what you want to do (there are numerous options available), collect the gear and clothes (its included in the ticket) and enjoy. After skiing (and they provide lessons too) along the various runs available you can actually laze at the St. Moritz Cafe or the Avalanche Cafe.
How to reach : You can take a metro to the Mall of Emirates station and then walk in the skywalk to directly reach the mall.
4. Diera City Centre – Diera City Centre is one of the oldest malls here and used to be the largest mall in Dubai before the other newer malls were built. It is still a mall that you see a lot of locals shop in (we hardly saw any tourists here). We found all the big brands here and also some good deals in many of them. There are also numerous electronic stores here and there were some fabulous deals on them.
This mall is huge but gives you a sense of being practical and no-nonsense. You can find everything you want and its very easy to find your way in too.
How to reach : You can reach here by taking a metro to the Diera City Centre station or by taking a cab.
5. Dubai Festival City Mall – I know by now you must had had enough of malls but this is one last mall that I feel you should visit. This is a much smaller mall than the other malls but it is the only mall which has a huge IKEA store and some other smaller stores which are not present in the bigger malls.
How to reach : Is best to take a direct taxi to reach this mall.
So whenever you are in Dubai next, do include these malls in your sightseeing itinerary 🙂