How to Spend a Six Hour Night in Dubai

After several accidental naps due to sudden bouts of jet lag, working on our final presentation that was to be presented in two days, and the worst traffic jam either one of us had ever experienced, we had finally made it to Dubai from Ras al Khaimah. Well, we had at least made it to the outskirts of Dubai.

We had been warned by one of our hotel’s front desk attendants that traveling by car to Dubai was a hassle-and-a-half, but nothing prepared us for the standstill traffic we were now caught in. Having only moved maybe a foot in a half an hour, I was extremely grateful that our driver had the AC on full-blast. It was almost 6pm and the temperature was still a sweltering 104 degrees, not uncommon for late September.

“Should we just walk?” my classmate asked breaking me out of my impatient gaze, the type only perfected by a New Yorker.

I pulled out my phone and opened up my Maps app, knowing good and well that I was probably ringing up an unnecessarily hefty international phone bill from just a minute’s use. 10.6 kilometers. That was the distance between us and the Burj Khalifa.

“Yeah, definitely not”.

“The train isn’t too far” our driver suggested, despite the fact that this would leave him stuck mid-traffic jam with no opportunity to pick-up other passengers. I felt a brief pang of guilt that we had ruined a night of work for this man but decided to take his suggestion. But not without leaving a very well deserved tip and the original cost of our ride.

We hopped out of the taxi, taking one last Apple Maps glance, hoping that we’d be able to remember the 20-minute route to the metro station.

It’s funny, walking through an urban area almost 7,000 miles from home, and you still find familiar sights that remind you of your own city. Finally, we made it to the metro station – my being from New York and my classmate from Philadelphia, we felt right in our element.

1. Check out the Dubai Subway system

Dubai is notoriously clean and their subway system is no different, which was a huge surprise to us coming from less-than-pristine cities ourselves. Some later research would inform us that Dubai actually employs approximately 3,000 workers who clean the city around the clock.

How to Spend a Six Hour Night in Dubai | United Arab Emirates | #AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbiughunkofworld.com | Dubai Subway

If you’ve ever taken a ride through the subway systems of places like New York, London, or Paris then the Dubai metro system won’t be too unfamiliar to you – in fact, the ticketing system is almost identical to that of Paris where traveling through different zones require pricier tickets. But all-in-all, the metro is worth checking out, super easy to navigate, and will save you the time wasted sitting in backed up traffic on your way to see the Burj.

2. The Dubai Mall

How to Spend a Six Hour Night in Dubai | United Arab Emirates | #AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbiughunkofworld.com | Dubai Mall

Once you exit the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station give yourself some time to walk around and appreciate the area. Dubai is such a thriving but still evolving city and while it may feel small at first, one glance up towards the towering buildings will show you how much innovation and thought goes into designing the city. We had initially headed to this part of the city to visit the Burj Khalifa which, if you plan on making the excursion to the top, you can only do by entering through the Dubai Mall.

The Dubai Mall doesn’t provide many shopping outlets for those who’s minimum budget isn’t Dior, but its worth a stroll. Dining options include everything from Eataly to Angelina and experiences include an Aquarium, a haunted house, and even more.

I definitely wasn’t doing much shopping at the Dubai Mall, which I should’ve assumed when I was offered tea and a truffle upon entering, but it’s still not to be missed.

How to Spend a Six Hour Night in Dubai | United Arab Emirates | #AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbiughunkofworld.com | Dubai Mall

3. Head to the Top of the Burj Khalifa

How to Spend a Six Hour Night in Dubai | United Arab Emirates | #AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbiughunkofworld.com | Burj Khalifa

There are two main ticket types that can be purchased for the Burj Khalifa. The first allows you access to the 124th and 125th floors and currently runs at 141 AED (~$39 USD). The second goes for 370 AED (~$100), which allows access to both of those two floors plus a refreshment in the signature SKY Lounge.

Be sure to pay attention to what you’re paying as we were initially automatically charged for the more pricey ticket, which we hadn’t asked for or been offered. Luckily, we were able to coax the agent into an exchange – though maybe next time we’ll spring for the VIP package. But there really isn’t a wrong way to experience the world’s tallest building, even if it’s just viewing it from the streets of Dubai.

4. Catch the Burj Khalifa Light Show

The Burj Khalifa light show, which can differ each time, performs every half an hour between 6-11 PM; as well as two day time shows at 1 PM and 1:30 PM (2 PM on Fridays).

While it’s no Disney World Castle Show projection in terms of storytelling, the production quality is top notch. This was actually the moment my classmate and I thought, “wait a minute, we’re in Dubai!”

5. Stay for the Dubai Fountain Show at Burj Khalifa Lake

Funny story – around the corner from the Burj Khalifa on the main strip is a smaller fountain that will occasionally turn on and dance, similar to the Dubai Fountain Show. We had actually stumbled upon this when we first began roaming the city, assumed it was the fountain show and were significantly underwhelmed. It wasn’t until ordering smoothies to cool down outside of the Dubai Mall that Por ti Volare began to play throughout the air, followed by bursts of water dancing in tune to the music. This was the one everyone had talked about and was anything but underwhelming.

Post-show we had roamed the area a bit longer and ended up catching a second showing, this time with more traditional music, and it was even better than the first.

 

6. Walk over to the Souk Al Bahar

How to Spend a Six Hour Night in Dubai | United Arab Emirates | #AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbiughunkofworld.com | Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is a pillar of modernity, but one small bridge along Burj Khalifa Lake brings you to the Souk Al Bahar, a smaller and more traditional shopping center. The design itself is more representative of the local culture as well as the stores that fill it. Stunning items can be purchased from colorful glass lamps to silk scarves, as well as golden-plated knick-knacks. It’s such an interesting shift after exploring the Dubai Mall, and very welcomed.

7. Grab dinner and drinks at the Luna Sky Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Dubai DIFC

How to Spend a Six Hour Night in Dubai | United Arab Emirates | #AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbiughunkofworld.com | Luna Sky Bar, Four Seasons Dubai DIFC

After roaming the souk, we were definitely in the need of some sustenance and a good drink, which due to drinking laws of the region is only allowed on hotel properties and in specific restaurants or clubs.

We both ended up having one drink each and ordered some chicken wings and dumplings. But the whole experience was even better due to the stunning Dubai skyline, which included the Burj Khalifa standing 2,700 feet in its glory.

 

 


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My Year in Review: The Outcome of my 2018 New Year Resolution

A little over a year ago, I made a New Year resolution (discussed in a post that can be read here) that I would succeed in taking twelve trips in one year. Well, 2018 has come to an end, and … I failed.

By the end of 2018, I only succeeded in making 11 journeys. Many were relatively short and others took me further than I had ever dreamed I’d go. Obviously, in this case, failure is relevant as 2018 was definitely anything but that and was a year filled with some of the most memorable and adrenaline-inducing memories.

So where in the world did 2018 take me?

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (January 2018)

IMG_1397A Winter Weekend in Gettysburg Pennsylvania | Top Things to Do in Gettysburg | #AGBHOW | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Gettysburg National Military ParkIMG_1397A Winter Weekend in Gettysburg Pennsylvania | Top Things to Do in Gettysburg | #AGBHOW | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Gettysburg National Military Park

Read More about this trip:
A Winter Weekend in Gettysburg
The Haunted Orphanage of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania ft. Jennie Wade House

Iceland (February 2018)

6 Days in Iceland | Iceland Self-Drive Itinerary | Winter in Iceland | #agbhow | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com6 Days in Iceland | Iceland Self-Drive Itinerary | Winter in Iceland | #agbhow | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com6 Days in Iceland | Iceland Self-Drive Itinerary | Winter in Iceland | #agbhow | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com

Read more about this trip:
6 Days in Iceland: A Self-Drive Itinerary
The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At In Iceland

Boston, Massachusetts (March 2018)

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Read more about this trip:
How to Spend St.Paddy’s Day Weekend in Boston, Massachusetts

Southampton, New York (April 2018)

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of WorldIMG_3506

Read more about this trip:
Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards

Chicago, Illinois (May 2018)

IMG_4216How to Experience Chicago in Two Days | Weekend Trips | US Travel | Chicago, Illinois | AGBHOW | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Wrigley Field | Chicago Cubs

Read more about this trip:
How to Experience Chicago in Two Days
A Review of Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel

Providence, Rhode Island / Newport, Massachusetts (July 2018)

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Walt Disney World – Orlando, Florida (August 2018)

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Read more about this trip:
Dole Whip Alternatives At Walt Disney World

Niagara, Canada / Watkins Glen, NY (September 2018)

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The United Arab Emirates (September 2018)

ee8fc4e8-40d6-43a8-b738-3e32622573f6What to Do When Visiting Ras Al Khaimah | Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert, Falcon Show | United Arab Emirates | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | A Great Big Hunk of World | #AGBHOWWhat to Do When Visiting Ras Al Khaimah | Al Wadi | United Arab Emirates | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | A Great Big Hunk of World | #AGBHOW

Read more about this trip:
What to Do When Visiting Ras Al Khaimah


Baltimore, Maryland (December 2018)

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Woodstock, Vermont (December 2018)

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Despite coming up one trip short of my set goal, 2018 definitely did not leave me short of experiences. I saw one of my favorite Irish rock bands at the House of Blues, ended up on an entirely unplanned, last-minute trip to a country I didn’t plan to get to anytime soon, spent time with my family at the “most happiest place on earth” and one of our favorite places, and rang in my 25th birthday with a few beers and my closest friends in a secluded cabin under the northern lights.

I’d like to thank all the three day weekends and my boss who let me occasionally leave a couple of hours early to catch a flight. And I’d like to apologize to my professor whose online class I fell asleep halfway through due to the five-hour time difference while I was in Iceland.

I’ll probably have to slow down a bit for 2019, but I’m pretty sure 2018 provided me enough experiences to last me a lifetime – or at least until I have enough time for a vacation.