Destination Desert - Dubai, Al Ain and Fujairah

santanu

Well-Known Member
Dubai (continued)

The Global village


Our next destination was Global Village.

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It is situated at outskirts of Dubai on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road. It consists of pavilion of almost 90 countries where visitors get tastes of their culture, food and can also buy products. In a nutshell, it is a family destination for culture, entertainment and shopping all together.

Other than country specific pavilions, it does have replicas of world-famous architectures, food courts and stages/platforms for cultural function and game shows.

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It typically remains open from October to April. The price of entry ticket is 15 AED.

After entering Global Village, we started going through the pavilions of various countries. The pavilions consist of counters for spice, apparel, perfume and food. Some of the pavilions also have a small stage for cultural programme. We occasionally bargained here and there and finally bought one woollen garment from a shop in the pavilion of Pakistan.

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Global village is quite big. Further, it was the last place to be visited by us on that day. So we were tired and feeling hungry. So, we took a break at the first food court to eat something.

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On a stage adjacent to the food court, some local cultural programme was going on.

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A representative flee market was also there.

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After filling up our stomach, we resumed pavilion hopping.

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We really liked the pavilion of Bosnia.

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Then, the second food court came. It is essentially a play area. Though, we did not consume anything there, we sat for a while for taking some rest. Since the entire Global village is to be covered by foot, it requires a lot of energy.

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Then we resumed the final round.

While we entered the pavilion of Syria, we found that a cultural programme was about to start. So we waited there. It was a group dance performance. It was mesmerising.

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We also spent some time in the pavilion of Iran. The strange thing about Iran's platform is that if someone has to form an opinion about religious inclination of Iran solely based on that pavilion, he/she will definitely end up concluding that primary practicing religion of Iran is Zoroastrianism. I am not sure whether Iran prefers to present itself in this way or whether this a deliberate attempt by Sunni Arab world to create a wrong impression of Shia Iran in mind of the visitors.

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After that, we were so exhausted that we just gave pavilions of other countries including that of India a cursory look. We did not have energy to explore those pavilions minutely.

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There is an artificial waterbody which was looking truly magnificent.

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We left Global Village around 11 pm of local time. It was still crowded though the crowd was thinning out.
 
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santanu

Well-Known Member
Dubai (continued)

Dubai Frame


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The Dubai Frame is in Zabeel Park. As per The Guardian newspaper, it "the biggest picture frame on the planet".

There are two 150 meters tall towers at a distance of 93 meters with each other. The two towers are connected by an encapsulated bridge at the top. Since the structures resembles a picture frame, that’s why it is called Dubai frame.

We reached Dubai Frame in the afternoon and bought tickets at the counter. There was some queue. The ticket price was Dhs 50 per adult.

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At the ground floor, there were some security check related formalities.

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Then, we went to the first floor. There they took us through the history of Dubai.

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Then we went to the top by a high speed lift. The both the side of the bridge were made of glass which was offering a sweeping panoramic view of Dubai.

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Dubai’s historic district was to the north.

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The south was providing the breath-taking vistas of the skyline of downtown Dubai.

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The most interesting part of the Dubai Frame is that an 50 meters stretch of the floor of the skybridge is made of opaque glass. Crafted from liquid crystal with an underlying film triggered by sensors, the floor becomes clear only when a visitor walks over it. Peering at the ground beneath, we were feeling like we were walking on air.

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After spending around 15-20 minutes there, we came down to the first floor by another high speed lift in the second tower. There was an audio-visual presentation on what Dubai intends to be in future. It was more like a sci-fi movie.

Essentially, the entire programmed has been designed to show past, present and future of Dubai.

Before leaving, we took few more photos of Dubai Frame.

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We used to cross Dubai Frame almost everyday during our stay in Dubai. We took some photos of it in the night too from the moving cab.

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santanu

Well-Known Member
Dubai (continued)

Burj Khalifa

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Our next destination was Burj Khalifa. With a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft) and a roof height (excluding antenna) of 828 m (2,717 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009 and therefore, remains in the ‘to do’ list of visitors like us.

It has two observatory decks – one at level 124 & 125 and another at level 148. It has a longed at levels 152, 153 and 154. So more you go up, you need to shell out more money. Even for the same level, the ticket price varies depending upon the time slots (time slots during sun rise and sun set are the costliest) and whether you opt for a fast track entry or normal entry.

The entry to Burj Khalifa is through Dubai Mall.

We booked our tickets for observatory decks at level 124 & 125 and our time slot was 5 pm. The idea was to watch sunset from Burj Khalifa. We did not opt for fast track. Our entire planning was sub-optimal.

We were at the entry point at 4.15 pm. We were sure that we would be at the observatory deck by 5 pm because we had more almost one hour cushion. But our assumptions were wrong. They were not checking the time slots at all. Therefore, people with tickets of different time slots were also present causing a huge queue. Further, people with tickets of upper deck and lounge were being given preference. That was the case with the fast track. The situation was really frustrating.

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It took us almost 1 hour 30 minutes to reach the main lift which would take us to the 124th floor.

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Finally we reached 124th floor at 5.45 pm. By that time sunset was over.

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We were feeling bit disappointed. Since there was no time restriction on staying, we decided to spent some time there. The changing look of Dubai drove out that feeling of disappointment.

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As darkness darkened, Dubai was looking more extravagant.

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We tried to take photos of the upper part of the building from 124th floor.

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After spending around half an hour on 124th floor deck, we went up to 125th floor. That was an enclosed area. There are some food and souvenir shops. So we did not spent much time there. There was queue for coming down also but fortunately that was shorter.

After coming down, we went to see Dubai fountain, which is in an open space adjacent to a Dubai Mall. In a way, that open space is a part of Dubai Mall. From that open space, Burj Khalifa was looking mesmerising.

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Based on our experience of visiting Burj Khalifa, we think that (a) Level 124 is sufficient to get a spectacular view of Dubai. There is no point in going to higher floors spending more sum until and unless this becomes an issue of ego satisfaction; (b) There is no point in targeting sunset slot. Even if you are there on time, you may not be able to see it because of clouds/haziness at horizon. There are many places around us to see sunset. In stead of that, someone should target evening/night slot. Dubai, wrapped in artificial light, looks awesome from top; and (c) If anyone is still keen to see sunset from top of Burj Khalifa, he/she should book fast-track pass.
 

santanu

Well-Known Member
Dubai (continued)

Dubai Fountain


The Dubai Fountain is the world's largest choreographed fountain system. It is set on the 30-acre manmade lake in Dubai Mall complex.

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The fountain is animated with performances set to light and music. Performances take place at 1:00 pm and at 1:30 pm as well as every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 10 pm on weekdays, and from 6 pm to 11 pm on weekends (weekends being Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).

We went there twice. We took video on one day and still photos on another day.


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Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is the second-largest mall in the world by total land area, and the 20th-largest shopping mall in the world by gross leasable area. However, it was not in our destination list. Since accesses of Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain are through Dubai mall, we were there and took few pictures.

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santanu

Well-Known Member
Bur Dubai

Bur Dubai, along with Deira, forms old Dubai. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Dubai, which grew up around the creek, was 3 km long and 1 km wide. Bur Dubai was developed primarily as a residential area and Deira, on the other side of the creek, was developed primarily as the area for trade and commerce.

Bur Dubai comprised traditional quarters built using various materials and methods of construction. Most of the houses were made from palm fonds, (Al Kaimah) while along the age of creek, houses were constructed from sea stones (Al Arish).

Al Kaimah is the primitive house in which the inhabitants of Gulf coast area resided. Al kaimah usually consists of one room of different sizes. The light buildings used to be constructed of palm tree fibres. It is warm in winter, cool in summer and allows draughts of air to blow through when it gets very hot.

Al Arish is a summer house with a wind tower made of burslap pieces placed on the top. The wind tower is an effective means to get breezes of air blowing in whatever direction.In winter, people tend to leave Al Arish and live in tent seeking warmth.

The countryside around Bur Dubai was flat, surrounded by oases of palm trees and was no more than 2 mtr above sea level. This provides ample space for eventual expansion of city – creation of today’s downtown Dubai.

On account of its long history of trade and human and cultural diversity, Bur Dubai and Deira give a different kind of feel. Landmarks, area and markets had names reflecting this diversity. In 1908, there were 350 shops at Deira and 50 shops at Bur Dubai, specializing in selling certain good. This led to establishment of famous souqs (markets) such as Al-Kabeer, Al-Manazer, Al-Tamoor, Al-Arsa and AL-Sabkha.

The early city was surrounded by watchtowers and had a fort for defence. Among the buildings were mosques indicating Islamic culture. Before regular schools were opened, children were taught by scholars in the mosques and traditional schools (Al Katateeb). Local culture has been enriched by the customs, songs, dances and sports of a people whose life was shaped by the unique environment of desert and sea.

During our trip, we were staying in Bur Dubai itself, in a Club Mahindra property.

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From there, we used to come to Al Ghubabiba bus/metro station, the main bus station of Bur Dubai for catching buses for other parts of Dubai as well as day-trip to Al Ain.

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The city centre is, adjacent to the bus station across the road.

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Before sharing the details and photos of the specific attractions visited by us in Bur Dubai, let me share some random photos of Bur Dubai taken by us during our stay there. Some of the photos might have captured landmark building/structure/places unrecognized by us.

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