Taking the cheapest flights you can find often means a lot of inconvenience. Cramped seats, low baggage allowances, no food, obscene departure times, indirect flights and long layovers. But every now and then it really works out in your favour. We took FlyDubai from India to Ethiopia and our itinerary included a ten hour layover in Dubai. As an added bonus it was during the day. Unfortunately, it was also a Friday – Muslim holy day – so the souqs along the river would have been closed while we were there. Usually these older parts of town with atmospheric alleys and busy markets are where we would head, but instead we were forced out of character and headed for the Dubai mall (the biggest mall in the world) and the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building).
It was actually pretty cool. When we arrived, most of the stuff at the mall was closed, but we were able to get tickets to go to the observation deck on the 124th floor of the Burj around 9:00. Apparently, later in the day these are liable to be completely sold out. There is also the option to go higher but that would have cost us a few hundred dollars more and we figured it wasn’t worth it. 124 floors is plenty high enough for great views! We did not spend much time up there. Haze meant that we could not see the artificial palm island, but we were able to see a group of artificial islands called ‘the world’ and the Burj Al Arab hotel.
After wandering around the outside before the heat really took over we headed in to explore some of the mall. We aren’t big shoppers but there were some pretty cool things inside. On the ice rink junior teams wearing jets and flames jerseys were playing. There is a three story artificial waterfall that is pretty interesting. Blake was able to replace the rain jacket that went MIA in Thailand for a very reasonable price and Tamara got to ride on her first real roller coaster, even though it was a pretty little one.
So overall, not bad for only having six hours away from the airport. For those wondering if it’s worth it to leave the airport on those layovers – do it!