burj khalifa

Exploring Dubai – Dubai Mall Aquarium, Burj Khalifa and Alexandra Dhow Boat dinner cruise

Dubai Aquarium

The day started with a visit to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Dubai Aquarium is located on the Ground floor of the Dubai Mall. It took us a while to find it (may be because the mall covers more than 1 million sq.m – equivalent to 200 football pitches)

 The first thing we learned is even if you have a Dubai attraction ticket on your phone, you still need to check in with the agent and get a printed ticket or a barcode bracelet - Line 1. Proceed to the entrance - Line 2. Any additional pre-booked activities, that's another line for each. According to their website, it is the largest suspended aquarium in the world. Kids enjoyed the visit. Took about 2 hours, including a quick behind the scenes tour and a glass bottom boat ride.

There is no alcohol served inside the Dubai mall. We decided to walk across to Souk Al Bahar, have lunch at a Turkish restaurant and watch the fountain show, before our pre-booked tour to the top of Burj Khalifa (in retrospect, we should’ve stayed at the mall as there are a lot more affordable restaurant options there with outdoor seating).  

Ascent to Burj Khalifa
I reserved the tickets to the top of Burj Khalifa a few months in advance for a specific time slot.  What I didn’t do, is to buy a fast pass.  Do yourself a favor and get a fast pass. In fact, buy a fast pass to every popular attraction in Dubai and Abu Dhabi!  Our ascent to 124th and 125th floors of Burj Khalifa took an eternity and two elevators of shoulder to shoulder people. Once we got up, we did a quick walk around, fighting our way through every selfie-taking tourist. I bought a Virtual Reality experience for our kids, but the line was long, and they were so tired by that point, that they didn't even want to try it. What goes up, must come down as the saying goes. We had to wait in the same line which wrapped around the perimeter of the floor. I don't know how long it would've taken, was it not for the staffer, who let a few families with kids use a service elevator to go down.

We took the taxi back to the hotel to rest and get ready for Dubai dinner cruise on Dhow Boat.

Alexandra Dhow Boat Cruise

The dinner cruises came highly recommended, and there are several companies who manage them in various price ranges. After having a so-so experience on dinner cruises in other cities, I didn't know why I thought this would be any different. Unless you are someone who enjoys bland buffets dinners, mediocre entertainment, and two hours of techno background music - don't do it.

To conclude, the second day was not without its challenges, but we climbed the tallest structure in the world, checked out one the largest aquariums in the world, visited the biggest mall in world and cruised through what seemed like the longest dinner in the world! Bring it on, day 3!