Lost in the City of Shopping Malls – Dubai

dubai gold souk
Posted by on June 23, 2014

Lost in the City of Shopping Malls – Dubai

You want to know what is, at heart, the thing I find strangest about being a tourist in Dubai?

There was this one time I took a guided tour of a mall. (By choice!)

dubai old souk

Dubai shopping malls are known across the globe for their unique interiors and complex designs, and apparently these are quite a draw for a lot of the tourists who visit the city. I mean, it was this whole big Full-Day Cityscape and Safari thing and there was a camel ride at the end and it included free food and I was working and all. But still! A MALL!

We’re not even talking, like, historic Gold Souk. Not even the modernized but still historic Covered Souk. We’re talking straight-up honest to God shopping mall. Even on my first visit to the city, what feels like years and years ago now, I ended up spending ages in the Mall of the Emirates to catch a bunch of films for the Dubai International Film Festival.

entrance to the mall of dubai

The thing is, though, that so much of Dubai IS the malls. Dubai’s Indoor Ski Slopes? Dubai’s 10,000,000 liter aquarium? Both inside of malls. Best places for tourists to see a bit of what life is like for Emiratis? Inside of malls. Maybe it should be no surprise, because in this desert city what better place to hang out in the middle of another scorching day than inside an air conditioned ode to consumerism where you can find buy just about anything you would need?

mall of dubai: ski dubai

Even that world’s tallest super-building, so famous for so many reasons, the Burj Khalifa. Guess where the entrance to the extremely-fast elevator is…. that’s right. Inside the adjacent Mall.

burj khalifa and the mall of dubai

Which I guess just sort of made it all inevitable that I would eventually end up spending time in these places. That’s the thing about travel, right? Experiencing new ways of life and pushing yourself to explore places and lifestyles you would never consider at home? In this city, at this time…. that just happened to be shopping centers.

gold souk dubai


I was on the Full-Day Cityscape and Safari tour working as a freelance photographer for GetYourGuide. If guided tours are your thing and you love to shop, then by all means go for it. Otherwise, consider either going it alone in town or booking just a Desert Safari if you want to get out of Dubai for an evening.

Note that this post is published in partnership with the ExpatWoman blog, but all opinions and shopping trips were my own.

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2 Responses to Lost in the City of Shopping Malls – Dubai

  1. Mom

    They is still hope for you to learn to love shopping? I will give you a guided tour of Barton Creek Mall and Lakeline Mall when you next visit 🙂

    • Stephen

      Ha! I’ll see if we can find time to pencil that in. Assume you’re taking me out to Mexican, after?

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