I had my third visit to Dubai during my 2.5 years working in Qatar two weeks ago from 7-12 May 2011. It has been a while since my last visit in summer 2009 and there are already some major changes. The most obvious ones are opening of Burj Khalifa in early 2010 and Dubai Metro on 9 Sep 2009. Those two became my focus of visit in addition to visit to Dubai Creek and its Abra, and several malls not previously visited.
That was the training title that I attended in this third visit. Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)/Hazard Operability (HAZOP) Leadership training provides participant with skills and knowledge to lead/facilitate and perform various techniques in analyzing hazards associated with process industry. Considered a must for those frequently leading a PHA/HAZOP session, this training gives me more technical capabilities in leading the study, one of the typical activities as a Loss Prevention Engineer.
Here is the view from our classroom, that occasionally distracted me from lessons 😦 . Did you spot a layer of sand storm near the ground? Quite interesting.
I like to be benefiting from public transportation in any city I visited, and metro is my most favorite. Dubai Metro Red Line – known as Al Rashidiyah – Jebel Ali line – is open to public for use starting from 09:09:09pm on 09-09-09 (hmm..). This line passes many point of interests for visitors/tourist such as: Airport Terminal 1/3, Deira City Center, Burjuman Mall, World Trade Center, Emirates Tower, Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Marina Mall, and Ibn Batuta Mall. At the time of writing, Green Line is still under construction (possibly open in August 2011). This line will pass among others Festival City, Duty Free, Deira, Dubai Creek, and Bur Dubai.
To use the metro, I bought Nol Card – Silver (20 AED with 14 AED) during my stay. This lasts for 2-3 days.
The Dubai Metro is driverless, fully-automated metro network using five-car trains. Unlike others, Dubai Metro trains have three different classes of accommodation: Gold Class, Women and Children and standard economy class. The design of all elevated and at-grade Dubai Metro stations has been modelled on the shape of seashell, inspired from the diving and pearl-fishing heritage of the UAE, while the interior design depicts the four elements of nature – water, air, earth and fire.
Consult Dubai Road Transport Authority website for how to use metro and metro map.
Abra is a traditional boat made of wood, used to transport people across Dubai Creek in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A medium-sized single-engine craft with a capacity of about 20 passengers, it is driven by a single operator from a cockpit stepped in the center of the hull. The short platform around the cockpit, sheltered by a canopy, is where the passengers are seated, all facing outwards, 10 on each side.
Abras used to be the primary means of transportation between the two sides of the creek before cars could cross it via the several bridges or the Al Shindagha Tunnel. It is now mostly used by tourists, common folk and nostalgics. They still ferry up to 20 million passengers annually. It takes under 10 minutes to cross between Deira and the other side of the creek, Bur Dubai
The abras charge 1 AED per direct crossing per person, or about 100 AED for exclusive hire per hour.
In 2009, I had visited Dubai Malls, Mall of the Emirates and Ibn Batuta Malls. Just want to get another feel to other malls in Dubai, I visited BurJuman, Deira City Center, Times Square and Dubai Marina Mall. All of these malls except Times Square are at very vicinity of metro station.
Dubai Marina Mall is a new mall (open in 2008) in Dubai Marina area, off Sheikh Zayed Road. The mall is accesible from Jumeirah Lake Tower or Dubai Marina metro stations. It is a small mall, only 170 stores or something. Go to the backside or promenade side of the mall to have an excellent marina with towers surrounding it.
Burjuman Mall entrance is just in front of underground metro exit (Khalid bin Al Waleed). BurJuman is considered to be one of the oldest malls in the country.
Times Square is located at Sheikh Zayed Road at equal distance between metro station First Gulf Bank and Noor Islamic Bank. Visit this center if you happen in this area. Times Square is famous for its Dubai’s first and only ice lounge, Chillout. Sharaf DG and ToysRus are also here.
Deira City Center is accesible through a metro station bearing its name. This is a one-stop shopping malls with major tenants like Debenhams, Virgin MEgastore, Carrefour, Zara, and other international high street brands.
Burj Khalifa and At The Top
Burj Khalifa to Dubai is Eiffel Tower to Paris.Currently the tallest structure in the world, Burj Khalifa measures at 828 m. At The Top is an outdoor observation deck on the its 124th floor (428m).
Burj Khalifa is accesible from Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall metro station. From here you can walk 10-15 minutes or take a shuttle bus. If you opt to walk you can see an interesting art work by Lutfi Romhein featuring Emirate man and woman.
At The Top
To manage the daily rush of visitors, they are able to purchase tickets in advance through online purchase for a specific date and time and at a 75% discount over tickets purchased on the spot (I bought a 100AED ticket online versus 400AED on the spot). If you buy online, bring yourprinted confirmation and exchange for a ticket at Bag Deposit counter.
Entrance to At The Top is located at Lower Ground, Dubai Mall. I was advised to be here 10 minutes before the slot time – though you can enter 15-20 minutes before. After exchanging printed confirmation with a ticket I was entering a foyer or reception hall (picture below). From here, we were taken to elevator after passing security check, photo stop and a long corridor featuring UAE/Dubai. The elevator is said to be the fastest in the world with its 10m/s speed. Later, during your exit you will be passing a corridor leading to souvenir shop featuring the history of Burj Khalifa including the design changes, and architectural and engineering models.
I recommend that you take a time slot 30 minutes before sunset as it will give you the best of both world: bright view and illuminated city after sunset. No wonder, from 5pm to 7.30pm they are prime time and they can easily be fully booked.
I also recommend that you take picture from a gap between windows at outdoor observation deck. Picture quality from indoor observation floor is weakened by tinted glass.
Enjoy the following pictures.