Dubai and shopping are almost synonyms. To find yourself in this amazing emirate without having malled means to miss something interesting.

The capital of shopping in the middle east.
Dubai Malls

There are a lot of malls in Dubai and each of them has its own "flair".

Having lived in the UAE for two years I have visited almost all main malls. Some names I can't even remember.

But the others have become my second home where I could chillax for hours or weeks. And what matters - you never get tired.

These all-time favorite malls in particular I feel like telling you about.

That's essential: all mentioned below malls are equipped with the barrier-free environment. In other words people with special needs such as: elderly people, disabled people, health care centers patients -are able to move around malls doing shopping and visiting cinemas and restaurants.

By the way parents with push chairs are well-placed to have a rest in the malls of Dubai. There is a parenting room with a diaper board and a sofa in it (they are located near the ladies and men' rooms).

THE DUBAI MALL

The world biggest mall was opened in 2008 (developed by Emaar Malls Group). Dubai mall area is 1,2 mn sq. m.

www.thedubaimall.com

Don't buy any mall tours -explore it yourself! In case of getting lost you will be saved by kind people at informational desks.

Remember, Dubai mall is something like a black hole absorbing all your time and money.

Dubai mall is unique by its ability to make you happy even when you are short of money. It is up to you to decide. You can admire rays, sharks and other big fish in a huge aquarium absolutely free. Or you can get a selfie against a famous ‘Pearl diver” waterfall.

You can go outside towards the fountains and the promenade (LG level) and get one more selfie against the shimmering Burj Khalifa building (it is located nearby) or wait for the evening and enjoy dancing fountains show (it starts at 6 pm and keeps going on every thirty minutes till 10 pm).

There is a huge Whiterose hypermarket on LG level. There are also ATMs, DU and Etisalat offices (they are local mobile network operators) on LG level.

If you are a tourist Etisalat sim-card is enough to for you. There is Irony Home store selling the most beautiful Christmas-Tree decorations at New Year.

Level G hosts an Olympic-size Ice Rink and a figure-skating school (www.dubaiicerink.com/en/). You can rent skates and knee-pads. The kids who are not good at standing in the ice are given "penguins with hands" - a sliding supporting piece to hold on.

If you don't feel like skating you can just stand at the rink board (levels G,1 and 2) or spend your time in a cafe watching the skating rink where passions run high.  Arabs wearing kandura who are good at skating are very interesting to watch. Kinda unusual.

The top floor of Dubai mall (level 2) is occupied by the best toy-store in the world called Hamley’s. Right on that floor you will find a huge number of different toys either.

Along with the toy-store there is SEGA Republic themed park and Kidzania (an entertaining and educational center) where children can play different professions.

You may leave your kids in Kidzania, they will be looked after by local staff, and find your way to a 22-movie hall cinema called Reel Cinemas or have a little nosh. Due to your preferences and budget it may be both fast food or a finest cafe or a restaurant including the ones viewing the fountains and Burj Khalifa.

World cloth and shoe brands of different price tiers are represented in Dubai mall.

Premium brands are centered in Fashion Avenue. A beautiful pair of going-out shoes can be bought in Level Shoe District.

The easiest way to get to Dubai mall for first-timers is to take a taxi: you will be driven right to the entrance. A more complicated way is by tube: the station is called Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa, red line). It will take you about ten minutes to get to the Mall walking along a clean and conditioned corridor equipped with travolators.

Google map coordinates for drivers: 25°11.922, 55°16.805. You will have to survive a huge parking lot with 14000 parking spaces: remember the place and the level where you parked your car otherwise you will have to walk about between Roll-Royses, Lamborghinis and Ferraris looking for your “Iron horse”.  How to get.

MALL OF THE EMIRATES

One of the most elegant and luxury Dubai malls was opened in 2005 (developed by Majid Al Futtaim Properties).

http://www.malloftheemirates.com

At large, there are the same world brands as well as in Dubai mall. You can notice the direct relationship “price-floor”: the higher the floor the bigger the price tag. For example on the ground floor(G level) you can find a lot of mass-market brands such as H&M, Forever 21, Gap, Zara, Top Shop.

Centrepoint department store (selling make-up, clothes, accessories, household goods)

and a famous underwear store Victoria’s Secret are on this level either.

Also G level hosts a large Carrefour hypermarket, banks, Etisalat branch office, currency exchange, Western Union (there is WU with exchange office on the first level near the tube entrance).

There are a lot of household goods and furniture shops on the 1st level such as The One, Better Life, Home Centre, SharafDG e-store, home textiles and bedclothes.

At the same 1st level there are several big clothes departments: Marks&Spencer and a British department store Debenhams offering designer clothes collections at affordable prices.

Salopettes, boots and disposal socks are provided along with your ticket. The only thing you will have to pay for is ski equipment. A scarf, a hat and gloves can be bought in a local SnoPro store.

If you are not willing to freeze yourself you can watch people snowballing through the glass walls.

The best place for that is St. Motitz restaurant.

DUCTAC is on the 2nd level. Its finding in the depth of the mall needs some trying. Near DUCTAC www.ductac.org/ there is a to-be-paid-for art and sculpturing studios.

Nearby there is a store where you can buy everything you need for painting: canvas, frames, canvas-stretchers, brushes and paints and other essential stuff.

For having a little nosh there are a lot of restaurants, cafes and bakeries, two large fast food courts like KFC and PIzzaHut (G and the 1st levels). To entertain yourself there is VOX Cinemas.

You can get the Mall of the Emirates by taxi or by tube (the same-name station, red line- and further along the footbridge). GPS coordinates for drivers: 25.118107, 55.200608

IBN BATTUTA MALL

One of the most beautiful malls of Dubai was built in 2005 (developed by Nakheel Properties). Ibn Battuta mall is located near Discovery Gardens area, Jebel Ali.

www.ibnbattutamall.com/

Initially one-storied Ibn Battuta mall can seem small and gloomy. But gradually it is getting the coziest and understandable one.

Its building is divided into six big themed sections - Egypt, Tunisia, Andalusia, India, China and Persia (countries visited by Ibn Battuta). Each section has its own style.

This mall is worth being recommended due to its interiors beauty but shopping. Malling you will be able to read about Ibn Battuta and his travels.

You will see the ancient observation station, astronomical clock, a compass, a globe. You will be able to familiarize yourself with the culture and the way of life of people living there centuries ago.

If you prevent yourself from being lazy and take a closer look at the detail you will be able to see magnificent woodcarving, moulding, incuse and hammer-work, frescoes and mosaic.

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But Ibn Buttuta mall shopping is nice to do. Actually there are not premium brands but there are a lot of mass-market brands for children and adults, small designer clothes stores.

Evidently the key points are highlighted to the benefit of family shopping and having your spare time with children.

A great number of cafes and restaurants, a fitness center Fitness First (China court), two large sport stores Sun& Sand Sport (Egypt court) and Go Sport (China court), 21-movie hall Grand Megaplex and IMAX (Tunisia court), The Toy Store (Egypt court).

You can get there by taxi or by tube (Ibn Battuta metro station, red line- and further cross the road on the crosswalk).

For drivers: Ibn Battuta mall coordinates 25.044598, 55.118095. There are more than ten parking lots near the mall with total capacity for 5000 cars.

WAFI MALL

One of the oldest malls of Dubai was built in 1991 (developed by MKM Commercial Holdings). WAFI Mall is located in Bar Dubai area.

www.wafi.com/russian-language-page

Being in Ancient Egypt style both WAFI and Ibn Buttuta malls are amazing with their architecture and interiors: beautiful atrium with stained-glass windows, mosaic floors, Luxor style columns- it is all so interesting on its own.

As far as shopping is concerned WAFI mall has more premium brands, there are a lot of boutiques with up-market perfumery and make-up, jewelry and exclusive watch.

WAFI mall has VFS.GLobal visa center certified by the state. If you live in Dubai and feels like going somewhere to have a rest you can having gathered all your papers apply for a visa.

Countries which VFS can provide visas to: the USA, Great Britain, Schengen countries, Singapore. Others countries are to be required separately. *Next to the visa center there are stands for tourist insurance.

And one more WAFI Mall bonus-the Souk Khan Murjan styled on the 14-century Arabic bazaar. True silk, cashmere, silver, rich woods furniture enclosured with mother-of-pearl,

hand-made glass dishes, suffinem, meditative herbs and oils - there is everything here. And even there is an open-air Khan Murjan restaurant and a very nice Alaturka cafe.

You can get to WAFI mall both by taxi and by tube (Dubai Healthcare City station, green line and further to Raffles exit and 5 min walk).

For drivers: google.map coordinates 25.229396, 55.319080 (Oud Metha Road).

It's hard to believe but the first air-conditioned mall in Dubai - Al Ghurair Centre, was built in 1983. It was only thirty and a little over ago. It was the first modern mall both in the Emirates and in the whole area.

The seconds and the third malls in the United Arabic Emirates -WAFI Mall Dubai and BurJuman Dubai were built in 1991 and 1992.

The fourth mall -Deira City mall welcomed its guests in 1995.

In mid 2000s a mall building boom started in Dubai: Mercato Shopping mall (2002), Mall of the Emirates (2005), Ibn Battuta mall (2005), Dubai Festival City (2007), Dubai mall (2008), Dubai Marina mall (2008).

Nowadays Dubai tops the rating of the cities with the majority of modern trading facilities.

In the future Dubai is ready to keep on surprising. A Mall of the World of 2020 has already been advertised. It is going to be the biggest themed mall in the world.

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    Author and photographerVictoria Lazareva
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