Dubai was on my list and our layover provided an inexpensive way to experience the city. Although we were exhausted from the two flights that got us here at 6am, we had 9 hours to explore and we couldn’t waste it.
Things got off to a rough start. Our arrival terminal was completely disconnected from the main terminal with no shuttle or accessible walking path between the two. It may as well be its own airport. As the main terminal is the one with the metro station, we had to figure out the UAE bus system to get us downtown. We withdrew cash from the ATM and then broke the bill with a very overpriced cup of coffee so that we would have small bills to pay the bus driver. I found the bus number that would get us started on the journey, then flagged down the bus when it approached. The driver told me that they don’t accept cash and that I needed to go back into the airport to the duty free section to buy bus passes. I would have to catch the next bus. Back in the airport, we found the counter selling bus passes, loaded them up for the day, then returned to the bus station. We took the bus to the Metro, the metro to downtown, then walk 3km of air-conditioned, indoor hallways to reach the famous Mall of Dubai.
The mall has a giant aquarium with two-story windows showcasing sharks, manta rays, and fish. We spent half our time watching the sea creatures swim and glide.
The Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world, is right next door. It is a very pretty spiral.
Just before heading back to the airport, we watched the Dubai fountain show set to music.
Next stop Kathmandu!