United Arab Emirates

Gold Souks

When we visited the United Arab Emirates in 2014, we had a few goals. Firstly, to visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on Earth. It would be a special experience for sure. Secondly, we wanted to go on a desert safari. It would be my first time in a desert. I was four. We would then see the markets and malls of Dubai. Dubai has traditional spice markets, and giant, sprawling malls. 

We arrived in the United Arab Emirates from the U.S. en route to Hyderabad, India, where we would see my grandparents. We got out of the plane, and looked for a taxi. The one we found was a pink taxi, which meant that a woman was a driver. In the Middle East, 24.6% of women are employed, and it’s a great thing that the UAE is taking steps towards greater gender equality. Our driver was very friendly, and overall was a great person (and driver). 

We drove to the gold markets. Rows upon rows upon rows of gold. It really showed how rich the UAE had to be if there was a real market for so much luxury. Of course, that wasn’t what I was thinking there. I was four years old. My parents wanted to buy some jewelry, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen because U.S credit cards aren’t accepted in the United Arab Emirates. By then, we realized that the desert safari tour was out of reach, since it would’ve taken hours to get to the desert, and after considering the time costs, we decided to visit the Burj Khalifa for the rest of the day. We then moved to the Burj Khalifa. Even from downtown Dubai, we could see the behemoth above us in the skyline. We got closer and closer, until we were there. 

My thoughts? I wasn’t thinking. I was spellbound by the sheer height and size of the building. 

We were near the Burj Khalifa, and so I looked up to get a view. Nope. It was too tall. In fact, it was practically impossible to even look at the top of the edifice. That was how big it was. We got a ticket for the highest floor accessible for tourists. The Burj Khalifa is ludicrously lavishly decorated. From its aquarium to its elevators, which are the fastest in the world. We took the elevator to that top accessible floor. It was completely insane. The view from the Burj Khalifa is akin to a view of Manhattan from the sky, if Manhattan was located in a sandy desert wasteland. That’s how tall the Burj Khalifa is. Towering over even other skyscrapers, its shadow literally blocks the sun from whole towns. Another great feature of the Burj Khalifa is the interactive binoculars, which let you view the city’s astounding growth. 

Soon enough, it was nearing sunset. The sun slowly went down, and it would be a full ten hours until we saw sunlight. Sike. We raced up to the elevator, went up around seventy floors, and just like that, it was sunset again. It is an interesting experience that only works this well on the world’s tallest building. 

Afterwards, we went to the dancing fountain, where they put lights and music to create a colorful show where the fountain in front of the Burj Khalifa “danced” at night. We returned to the airport, and flew to India. It was an interesting day in the world’s tallest building. 


  • Make sure to visit between January to February so that you don’t have to melt in 120°F weather.
  • Get the ticket that allows you to go the highest, so you have the best experience. 
  • Don’t spend too much time in the markets if you intend to explore the desert. 
Burj Khalifa at Night
View from Burj Khalifa
View from Burj Khalifa part 2

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