Travel

Awaken The Senses

We saw a building and ate at a restaurant, so what? What senses were awakened? Practically everything! From Sight to smell, to taste, to sound; we experienced it all at The Burj Khalifa. Not only is it the tallest building, but it is also the tallest structure in the world. Standing at an impressive 828 meters tall, the view from outside was incredible. Surprised that being such an icon of Dubai, we left it until our last day to experience, but time was just not on our side.

burj-khalifa-top

The first experience of the building for us started inside, and at the top, as we had early morning tickets to get views from above. And since it was connected to the mall, we did not have to walk outside. We got to the mall a little earlier than expected because we were unsure of traffic times, and walking distance from the parking garage. Luckily, when we arrived, we were granted early access to parking, due to having our tickets for The Burj Khalifa (thankfully we picked them up, the night before). We got an amazing spot, right near the entrance of the mall. The close parking came in quite handy for later on, as I had to change off for dinner, and I left my clothes in the car. When we got to the ticket entrance of The Burj Khalifa we were still about 45 minutes early, so we spent time browsing the gift shop, and relaxing in the food court, until 15 to. I was quite happy that we had booked an early time slot, as there were minimal people waiting for our selected time. When we came the night before to pick up our tickets, the line-up was hectic; past the elevators and beyond. So we entered, and had to walk a bit before we reached the elevators that would take us up to the 124th/125th floors. The elevator ride up was beyond fast. When entering, you are told it would only take 60 seconds to reach the 125th floor, but it was definitely faster than that. It actually only felt like 30 seconds, although I did not time it. One thing that I found really unique about the ride up was that even at the speed it was going, you didn’t feel it. Usually when going up elevators, you can feel the speed at which it is traveling, but with this, it was very minimal. As we got off at the 125th floor, I thought it would be packed, and all the windows would be swarmed with people looking out; thankfully I was wrong. We were able to walk around, and look out all the windows, over the fountains, city, and desert. The views were incredible. Seeing far out from high above was surreal. The only downfall was that it was not as bright and sunny as I had wished, or we could have definitely seen further out. Although skydiving from above, you could see much more, and the views were better, with The Burj Khalifa you were able to take your time and enjoy everything, than being rushed.

We spent quite a bit of time on the 125th floor as it was a larger area than the 124th. After we were done, we went down one level, and were able to gets views from outside, as the 124th floor was an outdoor floor. This was pretty cool because there was a gap between the windows so I was able to stick my GoPro out the gap and get a shot from the bottom, slowly rising, and looking out. This was also the perfect place to get pictures of the Dubai Fountains from up above as you can stick the camera out. Overall, viewing outside from so high up was surreal. I would definitely like to come back, but during the evening to get a night view of the city. Other than looking outside, there wasn’t much more to do, than read some facts about The Burj Khalifa or browse the second gift shop. We spent about a total of 45 minutes up there before heading back down, into the mall, and starting our mall exploration.

the-burj-khalifa

Later that evening, we returned to The Burj Khalifa for dinner at Amal inside the Armani Hotel. Walking there was the first time I was able to see The Burj Khalifa from the outside, up close. The other times I had seen it was on the train and driving by, so I was unable to admire the grand design of the skyscraper. As soon as we exited the mall, to head towards The Burj Khalifa, there were crowds everywhere! This may have been the most crowded area that I had seen in Dubai, since I arrived. We made our way to the bridge, in front of the fountains and the building to get some pictures from a distance. It was marvelous! The grand structure and design of it was amazing to look at. And you were able to get great views of the whole building from almost anywhere you stood. We then started to walk along the path, towards The Burj Khalifa and as such we were much closer to it. Walking along the path was great for looking up, and seeing exactly how tall it was. Plus it made for some great pictures, up close. When we first left the mall, to head towards the restaurant, we did not think it would take long, but I guess we just didn’t realize how far it would be, considering we had to walk all around the whole building. While walking the path, the Dubai Fountain show was about to start, so we stopped and were able to get a perfect spot, right by the fence to watch. It was extraordinary. The music was great, and the way they have choreographed all the fountains to be in sync with the music was amazing. I’ve seen the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas and this definitely has it beat! Each fountain show would last for the duration of a full song, so it was only about 4 minutes long, and then we continued on. We got to the main street of The Burj Khalifa but were quite confused on where to go, in order to get up to the entrance. We were lucky enough there was a security guard there that pointed us in the right direction. As we headed up the driveway, I realized that they don’t cater for people to walk up. Guess they think people coming are going to be driving or, getting dropped off. There was no walkway up, and we legit had to walk on the side of the road to get up.

Shortly after, we reached the entrance, and since we were early, were told we could wait in the Armani lounge until it was time to go up. In the lounge we each got one drink, as we didn’t want to fill up on what would be a very large meal. It didn’t take too long, and they it was time to head up for our final, and my most favourite meal of the whole trip. As soon as we got up, we had to wait for about a minute at the most, and then escorted out to the patio (special request). The patio was a highly requested spot at the restaurant, as you get a great view of Downtown Dubai as well as a clear view of the Dubai Fountains. In order to get seated outside, you must make reservations and spend a minimum of 375 Dirhams per person. In order to achieve this, we had determined beforehand that we would order one of their pre-selected menus, which came with appetizers, entrees and desert. The menu that we chose was the Saffron Menu, and it was by far the most enticing option. As a picky eater, who has been trying to expand my taste pallet the past few months, I thought this was the best selection as it had most things that I enjoy, with a minimum of selection of things I would not normally order. This way, if I didn’t enjoy any of the “new” stuff, I would still be able to have a filling meal. When looking at the selection of food that was being brought, it does get overwhelming. You are quite curious how you are to eat so much, but the portion sizes are just perfect. You get a small sample of everything, and it is just enough.

Upon ordering the Saffron Menu, we were brought out complimentary snacks that were pretty much the same we had been getting at all the Indian restaurants that we had been eating at. It didn’t take too long, and before we knew it, our appetizers had arrived. We received 6 different samplings on a plate, which consisted of Kothmir Jhinga (Tiger prawn), Mahi Sunehri (Norwegian salmon), Gosht Ki Pasillian (Lamb chop), Zaffrani Malai Tikka (Chicken breast) & a Punjabi Samosa. They were all amazing! My definite favourite had to have been the lamb chop. It was the most tasteful, and well-cooked piece of lamb I have ever eaten. It came of the bone like butter – so smooth. We definitely did not take long cleaning our plates, and shortly afterwards, they were removed and the main course had arrived. Now this is where the smell and taste senses definitely kicked in. The main course consisted of small portioning’s of Meen Moiley (Kingfish stew), Murgh Makhni (Chicken tikka), Bhuna Gosht (Lamb curry), Nizami Murgh Biryani (Chicken biryani) & Dal Makhni (black Dhal), accompanied by Cucumber Raita and a selection of Tandoori Breads. The waiter helped serve us a portion of each dish, while explaining what everything was, because honestly, I had forgotten what we were getting. It was just overwhelming when all the dishes started to come out. The smell of everything was mesmerizing. Even the kingfish was great, and that’s coming from a person who hates seafood. All of the food for the main course was amazing. My favourite was definitely the Chicken tikka, but that could also be biased since I LOVE chicken! But that is not to take away from any of the other dishes, as I definitely enjoyed each one of them.

I definitely went back to each dish for seconds, but a much smaller portion. By the time I finished, I was stuffed! Like legit stuffed! Thank god that was it for the meals, as I could only take desert. As soon as we had finished, the waiter came to take out dishes, and replace them with desert. Desert was much smaller, and consisted of Chocolate Cubo (Hazelnut praline, and brownies), Kala Jamun Cheese Cake (Strawberry cheesecake), Malai Kulfi (Indian ice cream), and fruits. Desert was the perfect amount, and not overly sweet. Out of the selection, I would definitely say that the cheese cake was my favourite. That, I would have definitely taken seconds on. As we were finishing up, they brought us a small chocolate cake to share. It was delicious. Not as great at the one we had at Emirates Palace but still enjoyable.

dubai-fountains

By the end of the entire meal, I was gone. I did not feel like moving at all, but knew I needed to get up and start walking or I’d feel sick. The whole meal was delicious and enjoyable from beginning to end. And it was all complimented by the great view, and the Dubai Fountain music and show, every half an hour. I didn’t even realize that we had spent well over 2 hours eating. I guess time just flew between all the food that kept coming. We got up, and headed out of the restaurant, but as we were heading out the entrance, we saw the two people playing the Tabla and a Sitar. We decided to watch for a bit, as he played and sang a song from the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. They were phenomenal, and kept us entertained for a bit. The sense of sound awakens! I hardly ever hear different renditions of Bollywood songs, other than occasionally in temple, so it was very nice to hear. Shortly after, we headed back to the mall for the rest of the evening. I definitely enjoyed my time at the Amal restaurant, and would want to visit again.

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