Situated way down along Sheikh Zayed Road south of the marina, the outlandish, mile-long Ibn Battuta Mall is worth the trip out to the furthest reaches of the city suburbs to sample what is undoubtedly Dubai’s wackiest shopping experience (which is saying something). The mall is themed in six different sections after some of the places – Egypt, Andalusia, Tunisia, Persia, India and China – visited by the famous Arab traveller Ibn Battuta, with all the architectural kitsch and caprice you’d expect. Highlights include a life-size elephant complete with mechanical mahout (rider), a twilit Tunisian village and a full-size Chinese junk, while the lavishness of some of the decoration would seem more appropriate on a Rajput palace or a Persian grand mosque than a motorway mall. As so often in Dubai, the underlying concept may be naff, but it’s carried through with such extravagance, and on such a scale, that it’s difficult not to be at least slightly impressed – or appalled. In addition, the walk from one end of the elongated mall to the other is one of the most pleasant strolls you can have in Dubai’s pedestrian-hating suburbs, especially in the heat of summer.

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