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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Dubai features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 things every family must do in Dubai

6 things every family must do in Dubai

Dubai is the most spectacular playground on Earth. The desire to make everything bigger and brighter and better has created a city of superlatives – and for w…

15 Jun 2017 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
Burj Khalifa: is the world’s tallest building worth the hype?

Burj Khalifa: is the world’s tallest building worth the hype?

One of Dubai’s main attractions and currently the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa draws in hundreds of people daily to marvel at the views from i…

31 Jan 2017 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
Away from the skyscrapers: how to find the “other” Dubai

Away from the skyscrapers: how to find the “other” Dubai

It’s big, brash and lays claim to so many world records it might even have the world record for the number of world records. But beyond the superlatives, skys…

22 Nov 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month