Dubai - The Dubai Fountain
last update: 09 May 2020
Our New Year trip for 2020 ran from late January 2020 to mid-March 2020 and involved 8 nights in Dubai and 43 nights in Phuket. We spent 3 nights in Dubai outward bounds, and 5 nights in Dubai on our return flight.
Booking our visit
At the same time as we booked our visit to Burj Khalifa we also book a 'Lake Ride' to see The Dubai Fountain experience (see specific booking site for tickets).
Finding the 'Lake Ride' at the Burj Khalifa
Our hotel had a shuttle bus to The Dubai Mall, the location of the Burj Khalifa. However due to the intense early evening traffic the shuttle did not run between 16:00 and 18:30, exactly when the 'Lake Ride' was planned. So we took a taxi.
This time instead of being dropped off at the 'Grand Parking', and based upon the advice from 'At The Top', we went to the Fashion Avenue car park. Maybe this was a good idea, and maybe not. I still had to find the same 'At The Top' desk as for the visit to the Burj Khalifa. We could then get our actual tickets. After that it was back to The Dubai Fountain.
So what is The Dubai Fountain?
Firstly, it is the single most popular tourist attraction in Dubai, and it's free to watch every night.
Sitting at the foot of the Burj Khalifa there is a 30-acre expanse of water, called the Burj Khalifa Lake. We can see in the above photograph the underwater jets, and the way they are placed facing what they call 'The BoardWalk'. To the left we can see The Dubai Mall with the bridge that leads to the Souk Al Bahar on what they call the 'Old Town Island'.
The Dubai Fountain, created by the same people who built the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, is said to be the world's largest musical fountain (it's about 25% bigger than the fountains in Las Vegas). The lake is 300 metres long, and consists of five circles of differing sizes, two arcs, and a multitude of water spouts. In addition the lighting system consists of 6,600 LED underwater lights. The designers claim that some of the water spouts can shoot water up to 170 metres. The cost is quoted at $218 million, this is nearly 10 times the cost of the Empire State Building when built in 1930 for $24.7 million.
With our tickets we were able to 'set sail' on a traditional Abra and get an up-close view of the evening spectacle.
Here we are just as the show starts. Here is our video of The Dubai Fountain.
Frankly, I was slightly disappointed with the show. We have seen the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, and I found that this show was somehow less impressive. One of the problems might have been that we were simply too near. It was very difficult to see the entire display, whereas it might actually have been better to be on the terrace of the Apple Store. Have a look at this, and judge for yourself.
Also I was a bit surprised that they did not use some colour in the show. There might be 6,600 lights, but they appear to be all white. They do say that there are also 50 colour projectors, but I'm not sure we saw them at work.
Frankly I was more impressed with the light show projected on to the wall of the Burj Khalifa.
What do we know about the Burj Khalifa Fountains?
In fact, surprisingly little. We know they were designed and are still operated by WET Design, the same Los Angeles based company that built the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. We know that the fountains cover 8 acres of the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake, but we know little else on the technical details of the workings of the fountains.
Interestingly the water in the lake and used in the fountains, all 166 thousand cubic metres of it, is the product of four underground filtering stations. And in fact the water is treated effluent and rain water.
If we look at the 11 hectares of gardens around the Burj Khalifa they are irrigated by water condensed from the tower's cooling system, which provided around 57 million litres of water per year.
It is said that the lights are visible from the international space station, and are, for a few minutes, one of the brightest spots on the Earth's surface.
Another oft forgotten part of the show is the music. In this article they discuss the 38 different musical tracks that can be shown on any night. We caught the first show of the evening, which traditionally is Sama Dubai, a tribute to Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed, and written and performed by Emirati singer Mehad Hamad. However, in the 37 alternative music tracks we also have Time to Say Goodbye, All Night Long, Thriller, etc.