The monorail connecting Dubai’s mainland and Atlantis Hotel at Palm Jumeirah has opened last month and we went to experience it.
The driverless light rail system travels along the trunk of the man-made islands from the Gateway station to Atlantis Hotel’s Aquaventure (water park). This monorail system services four stations but for now, only the first and last station is open.
A round trip costs 25 dhs (US$6.8) and a one way ticket costs 15 dhs (US$4). Expensive. Not for everyday commute. In Japan, Pristine would be exempted from buying train tickets but here, no. All children beyond 90 cms has to pay – and we all know how she’s so beyond a meter already!
The monorail ticket up-close. It is made of hard half plastic-half paper material and shows illustration of the palm island. I say, they should reduce the material cost of this ticket and in turn, reduce the cost of the fares. Train tickets doesn’t have to be this grand.
She was excited to scan her ticket at the gate.
From the train platform, while waiting for our ride, we saw the Burj Al Arab.
On the other side, construction at the foot of Palm Jumeirah is still going on. We went on a Friday but apparently, it’s not everyone’s day off. We saw so many workers out in the hot sun.
The train arrived on time, which, honestly, I did not expect. Pristine asked, “where are the other people?” She remembered the rush of the crowds at the train stations in Tokyo.
Another view of how the train looked inside. There were no other people in that car compartment so we had the space all to ourselves.
On our left side, we can see One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel’s private beach.
The monorail stopped at the two stations, Trump Tower and Palm Mall but the doors did not open. There’s no Trump Tower and Palm Mall yet!
As the train nears Atlantis Hotel, I was finally able to take a photo of it, with the whole building in one frame.
Atlantis Hotel is built on the crescent part of the palm islands and the last stop of the monorail. We got a closer glimpse of the private beach. I hope the beach goers had a lot of sunblock lotion on!
The monorail’s last stop is Aquaventure station. Aquaventure is a fun waterpark inside Atlantis Hotel. We can see the action from the waterpark aboard the monorail.
As we arrived at Aquaventure station, poor girl thought we’re going to go swimming and rushed out. She was so excited to swim!
But of course we didn’t because it was not part of the plan. Besides, it costs a lot to swim at Aquaventure – something to the tune of US$77 per person!
Random facts about Dubai’s first monorail:
- Monorail trains are driverless, total of 4 trains operating, will increase to 9 trains per hour after the monorail connects to the Dubai Metro.
- Each train has three carriages
- Journey length (one way) is 5.45 km and takes 5 minutes (I feel it was beyond 5 minutes but I didn’t measure the time)
- Cost of the Jumeirah Monorail project was AED 1.4 billion (US$380 million), equivalent to the cost of 56 million return tickets on the monorail, which would take about 5 years to recover if the train ran at full capacity of 2400 passengers per hour during opening hours. (Oh dear…did you see how empty the train was?)
- Monorail developed by consortium of developers, led by Marubeni Corp of Japan, and including Obayashi, a civil contractor Obayashi, and Hitachi, a train builder and mechanical/electrical contractor, at their Kasado Works plant in Japan. (Main reason why my husband was so interested in this – he has friends working on the monorail and the Metro)
Watch for the next installment of this post where we take a look of what’s inside Atlantis Hotel and a video while the monorail is running!