How can you visit Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and not experience the ear-popping heights of Burj Khalifa Dubai – the tallest building in the world?
We’re all used to the high-rise skyscrapers of Shang Hai, Hong Kong and NYC, but the Burj Khalifa exudes a slim eloquence, modernity and quality that surpasses them all. The tower comprises 160 storeys rising to 828 metres (2,716.5 feet).
For it’s height, Burj Khalifa is also a very narrow structure, becoming ever more narrow as it rises. Naturally, there is a limit on the number of people who can access the upper levels at any given time.
Booking your visit
Before we arrived in Dubai (at the end of our trip around Sri Lanka), we read that it is advisable to pre-book a visit to Burj Khalifa. There are nine 1-hour visits to the top per day, and the time-slots can be quickly filled up – especially the popular 5 pm sunset slot. Pre-booking is even more essential if you’ll be in Dubai for a just few days in a busy holiday period.
You can make an online booking at http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/
Currently, ticket prices to visit level 125 start from 141 AED (€33). A visit to the top level (level 148) will cost you a whopping 370 AED (€89).
We booked the 5 pm slot, which fitted in nicely with a trip to the Dubai Mall (where the tower is located). This allowed us to do some shopping beforehand, and then get a meal at one of the many eateries afterwards.
If you already have your tickets when you arrive, you need to check in around 15 minutes before your timeslot. Otherwise, there is a risk your place may be sold off to somebody else arriving on the off-chance.
There is a pleasant reception area where you can wander around before being admitted to the 65 meter-long travelator. The travelator takes you on a trip through time from the earliest days of Dubai to the present. This is like an animated history of the building of the tower.
Somewhere during our wander, we were photographed against a blue screen. This is all very VIP red-carpet, but we didn’t find out what it was all about until near the end of our visit (see below).
Burj Khalifa Dubai – Going Up…
At the end of the travelator, you begin your vertical ascent to the observation deck via a high-speed elevator, travelling at 10 meters per second. As the doors open, floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide a breath-taking unobstructed 360-degree view of the city, desert and ocean.
The ascent will make your ears pop, so remember to swallow frequently. We ascended 125 floors in 40 seconds.
360 Degree Views At the Top
At the top, we were free to wander around the enclosed observation lounge, and take pictures. The At the Top Burj Khalifa tour typically lasts 1.5 hours. However, you can linger as long as you like before making the return journey to the base of Burj Khalifa.
You’ll be taking with you a fuller appreciation of this architectural wonder and a deeper understanding of Dubai’s remarkable vision.
You can shop At the Top and take home a souvenir of your visit.
From the observation lounge, it’s clear to see that there is still a good way further up the tower to go before the very top.
Unfortunately, you won’t get the chance to experience the apogee of the tower. That is, not unless you happen to be Tom Cruise, who famously had himself filmed sitting on the very apex of the tower.
This incident took place during the fiming of Mission Impossible 4, which used Burj Khalifa as a backdrop for various computer-enhanced shenanigans.
After descending back to ground level, you are subjected to some high-pressure marketing as a multitude of pretty young girls try to sell you personalized photographs of your visit to the tower. The photographs they took earlier have now been developed, featuring you posing in front of a magnificent tower backdrop.
Save yourself some money, politely refuse, and take your own photographs if you really want to impress the folks back home.
If you enjoyed Burj Khalifa Dubai, you may also like: