The Burj Khalifa, as of 2015, is the tallest building in the world. It’s also one of Dubai’s best tourist attractions (in my opinion). On our last full day in Dubai, hubby and I went up 125 levels into the sky above the city and the views were fantastic.
We were very lucky with the weather while we were in Dubai. It was clear each day and night, with just enough wind to keep the 35 degree celsius temps feeling like only about 25 – 28. There was hardly any haze and we had no sand storms. This made it perfect weather for ascending the tower.
The entrance to the tower is actually inside the Dubai Mall. There is a ticket desk near the entrance of the tower and you have to choose an allocated time. We purchased our tickets for the next time that still had some available, so to fill in the 30 minute wait, we had some brunch. We came back and lined up about 5 minutes before our allocated time, but it took us approx. 15 minutes to get to the front of the line where you had to be scanned by security. You are not allowed any laptops, shopping bags or strollers up the tower, but a check room is provided for you to use to store these items.
Once you are cleared by security, you walk down a tunnel towards a green screen and a photographer (I reckon tourist attractions make a killing out of the photos, as we got suckered by several, but not this time). Once your photo has been taken you go up an escalator and along a corridor. There are several facts and figures on the walls, as well as a TV showing a scene from Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol which features the Burj Kahlifa. If you don’t know what scene I’m talking about then you need to watch the movie.
From here you come to a set of elevators (how else do you get up to the 125th floor?). The elevator takes you up to the 124th floor observation deck. Now let me just take a minute to tell you, the elevator ride in itself is excellent. The lift has a massive amount of clearance between a tall persons head and the roof of the lift. Once the doors shut, you find out just why that is. An AV presentation starts (I was too slow to film it) and gives you something to watch for the 60 or so seconds it takes to get to where you’re going. It finishes with a finale the exact moment you reach the 124th floor and the doors spring open.
Ok, so after processing that you have just seen an AV presentation good enough to rival a feature film, you immediately notice just how high you are.
With floor to ceiling windows you can see for miles in every direction when you walk around the whole floor. The best part for me? The outdoor observation deck – DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU ARE SCARED OF HEIGHTS.
Don’t worry you won’t fall. There are very tall glass barriers (with a railing before it). There is however a gap in the glass of about 30cm. This little gap lets you stick your arm out and get a photo without looking through glass, and yes I did do this. Also make sure you look up. There are still more floors above you.
We had a great view of the Burj Khalifa from our hotel room.
We were keen to see if we could see our hotel from the observation levels and we did! It’s the funny shaped one in the bottom left corner of the below photo.
Once we’d had enough of seeing all we could see in all directions we went back inside to head back to the elevators, but noticed that we could go up to another level, 125th floor to be exact. We had to take the stairs, but seriously 1 flight of stairs compared to 124? I was definitely ok with that.
125th floor again had floor to ceiling windows and the entire level seemed to be smaller than the one below. The very cool thing up on that level was the past/present/night binoculars. At approx every 5 metres around the level, was a type of binocular viewing machine.
Hubby and I went over to one and saw that you could choose 1 of 3 options – past, present or night. Each one showed what the area of sight, of that particular viewing machine looked like in the past, currently today and then at night-time. When we chose the past option, it was just a sandy desert, as was to be expected. The whole area around the Burj Khalifa has all been built up, over the past 10 years.
The excavation work for the foundation of the Burj Khalifa itself began in January 2004. It was 6 six years of construction before it was opened in January 2010. Other interesting facts about the tower include:
- Over 828 metres tall (2,716.5 feet)
- More than 160 stories
- It has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world
- The total weight of the aluminium used in the façade is the equivalent of the weight of 5 A380 aircrafts
- Construction is estimated to have used 22 million man-hours
- There are 24,348 windows
We probably spent about 45 mins – 1 hour in the tower attraction. From the time we cleared security to the time we exited through the gift shop (and successfully declined to purchase our green screen photo). One thing I would say to take note of on the way out, is all the information about the time frame and the key people involved in the construction of the tower.
When you exit the lifts down on the ground floor, you walk back along through a corridor and it has photos and scale models of time frames within the build. There are big images of the people who were part of the project and some stories from them about the project as well.
To go up the tower is a little expensive at about $45 Australian dollars each, but it was definitely worth it. I highly recommend doing it, if you can spare the money. Get your tickets here.
Also check it out from afar at night time. As you can see its gorgeous.