Freshly returned from Dubai, I want to officially open the series of articles about the United Arab Emirates, including Dubai, with the most famous tourist attraction there, Burj Khalifa. The 829 meters and 163-story building occupies the top position among the tallest buildings/structures ever built. The first floors were “completed” in January 2004, but the building was fully done in just 6 years, which seems an incredible performance, considering the impressive dimensions worthy of a Guinness Book Record, but also the very different, complicated and revolutionary design. I suppose that the Emirates had the claim to be completed as soon as possible, thinking about the generous $ 1.5 billion investment. The official opening ceremony, breaking news around the world, was in January 2010. So Burj Khalifa has recently reached the beautiful 8-year-old age.
Being a declared fan of high-rise buildings all over the world, having the opportunity to spend a month in Dubai in 2017 (in 2018 I spent a week), I couldn’t miss visiting the architectural masterpiece and admire Dubai from that height. Weirdly, I did not have an extraordinary curiosity to climb Burj Khalifa; therefore, I chose to do so only on the penultimate day spent in the Emirates. A kind of a cherry on the cake to express myself in popular terms.
Where to buy tickets:
Tickets can be bought online from the official site or even on the spot in the Dubai Mall, but it is likely to be sold out, especially on weekends, or they could be more expensive than the online ones. By buying them online, you will not only pay less, but you will also avoid waiting for in queues. A big advantage if you ask me.
The price of a ticket varies depending on the floors you want to visit, but also the time of day. For example, I was there at 12 on a Monday, and I chose to climb up to the observation points on floors 124 and 125. In this case, the ticket cost 135 AED (≈ $ 37). If you want to get up right before sunset, then you will have to get a premium hour ticket that will cost 210 AED (≅ $ 57). If you want to climb higher up on the 148th floor and 555m respectively, then you have to get even more money out of your pocket. All this information is available through the official website, here.
How to get to Burj Khalifa:
- with taxi or Uber. As a result of my experiences, I can say that sometimes it is cheaper to travel by taxi in Dubai, so if you have to stick to a budget, I recommend you check both methods before making a choice. A taxi ride starts at 5 AED and costs 4 AED / kilometer, at the time of posting this article.
- with a rented car that you can park for free at Dubai’s Mall immense parking lot. Do not forget the code of the place you parked in.
- with the metro, stopping at Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall. You are crossing a very long tunnel until you reach the mall and then look for the entrance to “At the top Burj Khalifa”, located somewhere near the food court and cafes. You will find it very easy, the mall is full of indicators and digital maps, so you can orient yourself as quickly as possible.
A few information about Burj Khalifa:
The building belongs to Emmar Properties, which is one of the largest and most successful real estate companies in the world. In fact, many of Dubai’s towers are owned by it. So, EMAAR makes its presence felt in an ostentatious way on Burj Khalifa, almost every break between the dancing fountain performances. The spectacular lights projected on the building, bearing the Emaar signature, are an attraction in itself.
You probably wonder, just as I did, what could such a megastructure host inside. Well, besides luxurious and extremely expensive apartments, as well as offices and 5-star restaurants, Burj Khalifa also hosts some hotels. The most famous among them is the Armani Hotel, which is said to have been designed by the one and only Italian billionaire, Giorgio Armani, being the first hotel in the world designed by a fashion designer.
Another very interesting aspect is the one referring to the building’s architecture. Despite the speculation that it would have been inspired by a telescope, you have to know that in fact, a flower was the one that inspired the entire project, namely the Hymenocallis flower. I’ll let you find the similarities on the entry ticket that this flower appears.
World records obtained by Burj Khalifa:
- Tallest structure ever built at 829.8 meters (2,722 feet to the top of the spire)
- Building with the most floors at 163
- Longest elevator travel distance at 504 meters (1,654 ft)
- Highest observation deck on the 148th floor at 555 meters (1,821 ft)
- Highest outdoor observation deck on the 124th floor at 452 meters (1,483 ft)
- Highest restaurant on the 122nd floor at 442 meters (1,450 ft)
- Highest nightclub on the 144th floor
How was the visit:
I chose to climb Burj Khalifa on a Monday at 12 o’clock, and that’s probably why the queues have not been as long as I was expecting. Adding the fact that the tickets were purchased online, the wait was very short, which I was very happy with. As mentioned above, there are two observation points, the first grouping the floors 124 and 125, and the second being on the 148th floor. I opted for 124 + 125, thinking about the fact that from such a height, 20 floors it would have made no difference.
Time spent up depends on your choice, but generally, a visit to Burj Khalifa takes about two hours, including the queue. Throughout this time, you will cross some rooms where the construction process is explained, you will see many images and videos, and you will find interesting things, some sort of curiosities about Burj Khalifa. Later, you expect to enter the fastest lift in the world, which in just a few seconds will lift you up to 452 meters altitude.
From here, you can look at Dubai from inside the building, where you can admire the North, West, and South, or you can admire the city from the deck which offers an extra view of the East. In the first phase, you will feel like you are facing a mock-up of the city and not a real picture of it. Cars will be small like ants, and people almost impossible to notice. With luck, you will also be able to admire the fountain show, which will look like this at this height.
There is also a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs, but their price is much higher than at a souvenir shop in Deira, for example. Therefore, I only recommend that you study, analyze and move on because their price is unreasonably high, in my view. If you don’t feel dizzy yet from admiring Dubai from that height, you still have a chance in the sphere swings. From Burj Khalifa, you will be able to see all Dubai, including the Burj Al Arab Hotel, Palm Island and also a part of the beautiful desert. How the visit went, you can also find out by watching the video posted on my Youtube channel.
- wear comfortable shoes, as you might spend some time in the queue and when you get to the top of the building you will not have where to sit
- try to visit the building just before sunset for a spectacular panorama similar to the one I saw on Empire State in NYC. In the case of
- Burj Khalifa, unfortunately, we had other things scheduled for that day, so we had to be thankful with a lunch visit
- buy tickets in advance to be sure you find them available for that day
- buy tickets online; you will not have to stand in line and you will pay less for them
- go during the working days if you have the opportunity. Avoiding the weekend, you avoid crowds