Standing at the feet of Burj Khalifa, my eyes gasped at the very first sight of the soaring monstrous skyscraper! At an unattainable height of 829 meters, Burj Khalifa is truly the indomitable edifice of humanity, which dared to touch the clouds and rise higher! No wonder it took them 5 long years to build this beautiful piece of architecture, currently stated to be the tallest tower in the world.
If Dubai is the Oasis amidst the Arabian peninsula, Burj Khalifa is the heartland of that centre of life! Since a decade it was built in 2009, Burj Khalifa has been accredited as the world’s tallest building. It also holds the record of close to a million tourist footfall in a year! People from distant corners of the globe visit this building to marvel at the modern-day wonder. I am no different than them.
Dubai is an elusive elixir of a destination. Its monumental buildings, sky-high offices, powerful crude oil industry, and indulgent economy attract people from distant parts of the world. There is a sense of intense glamour and the treasure trove of modern luxury associated with Dubai! Rising from the Arabian desert. Dubai came to be the most extravagant and modern metropolis of the seven emirates from the Middle Eastern part of the world!.
Burj Khalifa: An Iconic Tower
No trip to Dubai is complete until you have scaled the heights of Burj Khalifa. So far, Burj Khalifa has overtaken quite a handful of world records. On its own, the tallest standing structure means it is free standing on its core; Burj Khalifa poses itself as a daring adventure!
Apart from being the tallest tower, Burj Khalifa also houses the world’s tallest spa, residential apartment, lunges, sky deck, art gallery, 9 hotels, an artificial lake, a sprawling mall. The design of Burj Khalifa draws direct inspiration from the spiral minarets of the Great Mosque of Samarra of medieval times. The base of the tower is profound, with 27 setbacks in a spiral pattern. However, at the peak, the building is only 1.5 meters in width.No wonder it is called an architectural marvel of the world.
Residents living on the 80th floor are believed to delay 2 minutes for offering Ramadan prayers than the stipulated time on the ground. Residents above the 150th floor wait for 3 minutes since sun ray does not bid adieu sooner. Numerous awards and accolades have been showered on Burj Khalifa for standing tall and glorious. Unofficial and official base jumpers have taken off from the deck of high floors a significant number of times! Tom Cruise jumped off the tower in the famous Hollywood movie, Mission Impossible.
Here is a complete list of things to do at Burj Khalifa. We will discuss tickets and other means of travelling in the latter portion of this post. We mostly picture a tall tower by the name Burj Khalifa. Still, we also need to remember it is a massive structure with many activities ongoing at the ground. If you have been to the twin towers at KL, you will know what I mean. I suggest, take your time and experience Burj Khalifa one moment at a time!
How to visit the top of Burj Khalifa?
To reach the top of Burj Khalifa, you need to procure a ticket. It is a paid activity. Various ticket prices are amounting to varying privileges. Let me elaborate.
While the” At the Top” observation deck is housed on the 124th floor, Burj Khalifa has another observation deck housed on the 148th floor. It is called the ‘At the Top Sky’ deck. Two decks have different pricing. Pricing also varies depending on the time you visit. A sunset view costs more than a usual sunny day.
The basic “At the Top” ticket will let you access the Level 125 Observation Deck and the exhibits on show at Level 124. On the other hand, “At the Top SKY” ticket takes you to higher up at the Observation Deck on Level 148. With the latter, you have access to Level 124 and 125 as well.
Ideally, every visitor is allowed 30 minutes at “At the Top SKY” on 148th Level and can spend as long as they want at the “At the Top”, at Level 125.
Ticket Price to Access Burj Khalifa observation decks
If you plan to visit the 124th floor, the price is 174 AED (close to USD 48). This price is valid for NOT peak hours. Tickets are valid from 8:30 am8:30 am to 5:00 pm5:00 pm, and from 7:00 pm7:00 pm until midnight. For Sunrise and breakfast, you pay 149 AED. This is the most economical deal; however, many activities are closed at this time, meaning you have to come back later to see the city living up in the evening.
Peak hours, between 5:30 pm5:30 pm and 7:00 pm7:00 pm, will cost you more around 200 AED (close to USD 55) on the 124th floor. The observation deck on the 148th Floor is priced higher and is far less crowded than the lower deck. It is 300 feet higher than the 125th-floor observation deck and allows a different perspective to the modern and futuristic city that Dubai is. Ticket to the “At the Top Sky” observation deck is priced at 378 AED (nearly $102) for NOT the peak hours, starting from 7 pm7 pm till midnight. Not Peak hours, starting from 9 am9 am till 6 pm6 pm, visitor pays 533 AED ($145). Infants below 4 years do not require a ticket.
A mesmerizing view of the city from the observation deck!
The views from the observation deck and sky deck must take your breath away. You can have a 360-degree view of the entire city and a portion of Dubai creek from the observation deck.
Unless you have vertigo or any other medical condition, I strongly recommend climbing the Sky Deck. It is an amazing experience to scale this high and be on the top of the world, quite literally! At the Top Sky also lets visitors snack on the choicest Dates and Arabic coffee, which is delightful.
If time permits, plan your trip to the top of Burj Khalifa during Sunset. Although the ticket price is steep during Sunset, it is worth it, in my opinion. A foggy morning shall allow you to shoot misty morning in Dubai. Needless to say, from the top of Burj Khalifa, photo opportunities are unbound. You can get a selfie camera to shoot yourself because tripods are not allowed. Security is strict and is at par with any international airport rules. A wide-angle lens will help you capture amazing cityscapes.
Experiencing A Sunrise from Burj Khalifa
Despite high ticket prices, evening at the Sky Deck at Burj Khalifa gets extremely crowded with tourists. However, the sunrise remains a serene and less frequented experience among visitors. If you are an early riser, a Sunrise trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa can be a promising experience. The cost is cheap. You also get to end the tour with a cup of complimentary coffee and pastry.
The early morning visit is a daunting one. The mall is asleep. The entrance marked as 7 is your entry to the mall. A speeding lift takes you to the 125th floor in less than 1 minute. The fountains and skyscrapers lie asleep, but in deep slumber, Dubai Marina makes up with a stunning view.
Sunrise takes place around 6:30 am6:30 am. You can enjoy it from the open outdoor area, unlike the glass panel view during sunset, only with a handful of other visitors usually.
Each moment passes by, and the iconic Dubai Marina and the city underneath wake up from the night’s sleep. It is an enriching and calming experience. Yellow desert shines at a distance where the city ends. Try to visit on a weekday to catch the sunrise from Burj Khalifa since that is the best time to avoid the crowd.
The view is mesmerizing, but the interiors of the building are nothing short of astounding. Ceramic tiles adorn the hallways. There are plenty of artefacts and fine painting greeting you in the hallway.
The Elevator ride: Fastest in the World!
We felt like weightless and flying like a bird at the elevator at Burj Khalifa, Dubai. The elevator at Burj Khalifa is also known as “travelator.” It is a 65-meter long capsule that rises at a rate of 10 meters/second. Inside it, a multimedia display tells you how Burj Khalifa became the Middle East icon on a global stage. The travelator is a double-decker elevator.
At the 125 the deck, do not forget to check out Dubai – A Falcon’s Eye View. Using virtual reality and the boon of technology, one can literally fly over the Dubai cityscape. You get to see the whole of Dubai and her important landmarks.
There is a telescope with HD cameras facilitating a seamless experience for travellers. Stand in the queue and manoeuvre through the instrument to linger your glances on the city’s favourite spot. However, it is only possible on a clear sunny day.
The Dubai Fountain show erupts in colourful play with water every day as the sunsets. The Skydeck equally enjoys the water show. Dubai Fountains are the tallest waterfall in the world.
There is no dearth of seamless luxury in Dubai. It fills your heart and soul with the essence of haute culture. While leaving the building, make sure to pay a visit to the Armani Hotel Dubai. Its lobby is designed by the famed Giorgio Armani and bears his signature luxury. Also note, this is the first-ever Armani hotel in the world flaunting uber-cool and state of the art designs.
The Residence at Burj Khalifa houses a sculpture named “World Voices.” Designed by the leading artist Jaume Plensa, the artwork installation has 196 cymbal instruments that sing to the tune of water drops from the ceiling. It is beautiful, to say the least, and captivates one’s heart with melancholy!
Best time to visit Burj Khalifa
I visited Burj Khalifa during the summer months of June and recommended you to plan a visit during the dry season. In case of rain or fog, the view from the top gets painfully spoilt with floating clouds. Also, plan your visit around sunset to see the city living up with sparkling lights from swanky buildings and malls. Dubai fountain starts to play as well. It is extremely windy at the top of the building. It can also be a challenge to get a clear view if you visit on a foggy day. In fact, mist and clouds will cover the better part of the city. The Dubai Mall is open from 8 am to 11:30 pm. Early morning access is only possible for the sky deck on the top floor. On weekends and public holidays, the queue is particularly painful. Several activities await you as you plan a visit to Burj Khalifa. In fact, it is necessary to schedule at least one day to experience everything on offer, including getting to the top, dinner, shopping, etc. You can also plan an early day out to catch a spectacular sunrise from the building.
Other places to explore near Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is nothing short of the identity of downtown Dubai. The sky-high building has soared high and ensured its surroundings came up as a lit, Haute lifestyle destination. Not only malls, but there are also bespoke activities and other attractions for tourists, befitting a perfect family outing day. Visiting Burj Khalifa also gives you a chance to explore these gems of Dubai. Be rest assured, a day at Burj Khalifa will be full of activities and surprises. It is expensive; however, Burj Khalifa is the epitome of luxury and attracts a crowd who can easily afford it.
The Green Planet
Dubai creates magic in its atmosphere by using the best of technology! If you thought Dubai is an arid land, void of colors of tropics, think again. This is a humanmade tropical forest, laid out of a vertical structure. Myriad ecosystems with endangered species like frogs, snakes, butterflies, and a thriving rainforest are present here. It is quite a learning experience for toddlers and a charming walk in the woods for grown-ups alike.
The teenagers of the family must not feel left out. If you are a passionate gamer and enjoy the thrill and connect this digital world brings to you from the quirks of world-wide-web, Hub Zero is your den! From simulated bikes thrill rides and VR reality taking you to different time zones and era in the world, Hub Zero will rush your adrenaline. You can easily forget the age barrier and be in the immersive gaming experience zone.
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
If you have been to the Ocean world of Bangkok, you shall love its counterpart in Dubai. It is the largest suspended aquarium globally—more than 140 types of marine animals, including sharks, manta rays, crocodile, etc. The Dubai Aquarium is actively involved in conservation efforts, and the animals do enjoy the gentle treatment.
Hysteria Haunted House
Please note, you can only visit this haunted house if you are over 18 years of age. It is housed on one of the floors of the Dubai Mall. Hailed at one of the scariest haunted house experiences globally, Hysteria House is notorious for not so pleasant surprises. You need to have nerves of steel to survive! The mansion houses the wicked souls, and once you enter, your senses will be teased at every step. Children are particularly prohibited from entering this place of their own.
Mattel Play Town
This playhouse is aimed to cater to children between 2 to 10 years of age. There are many provisions of interactive learning while playing. Teamwork and creativity are encouraged. Nannies attend to the kids. They are experts, trained, and maintain strict hygiene standards. Mattel Play Town is a handy place where your kids can be secured as mothers continue to enjoy quality time in the mall. Basically, they double as shared responsibility holders for bits of time for your kids. Kids, in turn, get to make friends too!
Important travel tips for visiting the Burj Khalifa
- Weekends are particularly crowded at Burj Khalifa, causing the experience to get significantly diluted. Weekends in the Middle East come on Friday and Saturday. I recommend planning a visit on different days if possible.
- Burj Khalifa is situated at an hour’s drive from Dubai International airport. If you are on a strict schedule with a transit visa, it is possible to make a quick visit to Burj Khalifa.
- There are 50 elevators in the building. The one taking you up to the observation deck is also one of the world’s fastest, rising at an ear-popping speed at 22 MPH.
- If you have another day at disposal, we strongly recommend taking a helicopter ride to view the Dubai Marina and Burk Khalifa from the air.
- To access the Dubai Mall, hop-off at the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station for an economical option.
- While you can book an entry ticket on the spot, I highly recommend booking for a sunset view at least 2 hours prior. You can also check the website and get your tickets and club it with other activities, like visiting the Dubai aquarium or Armani Deli, etc. (https://tickets.atthetop.ae/atthetop/en-us/booktickets/index/4)
Cafes and Restaurants near Burj Khalifa
Service in style and of excellence in nature are the signature identity of Burj Khalifa. The restaurants do not falter on expectation, rather score higher than expectations. We recommend prior reservations at every eatery, especially for a dinner date.
At atmosphere is an elaborate lounge perched on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa building. This also happens to be the world’s tallest restaurant. You can dine on an elaborate European menu while your eyes can feast on downtown Dubai as a bird’s eye view from the large window panes. Desserts and drinks are served here as well. A similar experience can be attained at Burj Club, another one from the building itself.
In case you are craving for North Indian cuisine, head straight to Armani Amol. The sitting area at the third-floor open roof setting is alluring, especially at night when the city is lit up. Armani Lounge, Deli, and Ristorante are a few of Armani’s other outlets where a large variant of cuisine is served in case you are craving for the Mediterranean or Arabic food.
Al Hallab serves the most authentic Arabic food with a spellbound view covering the entire vista of Burj Khalifa, the fountains, and the opera. The Fountains create beautiful light and sound show in the evening. The food at Al Hallab is styled after traditional Lebanese fare, halal, and served with care.
The Rainforest Cafe at the Dubai mall ensures a one in a minion experience. You walk inside a rainforest, secure your seat, and enjoy an elaborate spread. You may use your Dubai Pass here to gain entry. The rainforest is made up; however, the atmosphere is as real as it gets. Dining here is a sensory experience and romantic too.
In case your soul seeks continental delights, you can explore Markette. The French cuisine is cooked and served in Haute style and is much acclaimed by gourmands.
When are you planning a trip to Burj Khalifa?
It took them close to 6 years to built the entire structure of Burj Khalifa. Also, most of the residential blocks were sold within 8 hours of the auction started. Close to 100,000 elephants weigh the same as Burj Khalifa. The massive structure reinstated the region’s might and economic prowess and has been highly regarded as a tourist magnet ever since. The reasons are endless. Burj Khalifa is one of the most photographed icons in the world!
There are plenty of other activities that make a Dubai vacation memorable; however, climbing atop the Burj Khalifa remains the crown jewel of them all! After all, not every day you come across a building shaped after Spider Lily Flower that kisses the clouds and the sky!