.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A visit to the Top of the World — Dubai’s Burj Khalif

04 At the Top (11)

It seems fitting that the last major post in my series on visiting Dubai should highlight what I thought was its most spectacular attraction, namely the lovely Burj Khalif.  It is the world’s tallest building, with the world’s highest observation decks.  How could any traveler resist adding checkmarks to those bullet points on their bucketlist?

The Burj Khalifi has 1.85 million sq ft of residential space and 300,000 sq ft of office space, in addition to the Armani designed hotel and residences.   Here are some additional interesting facts about the building and its construction:

– It contains 11.6 million sq ft of concrete

– It took 22 million man hours to build over 6 years.  There were 12,000 people working on the building during the construction phase, a number not much smaller than the Taj Mahal.  Workers on the project came from 196 countries

– It has 1.1 million sq ft of glass (26,000 individually cut panels), and these take 36 workers 3-4 months to clean

The magnificent Burj Khalif

The magnificent Burj Khalif

There are actually two observation decks you can visit.  The first one constructed and the one most people go to is “At the Top”, which straddles the 124 and 125 floor.  When a taller observation deck was subsequently opened at the Canton Tower, Guangzhou,  the Emiratees felt the need to put in an even higher observation level on the 148th floor, known as “At the Top, Burj Khalifi SKY”.  A visit to the latter is almost three times more expensive than a visit to the former, but as a bonus you can also can stop on the 124 and 125th floor when you’re done studying the views on the 148th floor.

It likely being my only visit to the Burj Khalif, I decided to splurge on the “Sky” package.  The line was blessedly quite short for this option, with only about a 5 minute wait before an amazingly smooth elevator ride wisked a group of us up to the 148th floor.  Here you are greeted by a host/hostess who offers you a complimentary cool glass of juice.  The area isn’t crowded and you leisurely walk around the inside glassed in view, or step onto the 555 m high outdoor patio (also safely glassed in) for a surreal view.  The outside is oven-hot, even though the strong breeze cuts through the narrow cracks between the safety glass.

At the Top, Burj Khalifi SKY

At the Top, Burj Khalifi SKY

The views are almost surreal.   As is often the case in Dubai, dust was blowing and obscuring distant panoramas, but the area around the Dubai Mall was quite clearly visible, as was the Dubai fountain.

When done at the 148th floor, an elevator takes you down to the 125th floor, where things are much busier and more crowded, but you are afforded a somewhat closer look at the buildings around the Dubai Mall.

At the Top, Birj Khalif

At the Top, Birj Khalif

When done, you simply take an elevator to exit.

I visited the Dubai fountain show mid-day as my schedule didn’t allow me to stick around for the evening lite fountain-show viewing. 

Here are some of the photos I took of the views from the Burj Khalif.  The haze is common as the desert winds blow dust around the city.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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