Visiting Burj Khalifa – At the Top


We were warned by many people that visiting the top of the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building was a waste of time and money, and all that all we would see is sand and the tops of buildings, and that it is best viewed from downstairs. Thank God, we ignored all the advice.

No trip to Dubai can be considered complete without a trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa.

Come on, when a building boasts the following stats, there is no way we are in the same town and not getting on top:

  • Over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories
  • Tallest building in the world
  • Tallest free-standing structure in the world
  • Highest number of stories in the world
  • Highest occupied floor in the world
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world

Our Experience There

We booked our tickets online two days in advance and we were really lucky to get a slot. Never mind that the only available slot was at 9:00 am in the morning, and that we had to rush out of our place at 7:30 am and jump on a jam-packed with commuters metro. When we arrived there and saw the long lines of tourists desperately trying to get a slot, we realized that pre-booking was one of the best things we did. If you are visiting the place, look online for the tickets at least a week in advance.

A morning slot is more restful, we were in and out of the place before all the touristy chaos really got underway, but you may also want to try an evening slot so that you can combine the tour to the top with seeing the Dubai musical fountains that start in the evening next to the Burj Khalifa. We saw them one evening, and seeing the fountains against the backdrop of the building is really magical.

Having successfully navigated all the queues for the tickets, we waited in line for the escalators (supposedly the fastest in the world) to take us to the 124th floor where they have an observation deck. While waiting in queue, we watched videos of Tom Cruise doing some stunts on top of the Burj Khalifa for his movie Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol.

I’m not a huge fan of his but after seeing those stunts that he did, my respect for him has really gone up. It takes some guts to get out there.

Then soon we were in the elevators and we had an ear-poppingly swift ascent to the top where we spent a good 30 mins or so wandering around, exclaiming at the views, and trying to name all the buildings we were seeing. The observation deck is awesome. It has little holes in the glass from where you can push out your head or arms and feel the wind beating against you. This is where you really should not go if you have even the slightest tendency to vertigo.

Snubnose loved the entire experience and spent a lot of time looking through the telescopes to get close-up views. Piglet nonchalantly walked up to the glass and plunked himself there. I had minor heart tremors just thinking what would happen if the glass broke. Soon though, his patience with all the tourists and photographs wore thin and he had a mini-meltdown.

An agitated Piglet. All he wanted was milk and a long nap

An agitated Piglet. All he wanted was milk and a long nap

Once we were down, we settled Piglet into his stroller and gave him his bottle of milk and within minutes he was a happy camper, snoozing happily among all the noise and hubbub of the food court.

Snoozing happily at The Burj Khalifa

Snoozing happily at The Burj Khalifa

I took the opportunity to rest my legs while K and Snubnose did a walk-through of the Dubai Mall to see what was on offer – it’s an awesome mall, but we came out of it empty-handed.

On the way out of the building I randomly stumbled upon the most amazing book store I have ever seen – Kinokuniya. I’ve never heard of this store before, but this is one seriously gigantic beast. Because we were in a hurry, I couldn’t do more than glimpse through the collections, but I am seriously impressed. I particularly loved their extensive collection of Japanese authors – no surprise as I found out later that this is a Japanese book chain.

The Amazing Kinokuniya

The Amazing Kinokuniya

If you are a bookworm, this shop in Dubai Mall is a must-visit, I wish I had known about this before as I would have budgeted enough time for a proper browse through.

And that was our time at Burj Khalifa, people. Only after we got back home, and after browsing through our snaps, I realized that we hadn’t taken any very good pics of the actual building itself. It was so tall that we only managed to take shots of it in bits and pieces. But we did manage to pose Snubnose and Piglet against a model of the building and I guess that will have to do for now.

I suppose this is the only way we would get all three of them within the same photo

I suppose this is the only way we would get all three of them within the same photo

So that was our trip to the Burj Khalifa. It’s a bit touristy but I highly recommend it, if you’re visiting Dubai, this is a must-visit.

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    Lovely view from the top. I saw Mission Impossible and I loved that Tom Cruise scene from the movie. Hope to visit it sometime.

    • Nishita I haven’t seen that movie, Ava. In fact I hadn’t even heard of this scene until we went to Burj Khalifa. Will definitely catch it when it comes on TV.

  • Karen

    Not for me unfortunately since I suffer vertigo so badly I can’t even watch films where the villain is in a fight on top of the tall building. Did yiu know the building on,ya got its name four hours before the opening ceremony? The owners changed their minds that close to the big event.

    Karen – bookertalk

    • Nishita

      @disqus_gmoXW9BOB2:disqus Yeah, it was originally supposed to be named something else, but the dude who stepped in and funded the finishing of the building apparently insisted it be named after him, that’s why the name change.

  • This is the same way I felt when visiting the Sears tower in Chicago. After seeing it one time, you may never go there but you need that one experience for sure. I have not been to the burj khalifa – the building came up after I left dubai but I’m hoping to go back to dubai next year for a visit.

    • Nishita

      @athirac:disqus Exactly my thoughts. It is a one-time visit for sure, but definitely not something to miss.

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