Wednesday 19 September 2012

UAE: At the Top of Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

I guess everybody knows that Burj Khalifa, standing at 828m in height, is currently the tallest tower in the world and has retained this position since 2010. When it was first inaugurated in early 2010, it broke at least 15 world records, which in itself could have been a world record.

When I first travelled to Dubai and later moved here back in 2008, it was still under construction. By then however it already surpassed the height of the tallest skyscraper at the time, Taipei 101 in Taiwan. Between 2008 and 2010, I however still had the pleasure of watching the tower "grew" and scaled to new heights. A new floor was added every third day of construction. The height of Burj Khalifa was kept as a top secret, leaving everyone guessing until its inauguration day. And so was the name too apparently. It was known as Burj Dubai until it was renamed to Burj Khalifa in honour of the HH UAE President on the night of the inauguration itself by HH Ruler of Dubai.

Burj Khalifa was an engineering feat then and it still is an engineering feat today, defying almost every naysayer since the beginning of its construction way back in 2004. Watching the skyline of Dubai from afar, Burj Khalifa easily eclipses other high rise buildings. This is despite the fact that there are possibly more than 15 buildings in its vicinity that appear in the list of 100 tallest buildings in the world. It's just beyond imagination even though the reality is there standing and staring back at you. Been to Taipei 101? Add some 300m more, and you’ll get the height of Burj Khalifa. Been to Empire State Building or Petronas Twin Towers? Add another some 400m. Eiffel Tower? Another 500m, merci beaucoup. The Shard in London? Another 500m too, cheers!

Burj Khalifa has pushed things to new heights, not just figuratively, but also literally.

At the Top

Like many other tallest towers in the world, Burj Khalifa also has an observation deck/floor that is opened to public visitors to enjoy the aerial view of the growing city. The observation floor, on 124th floor, is called “At the Top”. The name is actually quite a misnomer considering the fact that the floor is located about 452m above the ground, which is not even 2/3 of the height of Burj Khalifa. (It would however literally be at the top if this is Petronas Twin Towers, which stands at 452m in height in Kuala Lumpur - read about Petronas Twin Towers Tour here).

At the Top is accessible via Dubai Mall, which is located next to Burj Khalifa. Once you have the ticket for At the Top, you can enter the “waiting” or “reception” area where there’s a replica of Burj Khalifa as well as other informative displays about the tower.

Large bags have to be deposited at the door by the way. Smaller backpacks are okay.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

(Left) The reception area after ticket check;
(Top Right) The story in numbers;
(Bottom Right) A display on how Burj Khalifa compares to Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower if it's built in Kuala Lumpur

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

(Left) The chronology;
(Top Right) The signed photo of Tom Cruise having fun while filming Mission Impossible 4 at Burj Khalifa;
(Bottom Right) Some words of wisdom from HH Ruler of Dubai. 

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

I am Burj Dubai Khalifa

Once you’re past the security check, you’ll walk along on a travelator indoor towards Burj Khalifa and then continue walking along a corridor inside Burj Khalifa to get to the elevator. The elevator up to At the Top is very fast. In fact, at 18m/s or 59ft/s, it’s the fastest elevator in the world. You’ll be up on the 124th floor in no time at all, possibly well within 30 seconds. 

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

It's all slick and clean at At the Top, the observation floor on 124th floor of Burj Khalifa. Binoculars are handy when the weather is hazy - they provide options for day time, live and night-time views.

From At the Top, the views are just amazing. Everything seems so small and Lego-like. It’s like you’re looking down at a Lego city, or like you're Gulliver looking down at the island country of Lilliput. On a good clear day, you can see places as far as almost 100km away.

Here are some of the views that you can see from At the Top.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

(Left) The Address Downtown Hotel;
(Top Right) Al Murooj Rotana Hotel;
(Bottom Right) Souk al Bahar & Dubai Mall

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

View from the open air observation deck of At the Top

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

Some of the skyscrapers on Sheikh Zayed Road,
as viewed from the open air observation deck of At the Top

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

(Top) The World (man-made islands) on a hazy day
(Bottom) Residential area in Jumeirah

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

(Left) Gold bars, anyone? No credit card accepted, cash only, please!;
(Top Right) Looking up from the open air observation deck, At the Top;
(Bottom Right) Burj al Arab as seen using binoculars

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

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How to get there

You can drive or take a taxi to Dubai Mall. Alternatively you can take Dubai Metro to Dubai Mall/ Burj Khalifa Metro Station on Red Line and walk from there to Dubai Mall. An air-conditioned pedestrian tunnel connects the station and the mall.

Where and how to buy the ticket

You can buy the tickets over the counter at Dubai Mall but it is more advisable for you to buy it in advance online at Burj Khalifa's Official Website.

Tips No. 1
You can book the tickets online up to 30 days before the day of visit. Booking online well in advance can help ensure that you get the tickets:

  • at the cheaper price of AED125 or AED200 per ticket (depending on time of visit) instead of AED300 if you buy it over the counter for an immediate entry; as well as 
  • for the time slot of your choice /that is suitable to your holiday plan. 

Tips No. 2
There is no time limit on how long you can stay up on At the Top. Some spend 20 minutes, some spend more than an hour. A lot however choose to go up just before sunset time just so they can see the views during day time, sunset time and early evening time. You can check Dubai sunset times here. This is however when the tickets are more expensive.

Tips No. 3: 
Since late 2014, Burj Khalifa has added another observation deck called At the Top, Burj Khalifa Sky on Level 148. This is now the highest observation deck in the world. It is more luxurious and naturally more expensive at either AED300 or AED500 (depending on time of visit). Visitors can however only stay up to 30 minutes on this floor. If they'd like to enjoy the view longer, they have to proceed to Level 125 (1 floor above At the Top).

Tips No. 4: 
Visitors usually combine their trip to At the Top with an afternoon visit to Dubai Mall, one of the biggest shopping malls in the world, as well as dinner by the Dubai Mall lake while watching Dubai Dancing Fountain shows

Going to Dubai, UAE? Do check out these Dubai hotels for your accommodation requirements there.

For other www.RambleAndWander.com blog entries on the UAE, click here.

Further Information:


Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. gold bar vending machine? seriously?
    pernah tengok construction dia dalam discovery channel pun dah sangat2 kagum, apatah lagi finished product.
    semua pics sangatlah cantik...:-)

    1. Yes, a vending machine selling gold bars, haha! There are a few here in Dubai and I think I have seen 3 so far.

      Thanks for the compliment walaupun gambar tak berapa clear sebab it was quite a hazy day :-)

  2. I was there during the construction of this Burj Khalifa. We went to the show unit (Armani Suite) and a few floor. Besides, we managed to visit the Dubai Mall since it was the grand opening for that day. Did you try the Dune Bashing?

    1. Hi Zara, that's cool. Was the show unit inside the tower itself? Apart from the observation floor, I haven't been inside the tower. Thought of trying the restaurant on 123rd floor but yet pay a visit there.

      Yes, I have tried dune bashing once before. I wrote about it here if you like to read about it :-)


  3. I have been here but it was still under construction. Nice pictures that you have.

    1. Thanks, Naramas :-) The next time you're in town, you should go and see the dancing fountain too.

  4. "Burj Khalifa" always remind me of Tom Cruise and MI4 Ghost Protocol. Hehehehe...

    Bila lah agaknya boleh pergi sana. Kena gigih menabung...

    1. Perhaps the "cheapest" way is for you to do a stopover in Dubai while on the way to Europe (or Africa?) by flying with Emirates or Etihad. That way you can save some money on airfare (as against paying for 2 separate trips, i.e. 1 to Europe and another to Dubai).

      Well, that's what I'd do if I were you anyway :-)

  5. very very very detail.... :) Loike.

    1. you went up just for this entry? no?
    2. Lilliput, me? ehheheh
    3. any resto up there?
    4. souvenir on observation deck or ground floor? or...?
    5."View from the open air observation deck of At the Top" - is this the same one i tweeted you sometime back? i should share this entry to my friend whom agreed that we sould go...
    6. the pic with Petronas Twin Tower, you photoshopped or its there for comparson (there=observation deck)

    ... i thk i have one more qtn but terlupa lak, way too sleepy and need to work.

    1. Thanks, Lily :-) Here are the answers to your questions:

      1. No :-)

      2. Boleh. Kasi can. Hehe

      3. There's no restaurant or cafe on the observation deck. There is however a fine dining restaurant just 1 floor below the observation deck. The restaurant is called at.Mosphere ( http://www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com/ ) Access to the restaurant is through Burj Khalifa, and not Dubai Mall like for At the Top, so you cannot just decide to go 1 floor down from At the Top for some meal. You have to go down, get out of Dubai Mall, go to Burj Khalifa building entrance and go up again.

      4. There's a small gift shop on the observation floor and there's a bigger souvenir shop on the ground floor once you exit into Dubai Mall.

      5. Yes, probably. It could have been taken from any other floor of the tower though.

      6. It's there for comparison in the foyer/ reception area. It's an image on an interactive digital screen. You can select some of the tallest towers in the world and you'll be shown how it compares to Burj Khalifa if the latter is built in the city of your chosen tallest tower.

    2. thanks... now i remembered what was the qtn.
      - mamat dalam gambar tuh you ke?

      *random tak?

    3. Ohh no, that's not me, haha! :-)

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