There is no doubt about it, Dubai is a crazy place. The beaches are obscenely clean (I saw someone polishing a trashcan at La Mer Beach). The malls are so large they can fit ski slopes, aquariums, and ice rinks. Somehow, in the desert climate, there is a jaw-droppingly lush botanical garden. Manmade private islands dot the coastline, and towering over this insane place, is the world’s tallest building. The famous Burj Khalifa, a giant in the desert, is impossible to ignore.
Wherever you are in Dubai, you can orientate yourself by the Burj Khalifa. Like a giant sundial, the spiral tower casts a shadow over the city. Spinning and shimmering towards the sun, when you stand at the base, it’s difficult to arch your neck high enough to see the top. No matter if you’re interested in architecture or not, you will be impressed by this massive structure.
The Burj Khalifa is the Top Tourist Attraction in Dubai
Visiting the Burj Khalifa doesn’t take more than a few hours, but it’s a “must do” when visiting Dubai. Here are some tips before you visit.
Book Your Tickets Ahead
As the top tourist attraction in the city, they only offer a certain amount of tickets per time slot. The best times sell out. So, if you want to visit at sunrise or sunset (recommended), you should definitely plan ahead. Book here.
The Fastest Elevator in the World
Half of the fun of visiting the Burj Khalifa’s observation deck is riding the elevator. In less than a minute you climb 123 floors with an awesome digital display projected on the elevator walls. It’s exhilarating and, yes, you’re ears will pop!
There Are Two Observation Decks & the Price is Vastly Different
The main observation deck is on floor 123 & 124, but the actual top of the building is another 20+ floors up on 148. The unfortunate truth is that the cost to visit floor 148 is more than twice that to visit the main observation deck! I opted to skip the top floor, even though technically floor 123 & 124 is actually not the tallest building in the world. In fact, I went higher when I visited Taipei 101 in Taiwan!
The Lower Observation Deck is Impressive
If you can’t afford to go to the top, don’t worry, floor 124 is VERY impressive. Beware, you can feel the building sway, and it can be disorienting. If you’re afraid of heights, this attraction will definitely challenge you. Even though I don’t suffer acrophobia, I felt a little dizzy at times. It’s thrilling! Visiting the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa a truly amazing experience, even from the lower levels. If you’re an adrenaline junky, you can pay the extra to go to the very top. I can’t say whether it’s worth it or not, because I didn’t go. All I can say is that floor 123 & 124 will not disappoint!
Step on the Glass Floor
Besides simply looking out over the vast city of Dubai from 1,500 feet in the air, there are several other interactive demonstrations to try while visiting the tallest building in the world. You can read about the construction while watching interviews from the investors, designers, and builders. Observe the models that were built, and witness how the vision for the building came to life. Press buttons to see how the elevators work throughout the building. Finally, make sure to step on the digital glass floor, which shows an image of the Dubai fountain looming hundreds of feet below. Don’t be surprised when the high definition screen cracks suddenly, making your heart skip a beat before you realize it’s just a well-done practical joke.
Cost of Vist to Burj Khalifa
Floor 123 & 124 – Starting at 141 AED or $39 USD
Floor 148 – Starting at 379 AED or $100 USD
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