I’ve been to Dubai numerous times since my first visit in 1998 and have seen the city grow and expand to what it has become today and yet the sight of the Burj Khalifa is still such an astounding one as you simply cannot believe how tall it actually is until you are standing next to it. Last year whilst on holiday in Dubai, we finally took the opportunity to visit the Burj Khalifa which at 829.8 metres high is presently the tallest building in the world.
As recommended online, we booked our tickets for the “At the Top” observation deck a couple of days before our visit on the Burj Khalifa website as popular times can and do sell out quickly. We had a full choice of times although I did notice that on the day, all of the times (except for the most expensive Prime Hour ones) were sold out which made me happy that we had booked when we did. We paid AED125 (£27) to to go to Level 124 as the price for Level 148 was AED350 (£77) which is three times as much – definitely not worth it for a difference of twenty three stories when you’re already that high up.
On the day we took the Dubai Metro from the Dubai Marina where we were staying to the Dubai Mall. One word of warning if you’re taking the Metro is that the walkway from the station to the mall is nearly a kilometre long. This did not worry us in the slightest and the walk is completely air conditioned and there are moving walkways too making it very easy. As we had given ourselves plenty of time to get there in case of delays we got a coffee and made our way outside to watch the Dubai Fountain which is always impressive to see.
About fifteen minutes before our scheduled time, we arrived at the entrance to At the Top which is located on the Lower Ground Floor of the mall. After using the self service machines to collect our tickets, we joined the line to go through security which as it was a little busy, took just over ten minutes – I have read that it can sometimes be a lot longer.
After security, all the crowds rushed past us as we took our time to look at the many displays showing the story and construction of the Burj Khalifa in words and pictures before we joined another line to wait for the elevator to the observation deck. This line only took about five minutes.
The elevator journey to the 124th floor takes less than one minute.
Immediately on exiting the elevator is the door to the outside observation deck. It was very busy when we arrived however it thankfully got quieter. It’s also good to be aware of being hit by one of the many selfie sticks that numerous people had with them and were waving around the air without a care in the world.
Although it is an amazing view, I honestly thought it would feel higher than what it was – I could not help but feel slightly let down. Despite this, we spent about half an hour taking photos of all the different views.
Despite the haze, you could see all the way across the Dubai Creek over to Deira and to the airport.
Looking the other direction from inside the Burj Khalifa, you could see all along the Sheikh Zayed Road towards the Dubai Marina and the Palm Jumeirah. You could also see the Burj Al Arab next to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The layer of thick brown haze was also more noticeable in the direction.
However the worst part of the whole day was the wait for the elevator to go back down to the ground level. It queued up around the whole of an already busy and incredibly noisy gift shop. It took nearly thirty minutes to get to the front of the line and not even the free wifi was working to help pass the time.
The Burj Khalifa is incredibly expensive for what it is and I feel that it fails to live up to the hype that it has created for itself. I do not feel like I would have missed out on anything if I’d given the whole experience a miss that day and stayed by the pool sipping a cocktail instead.
One of my friends had the best description which is “It was very high but there isn’t really anything to look at” which I think sums it up perfectly.