Towering high into the Emirati sky in the heart of Dubai Downtown is the Burj Khalifa - the tallest structure ever made by man and a testament to the advancement of humanity. The Burj Khalifa redefined the limits of our abilities, combining cutting-edge technology with subtle cultural influence that come together splendidly to create an icon of the modern world. Standing beyond line of sight, at 829.8 metres through 160 storeys, the Burj Khalifa lends the Dubai skyline an unreal aura of sophisticated elegance.
Standing at the foot of the building and peering up at its vertical expanse is an experience in itself. However, visiting the Burj Khalifa observation decks at the 124th, 125th and then the 148th floor are a truly humbling experience. From At The Top’s 124th floor(452m or 1483 ft), the cityscape of Dubai that lies extended before you is a wondrous sight to behold. From the observation deck perched high above any other building in the emirate, you will get sweeping panoramic views of Dubai that only a helicopter ride can rival.
To see or not to see the tallest building in the world - Is it worth it?
Burj Khalifa is an icon of modern Dubai. Being the most easily identifiable silhouette in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa is a symbol of the city and its push towards becoming a leading example of a modern city. Marketed the world over as the central attraction of Dubai and having views that are unmatched anywhere in the world (some say you can see the curvature of the earth from its top), a visit to the Burj Khalifa is usually placed At The Top of the list of every tourist coming to Dubai. However, the experience isn’t the most frugal one and many wonder if it’s worth it. So here’s our take on the topic. Hopefully, at the end of it you’ll have made up.
Why you should definitely visit the Burj Khalifa
1. Unmatchable Dubai cityscapes
The Burj Khalifa is a must do if you love the urban panorama of an uber-modern city, hugging the ocean while the setting sun glimmers off the glass buildings and the city lights begin coming to life. Reaching At The Top (124th and 125th floors) and At The Top Sky (124th, 125th and 148th floors) is a relatively swift affair as the elevators taking you there are amongst the fastest in the world. Once you’ve reached the observation decks, you can soak in beautiful uninterrupted 360-degrees views of the city, the desert and the Persian Gulf. The observatory has a floor-to-ceiling glass-walled perimeter and even an open-air terrace with digitally powered telescopes that provide real-time views of the past and the future of the city.
2. Add record-breaking feats to your travel diary
The record-breaking ride starts at the ground floor itself as you board one of the fastest elevators in the world. Traveling at over 10m/s, the Burj Khalifa elevators also hold the record for the longest continuous distance traveled by an elevator in the world. If you’re visiting At The Top, then you’ll be standing at the third-highest observation deck in the world. However, should you decide to visit At The Top Sky on the 148th floor, then be prepared to take in views of Dubai from the highest-observation deck in the world; dwarfing the second-placed Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China.
3. Take a peek into the opulent Emirati world
Everything about the building is opulence redefined. From housing the elitist Burj Club to the ultra-luxury Armani hotel, here is your chance to live the opulent life for a day! You may not be a Burj Khalifa resident, however, a trip to the upscale fine dining restaurant At.Mosphere on the 122nd floor or a stay at the famed Armani Hotel or a meal at the Armani Lounge will engulf you in the sort of opulent luxury that only Dubai can provide.
4. Watch a refreshing musical - the Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain is set on the Burj Khalifa Lake and is the world’s largest choreographed musical fountain show. Though the fountain shows are magical when viewed from the ground level, its large size limits one’s ability to see it all. From At The Top, you will get a stunning aerial view of the entire show and a sight of the dancing fountains from this perch is beautiful to behold. You may want to match your visit timings with the Dubai fountain show timings. The Dubai fountain timings vary through the week. Evening shows are from 18:00-23:00 hours from Sunday-Wednesday, and from 18:00-23:30 hours from Thursday-Saturday. Afternoon shows are on all days except Friday, at 13:00 hours and 13:30 hours. On Fridays there are two shows at 13:30 hours and 14:00 hours.
Why you could question visiting the Burj Khalifa
In our humble opinion, visiting Burj Khalifa - At The Top on the 124th and 125th floor is a must for everyone visiting Dubai. However, in our attempt to balance the perspective and help you plan your trip better, we have laid down the few factors that might come into play as you plan your Dubai itinerary. Let us now take a look at the few reasons that may question your will to visit the Burj Khalifa.
1. Burns a slight hole in the pocket
Visiting the Burj Khalifa isn’t an economic affair if you’re on a tight budget. The “At The Top” ticket (for levels 124 and 125) start at AED 200 for prime hours (5:30 PM to 7:00 PM) and AED 125 for non-prime hours (8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and 7:30 PM to 11:00 PM). The costliest period are the sunset hours priced at 75 AED more than the non-prime hours so choose wisely. At The Stop Sky (124th, 125th and 148th floor) is priced even steeper. With an entry ticket of AED 500 for prime hours and AED 350 for non-prime hours, this architectural indulgence comes at a price.
2. Getting up to dizzying heights
It goes unsaid that the Burj Khalifa’s height is unprecedented and rising to 829.8 metres, the building is a proud host to the world’s highest observation deck at its 148th floor (555.7 metres). Peering down at the ground through glass floors can be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable for people who have a fear of heights or with certain health conditions. However, it’s safe to say that there is no true realization of this fear and a trip to the Burj Khalifa is free of any danger.
3. Facing the visitor crowds
The Burj Khalifa is one of the most visited attractions in Dubai. As a result, it faces a huge footfall and certain periods of the day get obviously crowded. This results in queues that form at the ticket counter as well as the elevators. A good way to avoid the crowd is to purchase skip the line tickets or go in the early hours of the day (8:30 AM-10:00 AM), early afternoon (1:30 PM-3:30 PM) or after 8:30 PM.
When is the best time to visit Burj Khalifa?
If the prime-time ticket cost is not a factor, then for a true-blue Burj Khalifa immersion, you should plan to visit the Burj Khalifa during sunset. The amber rays of the sun hitting the glass-walled skyscrapers of Downtown Dubai and reflecting off the Persian Gulf, combined with an urban panorama are a phenomenon that needs to be experienced. Check out the time of sunset and buy tickets accordingly. This is the prime time, with huge crowds flocking in to experience this mesmerizing sight.
If you are on a budget, visit At The Top during the non-prime hours. A good bet is to go in the early hours of the day (8:30 AM-10:00 AM), early afternoon (1:30 PM-3:30 PM) or after 8:30 PM. The ticket during these hours is priced at a decent AED 125 and you also get a Burj Khalifa experience without the overbearing crowd. This is a great way to not only skip the crowds but enjoy some peace and calm on a budget, high up in the sky.
For an unconventional experience, plan a night visit. Going to the top after the sun has set affords excellent night views of the city. It may be dark to aerially explore the city through the telescopes or capture perfect photographs with your phone, but it’s totally worth the bargain. the experience is worth it. You will also be able to view the Dubai Fountain show if you go after 6:30 PM.
At The Top, At The Top Sky, At.Mosphere and Armani - What are all my options?
When in Dubai, indulge in the luxurious life. A visit to Burj Khalifa allows you to not just indulge, but show off your Dubai-acquired starry-eyed status! After all, what is a vacation without the perfect holiday photograph with a generous sprinkling of the suave and sassy? Here are the must-dos to help you gain those precious bragging rights when at the world’s tallest building!
At The Top
The observation decks on the 124th and 125th floors of the Burj Khalifa make up the “At The Top” experience. Enjoy a peek at the world below through high-powered telescopes or step on to the open terrace to view the ever-growing Dubai skyline. Level 125 also houses “Dubai – A Falcon’s Eye View” that allows you to view the city from a unique perspective. A green screen photography zone allows you to capture your Burj Khalifa experience, integrating reality and special effects.
At The Top Sky
At The Top Sky is a Burj Khalifa experience that will take you 555 metres high on to the highest observation deck in the world - a marvelous open air terrace on the 148th floor of the building. Apart from that, At The Top Sky also has a luxury lounge where you can catch a break and refresh yourself with signature refreshments. The fun doesn’t end there. At The Top Sky is also home to a pioneering concept in the field of interactive experiences where you are surrounded by a life-size motion-sensing screen that allows you to explore different corners of the Emirate.
• Burj Khalifa At The Top Sky
At.Mosphere finds itself literally at the peak of fine dining in Dubai. Situated on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa, At.Mosphere is a world far removed from reality, with a delectable global cuisine that is complemented perfectly by the stunning views of the Persian Gulf and Dubai. At.Mosphere allows you to fine dine with a plethora of options like private meals, high tea or breakfast with a view. At Level 122, you are truly in a heavenly atmosphere at At.Mosphere.
• At.Mosphere Lounge at The Burj Khalifa Tower
The Armani Hotel is a signature hotel by Armani that is situated in the Burj Khalifa. Known for its ultimate customer service and out of the world location next to the Dubai Fountain, this fine hotel designed and developed by Giorgio Armani offers an extravagant living and dining experience where one can enjoy international cuisines or partake in the afternoon lounge tea. The Armani Lounge, situated in the heart of the hotel, provides a premium lounge experience in the Burj Khalifa.
• Dine at the Armani Lounge
Queues at Burj Khalifa - How to skip them?
Waiting in long lines only to seek entry to a sightseeing place often mars the entire fun of sightseeing. Even the mighty Burj Khalifa isn’t free of it. If you show up at the Burj Khalifa at its busiest period without a ticket, then you can find yourself waiting in the line for upto an hour. Now, why go through this hassle when you have a ready alternative? Here are a few tips that will help you bypass these long lines and enjoy the Burj Khalifa without the frustration of queuing up.
1. Purchase tickets in advance
Booking tickets online in advance is a great way to not only skip the lines, but also to steal a relatively cheap deal. Queues at the Burj Khalifa form at mainly two places - at the ticket counter and a relatively shorter one at the elevators. With an advanced ticket, you will be able to bypass the ticket line and head straight to the redemption center and then the elevators, cutting down your waiting time by over 60%. Get your Burj Khalifa At The Top tickets now.
2. Purchase skip-the-line tickets
Standard tickets require you to get the barcode scanned at a redemption point. With skip-the-line tickets, you will be able to skip this process and make your way straight to the elevators. Skip-the-line tickets allow you to zoom past the long lines and arrive directly at the elevator entrance. Get your Burj Khalifa At The Top Skip the Line tickets now.
3. Choose the right time for your visit
The busiest period that the Burj Khalifa sees are the prime hours during the weekend. Waiting times during this period is notorious for being tediously long. Opt to visit the tower during non-prime hours i.e. early in the morning or late in the evening, an hour or two before it closes. As mentioned earlier, the best times to do so are early hours of the day (8:30 AM-10:00 AM), early afternoon (1:30 PM-3:30 PM) or after 8:30 PM. This will help you enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere at the world’s tallest building.