At The Top – Visiting Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Burj Khalifa, At The Top tour

149 AED


4.0/5 Pros

  • One of the highest observation decks in the world
  • ... in the (currently) world tallest building
  • Nice staff, good organization Cons

  • Many influencers etc. - bothering...
  • Driving a cafe "at the top" indoors during a pandemic

Ain’t there a first time Dubai trip without visiting this one? The Burj Khalifa in undoubtedly one of the key attractions of the U.A.E. megacity. With 829.8m, it is currently the world tallest building (and, by that, of course also the world tallest structure). In order to share it with you, I recently did another At The Top tour, the standard tourist trip up the building. Here is my review.


Burj Khalifa – Some Facts

As said, Burj Khalifa is about 830 meters high. One day, it will likely be superseded by the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, which will be the first building taller than one kilometer. It features the Armani Hotel (in the lower levels), corporate suites, residential parts as well as some other attractions linked to visiting the tower. The standard At The Top leads you to the 124th and 125th floor with the lower one being the observation deck. At the time of opening, this observation deck at 452 meters was the highest of the world. Burj Khalifa battled with two observation decks in China for this record. This also lead to the 148th floor (555 meter) SKY level, which you can visit with an upgraded ticket. At level 122, there is a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Construction for Burj Khalifa started in January 2004 and the completion took until October 2009. The tower opened its gates on 4th January 2010. The owner is EMAAR Properties, the total construction cost is 1.5 billion US-Dollar. The architect of the tower is American Adrian Smith. The highest floor of Burj Khalifa is however “just” at 585.4 meters. There are some mechanical floors on top, followed by the spire, which is 244 meters long.


Burj Khalifa – Location & Admission

If you are not staying in the Armani or are a Burj Khalifa resident, you enter the tower through Dubai Mall (which is by the way the world largest mall by total land area, but not by total leaseable area). The Dubai Mall area is a bit difficult from a traffic situation: I personally love to travel through Dubai by rental car, but the area around Dubai Mall is very prone to congestion. There is a corresponding Metro station, Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall, but you have to be aware that it is a ten to fifteen minute walk to the Dubai Mall (through a covered and air conditioned walkway). Thus, if I am around Dubai Mall, I typically try to be there early, ahead of traffic). Please make yourself familiar with parking zones if you arrive by car.

I present you here the standard tourist ticket, the At The Top experience. This includes full standing in line for the elevator / no fast track and access to the 124th and 125th floor for 149 AED (roughly 34 Euro) per adult. With the SKY ticket, you are guided by an ambassador, can pass the queues and in addition have access to the SKY lounge and the level 148 observation deck. Adult admission is 379 AED for that experience. There are also exclusive tickets for the lounge on floors 152 to 154. The ticket price increases at Prime Hours, which is in the early evening for the At The Top experience and during afternoon for the SKY ticket. There are also promotion packages combining your visit with other attractions like Dubai Aquarium. Tickets are issued with a time slot of 30 minutes for arrival, starting from 10:00 to 23:00 hrs at the time of writing.


Burj Khalifa – The Visit

The entrance to At The Top is through the basement level of Dubai Mall, not too far away from the food court. My visit was during Covid-19 times, so that the queues were very short. After ticket check and security, you take a below-ground aisle to the tower, from where you are taken up to the observation deck. This took me roughly 15 minutes. The staff was really motivated to ensure social distancing. However, Burj Khalifa is one of these must-do locations of Instagram “fames”, It-girls and other members of the new high society. Thus, you should not be too surprised if there is somebody without a mask right next to you.

Overall, Burj Khalifa has 57 elevators and eight escalators. Of course, only some of them are used by tourists. traveling speed is up to 10 m/s. You first exit on the 124th floor and first visit the observation deck. The cardinal directions are given on the ground and there are screens on the inside part of the building which explain the sights you see on a screen. On the upper level, the key attraction to me was to watch the people on the observation deck. There is also a “glass floor” (in fact: screens) which makes you feel you walk over a glass walkway which is finally cracking.


On the way down to the ground level of the tower, there is another animation while you traveling in the elevator. Some pictures and exhibits give you some additional information about the construction of Burj Khalifa and the people behind it. Your last steps of the Burj Khalifa visit is of course a souvenir store, see below.


Views from Burj Khalifa

Of course, the views from the observation deck is finally the reason why you doing this trip (maybe apart from just telling your friends you check-boxed this attraction). The best view is of course of Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain and the direct neighborhood of the Burj Khalifa. However, under ideal conditions (clear view and low tide), you may even have a view of the coast of Iran on the horizon.


Burj Khalifa – Shopping & Dining

From souvenir pictures to hardware – there are of course a lot of ways to spent some more money during the visit of Dubai’s architectural icon. Apart from the restaurants and lounges in the building, there is also a cafe in the At The Top levels. This was a bit of bothering, as – of course – people took of their masks to sip their drinks while being indoors.

The tower features two souvenir stores on the observation deck levels. Right before heading back to Dubai Mall, you pass another large souvenir store, where you are able to grab your souvenir pictures and select from a wide range of Burj Khalifa and general Dubai souvenirs.


Burj Khalifa – My View

Part of the rationale why you visit Burj Khalifa is that you did it. Of course, the view is great and overall, the staff is trying to organize it as good as possible. Some things like driving a cafe during a pandemic in a narrow indoor area is too much in line with my Covid-19 posting about my December trip, though. You should be aware that with the At The Top tour, you are just a little higher than half-way to the top. Of course, the view is fascinating, even if the conditions are not perfect. I don’t need to recommend this place to you, you will visit it anyway. You do right, it’s a good one. Views from Above

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