After watching many television programmes relating to Dubai and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, we had to take a look for ourselves.
Having previously visited The Empire State Building in New York a few years ago as a couple and more recently, The Shard in London (which the girls enjoyed greatly – you can read our review here), we were all looking forward to experiencing the Burj Khalifa as a family.
The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at over 828 metres tall (2716.5 feet) and more than 160 floors, is twice the height of the Empire State Building and nearly three times the height of The Shard. Construction began in January 2004 and was completed in September 2009 and from many vantage points in Dubai you can see the Burj Khalifa dominating the impressive skyline of Dubai. This building has to be seen to be believed.
To visit ‘At the Top’ which is the observation deck, you can book tickets online for a timed slot, or just turn up and stand in line on the day, (but this can get very busy). We purchased our tickets through Groupon Dubai and this gave us fast track entrance and also included a snack and drink from the ground floor café. It’s worth checking the Groupon Dubai website if you are planning to visit as it is usually cheaper than booking directly with the Burj Khalifa.
The entrance to Burj Khalifa is on the ground floor through the Dubai Mall. You present your ticket to the staff and there is a photo opportunity with a Burj Khalifa character that our children loved. We had read on the internet prior to our trip that there were long queues but we experienced no queues on the afternoon that we visited.
We then made our way to the security point where all bags are scanned similar to airport security. Your journey starts on a travelator which gives you the background on how Dubai has been transformed followed by information on multi media exhibits on the Burj Khalifa and how and why it was built.
From this point you take the world’s fastest elevator ride, which takes less than a minute, to take you up to the 124th floor. There are also lots of impressive visual effects and sound as you make your journey up the building and you can even feel your ears pop as you are travelling so quickly.
Walking out the elevator onto the outdoor observatory deck on the 124th floor you are astounded by the height and view you are experiencing. The view presents the most amazing photo opportunities and you feel as if you are on top of the world.
You can see Dubai’s tallest skyscrapers which flank the main Sheikh Zayed Road that runs through Dubai. They looked tiny in comparison to our vantage point yet looked even more impressive from high up.
The buildings look like Lego blocks and the cars are like miniature toy cars you would find in a child’s toy box!
You could see the Dubai Mall and The Address Downtown Dubai below along with fantastic views of the crystal blue water of the man-made lake that’s home to the dancing Dubai Fountain. Unfortunately the fountains did not start until the evening and we were unable to experience this. The view is a great experience and something you don’t want to miss!
Stepping into the air conditioned indoor section of the observation deck, we took the grand circular stairs to go even higher to the 125th floor.
As we entered the 125th floor there was an interactive visual display on the floor of a bird’s eye view of the city called a Falcon’s Eye View.
You also had fantastic 360 degree views from the floor-to-ceiling glass walls.
There were interactive telescopes like they had at the Shard London which the girls especially loved as it gave you a closer ‘live’ look at different parts of the city of Dubai. We used these to find our hotel the Jumeriah Beach Hotel and the iconic Burj el Arab. In the distance we could also see the man made islands of The World and The Palm Jumeirah.
The telescopes also had a interesting feature that simulates the same view of Dubai years ago, this is where you can really see how much Dubai has changed over the years.
As your view reaches the horizon, all you can see is the surrounding desert which really hits home how much of a transformation Dubai has had since the 1970s and the magnitude of development in Dubai which is still taking place, making it one of the most modern and impressive major cities on the planet. If you visited Dubai 5 years ago it would look majorly different to what it does now.
You get to see a 360 degree panoramic view of Dubai and on a clear day you can also see other nearby Emirates such as Abu Dhabi.
The attraction was well organised from entry to exit and there were toilets located on the 124th floor. There are no shops for refreshments at the top, so carry water if required.
We spent around an hour from entering the elevator, taking in the experience on both the 124th and 125th floor before browsing the gift shop and coming back down to earth via the high speed elevator. We made our way to the café at the ground floor which had views over the lake and we enjoyed treats and drinks that were included with our ticket.
You can just turn up on the day but I would recommend that you book before you visit. Fast track tickets on the day are in limited quantities and more than double the price. Even pre-booked slots sell out fast. The only downside of our Groupon ticket was if we wanted to go to the Burj Khalifa during sunset then our ticket was not valid between 4.30pm and 7pm. There was an option to go even higher to the 148th floor but this is very expensive and not worth the extra cost.
Burj Khalifa is the world’s most impressive skyscraper and offers 360 degree views from the coast to the desert. As well as the view from the top of the Burj Khalifa, I would also recommend taking in the view from the lake at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa. Looking up at this awe inspiring building is just as impressive as the view from the top. It seems to go up and up until your neck hurts!
At the Top, Burj Khalifa was an amazing experience as a family. If you are afraid of heights like me, it is worth being out of your comfort zone to see this magnificent symbol of architecture.
No visit to Dubai is complete without a visit to the Burj Khalifa and it’s a definite must see attraction.