Standing above the world in Dubai

The Burj Khalifa emerges from behind the skyscrapers of the Sheikh Zayed Road

With a total height of 2,722 feet, it’s hard to take a photo in Dubai without the imposing presence of the Burj Khalifa somewhere in the shot. After all, it is the world’s tallest building.

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When visiting Dubai, most visitors, including myself, make it a priority to book their tickets to the ‘top’ of the tower.

You have two options when it comes to tickets. There is the slightly confusingly named ‘At the Top’ ticket which most visitors go for. This takes you to levels 124 and 125 (out of the tower’s 163). This is the ticket I purchased. Prices depend on what time of the day you choose and the prices are determined by non-prime hours (08.00 to 15.00 and 18.30 to closing) and prime hours (15.30 to 18.00). At the time of writing, an adult’s non-prime ticket for ‘At the Top’ is AED 125 (approx. £27.36 or US$34). For prime hours, it is AED 200 (£44 or US$54.50).

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If you feel like splashing out some extra and ascending to the 148th level, then go for the ‘At the Top Sky’ ticket. This will cost AED 350 (£76.60 or US$95) for non-prime hours or AED 500 (£110 or US$136) for prime hours. Aside from the extra height, you will get access to the SKY lounge which will not be as busy as the 124th floor.

Being one of the main attractions of the city, tickets to go to the Burj’s observation deck can sell out, especially for popular times. Despite the slightly higher price, the prime hours and very popular. Sunset falls within this time so if you are a ticket holder for these hours, you will see the views over the city in daylight, dusk and then after dark when the city is illuminated by its night lights. Also, you will have a birds-eye view of the dancing fountains as these start at 18.00 every evening.

You can purchase your tickets online at the Burj Khalifa’s website or at the desk in the Dubai Mall. The entrance to the attraction is on the Lower Ground Floor of the Mall. You can purchase your tickets here if there is availability or you can collect your pre-ordered online tickets from here. If pre-ordered, you will need to arrive with at least 15 minutes before your booked time. You will then go through security before a lengthy walk to the elevators which will take you to the observation deck.

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The observation deck on the Burj’s 124th floor

I opted for an early morning ‘At the Top’ ticket (non-prime hours). Going at this time had its advantages:

  1. The queue at this time to collect the tickets was minimal, meaning I could just collect my ticket and go straight through.
  2. The heat of a scorching September’s day had not yet reached its peak at this morning time.
  3. It was quieter and less congested on the actual observation deck. There is nothing worse than having to wait and then battle through crowds and selfie-sticks at these attractions.

Of course this meant I would not see the view after dark or have a bird’s eye view of the fountain, but I didn’t feel this took anything away from the experience for me.

After collecting my ticket, I cleared security and walked the journey to the lifts, passing by the diagrams and photos showing how the tower was constructed. Once in the lift, the numbers began counting up as we bypassed the levels of the tower with haste. I was surprised by how fast the lift could move.

Reaching the 124th floor, the first thing you see after being escorted out of the lift is the sky. As you move closer to the window, your height becomes apparent.

The skyscrapers lining the Sheikh Zayed Road, which appear so mighty and tall in their own right, are now beneath you as you look out at the city. The cars traversing the many lanes of the Sheikh Zayed Road (the main artery through the city which leads right to Abu Dhabi) are small and seemingly-insignificant specks crawling along.

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The outdoor observation deck is located on the 124th floor and there is a staircase leading to the 125th floor. You are able to walk the whole 360 degrees on the 125th floor, allowing you to see right across the city. In one direction, the Arabian Gulf. Walk to the right and you are looking past Downtown Dubai, towards the Deira region of the city, also known as ‘Old Dubai’. Walk around again and you are looking in the direction of the desert. The last angle before arriving back at where you started is towards Dubai Marina and the Burj Al Arab.

When on the observation deck, beware of the professional photographers. They are tenacious in their efforts to photograph you. I found it easier to just let them take their photo quickly. How many people actually buy this professional photo? I don’t know. If you want one, just be prepared to re-mortgage your house. That’s all I’ll say on that! There are plenty of friendly and like-minded tourists and travellers up there who’ll be happy to take a snap of you on your phone or camera.

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Really take your time and savour the views up there. Don’t just rush up, take your pictures and go. Walk around the deck, have the occasional sit down and get the most of your ticket. Make use of the free wi-fi to post a couple of snaps on social media to make friends and family jealous! The views are certainly enough to keep you up there for quite a while.

So is the trip to the top of the Burj worth it?

Without a doubt, YES! It is one of the highlights of my trips so far. For anyone thinking it may be a tad on the expensive side, my advice is that it’s one of those things you should just do because you’ll regret it if you don’t. It’s not every day you get the chance to say you’ve been on the observation deck of the world’s tallest building right? The views are amazing and it’s a chance to see the city in a totally different way, looking down upon it from its highest, central point. I highly recommend it (terrible joke kinda intentional there).

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my account of my trip to the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa, and I hope it’s been useful to anyone going or thinking of going while in Dubai. Any questions, leave a reply and I’ll be happy to answer.

Thanks for reading and happy travels!

Josh

P.S. All featured photos were either taken by me or of me and are all owned by myself.

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