When I failed to personally witness (even the live telecast of) the grand launch of the (current) king of towers, I promised myself that I shall be among the first 100 visitors to the observation deck. But being a UAE resident who is not negated by immediacy, I deferred my intended visit several times. Until I had the right company and found the time to check it over the weekend.
The only entry to Burj Khalifa is from the lower ground level of the Dubai Mall (world’s largest shopping mall). From the ticket counter, the glimpse to its scale model builds up a guest’s anticipation. Behind it is a touchscreen backgrounder.
The ruler of Dubai, who is the current Vice-President of the UAE, welcomes you through a quote full of positivity. Personally, I think that this echoes his vision as they conceptualized the project. The same holds true as they went through (and reasonably recovers from) the financial crisis, leading to giving up the prestige of naming the tower as Burj Dubai into Burj Khalifa to pay respects to the president of the UAE-ruler of Abu Dhabi for the timely financial and other forms of aid.
The almost similar to airport style scrutiny (my belt was especially noted) after the presentation of the admission ticket is expected. A (free) standard taking of souvenir photo follows which will probably tempt you to pay, however, once you decide to take it home with you.
The 65-meter journey through the walkalator/travelator seemed like a blink because of the multi-media presentation of old Dubai and its way of life, on the side. I hardly stopped myself from taking photos that I even wanted to re-run on the travelator. Yes, that was how much I enjoyed it.
One of things that thrilled me (and reserved a little scare to my ears) is the elevator ride. Burj Khalifa has over 160 floors and the observation deck (our destination) is on the 124th floor. I remember writing last March my anticipation-mission to validate the claims that the elevator travels at 10 meters per second. Guess what? It is really, really true! My ears did not hurt even a bit. That was a smooth fly.
(A galaxial tune plays inside the elevator to match the slightly lit (cozy) space. I imagined myself in the shoes of the elevator personnel going up and down and there, every now and then, in a highspeed manner.)
After the amazing ascent, the 360 degrees view of Dubai greeted us. In a way, I can not help but compared it with my experience in the Macau observation deck (58th floor). I liked it here better because floors are not made up of glass. Otherwise, I was frozen to death again whenever I would look down (and think of) the floor. However, I liked Macau Tower better for its bungee jumping, skywalk and mass climbing facilities (on the 61st floor). But since Burj Khalifa may be considered a toddler as a tower (even it is a king), it is understandable for the time being. I suppose that trivial activities will be introduced sooner or later.
The nicest thing being on the highest peak in any region is you have the undisturbed view of almost everything. In the following photos, you will see the skylight framed view of the desert, sea and the metropolis.
The tower captured in the preceding photo actually looks like this, guarded by serenity, at the ground floor.
A huge difference between Macau Tower’s and Burj Khalifa’s observation decks is the presence of the special telescopes in the latter.
These are generously situated in the deck and provide day, night and live (real-time) views of Dubai (with referencing to name of establishments/structures).
The photos mirror the scale models that can be found in the exhibits, but these are real. Would you know that electric connection-like figure integrated under the pool (light blue area)?
These are the embedded maneuvred lights that entertain a lot of residents and tourists each night. It transforms into a dancing fountain! It deserves another entry.
There is also an open terrace. Since summer in this part of the world is approaching and we visited at high noon, my fascination with the surreal views was a little negated by the humidity. I look forward to climbing it again on a chilly season (November to February). I wonder if it would outdo the Victoria Peak weather.
The observation deck experience, including the visit to the souvenir shop (details on next entry), is coverable by at least an hour stay. The entrance ticket though is valid for the entire day. As we smoothly descended to the ground floor, we checked the clay models and other information which reminds us of how this project rose from scratch. What piqued me the most is the several group photos of the key people behind Burj Khalifa. And the next most rational thing to do is, of course, to check the representation by Filipinos.
As we approached the exit, the souvenir photos awaited. It is priced at AED 100 per copy and AED 150 for two copies .
The souvenir photo frame/backgrounder is the Dubai dancing fountain and the Burj Khalifa view at night.
I think that I must time my re-visit from pre-sunset to evening on a chilly day.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Introductory ticket price (USD 1 = AED 3.673):
Adult (13 years +): General Admission (dated & timed) AED 100, immediate entry admission AED 400
Child (4 – 12 ): General Admission (dated & timed) AED 75, immediate entry admission AED 400
Infant (0 – 3): General (dated & timed) and immediate entry admissions are free
Operating Hours: Sunday to Wednesday 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Thursday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Dress code: Clothing with inappropriate words, phrases or graphics is prohibited. Shoes and shirts must be worn at all times. All clothing is subject to management review and discretion. Admission may be denied if clothing is deemed by management to be inappropriate.