Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UAE - Dubai (Burj Khalifa) AT THE TOP


I want to be a part of history.

I can be a part of history without breaking the bank. I took the opportunity to visit the highest observation deck in the world while on official duty in Dubai.

Previously called Burj Dubai, Burj Khalifa is the tallest structure ever built and its observation deck is the highest in the world. See: wikipedia - Burj Khalifa for its list of current records.

I decided to go AT THE TOP during mid-day. Winter is just around the corner and as the weather changes in UAE, you normally experience a foggy morning and a windy or sand-stormed afternoon.

Traveling alone, I bought a cheap but sturdy tripod from Carrefour at Mall of Emirates so I can have my pictures taken without disturbing other people. Yes, you can bring tripod AT THE TOP.

However, be aware that countless of people also wanted to go at the top at any given day thus; you need to find a good spot where you can unobtrusively fix your tripod

sign inside Dubai Mall

You can reserve your slot by visiting Burj Khalifa's website or visit their ticket/entrance counter at lower ground floor of Dubai Mall.

If you have booked your slot by internet, you need to claim your ticket first at the left side (checking) of this counter; you can also reserve your slot from here. There are two kind of tickets available, the reserved ticket which cost 100 Dirhams and the immediate entry ticket which cost 400 Dirhams.

a luxurious feeling will greet you at the entrance

I started aiming for my goal last 01 Nov. I reserved a slot on 05 of Nov (11:30 AM). I paid 100 Dhs, quite expensive compared to Petronas Skybridge and KL Tower observation deck. My Yemeni colleagues were not as lucky as I am. They were scheduled to return to their country on 03 Nov but the earliest day with available slot was on 04 Nov. They were not willing to pay 400 Dhs thus they were not able to visit the top. In spite of the prohibitive cost of immediate entry ticket, I can still see people buying them. Hence, my advice to those who wanted to be AT THE TOP but with limited time to spend in Dubai, book your slot by net or ask your relatives or friends in Dubai to buy/reserve a ticket before hand. It could be very frustrating to visit Dubai without being able to be AT THE TOP due to lack of time. In normal days, AT THE TOP is fully booked for at least 2 days and can easily reach 3 to 4 days during holidays.

You will be allowed to enter the waiting lounge at least 15 minutes before your reserved time slot.

A climatic part of the new mission impossible film was shot inside this iconic building and will be released on December. I don't have the complete details.

Nice shot kiddo..

Inside the lounge is a scaled replica of Burj Khalifa

Everybody needs to pass this x-ray and security inspection area. The empty line at the right was reserved for immediate entry ticket holder.


Dubai's brief history, dreams and achievement are being shown on this wide screen multimedia monitors while visitors are passing through the travelators.

Burj Khalifa's tip, the highest man-made structure on earth is aligned to this metallic ring through the glass etching.


Wall size multimedia monitors show how the tower was constructed and the different phases it undergoes before its completion.


The polished and sparkling granite floors along these hallways contradict the blackness of the wall dotted with intricate design. The main source of light was the wall size bright and colorful screens. It seems these hallways will lead you to a different dimension.


There are two lifts dedicated for observation deck and before entering the lift (elevator) queueing area, you need to wait for some time until the batch ahead of you has entered the lift. While waiting, you will be entertained by different facts abouth Burj Khalifa being flashed on several wide screen monitors.

I can't describe my feeling, we are next in-line.

        These lifts will not only reach the top in no time at all but it will carry its passengers in style and comfort. 


Our batch was herded inside the lift. There were 15 of us inside; quite roomy lift. You won't feel anything while ascending and in fact, without the digital level indicator you wouldn't know that you are ascending super fast. I noticed also that the counter started slowing down 7 floors before we reached 124 floor. Due to its speed, it would take the height of a 7 storey building to slow down. Well, that is my own observation.


This is the enclosed and covered part of observation deck. At my back is a digital scope. You need to buy "loads" from the entrance counter before you can use it. For 360 degrees viewing, this room is ideal and comfortable. But, for photo enthusiasts, you need to bear with the glass wall reflection and glare hence I need to edit some of my shots first. Again, if you are alone, better buy even the cheapest tripod so you would be ready for your shot when the area has been vacated.



Interesting shots taken by zoom lens.

                           THE WORLD - Group of man-made islands in shape of the world map.


This is not a toy free-way or city block with miniature cars. This is the ultra-modern Dubai metro station along Sheik Zayed road.

Over looking Dubai Fountain

Nothing special on this shot, unless you zoom in,lol.

In case you really wanted to have a reflection free shots then don't despair. There is an outdoor roofless viewing deck which is around 100 sq mtr. It is also enclosed with glass panel but there are small opening in between. The main drawback is, the deck is facing downtown Dubai so your best shots will be limited to this area only.

The remaining floors before the peak.

Do you want a memorable souvenir? Buy it at the top. Due to its price, you won't be able to sleep for several nights making your trip really unforgettable, lol. Kidding aside, if you are not very particular about the details, you can buy cheaper Burj Khalifa's replica in any small gift or souvenir shop in Bur Dubai or Karama area. Even in Carrefour you would find cheaper version.

By the way, the exit queue for the lift starts at the back of this souvenir shop. You can wander at the observation deck as long as you want unlike in Petronas Skybridge where you are allowed for 15 minutes, max.

That is the entrance going to outdoor viewing deck. There is a separate elevator line for immediate entry ticket holder.


Upon alighting from the lift, you will be greeted by different exhibits show casing the making of Burj Khalifa and the different designs implemented so as to make this colossal structure safe and modern.

The people behind this gargantuan project are highlighted on this wall.

Unlike the hallways going to the top, this exit hallway is brightly lit.

Another souvenir shop at the exit of AT THE TOP. The price of souvenir item here is quite expensive but good quality.

All told, it was really great to be part of history. It was not only by reaching the top that made the experience unforgettable but also the entire process in getting there as well. The super fast lifts, the futuristic hallways, modern and attention grabbing presentations and most importantly the feeling of luxury and comfort even if you would stay there for just an hour.

Regarding the view from the top, I can say that I was not very impressed though some areas seem spectacular. The buildings left unfinished by the developers around Burj Khalifa can be an eye-sore on any picture, see one of my skyscrapers shot above and some of the buildings around Dubai fountain. To add, most of my shots were lacking of colors except the sea-view due to wide expanse of desert. It depends on how you appreciate a certain place but to compare the view around Petronas Skybridge and KL tower in Kuala Lumpur, my shots there were more alive due to over whelming greenery around the place. I do hope the return of Dubai's economic glory so as more skyscrapers and greenery will be built around Burj Khalifa thus enhancing its beauty. But this is just my opinion.

Nevertheless, indeed Burj Khalifa is one of the iconic and modern land marks of this country that will continuously represent its dream and aspiration to be great in this part of the world.


Roaming around Abu Dhabi city


  1. 100 dirhams is pricey, but looks like it's worth it. Especially with some exhibit. Can't wait to revisit Dubai!