No trip to Dubai can be complete without a visit to one of its iconic buildings – Burj Khalifa. This tallest man-made building in the world, took 6 years in construction and has numerous designing, engineering and architectural feats associated with it. The design of the building is in the form of petals of a Hymenocallis flower (which is a regional desert flower) and you can see the actual petal formations from the observation deck. There are numerous other interesting facts and figures associated with this building and you can read more on it here.
So when we were in Dubai, there was no way that we were missing out on a chance to actually see this building or Dubai from such heights.
A visit to the 124th floor (Observation Deck) at the Burj Khalifa is called “At the Top” and you need to purchase a ticket for the relevant time slots. We wanted to see the sunset over Dubai and hence decided to book the closest slot i.e. 4.30pm online. For your visit too, recommend that you book your tickets online well in advance as these evening slots are nearly always full and closer to the travel dates you don’t get slots of your choice easily.
Our visit here started at the reception of “At the Top”, which is on the lower ground level in Dubai Mall. We reached the reception 15 – 20 minutes before our slot and waited for them to announce entries for our time slot visit. We then collected our proper tickets (after showing the online booking confirmation) and deposited the large bags. There is a lot of security here and they scanned the cameras, wallets etc and frisked everyone. Post that we joined the long queue snaking its way inside the building.
This was one long queue (moving equally slowly) and all along it were interesting exhibits, photographs, displays and banners with more information on Dubai, its history, the Burj Khalifa, its construction, various milestones achieved while under construction, other tall structures in the world, etc etc. I guess this made the long wait quite bearable.
After an hour we finally reached the elevators which then took us to the 124th floor in a matter of seconds. The elevators opened at the 124th floor and we walked out to the observation deck for some fantastic views of Dubai all around us. We had seen the photographs of the Dubai skyline for each decade (in the Dubai museum) and were truly amazed at the changes, as compared to what it was only two decades ago. This was also the first time that I actually saw some sand in this desert city 🙂
We hung around for a long time here taking photographs from every angle, walking along the full perimeter and generally watching the sun setting over Dubai. From one corner we also saw the Burj Al-Arab and Palm Jumeira at a distance. Though I also tried to see the World Islands, but couldn’t spot them 😦 There was also a souvenir shop here but we didn’t shop for anything and after nearly an hour decided to head back to the Dubai Mall.
After roaming around the Dubai Mall for a bit, we decided to finally check out the Dancing Fountain / the Dubai Fountain here. This was especially planned for today, as we had been visiting the Dubai mall nearly everyday (at least 4 days by then) but had still not seen the fountains till then.
This Fountain is right outside The Dubai Mall on the lower ground floor waterfront promenade and there are signages all over the mall that show you the right direction. This fountain is a must see, as it is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system and illuminated by 6,600 lights and 25 colored projectors. It is also 275 m (902 ft) long, shoots water up to 500 ft (152.4 m) into the air and is visible from everywhere around the promenade. The show starts at 6pm in the evening everyday at every half hour, accompanied by a range of classical and contemporary music, both Arabic and western.
We decided to see the show from a height, hence went up the steps near the promenade and took our seats on the last step of the incline for a complete 360 degree panoramic view of the show. The first show started at sharp 6pm and the fountains projected water in the air in many different directions, patterns and combinations accompanied by a beautiful display of lights. It was a truly stunning sight and we sat here for at least 3 shows, where each show had something different in store for us.
We wanted to see all the shows for the evening but were too tired and hence decided to leave after the 3rd show. However I truly recommend this to everyone for at least one visit. And the best part is, that its free 🙂
Post the show we went and sat at the entrance of the Dubai Mall for the Armani Cafe and ended the evening with a fabulous sight of all the high end cars in Dubai. You name a car and it was there. It was like being in an exhibition and it was really good to aspire that we might have one some day 🙂
Tips for the Trip –
- Book the tickets online in advance as they are cheaper and the chances of getting the slots of your choice are higher.
- There is no place for sitting anywhere around here, so please wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to stand for at least 2 hours.
- This advice is courtesy chaitanyavs – Do not pay for the kaleidoscope at the Burj Khalifa- the views are exactly the same as through your camera.
- Watch the fountain show from numerous points around the promenade as each view is different.