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The Soaring Skyline: What To Expect When Visiting The Burj Khalifa

Soaring above the city of Dubai towers the astounding architectural wonder of the Burj Khalifa. At 828 metres tall, the Burj Khalifa is considered a mega tall skyscraper. It is nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building and has over 160 stories of hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and residential suites.

What is the purpose of the Burj Khalifa?

The world’s tallest building was constructed for the purpose of tourism and to diversify an oil-based economy. The building of the Burj Khalifa garnered international attention and recognition and, from this, foreign investment.  

It was designed to serve as the centrepiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development that will include a staggering 30,000 residential homes, nine hotels, 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, 7.4 acres of parkland, and a 30-acre man-made lake.

Why should you visit the Burj Khalifa?

The views

As expected, if you visit the tallest building on earth, you will most likely want a chance to take in the views it provides. The Burj Khalifa has three different observation levels that are open to the public. The first two are on floors 124 and 125. While they are named the At The Top observation decks, they are actually only just over halfway up the building. The last observation deck is the luxury SKY lounge, located on level 148.

To access At The Top, it will cost you 200 AED and you will be permitted to stay as long as you really want. SKY lounge costs 500 AED to access but there’s a time limit of 30 minutes. Other than the height, the only real difference between the lounges is that the SKY lounge is quieter with soft seating options scattered throughout.

You’ll want to book in advance if you want to visit during peak times. Sunset time slots are especially popular, and you should book about 90 minutes to take advantage of the light.

Visitor experience

As with any tourist hotspot, you’ll have to expect some waiting in line. You’ll have to wait to buy your tickets, and again when waiting for the elevator. Luckily, the Burj Khalifa has the third fastest elevator in the world, permitting you to reach the 124th floor in about a minute.

If you’re a bit apprehensive about stepping outside, the 124th observation deck has an indoor area with a gift shop and screens dotted throughout the space that allows you to zoom in on the ground without leaning over the edge.

If you do decide to brave the outdoor deck you will have to jostle for space to get right against the glass and peer down on downtown Dubai. Don’t forget to look up and experience the dizzying sensation of the towers remaining 400-some meters rising above you.


Within the Burj Khalifa, itself is the dazzling Armani Hotel Dubai, a hotel envisioned and designed by fashion designer Giorgio Armani. However, at close to $1000 a night, some people may find the hotel a bit too rich for their taste. Luckily, there are a variety of nearby accommodations, including the luxurious Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel, that will provide you with ample opportunities to relax and unwind when not exploring the city.