It began as a desire to become home to the tallest man made structure in the world. With the name being changed from Burj Dubai (Burj meaning â€˜towerâ€™) to Burj Khalifa, the world watched as Dubai renamed one of its most prized possessions after the President of UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, during the time when the oil rich capital rescued Dubai from a mire of debt due to its tower-like ambitions collapsing under the financial crisis between 2007 and 2010.
I bought the tickets or a visit to the top of the tower two weeks back at the link https://tickets.atthetop.ae/eticketing/homepage.aspx. They were priced at AED 100 plus an AED 5 fee when bought online. Purchasing tickets for the same on the spot would come up to AED 400 each. Even at this price, the view at the top makes the experience no less enchanting. The journey to the top begins at the lower ground level of the Dubai mall. The ticket counter is located opposite to Subway and India Palace restaurant of the food court at the LG level and beside it is a souvenir shop adorned with a man-size model of the Burj Khalifa made of light blue crystal glass. Souvenirs for the â€˜At the topâ€™ experience come in form of bottles, t-shirts, bags, photo frames etc. all adorned with the elementary symbol of the tower â€“ the triple lobed footprint inspired by the flower Hymenocallis. It highlights the shape of the base of the tower as viewed from top.
From the LG level of the Dubai mall, we produce our tickets to enter an area secluded exclusively for â€˜At the topâ€™ visitors. We enter a huge room where we see another sparkling white color man size model of the Burj Khalifa, resembling a bride dressed in a white wedding gown. Apart from this, there are huge electronic displays depicting architectural facts about the tower and its comparison with others in the world. These displays had an interactive interface sensitive to our touch making easy to educate us about the towerâ€™s magnificence. From there are required to queue up as they allow only a certain number of people to go up by the elevators at a time. We wait for our turn in the queue, even as we reach the front and finally are allowed through. After a distance we reach an escalator passing through a dark tunnel which is adorned with amazing graphics on the walls of the tunnel which play to the fantasies of the visionary senses. Coming out of the tunnel, our next wait is for the elevator to the 124th floor. The elevator ride is altogether another experience as we move upwards at a speed of 10 meters per second, lasting for about a whole minute. The experience is enhanced with the liftmanâ€™s intriguing appearance and narration in baritone (try to not get too carried away by him; when we did, we hardly felt the travel up was a minute long).
I will leave you with the pictures of the view â€˜At the topâ€™. However you havenâ€™t actually had the experience until you been there. I thought of getting a souvenir for my friend DJ Zaf. But the price tag made me walk away (a whopping AED 78! I can probably travel to China, find a supplier to make the same thing, buy the minimum order quantity and come back and still spend lesser). On a different note, please ensure females in your friends/family dress appropriately while At the top. It just so happens that at a height of 828m, some girls didnâ€™t anticipate the wind blowing up there (the view outside is only visible from a balcony which doesnâ€™t have any ceiling and there are approximately 5-inch long gaps between the transparent glass windows). It ruined their experience since they had to keep their dresses from reaching up to their face. During my visit, there was an entire window pane missing which they had to keep covered with a sheet of paper and assign a security personnel to ensure nobody goes there. The most impressive part was videos of the laborers involved in construction which they showed carefully at places to give credit due to them. Overall impressive work by Emaar.
The view of the rest of the tower above us from the observatory deck on the 124th floor.
View of the Dubai Mall from the top spread across 500 acres