Thursday, June 23, 2011

The View from the Top

One of the adventures of our week in Dubai was going to the top of the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world. The first step is to get tickets - you can either buy them in advance online for 105 dirham or buy them at the door (and possibly have to wait in line) for 400 dirham ... we purchased online and had to buy them in advance for a specific day and time. So, Wednesday evening at 7pm was our time slot. When I arrived to pick up the tickets (we had 8 of us with the crew in town from Epic) I had to provide my confirmation number, my receipt number, ID and the credit card I used to purchase the tickets. Okay, fairly normal. Then, she had to go and make a copy of my ID to keep on file with my receipt or something.  What?! Can you imagine the paper they generate doing that? Hundreds of people go up to the top every hour, what a waste.

The Burj was started in January 2004 and opened to the public in January of 2010. It was originally named the Burj Dubai, but after the financial crisis, Abu Dhabi helped bail Dubai out of some debt and in return the Burj was renamed, so now it is the Burj Khalifa after the ruler of Abu Dhabi (at least that's the story I heard). The structure is 2716.5 feet high and is currently the tallest building in the world with more than 160 stories. The observation deck sits on Floor 124 (not quite the very top), there's also a fine dining restaurant on 122, over 1000 residences, a hotel with 160 guest rooms, 37 floors for offices and a 4-story fitness and recreation annex called the Club.

In addition to being the tallest building in the world, it also has the tallest service elevator, which is "one of the fastest" in the world. The elevator ride was pretty amazing, incredibly quiet and smooth - if my ears hadn't been popping a bit as we went higher, I would have no idea how high we were really going. At the top, there is an outdoor observation deck, which is where we shot the photos below.

This is the fountain area in front of the Burj and the Dubai Mall.
And this is from the other side with a view of part of downtown Dubai.
A better closeup of The Address, a swanky hotel in the area.
We purchased tickets for 7pm for two reasons: 1) the Epic team was working and didn't finish until almost 6pm, and 2) we wanted to see the fountain show at night. I've written about the fountain before when sharing my adventures in the Dubai Mall. They were designed by the same guy who designed the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas ... but of course, this being Dubai, these are bigger and better. :) They 'dance' every 30 minutes and the music varies from American pop to more traditional Arabic music. They are really impressive from the ground and pretty cool from the top of the Burj as well. Here are a few pics.

No comments:

Post a Comment