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Exploring the Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa Steps Burj Khalifa

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

We couldn’t visit Dubai without visiting the world’s tallest building (well, at the moment, anyway). I am not great with heights, but I just had to figure out for myself what was up there on the 154th floor; you only live once, right? So I braved my fears and spent the day exploring the Burj Khalifa.

The view from the 154th Floor Burj Khalifa

Exploring the Burj Khalifa – Dubai

Things to know before you start exploring the Burj Khalifa


All attires and cultural preferences are generally acceptable. For example, swimwear is permissible on beaches, pool and spa areas, and water-based entertainment but is not considered appropriate in business districts and shopping malls.

In the more historical quarters of the city and places of religious worship, dressing conservatively is appreciated. In mosques, clothing that covers shoulders, arms and legs and headscarves for women is required. It’s handy to keep a scarf in your handbag to cover the shoulders and rescue you from the air-conditioning.


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Dubai Mall

Burj Khalifa tickets

How do you purchase the tickets, and can you go to other floors? Yes, you can buy tickets online (which is the best way to purchase tickets as the lines are shorter). However, you can buy on the day (get there early, though).

You can also obtain more affordable tickets and get a spectacular view on the 123rd floor, but if I am going to be petrified on the 123rd floor, why not head up an extra 30 odd levels and tick the box?

The line for the 154th floor is by far shorter (as the price is more expensive), but we decided to head up anyway; we were curious about visiting the world’s highest observation deck.

Burj Khalifa

Dress code for afternoon tea and exploring the Burj Khalifa

Although there is no set dress code for visiting the Burj Khalifa observation deck, I would advise that you dress modestly in Dubai in general; however, to dine at At.mosphere, formal wear is recommended. 

How long does it take to reach the 154th floor?

Well, if you consider the waiting time at the entrance and then the waiting time at the next level, I think it ended up being about an hour. If you wonder how long the elevator takes to reach the ridiculous height, the entire experience only takes a few minutes (crazy, right?).

With the elevator being the longest single-running elevator in the world (140 floors), it is no surprise that you need to take two lifts when exploring the Burj Khalifa, with the lift speed being 10 metres per second. I have been in a few elevators in my time, to incredible heights, and each time, I am blown away by how quickly it takes to get to such excellent ear-popping heights.

View from the Dubai Mall

What now? – What is at the top of the Burj Khalifa?

The observation deck

Yes, I am not kidding you when I say this is the highest observation deck in the world! So the process is that you need to line up when exploring the Burj Khalifa (this comes more naturally to some than others), and only a handful of people are allowed out at a time for safety reasons.

Ensure you don’t wear your hat out there because, gee, is it windy?

There were a few “I am not looking down or up” moments, but other than that, the view was breathtaking, I have to admit, and I am glad we had a spectacularly clear day, so I felt like we could see forever.

Observation areas

Well, if heading outside is a little above your capability and staying behind the glass is a little more up your style. Then many areas are on the same floor or the floor with spectacular views (a little bit dusty, but well whos going to be washing those windows – really?).

There were many people in all areas during our noontime slot, so be prepared for lots of waiting time to ensure the selfie-takers get the right photo from every angle (no, I am not kidding!).

High Tea on level 154

Although the tickets are expensive, you get afternoon tea (not sure if that is what you call it at noon), but the spread was just what was needed. There was Tea, coffee and loads of desserts with a few savoury choices.

The arrangement was lovely, and the food was excellent; the only problem was the lack of seating in and around this area.

So if you are smart, head here first, then head out to the observation areas. This way, you don’t have to stand (as we did) until a seat was available (10 minutes, not that we were counting) before we got to enjoy the pot of Tea and arrangement of desserts.

Burj Khalifa

Why is the Burj Khalifa so famous?

Let me explain a couple of things; Dubai does extravagant well, so it is a must-see on your list of things to do in Dubai.

Whether you opt to view the Burj Khalifa from afar or you decide to start exploring the Burj Khalifa from above, it is and will be for a while one of the most exciting (architecturally speaking) things to see in Dubai.

As it currently holds the world record for being the tallest building in the world, it can now boast as being the world’s highest outside viewing deck; not bad, hey?

What else is there to do besides exploring the Burj Khalifa?

Luckily, we stayed near this unique building with the JW Marriot having an hourly free shuttle to and from the hotel to the Dubai Mall. Dubai Mall is currently the largest shopping mall in the world, and if you are anything like me, this could be a dream come true (not for your bank balance, though).

If you decide to stick around for dinner, ensure you book early for a restaurant with a dancing fountain view. Why? Because you guessed it, it is currently the largest choreographed dancing fountain in the world (surprise, surprise).

Observation deck Burj Khalifa

Hotel recommendation– JW Marriot Marquis Hotelgreat location with exceptional service (the world’s tallest hotel)

Restaurant recommendations– 

Abd el Wahab for a great view and tasty local food

Asado (Downtown Hotel) This Brazilian-style cuisine has excellent food and a great atmosphere with uninterrupted views of the fountain.

Other options

High Tea on the 123rd floor

Cocktails under the stars   

148th floor

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. I hope this post has given you the necessary information before your next vacation. If you have any recommendations, tips or travel advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!

Other things you need to know

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