Top tips for visiting the Burj Khalifa

burj khalifa

If you’re planning your first trip to Dubai, chances are you’ll want to take in all the sites. And where’s better to see Dubai from, than the the tallest building in the world?!?

At 830m tall the Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world (though it is set to be overtaken by the Jeddah tower in 2020). There are public viewing decks on floors 124, 125 and 148 which form part of the ‘at the top’ attraction, but tickets are needed in order to visit. Here are my top tips if you’re visiting the Burj Khalifa:

  1. Decide on your budget

    Tickets to go up to the viewing decks aren’t cheap. By booking in advance you’ll be saving a third (based on prime time rates) or even more if you visit off-peak. Peak time tickets to floors 124 and 125 are 200 aed per adult (approx £40 / $54 in May 2017) whilst tickets to visit floor 148 are 500 aed (£106 / $136). You need to weigh up whether the views from an additional 23 floors up are worth it.

  2. Decide the time of day you’d like to visit

    Peak times (outside of Ramadan) are late afternoon and sunset, usually 3.30 – 6.30pm. Your ticket time is the entry time, but once you’re on the viewing floors, you are free to stay as long as you’d like. That said, once you’ve seen the views from 360 degrees and browsed the souvenirs in the gift shop, there isn’t a great deal to do. A normal visit lasts between 60-90 minutes.

  3. Book in advance, direct on

    Visiting the observation decks requires you to book tickets for the ‘at the top’ attraction. Booking direct allows you to pick a time slot to the nearest 30 minutes. Booking via other booking agents may be cheaper, but you can generally only choose ‘AM’ or ‘PM’ and are later allocated a time slot to arrive. This might work if you have no plans, but I’d always opt for choosing my own itinerary. Booking in advance also results in cheaper prices and of course, booking direct means you can be sure you’re not being scammed!

  4. Plan your journey and what to wear

    Getting round an unfamiliar city can be daunting, especially when its as built up as Dubai! But there are plenty of ways to get around stress-free.

    • Taxis and Uber are a cheap way to get around and have a designated drop off /pick up point in Dubai mall (which is where you’ll need to get to for the ‘at the top’ attraction. They’re also ideal for getting picked up from your hotel.  We stayed on the Palm Jumeirah and travel time was approximately 35 minutes.
    • There is also the Dubai Metro, which has a Dubai Mall stop, though its a 10 minute walk away. Depending on the heat and the number of people in your group, a taxi is likely to be the most efficient mode of transport.

      Clothing in Dubai has to be taken into consideration. Yes its hot, but there is a conservative dress code in place which requires women to cover up. I’ve written a separate blog post all about what to wear in Dubai and when the dress code needs to be adhered to.
  5. Plan the rest of your day in downtown Dubai

    The Burj Khalifa is situated in downtown Dubai. If, like us, you aren’t staying in the downtown area, then visiting the Burj Khalifa is also the perfect opportunity to explore other areas downtown.

    Some ideas are:

    • Shopping: The entrance to the ‘at the top’ attraction is via the basement level of the Dubai Mall, so ideal if you’re wanting to do some shopping! The Souk Al Bahar are situated just across from Dubai Mall if you fancy shopping for more traditional and cultural items.
    • The Dubai fountains, the world’s largest choreographed fountain system, are right outside Dubai Mall. These are a must see attraction in Dubai and the shows are daily at 1.30pm, 2pm, then every 30 minutes between 6pm and 11pm.
    • Fine dining. If you want a really opulent day, you can visit the highest restaurant in the world; ‘at.mosphere‘ is 122 floors up!
  6. Enjoy the views!

    We visited at sunset on a rather dusty day, but still had great views. Here are a selection of pictures from my visit.

Burj Khalifa from ground

The Burj Khalifa from the bottom


Burj Khalifa views 2

View looking down over Souk Al Bahar and the Dubai Fountains – all the buildings look tiny


Burj Khalifa Views

Even the high rise buildings finish well below the observation deck level


The ‘at the top’ attraction is well organised and what I liked most is that this isn’t a guided tour – you’re free to go at your own pace. On the way to and from the elevators there is information about the building’s construction, history and the people involved. If you want to read it all you can. If you want to skip ahead you can. This is a must do attraction if you’re in Dubai, so set aside the time to visit!

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