Visiting The Burj Khalifa at Dusk
Towering a 163 stories tall, the Burj Khalifa stands alone. Not only does this massive tower dwarf all the surrounding buildings in Dubai, it holds the record as the tallest skyscraper in the world…by over 1000 feet. Why would someone build such a monster and to such height? In short, because they could. Besides showing off, the Burj Khalifa was built as a centerpiece to a complex that attracts foreign visitors and foreign money. It was conceived as a way to diversify the economy and attract money that is not based on the oil industry. With the recent awarding Expo 2020 and the numerous international events finding their way to Dubai since the Burj Khalifa’s completion, it is safe to say that vision has payed off.
While this is all well and good, there was a different view that attracted me to the tower. I had heard that visiting the Burj Khalifa at dusk and seeing a sunset from the observation deck is unreal. Sold. Being someone that loves vantage points as well as engineering marvels I was eager to get to the top. Perhaps a little too eager as I booked tickets for the day we arrived in Dubai. Jet-legged and sleepy-eyed we made our way up to the 124th viewing floor for the misleading “At the Top, Burj Khalifa Experience” – the tower continues on for an additional 39 floors! Still, 124 floors above the desert is pretty high…I guess.
Before taking a ride to the top we passed by a directors chair and signed photo of Tom Cruise clinging onto the side of the building while filming Mission impossible. All I could think is the chair looked shorter than I imagined.
We were told to book a time slot well in advance if we wanted to visit the The Burj Khalifa at Dusk for the unique view of the sun going down below us. With plenty of time to spare before sunset we boarded the world’s fastest elevator and were whisked upwards at 40 miles per hour. I watched the floor numbers climb at an alarming rate and couldn’t help but think of “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” blowing through the top of the Chocolate factory.
Once on the top there is not much to see besides the incredible view. And what a view it is. Our day was a little hazy but cool none-the-less.
There is an indoor viewing area and a small outdoor area and that is pretty much it. With a hour to kill before sunset we enjoyed the dry heat and waited it out. In retrospect we could’ve had a more comfortable visit by heading to the At.Mosphere restaurant which is located just two floors below. Although there is a minimum fee per person to dine or have drinks in the worlds highest restaurant, you get the same view with a meal or drinks and comfortable seats. My loss, your gain people!
Possibly the most interesting feature at the top is the interactive telescopes that shows you the current view and what it looked like years ago. This impressive time-traveling feature puts just how fast Dubai has grown into perspective.
After an interesting angle of the Dubai Fountains going off below us it was on to the main attraction. Even though we were on top with plenty of time to watch the sun disappear we did not stake out a spot to enjoy it from. Nonetheless we watched the sun vanish into the Persian Gulf over the shoulders of others. It really was a spectacular sight, almost as if the sun was extinguished into the water below us.[slideshow]
Satisfied with the Burj Khalifa at Dusk show we (quickly) made our way down to the ground level and past another highlight of the tower. Along the exiting walkway was a wall dedicated to those involved in bringing this marvelous feat of engineering to life. Of course rich investors and Government officials are all present however the more interesting feature is the faces and stories of the construction workers and engineers that actually built the tower. Nice touch Burj Khalifa!
All in all a great (although pricey) trip to the top (sort of) of the Burj Khalifa Tower. A visit to Dubai without seeing the cities centerpiece up close just wouldn’t do. For best sights and colours be sure to visit the Burj Khalifa at dusk.