Burj Khalifa is one of the most popular buildings in the world. The tallest construction, the highest restaurant, the biggest number of stories, the elevator with the longest travel distance in the world and other record titles belong to this building.
Recently, I also visited that place to discover the famous skyscraper. In this article you will learn all the necessary information about the Burj Khalifa. Insider's tips, useful advices and interesting facts - find out everything you need to know about the world's tallest building.
WHAT IS BURJ KHALIFA?
The world’s tallest building
Burj Khalifa is the highest structure in the world, a skyscraper with a height of 828 meters situated in Dubai Downtown. Before 2010 the tower was called “Burj Dubai” (Burj from Arabian means “tower”). During the ceremony of opening on 4 January 2010 the current Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed ibn Rashid al-Maktoum, said: “From now on and forever this tower will bear the name of Khalifa - “Burj Khalifa ”. In such a way this high building got its new name in honour of arab Sheikh Khalifa, the ruler of the United Arab Emirates. This is due to the fact that he granted monetary aid and funding for its construction.
The exact height of the structure is 828 m, it has 160 floors and a spire of 180 meters long (the highest spire in the world) on the top of the building. Burj Khalifa is situated in the heart of the new business centre in Dubai. Inside the complex, there are luxury apartments, offices, shopping centres, gym and even a restaurant.
What is situated in Burj Khalifa?
The building has 3 separate entrances:
- the entrance to the hotel,
- the entrance to the apartments
- and the one to the officess.
The floors 44-72th and 77-108th are occupied by 900 private residential apartments (which were, by the way, sold out within eight hours from the start of sales).
The hundredth floor is fully owned by Indian billionaire B. R. Shetty, there are 3 apartments, each of them with an area of approximately 500 m².
Offices occupy the floors 111–121st, 125–135th and 139–154th. On the 43rd and 76th levels, there are gymnasiums, swimming pools and viewing platforms with a jacuzzi. The highest observation deck in the world is located on the 148th floor at an altitude of 555 m, the second platform is on the 124th floor at an altitude of 452 m. At the 122nd floor, there is a restaurant "Atmosphere" with 80 seats, which is for the moment the highest restaurant in the world.
This is interesting, that the air in the tower is not only cooled, but also flavoured by the unique aroma, created especially for the Burj Khalifa. This fresh aromatized air is supplied to the building through special floor grills. The building has 57 elevators but among them, only one rises from the first floor to the last one. Residents and visitors of the Burj Khalifa have to use different elevators to reach the last floor from the ground.
There are numerous references in various sources that the building contains the world's fastest elevators, moving at a speed of 18 m / s. But on the official website of Burj Khalifa, as well as during the excursion there, it is stated that the speed of these elevators reaches only 10 m/s. In fact, the fastest elevators are located in the Taipei 101 (Taiwan) skyscraper, their speed is 16.83 m/s.
The company named Emaar Properties, one of the biggest real estate developers in the United Arab Emirates, has developed the project of the Burj Khalifa. Another large development projects commissioned by Emaar Properties are the Dubai Fountain and Dubai Opera House. They also created a lot of another high buildings in the world.
HOW THE BURJ KHALIFA WAS CREATED?
Construction of Burj Khalifa
The construction of a skyscraper began in 2004 and took 6 years. Every day, up to 12,000 workers were involved in the creation of the future world’s highest building. They used over 45,000 m3 of concrete, weighing more than 110,000 tonnes for the creation of steel foundation.
In general, the construction of Burj Khalifa needed 330,000 m3 of concrete and 39,000 tonnes of steel rebar. By the way, the foundation of the Burj Khalifa is not fixed in the rocky ground. For its creation, special hanging piles were used with a length of 45 m and a diameter of 1.5 m (about 200 such piles in total). After the construction of the 160th floor with concrete was completed, the builders continued to elevate the building with metal constructions.
Just imagine, a special mark of the concrete was created, able to maintain temperatures up to +50°C. The concrete mix was laid mostly at night and some ice was added in to cool it up.
Exterior cladding of Burj Dubai began in May 2007 and was completed in September 2009. The surface area of the building is approximately equal to the area of 17 football fields! The tower is decorated with tinted glass thermopanes, which reduce the heating of the rooms and consequently the need for air conditioning.
The windows cleaning process is worth special attention. The special team washes them every day, but the building is so huge, that it takes about three months to clean the entire surface.
This is interesting, that the real height of the building (828 m) was a secret until the official opening ceremony, which was held on 4 January 2010. Hundreds of media outlets from around the world, 6000 guests,10 000 fireworks, light and water effects made it one of the most impressive events of the century.
ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN
Who created the Burj Khalifa?
The Burj Khalifa was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM). They also worked on the creation of the Willis Tower in Chicago and the One World Trade Center in New York City.
The building itself was designed by Adrian Smith , the american architect who created a lot of notable buildings, including the highest structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa. Such a famous skyscrapers as the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai and Zifeng Tower in Nanjing are also creations of Adrian Smith.
Fazlur Rahman Khanthe, Bangladeshi-American structural engineer and architect, was responsible for a creating of a special “tube” design. Thanks to this tubular form, it took two times less steel to build a Burj Khalifa than Empire State Building. The unique shape of the building also helps to resist the wind.
The basis of design is taken from Islamic architecture. Its special spiral shape minimizes vibrations and the influence of strong wind. The structure ends with a spire, which is today the longest one in the world.
The spire of Burj Khalifa is composed of more than 4,000 tonnes of structural steel and it’s its height is 244 meters. It also houses important communications equipment. Аbout a thousand different objects of art adorn the interiors of Burj Khalifa - the world’s tallest building. Another decoration of the building is a unique design hotel.
Hotel in Burj Khalifa
A 304-room Armani Hotel Dubai is the first of hotels, resorts and residences designed by Giorgio Armani. It occupies 11 of the lower 39 floors and is considered as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. It involves really outrageous amenities such as in-room 24 karat gold iPads, private jet and butler services, deluxe spa and restaurants. In the Armani Hotel Dubai you will find 7 restaurants and one of the most popular night clubs in Dubai. Hotel prices start at around 500 euros per night and reach 2,000 euros for a two-room suite.
Interesting, that all the books at the Armani Dubai Suite are personally selected by the designer himself.
The amazing Burj Khalifa view
An outdoor observation deck, named At the Top, has opened on 5 January 2010 on the 124th floor. Later, on October 2015 Burj Khalifa opened 148th floor SKY level at 555 m, which today remains the highest viewing platform after the Shanghai Tower’s observation deck.
Tours to both viewing platforms are organized in groups of 15-20 people. First, you your guide will invite you to the lobby, where you will be served tasty authentic Arabic coffee. After a short wait and while you enjoy your aromatic welcome drink, the guide will inform you about how the tour is organized and what are the simple but necessary rules to respect.
For example, you cannot visit At The Top with electronic cigarettes and lighters with you. Therefore it is better to think in advance about leaving them in the hotel room. Otherwise, your guide will kindly collect them and get your stuff back only at the exit, after the end of the visit.
After a short briefing, the guide will take you to the elevators, where you will take off to the 125th floor at a speed of 10 meters per second. It is really a very fast elevator and when it goes up it feels like you are taking off on an airplane!
By the way, you will fly up almost in complete darkness, accompanied by atmospheric music and beautiful color effects. After this effective journey, you will change the elevator and go up to the 148th floor on one of the highest observation decks in the world and enjoy your unforgettable experience. Don’t forget to take your camera to take your best travel pictures from the tallest building in the world.
WHEN TO VISIT BURJ KHALIFA?
Burj Khalifa opening hours
Observation decks are open between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm and between 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm. For sure, the best time to visit the Burj Khalifa is around 4pm. In such a way you can firstly have an amazing view of Dubai and can take photos in daylight. Than, after waiting for a little, you can enjoy the beautiful sunset from the highest building in the world.
By the way, according to the local guide’s information, from the deck on the 148th floor, you can see the sun 3 min after the sunset on the ground. That means that you can observe the sun setting over the horizon twice in one evening. Isn’t it impressive?
HOW MUCH THE BURJ KHALIFA TICKETS COST?
Burj Khalifa prices
The prices for visiting At the Top and SKY level are different, but the view from these two observation decks also differs significantly. For the best experience it is better to book tickets for the 148th floor and to enjoy the view from the tallest observation deck in the world.
According to the official websites, the entrance fee to the 124th floor starts from 135 AED, what is around 33 euros. To reach the highest panorama vie, the ticket will cost you 370 AED (89 euros). We highly recommend you to book your visit in advance, as there is a possibility that there will be no more tickets left when you arrive there. Moreover, the price for an entrance to the outdoor terrace at Level 148 will be 530 AED if you buy it on the spot. That is 38 euros or 40 % more expensive than the price from the website.
Thus, we recommend you to reserve tickets online and in advance. In addition, check available package offers to get more for less.
Combine a visit to the Burj Khalifa tickets with a Desert Safari Tours, Night Tours, a visit to the Aquarium and many other activities. That will allow you to economize and to see 2 or more attractions at the same day for a reasonable price.
The highest restaurant in the world
At.mosphere is the tallest restaurant in the world, its height is 442 metres from the ground. It is situated on Level 122 of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Sophisticated dining facilities, breathtaking views and luxury design make it one of the most luxury restaurants in the world.
In general, the restaurant's cuisine is European. Basically, there are two options offered:
- Having breakfast among the clouds
- Delicious 3-course dinner.
More information about prices and menu:
Please note, that you cannot enter the restaurant from the Dubai Mall or At The Top of Burj Khalifa. You will need to pass by the Dubai Armani Hotel main entrance only. Before going to the restaurant, you will ascend to the Level 123. From there, you can enjoy a stunning view on the Dubai Downtown. Than, descend one floor down where restaurant’s stuf will welcome you in the foyer.
What is a dress code for the At.Mosphere restaurant?
There is no strict dress code for entering the restaurant, however, sandals, shorts and beachwear are not welcome. It will be best to dress in “smart casual” or “cocktail” style. Please note, that it is highly recommended to book a table in advance.
USEFUL TIPS & ADVICES BURJ KHALIFA VISIT
To know before going to the Burj Khalifa
1.Take a look from the outside
Don’t hurry up to go inside of the building and to take an elevator up to the top. Firstly, observe the world’s tallest building from the outside. For that, go to the Dubai Mall and follow the sign “Dubai Fountains”. After 5 min walking you will get to the spacious square near the mall, at the foot of the Burj Khalifa. From here you will get a magnificent view on the Dubai Downtown, huge pool with Dubai Fountains and, of course, one of the most impressive skyscrapers in the world.
2. Choose the best time for your visit
As mentioned before, in winter, the sun sets in Dubai at about 5 pm. However, the night view is also quite impressive and worthy to visit the tower. Therefore, it is better to organize your visit in the afternoon and to catch both the day view and the night one. Thus, if you only have the choice between a morning or evening visit, we recommend a visit in daylight for better experience.
3. Book in advance
Indeed, one of the most important advices about visiting Burj Khalifa is to buy your ticket in advance. That will not only help you to avoid queues, but also will save your budget and ensure that you’ll get to the highest construction in the world when you planned to do that.
4. Don’t miss Dubai Fountains
After visiting the tower, be sure to visit the Fountain Show. Indeed, it’s a sight to see. The first show starts at 6 o'clock and somewhere in 15 minutes on the square near the mall becomes crowded. Come here 20-30 minutes before the show to take the best places and enjoy the incredible play of light, music and water.
5. Get to / from Burj Khalifa easily
One of the most common and optimal types of transportation in Dubai is a taxi. In fact, fuel prices are relatively cheap in UAE and the cost of the trip will be affordable enough. To get to the Burj Khalifa, just tell the driver that you need to go to the Dubai Mall . All taxi drivers know this place very well.
When you will finish your visit, go down to the -1 floor of Dubai Mall and follow the signs “Taxi Pick Up”. In the high tourist season, there may be a queue of people who are waiting for a taxi. However, a lot of cars arrive every 5-10 minutes, so the line is moving fast. Most likely, the waiting will take you no more than 10 minutes until you get your comfortable car.
Аnother effective way to get around the city is the subway. Dubai Metro is a land-based and worth special attention. We recommend to try at least once this type of transport if you come to Dubai. During the trip, you can enjoy the views of dubai from the window, and the price will be no more than 7,5 AED (1,80 euros) depending on the distance. Dubai Metro is very simple, because there are only two lines: red and green. Simply take the red line and stop at “Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall” station, which is 10 minutes walk to the Burj Khalifa entrance. Otherwise, you can call a taxi yourself.Taxi number in Dubai:
What to bring with you to Burj Khalifa?
Think about getting dressed comfortably enough, there may be small queues to enter At The Top and you will have to wait. Both observation decks are covered with windows so there is no wind there. However, in case you get cold, a light jacket can come in handy.
Take also some cash if you plan to buy souvenirs at the gift shop on the the124th floor. Buy yourself a small copy of the tower, and it will always remind you of this remarkable day.
Finally, do not forget to take a camera with you to capture this amazing moment when you will be on the top of the tallest building in the world.
WHAT TO SEE AROUND THE BURJ KHALIFA?
Best things to do in Dubai
The Burj Khalifa is not only an iconic Dubai’s skyscraper, but it is also very conveniently located in the pure center of the city, in the Dubai Downtown. Thanks to this, you can easily visit two other important sights without spending time on the road. These are The Park, Dubai Mall, Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and Dubai Fountains.
The Dubai Downtown
The Dubai Downtown is an area in Dubai, a complex of buildings in the city centre. It is the place where the main attractions of Dubai are located, such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain.
The Burj Park
Burj Park is a little island along Dubai Fountain Lake, which is accessible by bridges from the mainland. It is also known as 'Burj Khalifa Island', 'Dubai Tower Park', 'Burj Island Park', etc. From the park, you can have amazing views of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Downtown. 11 hectare of gardens, trees and sophisticated design elements will serve as an excellent background for your photos.
An extremely remarkable fact makes this park even more special. In such a dry climate, like in the Emirates, to keep the greenery planting may seem to be a daunting task. However, the Emiratis have come up with a solution.
They collect the condensate from the Burj Khalifa’s air conditioning system and use it to water the lawns and gardens of the Park. Every year 15 million gallons of water are used to keep this urban park green and beautiful. Take a leisurely stroll through the park, enjoying the stunning views and take pictures.
The pleasant fact is that the Park is free, open 24 hours and there is a car parking nearby. The bike rent is also available on the entrance of the Park.
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest destination for the shopping, entertainment and leisure situated next to the the Burj Khalifa building. It has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens, 1200 shops and around 200 restaurants.
Even if you will spend in each shop only 1 minute, you will need more than 24 hours to visit them all :)
In 2011 Dubai Mall was the most visited building on the planet - over 54 million people visited it for one year. And today it remains the second largest shopping mall in the world. If you really want to do great shopping, count on at least 4-5 hours to spend there. In fact, despite the huge area, it is difficult to get lost in this mall, as informative signs are everywhere. However, if you don’t know in which direction to move, feel free to ask the guards in black suits. They all speak english and will kindly show you the right way.
In general, the Dubai Mall is a great place to spend time there for friends, couple, a family with kids or a solo traveller. There are shops for every taste and budget, as well as
The Dubai Mall is open every day from 10am to 12am.
Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
Indeed, one of the best things you can do after / before visiting Burj Khalifa is to go to the Dubai Aquarium. The giant aqua complex consists of Aquarium Tank, Aquarium Tunnel and Underwater Zoo.
The Tunnel is a 48-metre track, with the huge aquarium enveloping around. This tunnel provides 270 degree views so you can enjoy the amazing panorama of the aquatic world. Incredible variety of different marine inhabitants lives in this aquarium.
Aquarium tank is another impressive construction, which holds about 10 million litres of water and more than 140 different species. Having a height of 11 meters, the aquarium allows you to feel yourself at the depth of the ocean. A huge number of different types of sharks live in this aquarium, including rare ones. You can also take a glass-bottom boat tour, have a mermaid’s makeup, go into a snorkelling cage and even go swimming with the sharks.
You can find the Dubai Aquarium on the Ground floor of the Dubai Mall by following informative signs.
Entrance price starts from 120 AED (30 EUR). The most economical option is to buy a combo ticket for 170 AED (40 EUR) which includes:
- Aquarium Tunnel
- Underwater Zoo
- Behind the Scenes tour
- Submersible Simulator
- Aquarium Glass Bottom Boat.
The most economical option is to buy a combo ticket for 165 AED (40 euros) which includes Burj Khalifa and Dubai Aquarium visit. Please keep in mind, that you can buy tickets on the spot, but to be sure that there are some left and to avoid the queue it is better to buy them in advance.