A Visit to the Burj Khalifa

This June we had our first visitor, our world traveling friend from Matt’s USMC days came to visit us for a couple of weeks. Of course, if you come to the UAE, one of the biggest and best destinations to visit is the Burj Khalifa.

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The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building, and it is located in Downtown Dubai – a bit more than an hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi. You can buy tickets to visit one of two floors: At The Top (level 124) and At The Top SKY (level 148). We decided to go to level 124, and bought tickets for a weekday at 10AM.

Matt had accidentally taken the car keys to work with him that morning, and had to taxi back home to drop them off so we could leave. Once we arrived downtown, we looked for the Cinema parking at the Dubai Mall – as they suggest when you buy tickets – but didn’t easily get to it so we just parked in the general mall parking. You will need to walk through the lower level of the mall to get to the Burj Khalifa experience lobby, which is lined with lovely restaurants and shops, none of which were open when we went due to Ramadan. We ended up arriving about a half hour after our tickets were scheduled for, but it was no problem. I’m not sure if it was due to it being a weekday, or Ramadan, or what, but it wasn’t busy or crowded at all, which was great!

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We boarded a big elevator to go up, and they dim the lights and show a cool little presentation. Porter was a little overwhelmed in the elevator, which had a group of tourists packed in there with us, but he settled down once up at the top. As I was walking around, keeping him calm, I was telling him this is what Daddy sees when he flies in the helicopters, since anything that is flight related is usually more interesting these days, haha. He became more comfortable once I got him in little areas tucked away from people, and he started looking out the windows, realizing we weren’t somewhere normal…and like, looking down at an entire city.  He would slowly reached out toward the windows, and got a kick out of feeling the glass.

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You can take your time up there, and our friend was taking pictures and looking around, so I kept Porter as quiet and occupied as possible. There is a small gift shop on level 124, but a bigger one just one floor down that we found later. Since P is obsessed with coffee mugs, I bought him a plastic kid’s one which was a hit. We had a similar one from Iceland, but lost it during one of our many hotel moves around Abu Dhabi 🙁  I also had to relinquish my camera for a few to keep someone from getting too loud. I feel like I now know how my Dad felt raising me…

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Friends of ours have gone up there at sunset and night and highly recommend those times, for obvious reasons. I was worried while driving up that the view wouldn’t be too great because it was a pretty dusty, hazy day, but I was wrong. I’m sure on a clear day the view is just unbelievable. The building is beautiful, there is a lot of information and interactive displays, and kind of thrilling to be up so high. I’m looking forward to going up there again, it’s definitely a cool experience!

Just for funsies, here is a view of the Burj Khalifa back in early 2008, when Matt came out for a little work trip:

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