We picked an unusual day to visit Burj Khalifa – the 1st of January 2020. After all the NY celebrations, we hoped the next day would be quiet and pleasant to visit. In reality, it was just another busy day in Dubai Mall! By the evening the crowds had to be regulated, it was a true ant’s nest!
While booking our Burj Khalifa visit, I chose the 15:30 time slot in the hope to make it up by sunset. They say sunset time is the most beautiful time with best views of the city
How to get to Burj Khalifa
The easiest way to reach Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall is, of course, by the fantastic Dubai metro. From all the countries I’ve visited, the Dubai metro is surely the best, most efficient, inexpensive and comfortable. Metro station is called Burj Khalifa/Dubai mall – impossible to miss. All the way from the station until the entrance (820m) is air-conditioned!
Burj Khalifa visit
Booking your visit is pretty simple – visit the official website, pick the time slot and pay with your credit card. Just like that. However, beware that you will not be receiving the tickets, you would have to pick them up from the counter before your visit. That’s where it gets a little tricky.
Getting the tickets
Make sure to arrive at the ground floor of Dubai Mall about an hour before your time slot. Once you locate the entrance (you might have to ask around a few times, as the signs are not too helpful). Eventually, you will see a huge line – there are in fact two lines. One of them is for ticket holders, the other is for ticket collectors (people like yourself, who booked online).
Make sure to be in the right line, the one for ticket collection is usually much shorter. Once you make it to the counter, you can let them scan the code from the confirmation email on your phone (no worries about the internet, there’s decent free WIFI in Dubai Mall). Finally, you will receive the actual paper tickets that will grant you access to the Burj Khalifa.
Standing in Line
Next, join the long line for the actual entrance. It moves more or less quickly, depending on how many groups are visiting. All in all, we had to wait around 1-1,5 hours until we reached the elevators. Funny enough, the actual ascent lasted for only 1 minute.
For the price of around 50$, you can expect to get a ticket to the 124th floor. There is also an option to go higher, but the ticket price is almost triple the amount and includes free snacks and drinks. For me, 124th was already high enough and the views were great.
Your time is not limited, you can stay for as long as you like. However, there is not much to do except taking photos and strolling through the souvenir shop. In fact, the place is so crowded that you will want to leave it after a while. We never made it until sunset. By the way, there is another elevator line on your way back.
The Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. The first show we saw was during the day and wasn’t that impressive, although the size of the fountain definitely was a surprise. During the dark hours, it’s a whole different story – the lights play so nice plus there is a light/laser show on Burj Khalifa.
Some facts about Dubai Fountain:
- Open together with Dubai Mall on 8th May 2009
- set on the 12 hectares manmade Burj Khalifa Lake
- designed by the same company as the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel Lake in Las Vegas.
- Illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors
- It is 275m long and shoots water up to 152.4m into the air
Where to watch?
Fountain shows are held daily from 6 pm, every half an hour. You can observe them either outside the mall on the ground floor or on the balcony of the 1st floor (very nice place to watch is the balcony of the Apple store. For a more relaxed experience, you may consider booking a table at one of the restaurants with outside terrace (for example Third Avenue has a great view of both BK and the Fountain).
Another good place to watch the fountain show is the floating boardwalk. The entrance is around 16AED (4 Eur), and you get to enjoy the unobstructed view of the fountains, take great photos or shoot videos. The only downturn – Boardwalk is located right in front of the Burj Khalifa, so you won’t get both the Fountain and BK in one photo.
Dubai Mall – shopping and fun
Visiting Dubai Mall wasn’t our goal, but as it was impossible to avoid it, we ended up spending a few hours exploring this cool place. One of the things I heard – it is huge, and you can get lost. It’s true that it is a very large shopping mall, but no need to worry about getting lost! We easily found our way to Burj Khalifa entrance, outside to the fountain and of course, the famous Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
The Dubai Aquarium showcases more than 300 species of marine animals, including sharks and rays. it was truly impressive, and we spent a lot of time simply enjoying it. By the way – it’s free unless you want to go to the “tunnel”. I heard that the views in the tunnel are not too great as you can see the shops on the other side. Another cool attraction is feeding the sharks in the cage, which you can do for the extra fee.
For more cool things to do in Dubai after sunset, have a look at this post – 25 Best places to visit in Dubai at night
Other cool attractions
One more unusual attraction of Dubai Mall is the ice-skating rink. For us, this is nothing special, of course, as we get proper winters up here. If you’d like to see something really interesting, find the “souk” (Arabic for market), there is an atrium with the full-size fossil of Diplodocus, a large, long-necked dinosaur. It’s a real thing – over 7 meters in height, and 24 meters in length – this one was discovered in Minnesota and bought by Dubai Mall for display.
Despite having spent almost a full day at Dubai Mall, we haven’t seen all of its attractions or shops. To fully enjoy all of it, you would need weeks! So, if you are visiting over a short period of time, consider choosing carefully and planning what you’d like to visit and stick to the plan. Dubai Mall has developed a very handy app that will help you navigate around the mall easily.
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