By Jennifer Kester

The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, opened its observation deck this month in Dubai and we did some digging to see what the experience is supposed to be like. Perched on the 124th floor, the observation deck is supposed to give an airplane-like view of the area.


To get to “At the Top,” the observation deck’s, you have to enter through The Dubai Mall’s lower-ground level. Before you pop your ears on the elevator up, brush up on your knowledge of Dubai and the building with multimedia displays like “Dubai Then and Now,” “From Earth to the Sky” and “From Vision to Reality.” You’ll also see a big illuminated model of the Burj Khalifa, formerly called the Burj Dubai, where you can learn about the skyscraper.

Once you get the 411, step in to the double-deck elevator, which moves at a speedy 32 feet per second. The ride takes less than a minute. You’ll get an hour to check out the vista of of Dubai, the desert and the Persian Gulf through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. For an extra AED 10, the observation deck also offers telescopes that have pre-programmed day and night views of the area. But we’re not sure why you’d want to do that when you could just peer through the windows and see what the view’s like in real time.

Of course, no visit to a touristy site like this would be complete without a stop for souvenirs. The 124th floor also is home to an At the Top, Burj Khalifa Boutique, where you can pick up Burj logo-emblazoned goodies to show off your travels, photos and guide books. Only observation ticket holders can shop here.

Be sure to soak it all in, since the ticket prices are as sky-high as the building. Admission costs AED 400, about $109. You can save a lot of money by reserving tickets for a particular day and time; reserved admission costs AED 100 or $27.