On Top of the World: Looking Down from Dubai's Burj Khalifa

The world's tallest building is now open in Dubai. Christopher Corbett takes you up to the 124th floor.

The photos shown here were taken on the days following the January 4th opening of the Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai). I went up to the 124th floor observation level two days later on January 6th. Tickets need to be bought ahead (usually one day in advance), costing 100 Dirhams (US $27) each, though instant gratification without reservations can be had for 210 Dirhams. As it turned out, my reserved day, January 6th turned out to be a much better day for viewing than the other opening days, as it was clear with good visibility (the air in Dubai is often hazy and dusty).

Image: Metro station serving Burj Khalifa in Dubai
The Metro station serving Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. This station is on the Red Line along Sheikh Zayed Road and had just gone into service for the opening day of Burj Khalifa.


Image: A view from inside the Dubai Mall Metro Station in Dubai
View from inside the Dubai Mall Metro Station looking north along Sheikh Zayed Road


Image: Office towers along Sheikh Zayed Road near Dubai Mall Metro Station
Office towers along Sheikh Zayed Road near Dubai Mall Metro Station


Image: Approaching Burj Khalifa from the Metro station
Approaching Burj Khalifa from the Metro station (it's about a 10-minute walk).


Image: Burj Khalifa
It's 828 meters high (2,718-ft.)


Image: Looking at Burj Khalifa from front of Dubai Mall
In front of Dubai Mall looking up at the Burj.


Image: The base of Burj Khalifa from the Dubai Mall lagoon
Base of Burj Khalifa from the Lagoon. This would be the view coming out from the Ground Floor level of Dubai Mall. The Metro station is about a half-mile away behind the Burj from this vantage point.


Image: Crowds outside the Ground Floor entrance at Dubai Mall
The Friday afternoon crowd outside the Ground Floor entrance at Dubai Mall (Burj Khalifa is behind this vantage point). Dubai Mall is always crowded, but Friday is its busiest day.


Image: The Lagoon at Dubai Mall
Early evening at the Dubai Mall Lagoon. Burj Khalifa is out of frame to the right.


Image: The Ground Floor ticket counter for Burj Khalifa
Inside Dubai Mall at the Ground Floor ticket counter for Burj Khalifa.


Image: Burj Khalifa Ground Floor concourse
Inside Burj Khalifa on the Ground Floor concourse showing construction history of the building.


Image: View of the Lagoon from inside Burj Khalifa
Looking out toward the Lagoon from inside Burj Khalifa. Dubai Mall is to the left. The Address (hotel & condos) is straight ahead. Old Town Dubai is to the right.


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa
From inside the 124th floor observation level looking southwest toward the Gulf.


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa
Looking north toward central Dubai (Deira). Skyscrapers extend along Sheikh Zayed Road. (For scale, the large building at centre-right is 88-floors and about 1200-feet as to its design, no comment).


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa
Similar view, looking toward neighboring Sharjah in the far distance. These two photos are taken from the outside deck which is on the north side of the tower.


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa
From inside the north corner of the tower.


Image: Gift shop on the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa
The requisite gift shop on the 124th floor observation level.


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa
Inside the observation level looking northeast.


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa
Looking north toward Sharjah in the distance. The row of large buildings in the middle distance are about 20-25 stories high each and line the north bank of Dubai Creek.


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa of the Lagoon and Dubai Mall
Facing east looking down to the Lagoon and Dubai Mall (at left)


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa of the Dubai Mall, the Lagoon, Old Town, and The Address
Dubai Mall, the Lagoon, Old Town, and The Address. Old Town is a mid-rise residential complex connected with bridges and walkways to Dubai Mall and other nearby residential and commercial buildings; it also contains an old-style souk, plus a large supermarket on its Ground Floor level. The Address is a mixed-use tower containing a hotel and residential condominiums (for scale, it is 68-stories and a bit over 1000-ft. tall).


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa of Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi
Looking southwest (in the direction of Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi).


Image: A window washer 1,700 feet up
Window washer 1,700-ft up.


Image: View from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa looking southwest
Looking southwest. Dubai Marina towers are center-left in the distance. The Burj Al-Arab hotel is at right in the distance. It is just over 1000-ft. tall and built on a small artificial island 100 meters offshore. Shelkh Zayed Road extends southward diagonally across the picture. In the center of the picture in the far distance (just to right of the Marina towers) are the gantry cranes at Jebel Ali (Dubai Port and Free Zone).



Christopher Corbett is Senior Master Planner and Acting Head of Master Planning for AECOM's Dubai office. This is the fourth time he's worked in the Middle East. He was previously with the Planning Department in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in Doha-Qatar 1995-1998; then with CH2M-Hill in Dubai 1998-2000; and then with GHD (an Australian engineering consultancy) in Doha-Qatar during 2002-2003. During 2005-06, he worked for CDM in Louisiana on FEMA-sponsored post-Katrina community recovery planning and during 2007 for same in Greensburg-KS following destruction of the town by a May 2007 tornado. He has a Master's of Urban Planning from the Univ. of Washington in Seattle. His current USA home is San Francisco.

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