Visiting Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa are Dubai’s two main attractions. It is curious enough that a mall can be the main attraction of a city like Dubai, but there are a couple of reasons for that. For instance, the city is in the middle of a dessert, so there are no other options during the summer. And there is more.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa (formerly called Burj Dubai) is the tallest building in the World with a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft) and a roof height (excluding antenna) of 828 m (2,717 ft).

Its construction began in 2004, with the exterior completed five years later in 2009. It was opened in 2010 as part of a new development called Downtown Dubai. It is designed to be the centrepiece of large-scale, mixed-use development.

The decision to construct the building was based on the government’s decision to diversify from an oil-based economy, and for Dubai to gain international recognition. We can now certainly confirm that their goal was achieved. The building holds a number of records and peculiarities.


  • Tallest existing structure: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously KVLY-TV mast – 628.8 m or 2,063 ft)
  • Tallest structure ever built: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously Warsaw radio mast – 646.38 m or 2,121 ft)
  • Tallest freestanding structure: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously CN Tower – 553.3 m or 1,815 ft)
  • Tallest skyscraper (to top of spire): 828 m (2,717 ft) (previously Taipei 101 – 509.2 m or 1,671 ft)
  • Tallest skyscraper to top of antenna: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower – 527 m or 1,729 ft)
  • Building with most floors: 163 previously World Trade Center – 110
  • World’s highest elevator installation (situated inside a rod at the very top of the building)
  • World’s longest travel distance elevators: 504 m (1,654 ft)
  • Highest vertical concrete pumping (for a building): 606 m (1,988 ft)
  • World’s tallest structure that includes residential space
  • World’s highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade: 512 m (1,680 ft)
  • World’s highest nightclub: 144th floor
  • World’s highest restaurant (At.mosphere): 122nd floor at 442 m (1,450 ft) (previously 360, at a height of 350 m (1,148 ft) in CN Tower)
  • World’s highest New Year display of fireworks.[Wikipedia]

Besides the records above, a few other things to highlight are:

  • The air conditioning system draws air from the upper floors where the air is cooler and cleaner than on the ground. At peak cooling times, the tower’s cooling is equivalent to that provided by 13,000 short tons (26,000,000 lb) / 13,000 short tons (12,000,000 kg) of melting ice in one day, or about 46 MW.
  • To wash the 24,348 windows, totalling 120,000 m2 (1,290,000 sq ft) of glass, the building has three horizontal tracks which each holding a 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) bucket machine. Above level 109, and up to tier 27, traditional cradles from davits are used. The top of the building is cleaned by a crew that uses ropes to descend from the top to gain access. Under normal conditions, when all building maintenance units are operational, it takes 36 workers three to four months to clean the entire exterior.
  • water system supplies an average of 946,000 L (250,000 U.S. gal) of water per day through 100 km (62 mi) of pipes. An additional 213 km (132 mi) of piping serves the fire emergency system, and 34 km (21 mi) supplies chilled water for the air conditioning system. [Wikipedia]

Observation deck

Burj Khalifa's view from the 148th-floor observation deck
Burj Khalifa’s view from the 148th-floor observation deck
Burj Khalifa's view from the 148th-floor observation deck
Burj Khalifa’s view from the 148th-floor observation deck

The building outdoor observation deck is on the 148th-floor at 555 m (1,821 ft). It was the highest observation deck in the world until the Shanghai Tower opened in June 2016 with an observation deck at a height of 561 metres.

There is another observation deck (not outdoor) on the 124th floor. It also features the electronic telescope, an augmented reality, which allows visitors to view the surrounding landscape in real-time, and to view previously saved images such as those taken at different times of the day or under different weather conditions.

To manage the daily rush of sightseers, visitors are able to purchase tickets in advance for a specific date and time and at a 75% discount on tickets purchased on the spot.

Tickets start at 135 AED, or 36.75 USD. You can buy them on the official website or any tour operator [GetYourGuide, KlookViator].

The video above shows Burj Khalifa’s top floors lights. So it’s the view looking up from the outdoor observation deck.

Burj Khalifa Lake and The Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. It is set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, at the centre of the Downtown Dubai development, where the mall and the tower are.

It is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 coloured projectors, it is 275 m (902 ft) long and shoots water up to 500 ft (152.4 m) (equal to two football fields) into the air accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary Arabic and world music. It was built at a cost of USD $218 million.

It can spray 22,000 gallons (83,000 litres) of water in the air at any moment. It contains five circles of different sizes and two arcs. The beam of light from the fountain can be seen from over 20 miles away, and also from Burj Khalifa’s observation deck.

Burj Khalifa Lake
Burj Khalifa Lake

Performances take place at 1:00 pm and at 1:30 pm as well as every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 10 pm on weekdays, and from 6 pm to 11 pm on weekends (weekends being Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).

Around the lake, there are many restaurants, bridges, shops and hotels.

The Dubai Mall

Burj Khalifa Lake
Burj Khalifa Lake

The Dubai Mall is the second-largest mall in the world by total land area and the 21st-largest shopping mall in the world by gross leasable area. It is part of the same complex and includes 1,200 shops. In 2011 it was the most visited building on the planet, attracting over 54 million visitors each year.

It has a total internal floor area of 5.9 million square feet (55 ha) and leasable space of 3.77 million square feet (35 ha). It also has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens plus 120 restaurants and cafes. The Mall has over 14,000 parking spaces across 3 car parks, with valet services and a car locator ticketing system.

World records and achievements

  • The largest mall in the world with total area 1,124,000 m².
  • Worlds second largest mall with Gross Leasable Area (GLA) 350,000 m².
  • World’s largest acrylic panel (Aquarium) inside Dubai Mall, which is (32.88 m wide × 8.3 m high × 750 mm thick and weighing 245 tons).
  • The world’s largest sweet shop, “Candylicious”, spanning over 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) inside Dubai Mall.
  • Dubai Mall records more than 5 million visitors in the month of March 2010 during the one-month Dubai Shopping Festival, setting an all-time record in visitor footfall.
  • Dubai Mall was named the best shopping experience on 29 April 2010 by Grazia Style Awards.
  • The Dubai Mall hosted a record 37 million visitors in its first year of operation in 2009 and attracts more than 750,000 visitors every week.
  • The Dubai Mall hosted a record 47 million visitors in 2010 and broke the record of 37 million visitors received last year, an increase of 27 per cent despite the economic crisis.
  • In 2011, Dubai Mall becomes the world’s most-visited shopping and leisure destination and attracted more than 56 million visitors, an increase of 15 per cent from the visitors of last year.
  • In 2012, Dubai Mall continued to hold the title of world’s most-visited shopping and leisure destination and attracted more than 65 million visitors, an increase of more than 20 per cent compared to the 54 million recorded in 2011.
  • In 2017, Dubai Mall unveiled the world’s largest OLED screen. [Wikipedia]

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

It is located on the Ground Level of The Dubai Mall and is the largest suspended aquariums in the world, with 51 metres in length, 20 metres in width and 11 metres in height.

It is 10-million litre Aquarium tank that houses thousands of aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species. Over 300 sharks and rays live in this tank, including the largest collection of Sand Tiger sharks in the world.

You can just stand on a side an observe for free, as the people above. But you also have a number of paid options, including a tunnel, a shark exhibit, a submersible simulator and a glass bottom boat ride. Tickets are available on the official website.

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