Burj Khalifa: Sunrise At The Top | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Jan 26, 2015

Burj Khalifa: Sunrise At The Top

"It's going to be magical. You'd love it!" I reminded myself over and over as I sleepwalked to the bathroom. It was four in the morning and I just had three hours of sleep. With my half awake half asleep blurry vision, I saw my family almost ready to witness the sunrise at the 124th floor of the tallest building in the world. Sunrise! Yes, out of all the possible viewing times, this sleepyhead decided to purchase sunrise tickets... all for the love of family and the golden hour. 

It's quite a sacrifice for a nocturnal person to get up in the wee hours. I wouldn't mind if I'm on vacation, especially when I'm travelling. But sleep, eight full hours of it, matters when my body is in its full working mode. 

Why did I choose sunrise? It's simply because I wanted my parents to have the very best At The Top experience. I have been there on a summer afternoon years ago. Although it was amazing, I felt the experience could be so much more under the golden skies. Sunset could have been an option, but the tickets were already sold out when I made the booking. So, it was sunrise At The Top or nothing, and I wouldn't let my parents who rarely come for a visit go home with nothing! :)  

sunrise tickets to At The Top - Burj Khalifa
sunrise tickets to At The Top - Burj Khalifa 

The Journey to Burj Khalifa - At The Top
We arrived at The Dubai Mall at half past five in the morning. It was my first time to see the huge, always crowded, shopping mall dark and almost deserted. We walked to the lower ground level, to the At The Top reception, where every journey to the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa starts. Surprisingly, we were not the only group who dared to come on an ungodly hour. There were a few people ahead of us; photographers with high end cameras, a family with little kids, people who look like seasoned travelers, while most are probably expats who want experience something new. 

facts and figures of Burj Khalifa at At The Top entrance lobby
facts and figures of Burj Khalifa at the entrance lobby

Since we already claimed our 6 AM sunriser tickets at the online ticket collection machine a day before our scheduled visit, we headed straight to At The Top entrance lobby. We arrived a few minutes ahead of our schedule, hence we had an ample time to check the interactive screen where facts and figures of Burj Khalifa are displayed; something I failed to do during my first visit way back 2010 due to a long queue. 

After the main lobby and the security check counter, our journey to the observation deck began. It started in a travelator where we had a glimpse of the astonishing transformation of Dubai. It was followed by a series of introduction to the iconic tower; on why it was built and how it was made. 

a glimpse of Dubai then and now
a glimpse of Dubai then and now 
From the earth to the sky at Burj Khalifa
my mother dear at one of the hallways 
a brief introduction to the world famous icon
a brief introduction to a world famous icon
the construction of Burj Khalifa on LCD TVs
the construction of Burj Khalifa on LCD TVs

After several stops in multi-media exhibits, we continued our journey on board the infamous high-speed elevator (the one I am most afraid to be stuck in). It's currently the tallest and the third fastest in the world! My ears popped, yet the uncomfortable sensation did not last long as we reached our destination in merely a minute.

Burj Khalifa's high speed elevator to the observation deck
Burj Khalifa's high speed elevator to the observation deck

Dawn and Sun Up At The Top 
The second the elevator door opened, we excitedly walked to the outdoor observation deck. We arrived to an astounding view of brightly illuminated streets, sparkling skyscrapers and a fountain show at Burj Lake! The latter was a big surprise since the Dubai Fountain only has afternoon and evening shows. It was probably under maintenance, but I would like to believe that it was specially turned on for us "Sunrisers". :)

a sparkling Dubai before sunrise
a sparkling Dubai before sunrise (photo taken with a Go Pro in wide setting)
break of dawn at Burj Khalifa At The Top
a family photo during the break of dawn
Ed at Burj Khalifa At The Top
My husband couldn't stop clicking. It's awesome way up there!

As the horizon turned golden, I gave myself a pat on the back for being brave enough to book the 6am viewing time, for waking up to the unusual alarm and for not missing this out. Magical is an understatement! Seeing the earth fill up with light 452m above the ground is surreal, and witnessing it with the family makes it more extraordinary. 

Sunrise in Burj Khalifa observation deck
Here comes the sun! 
gorgeous sunrise in Dubai
A brand new day in Dubai starts with this gorgeous sunrise.
magic hour at Burj Khalifa
I was stunned! It's not called the "magic hour" for nothing! 
Burj Khalifa's outdoor terrace
Burj Khalifa's outdoor terrace under the blue sky and warm sunshine

Panoramic View From Burj Khalifa - At The Top
The advantage of booking the sunrise ticket is having the opportunity to see Dubai in three different phases; under the night sky, with sun over the horizon and in broad daylight. From the observation deck, Dubai looks like the virtual megacity I built in a simulation game years ago. Hands up if you wasted your teenage days playing SimCity! :) Well, thinking about SimCity was just my way of coping up with my fear of heights. 

Lady and family at Burj Khalifa At The Top
At The Top is not literally at the top of Burj Khalifa. Look how far we are from the top most floor. 
view from Burj Khalifa At The Top
And look how high the deck is above the ground! 
view of Sheikh Zayed Road from Burj Khalifa
Everything's so tiny, even the skyscrapers along Sheikh Zayed Road! (photo taken with a Go Pro in wide setting)
Interactive screens provide a close up of the structures in the city along with some information.
You can even see how Dubai looks like during the old times when you click the "Historic" option.

At The Top offers exceptional 360 degree panorama of Dubai from the desert to the coast! The indoor observation deck has a view of the iconic man-made islands; The World and The Palm Jumeirah. We completed our sky high experience with a quick stop at the gift shop. Then, off we zoomed to the ground level via the high-speed elevator.    

family at Burj Khalifa observation terrace
Sky-high happiness! :)
a view of The World islands from Burj Khalifa
a view of The World islands from Burj Khalifa indoor observation deck
Burj Khalifa souvenir shop
At The Top's souvenir shop

The next time somebody asks me about At The Top, I'd say "be there at sunrise" in a split second! I wouldn't deny that with only three hours of sleep I did feel like a zombie afterwards. But you know what? Beneath the sluggish body was a happy soul. 

At The Top admission fee (as of January 2015):
General Admission: 125 AED
Prime Viewing Hours (2pm to 5:30pm): 200 AED
Fast Track ticket: 300 AED

*Sunrise viewing is only available every Friday and Saturday!
*Advance online booking is necessary. 
*For more information, please visit Burj Khalifa official website.

At The Top - Burj Khalifa
entrance at The Dubai Mall - lower ground level
observation deck at Burj Khalifa - 124th floor
Downtown Dubai 

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