UAE 2010: Burj Khalifa, At the Top (and Wafi Mall) – Part 2

Date: 7th April, 2010

(This is a continuation of Part 1)

Once you are allowed in past the At The Top ticket counter, you wait at the lobby until it’s time for you go up.

Dubai Mall At The Top entrance

At the lobby are some facts, figures and interactive displays comparing the Burj Khalifa to other tall structures around the world.

Burj Khalifa lobby London displayDubai Mall Burj Khalifa lobby San Fransisco displayIn the above display, you choose a location (it’s a touch screen) and it then shows you a simulation of what the Burj Khalifa would look like in that chosen landscape.

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa lobby structures comparison

Compared to other tall buildings from around the world

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa lobby displayWhen it was time, I went through security and made my way to the lift. (Oh yeah, the lift is the fastest in the world.)

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa escalator displayThere are other displays en route to the lift.

Burj Khalifa observation deck 124th floor

I didn't align this right but if you get it all in the center, it points to the 124th floor -- which is where the observation deck is

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa At the Top message

Behind the tape: "I *was* Burj Dubai"

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa escalatorI queued for the lift (there’s two) and it wasn’t a capsule (or glass) lift so you can’t see how fast you are going. The feeling was just amazing (video is below)! You hardly feel anything. The noise is cut out due to the music that plays and the only indication you are going up at 64kmph is that you feel like something is pushing down on you.

Also, the ride takes less than 30 seconds.

And then, you step out.

Burj Khalifa observation deck

The observation deck

Dubai Mall from top Burj Khalifa observation deck

Dubai Mall from up above

Sheikh Zayed road panorama from Burj Khalifa

That's Dubai: tall buildings and sand. (Panorama comprised of 7 shots)

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa At the Top view fountain

That weird design in the pool is the base of Dubai Fountain

I walked around to take in views from every angle.

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa observation deck pillars

Burj Khalifa The World project

There was a slight dust storm that day but what you see in the distance is The World islands

Burj Khalifa observation deck zoom viewer

These digital telescopes give you an accurate simulation of what the view would be at day and at night

Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai construction

The Downtown Dubai construction site

Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai desert

There's a lot of empty land still left in Dubai

(Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this article to see the HD video I made)

After the tour, I got into an empty lift going down.

Burj Khalifa inside the fastest elevatorBurj Khalifa inside fastest elevator screens

But pictures aren’t as cool as an HD video right?

Once out, there was more to see.

The making of Burj KhalifaThe making of Burj Khalifa displays

Burj Khalifa Downtoun Dubai project

The (planned) Downtoun Dubai project

Burj Khalifa various design changes

The design (& height) changes Burj Khalifa went through

Downtown Dubai buildings fountain

Looking out

At the Top people behind Burj Khalifa

A few people behind this massive project get a mention too

Burj Khalifa Shebbir Ahmed workers

"Edaa Shebbiru...!"

Burj Khalifa exit walkalator

Burj Khalifa exit walkalator lcds

And with that, the tour ends

You come out near the At The Top ticket counter itself.

Burj Khalifa At the Top ticket counter

Burj Khalifa At the Top sold out

This is why you need to be in early or book well in advance

Dubai Mall Dior stairs ceiling art

Wow, even the 'under-the-escalators' get attention

It was past 5pm by this time and I had initially planned on waiting for the Dubai Fountain show which begins at sunset.

But my legs were aching!

All that walking around, with my camera bag… my body couldn’t take it anymore. So I decided to catch the fountain show the next time I would be coming here — which would be 2 days from now.

Burj Khalifa shadow sunlightDubai Mall hole building

Outside Dubai Mall towards metro

Making my way back to the metro station

Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai building reflection

Dubai Metro inside

Inside the driver-less Dubai Metro

After heading back to Azhad’s room, I gave my legs a rest before heading out again at night. I had dinner plans with a friend, Payal, from my school days who shifted from Bahrain to Dubai a few years ago.

We met up at BurJuman Shopping Center from where we weighed in our dinner options.

Payal inside Honda Civic Dubai

Payal's book of infinite choices (& discount coupons)

She took me to Wafi City — one of the more interesting real estate projects in Dubai city. A mixed use complex which houses a mall (duh), residences, and a Raffles hotel.

Wafi mall pyramids Citibank Dubai

The Raffles Dubai hotel is the pyramid in the center

What makes Wafi unique is that the whole place is themed around ancient Egypt.

Wafi Mall Eqytian pyramid carsWe first checked out the mall a bit.

Wafi Mall egyptian pillars escalators

Wafi Mall glass pillar ceiling

Not sure if this was a part of Egyptian history, but looks cool anyway.

Wafi Mall inside ceilingWafi Mall roof ceiling Egyptian artWafi Mall roof ceiling Egyptian artWafi Mall city Raffles hotel lobbyWe walked past Asha’s and ended up sitting down at Mahi Mahi, a seafood restaurant and a favourite of Payal’s.

We sat out at the balcony and I would advice anyone to do so if the weather permits — the setting is great.

Wafi Mall Egyptian statues car parking

Wafi Mall panorama Dubai

A panorama comprised of 7 shots

Wafi Mall restaurant chandlier

The ambiance inside Mahi Mahi isn't bad either

Our dinner conversation ranged from the extreme superficiality of people in Dubai to Payal’s Las Vegas plans to my travel plans for this year. (Yes, I will be travelling again later this year)

Wafi Mall restaurant dinner payal

My friend Payal

Wafi Mall restaurant Thai dinner

Our (mostly) seafood dinner

Mahi Mahi is a slightly upscale joint but the portions and food are well worth the price. You can’t beat the night time atmosphere either.

Wafi Mall columnsWafi Mall pillars steps

Wafi Mall seafood restaurant

The seafood is very fresh

By 11pm, we left Wafi City (after a bit of Lebanese sweets-shopping).

Dubai felt quiet for some time that night.

Dubai at night traffic inside CivicBut once Payal dropped me back in Deira, the signs of life were still buzzing even as today came to an end.

I went back to the room, knackered. Absolutely knackered.

After yesterday’s tiring walk and today’s exploration of Dubai Mall, my legs were crying for rest. Tomorrow was going to be more mall hopping and meeting another friend for dinner.

All said and done, I got what I came for. I was very happy with the photos and it was well worth it.

(Now you know why I took so long on these posts.)

P.S: Here’s the HD video tour of the Burj Khalifa, enjoy:

Next posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Mall of Emirates and Times Square Center

UAE 2010: Driving around Dubai (Souk Madinat Jumeirah, The Atlantis & The Palm Islands) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Dubai Marina, Jumeirah, The Walk and David Guetta concert – Part 2

UAE 2010: Showing my parents the sights of Dubai; inside Ibn Battuta Mall

UAE 2010: From the desert sands of Abu Dhabi to the corniche

UAE 2010: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – Ferrari World and Yas Marina Circuit

Previous posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Heading back to the Gulf after 7 years

UAE 2010: Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (& back)

UAE 2010: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

UAE 2010: Heading to Dubai by bus; checking out Bur Dubai

UAE 2010: Dubai Mall (Aquarium, Underwater Zoo & Gold Souk) – Part 1

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