The Backpacker’s Way to do the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

burj khalifa on the cheap uae

Doing the Burj Khalifa as a cheapskate backpacker – in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

As of today the worlds highest building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. As a backpacker in Dubai there was no way I was going to pay the ridiculous price tag of $30 US Dollars to go “to the top”. There’s even an irony there as “the top viewing platform” isn’t even anywhere near the top – it’s on the 124th floor (out of 163) I believe!! I probably shouldn’t give them free publicity on here, so I won’t post it as a link but here’s the site for booking this expensive journey to “At the Top of the Burj Khalifa” if you’re a rich backpacker. .

Outside the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE

Outside the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE

What’s even worse is that if you don’t book it in advance they charge you even more, rumours that it can cost as much as $100 US for the 60 minute trip to the top which isn’t even the top. $100 US? I could backpack in Iran for 2 weeks easily on that!!

burj khalifa dubai

The stunning Burj Khalifa in Dubai – the world’s highest building.

But luckily I’m on hand to do it the FREE way. So unless you blag one of those tickets for free, work there or live there this leaves you with two free backpacking options for the Burj Khalifa in Dubai:

1. Foot of Burj Khalifa by Dubai Mall
Just go to the bottom of the Khalifa. It can be accessed easily from Dubai Mall (itself the world’s biggest shopping mall). You can get awesome views of the Khalifa from here. Here are some of our photos from the foot of the Khalifa, day and night and yes, of course I’ve tried turning them round the right way, but I’ve spent hours on it and they still come up horizontal.

Daytime at the base of the Burj Khalifa:

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Night time at the base of the Burj Khalifa:

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2. Armani Hotel, Floor 9
Go to the Armani Hotel and actually go inside the Khalifa for free. This gets you as far as the 9th floor and you can look out at the world knowing you have been inside the world’s highest building! To get to the Armani Hotel, you have to follow the path away from Dubai Mall and up the slope into the reception, you can then get the lift up to as far as they let you – when we were there – we could get up to the 9th floor. We didn’t stay for a drink though as it was too dear. Here are some photos from the Armani Hotel. I also sneaked in behind the bar for a cheeky shot too.

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So we obviously went for both options, as they were both free. We also decided to head to the Burj Khalifa both day and night to get different views of it. At night you also get free light shows, water shows/fountains and occasional music shows and that is all free of charge at the foot of the Burj Khalifa. Here are a few more photos from in and around the Burj Khalifa.

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While backpacking in Dubai we stayed in the City Max hotel which is a decent budget option, It has a bar on the ground floor, cable internet in the room and a superb swimming pool on the top floor.

Here are some videos from our time checking out the Khalifa which is the world’s highest building:

6 thoughts on “The Backpacker’s Way to do the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  • Hi R Dub, Thanks for the comment. No – I tend to backdate most of my posts as I have about 3,000 stories to catch up on and if I start with the most recent ones, I forget the old ones. My first stop over in UAE was 2012, but I did the Khalifa on the cheap in 2013. Safe travels. Jonnt

  • WOW! You have cool photos! If you are in need of a place to live, eg, apartments, flat, studio, villa etc, just make a request based on your budget, area location, move in date, and receive offers from agent completely free on a new property service

  • Hi Kate. Thanks for the comment. Apologies for the delay. I have been going through depression and only checking through my old comments and messages now. Dubai can be done on the cheap. Stay safe. Jonny

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