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The Burj Khalifa is a stunning feat of architecture and engineering, with two observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors and a restaurant-bar on the 122nd. The world’s tallest building pierces the sky at 828m and opened in January 2010, six years after excavations began. To avoid wait times or expensive fast-track admission, book tickets online as far as 30 days in advance. Note that high humidity often cloaks Dubai in a dense haze, making views less than breathtaking.

The most popular ticket is the one to the At the Top observation deck on the 124th floor (452m), where high-powered telescopes (extra fee) help bring even distant developments into focus (at least on clear days) and cleverly simulate the same view at night and 35 years back in time. Getting to the deck means passing various multimedia exhibits until a double-decker lift whisks you up at 10m per second.

To truly be on the world's highest observation platform, though, you need to spring for tickets to At the Top Sky on the 148th floor (555m). A visit here is set up like a hosted VIP experience, with refreshments, a guided tour and an interactive screen where you 'fly' to different city landmarks by hovering your hands over high-tech sensors. Afterwards, you're escorted to the 125th floor to be showered with interesting titbits about Dubai and the Burj and to take another virtual tour of major sights in an interactive attraction called A Falcon's Eye View.