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Burj Khalifa

163 floors. 2,722ft/829.8m from tip to ground. It's the tallest building in the world. It's the Burj Khalifa, and we're going up.

For the full story behind this tour, check out The view from the Burj Khalifa.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

At the top

The entrance! Rather unassuming, and in a distant corner of the mall.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Yeah, really tall

As you wait in line for the elevators (or are whisked past the line if you got the "sky ticket"), there's a display showing how much taller the Burj is compared to other buildings. The one on the right is the Petronas Towers which I toured a few years ago.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Unassuming

For some of the fastest elevators in the world, they don't exactly scream "One of the Fastest Elevators in the World." Inside, LCD screens show the other tallest buildings in the world, and you rise past them as you gain commensurate height. Even at floor 123, where you exit and go to another elevator to go even farther up, you're higher than nearly every other building on Earth.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Sky lounge

The stylish and chill Sky lounge is on the 148th floor.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Oh, windows

A relaxing lounge above the world.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Oh dear!

Yep, that sure is a long way down. Amazing.

On the left side, about halfway up, is the Metro station (next to the highway). You can see the walkway to get from there to the Dubai Mall snaking diagonally toward the lower right of the image.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

That view

This isn't even the coolest view you'll see in this slideshow. You can see where the walkway connects to the massive Dubai Mall (largest mall in the world by area).

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Outside!

Mindblowingly, there's an outdoor observation deck, a third of a mile in the sky. Even more amazing, there are gaps in the walls so you can stick, lets say a GoPro, out and take some amazing photos (you probably shouldn't do this).

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

GoProooo!

Yeah, I totally did that. Behold, Dubai!

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Still higher

As mind-bogglingly high as we are, there are another 15 stories above this point. They're private though. Oh well.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

A long shadow cast

The view roughly southeast. Check out that massive shadow.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Tall?

It throws off your entire perspective being this high up. Those buildings are actually quite tall. The flat, wide building center right is taller than the Chrysler Building in New York, and taller than all but a handful of skyscrapers in the US.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

On the 'water'

The Burj Khalifa and the Dubai mall are part of a huge development that includes apartments, restaurants, and other shopping.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hazy sunset

I was a little bummed how hazy it was. I was in Dubai for a week and it was like this every day. Still, pretty awesome sunset.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Colors

The sun did light up everything nicely. This was from my Instagram, if you're interested.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fountains from above

Designed and built by the same company that created the famous Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Sci-fi masterpiece

How amazing is this?! The air cleared and the lights of the city turned something cool into something awesome. Like a sci-fi matte painting come to life.

This was also on my Instagram. Gonna flog that till you all follow me...

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Lights of the city

An interesting thing to note. Look how the main streets are lit by cheap, orange sodium vapor lights, but the roads closer to the apartments have newer, blue-white LEDs.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Dubai mall at night

The most visited building on the planet, according to Wikipedia. It looks like a spaceship. A spaceship with 1,124,000 m² total area.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Interchange at night

The view north. I did not get tired of this view. I took many, many photos.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Going up?

A separate elevator takes you from the 125th (or 124th) floor back down to the ground.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

125th

Though the lighting was fairly dim, there were still a LOT of reflections on the glass. Basically impossible to get a photo from inside.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Viewing deck

The outdoor viewing deck on the 124th floor. As you can see, fairly crowded. Also, it faces a different direction than the one on the 148th floor, which I think offers better views.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

By night

As incredible as it is during the day, it's even more incredible at night.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fountains

There are shows every 30 minutes for most of the evening. It is pretty well done, I'll give it that.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Bernstein

The most impressive show was to Elmer Bernstein's "Magnificent Seven" theme. I don't know what the connection was to Dubai or the tower, but there is never a wrong time for more Bernstein.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One more surprise

And notice those little white dots (no, not the windows, the other white dots). Those are even more amazing.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

It lights up!

The surface of the building is covered by 70,000 LEDs and at night it lights up like a giant screen! Colored patterns weave their way across and up and down. It's one of the most amazing things I've seen.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Silent giant

The light show is basically silent, not occurring at the same time as the fountain show.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Designs

The artistic designs are sometimes just random colors, other times more recognizable shapes. Apparently the display has a resolution of 800x1,800. I wonder if it has an HDMI input...

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Surreal

The building is so tall it barely looks real. Lit up with all the LEDs, it looks even more fake.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Goodnight and goodbye

I've wanted to tour this incredible building since I first heard about it, long before ground was even broken. It was definitely worth it. What an incredible place.

For the full story behind this tour, check out The view from the Burj Khalifa.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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