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Christmas Gift Guide

Burj Khalifa

At the top

Yeah, really tall

Unassuming

Sky lounge

Oh, windows

Oh dear!

That view

Outside!

GoProooo!

Still higher

A long shadow cast

Tall?

On the 'water'

Hazy sunset

Colors

Fountains from above

Sci-fi masterpiece

Lights of the city

Dubai mall at night

Interchange at night

Going up?

125th

Viewing deck

By night

Fountains

Bernstein

One more surprise

It lights up!

Silent giant

Designs

Surreal

Goodnight and goodbye

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

A relaxing lounge above the world.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Yeah, I totally did that. Behold, Dubai!

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The view roughly southeast. Check out that massive shadow.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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...

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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...

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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