If someone told you that you could visit the Top of the World in your wheelchair, what would you say? Impossible! Well, not anymore. While the top of Mount Everest still isn’t wheelchair accessible, the top of the manmade world definitely is. Read on to learn about my visit to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), currently the tallest building in the world, and how you can visit it in your wheelchair, too.
My visit to the Burj happened during my second day in Dubai in February 2016. After my friends Tom and Rebecca got home from work, it was time for us to head out to the tallest building in the world! To get there, we decided to take the metro, which has been hailed as the most handicap accessible place in Dubai. Whoever said that wasn’t kidding. There are even small metal ovals and circles on the ground that lead directly to elevators, kiosks, and train doors for blind people using walking sticks! Really amazing.
From there we had to walk/roll a looooooong way to the Dubai Mall, then through the Dubai Mall, to get to the bottom of the Burj. I barely have the words to describe the vastness of this mall. You could easily spend days walking around just to get to every store. There are even two sections of high-end designer stores (like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, etc.)–one section for haute couture and one section for ready-to wear. Unbelievable.
After some window shopping, walking, and navigating, we made it to the bottom of the Burj Khalifa–all 168 stories of her. It’s not like the building just squeaks by as the tallest in the world; it’s a good 40 stories higher than the second tallest and dwarfs the Empire State, Petronas Towers, and Sears Building. The observation deck is at the 126th floor, so you don’t actually go to the top (even though the attraction is called At the Top), but whatever. I’ve been to the top of the Sears Tower, so I had some expectations of the elevator ride. I can’t explain how blown away I was by the fact that you felt ZERO movement for the 60 seconds it takes to get you to the 126th floor. ZERO. NO acceleration or deceleration AT ALL. Unbelievable.
Once we got to the deck level, we were led to the observation area. I had no idea it was open air! High glass walls of course, but no ceiling! Before we got there, I was a little disappointed we had to go at night because I had seen so many pictures of the view during the day. No way; the nighttime view FAR surpasses any photo I’ve ever seen of the mostly tan-hazy daytime views. It was absolutely breathtaking!!
We of course did a pass through the gift shop for souvenirs, then got to see some really cool displays of the steps engineers and builders went through to put this puppy together over the course of five years. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the construction here is EVERYWHERE, and it is non-stop. I learned from Tom that a full 80% of the entire world’s construction cranes are located in and operating in Dubai.
After the Burj, we passed by a gorgeous fountain show–very similar to the Bellagio show in Las Vegas–on our way to Karma Cafe for a late dinner. The food was absolutely incredible; easily one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. The bar inside was very nightclubby with low lights and dark music; I loved it :). Just one more thing that reminded me of Vegas. After a wonderful 3-hour meal, the three of us we beat and headed back to the apartment.
The line to take the elevator to The Top of the World is long, but you will get to bypass it as a wheelchair user. You can purchase your tickets at the ticket office in the mall, and I would recommend purchasing them for your preferred visit time well in advance.
Thanks to my awesome electric scooter, I’m able to safely roll around destinations all over the world – including Dubai. Find out if it’s a good fit for you, too! Pride Mobility Go-Go Ultra X 3-Wheel Travel Scooter
[…] architect is David Childs, whose firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) also designed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (which I have also visited) and the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower in Chicago). Following […]
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