It is by visiting Dubai that you will really grasp first-hand just how tall the tallest tower in the world is, the 828-metre high Burj Khalifa. Located in the new Old Town Island district and entrusted to chief architect Adrian Smith, it is enormous. Its momentous opening in the middle of a financial crisis (it was originally called Burj Dubai before being renamed on the day of its inauguration in honour of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates, who cleared the debts) was televised throughout the world and provided great visibility for Dubai. It is an impressive tour de force. The base that supports the entire building is huge, but viewing it from the bottom is not enough. You must go all the way up to the observation platform, located 424m above on the 142nd floor, to get the full experience. Getting there is very quick thanks to high-speed lifts, with large transparent panels allowing you to enjoy the view and check out this city that arose from the sand and continues to grow. There are always many building sites, and cranes are part of the landscape, guaranteeing you will see a new side of this fast-changing city each time you visit. Although a visit to the tower is not very informative (the certificate for the Guinness World Record is simply hung on one side of the building) and there are only a few souvenir shops and telescopes, large pictures on the way to the exit show the different stages of construction of this monumental project started in 2004. At the foot of the tower, there is a lake with a 'performing fountain'. Every evening, at 6:00pm and 10:00pm on weekdays and 6:00pm to 11:00 pm at weekends, the water jets (275m of them), shoot up for the performance of the largest fountain in the world. The jets reach heights of 150m and are of course accompanied by synchronised lights and music!
Make sure you book in advance, as the ticket prices can be 4 times as much if you buy them on the same day. By booking early, you will also be free to choose a time slot from those available. However, being organised and booking in advance leaves little room for adverse weather conditions and unexpected fog!