The world's tallest tower puts everything else in miniature perspective.
Whether you're into tall things or not, it's difficult not to be left open-mouthed in amazement when you first catch sight of the Burj Khalifa, which looms into view as you approach the city from almost any angle. The tallest building in the world long before it opened in January 2010, the Burj stands at an ear-popping 828 metres high, making other lofty structures such as the Petronas Towers or the Taipei 101 appear almost dwarfish in comparison. Put simply, it's about four-and-a-half times the size of London's Gherkin.
Five and half years in the making, the building has quickly become symbolic for Dubai's ambition and growth. Sadly, opening in a period of economic downturn, it also came to represent the city's rather wild fiscal policy. In any case, for the first time visitor, it's an absolute must and while you'll no doubt see the building lurking in the background almost any way you turn, it's vital to get up close and personal at least once. The easiest way is to head to The Dubai Mall, which neighbours the building. Stop by the Dubai Fountain, or perhaps grab an alfresco coffee at mOre Cafe, and take in the gargantuan amount of glass and steel just metres away. To see the view from inside, head to the Observation Deck, two-thirds up (the entrance of which is within The Dubai Mall), offering you preposterous views of the city and sometimes out across the Gulf towards Iran, along with a ride in the world's fastest elevator. The queue to get in can be sometimes rather lengthy, but it's definitely an 'I've been there' experience. Alternatively, if you're feeling flush, book a room in the Armani Hotel, which takes up the first quarter of the tower. It's not cheap, but you will be spending a designer-endorsed night in the world's tallest tower.