Part Two: My Last Day in Dubai on Top of Burj Khalifa (A Trilogy)

After getting home from our quick trip to Abu Dhabi, I dashed out again to meet my friends. So I took the metro to Nakheel Station and walked all the way going to Emirate’s Golf Club where a posh free festival to fill up on food truck grub was happening. There we had a proper game night, which we always do at least once a week. It was one of the perfect winter getaway. And for me at least, a getaway from all my worries.

Captured this photo when I was cycling home from work. I got to stop and take a photo because it looked like Barad-dรปr or the dark tower from the Lord of the Rings.

Also read: Part One: The Quick Visit to Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi (A Trilogy)

I was about to leave UAE for good the day after that. When we were going home, it was hard to bid my goodbyes to these friends inside a metro in a span of few seconds before the train door closes.

That was my last night in Dubai.

A couple of weeks ago, it didn’t occur to me that I’ll be coming back to the Philippines in a short notice. It felt like being the one evicted (when you least expect it) from a Big Brother house by the time you’re already enjoying your stay. And there are so many things to be sad about that I could just go straight to bed and cry myself to sleep. But I did my laundry instead because it’ll be extra devastating to be coming home with a luggage full of dirty clothes, right?

Did I chug a Red Horse beer in can? Of course. Because this beer hits differently in Dubai.

And that I know I will miss that.

When you have only less than 24 hours in a place and where its government made it clear to you that you are banned to go back forever, you just gotta review your bucket list and see what more you can check off without getting broke.

And for a one final hurrah to confirm the Dubai Trip, it is nothing else but take the spectacle of going on top of the tallest building in the world: the Burj Khalifa.

So that night, thanks to my AmEx, I got myself one entry ticket to be on top of the world.

I woke up early the next day, had me some coffee, and practiced yoga. Since everyone else in the house went to work, I decided to go spend my last day in Dubai extra early.

I took the number 7 bus going to Business Bay and bounced one station of the metro to once again walk through its long air-conditioned bridgewalk one last time. For some reason, I decided not to take its walkalators. Perhaps, not only because I had a lot of extra time, but I wanted to seize every inch of it.

Next thing I know, I was sipping another cup of coffee while sitting in front of the Dubai fountain. Despite of how I struggled many days prior to this day, I found myself grounded and centered. What more can you do if all is said and done, right?

After finishing my latte, I walked to the entrance of Burj Khalifa that is found inside the Dubai Mall. It was like a one hell of a museum. And the best part of the experience was the elevator leading up to the observation deck. I mean, when was the last time you were in an elevator where the floors went above 125? It was a busy day for tourists and it’s amazing to just go on with your own pace because you don’t have to deal with a company of others.

Moving forward, there are two main types of tickets, one for “At the Top SKY” that offers access to the observation deck on Level 148. And one for “At the Top” that grants you access to the observation deck on Level 125 and the exhibits on Level 124. Since I was broke and lonely, I only purchased the basic one.

But the Burj Khalifa is very high it dwarfs the tall buildings around it. I mean come on, it’s currently the world’s tallest building!

You can see almost everything in Dubai when your vantage point is the 125th level of Burj Khalifa. I looked to my right and there I see the Jumeirah Beach. I loved that beach. I was thinking of going there for a quick dip only that I didn’t have much time. And then I think about the last time I was there, which I didn’t know it would be the last, because if I knew that it would be the last, then I would probably go and buy that ice-cream that I have been saving for some special occasion.

Turns out, there won’t be some special occasion for me anymore.

I will never get to taste that ice-cream. It is because these ‘next times’ are never promised to anyone.

And that’s one thing that I learned from this adventure.

After spending some time at the top, I spent a couple more hours just walking around the Dubai Mall. I was walking slowly, feeling everything in, and wondering if there was still a chance for me to see these things again.

And then I went home because I still need some packing to do and that I

When I became an expat, I told myself I’m gonna be a minimalist so I could just pack everything that I need in less than an hour.

Looking at my 70L backpack, in the middle of feeling it all in, I just smiled and said a little prayer to myself, “Universe, this is everything that I have now. I don’t know what’s waiting or where I am going next, but please lead me the way.”

It was time to go.

(Featured Photo by denis harschi on Unsplash)


  1. leightontravels

    Nice shots, its really is a magnificent structure. It’s crazy/depressing to think that the damn thing didn’t even exist when I visited Dubai in 2001. Sounds like a cool experience, thanks for taking me there.

    1. Post
      Marron Santillan

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your experience as well with Dubai, Leighton! You’ll be amazed once you go back to there. It’s such a jaw-dropping city!

  2. coffeenewstom

    I was in Dubay only for some houres and I coldn’t make it to go on Burj Khalifa. So I could see it only from down. But the view from the top must be amazing…

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      Marron Santillan

      The view was amazing! I hope you get to explore around once you get the chance to go back to Dubai. Thank you for reading!

  3. Michele Lee

    Marron, I really enjoyed your story. So many takeaways for me. I got dizzy just looking at your photos with a view. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be up there! Wow! I love how you chose to spend your last day – enjoying the sights and making the most of it and your attitude, despite your setbacks, was positive. Great share!

    1. Post
      Marron Santillan

      Thank you, Michele! I can still remember my last day in Dubai clearly โ€“ and my heart is still racing every time I look back. Thanks for reading this very personal story, it means a lot to me!

  4. Ashok

    Beautiful post Marron – pics and the thoughts.

    Who knows you might be back for that ice cream ๐Ÿจ ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿค—

    1. Post
      Marron Santillan

      I’ll get that ice-cream as soon as I get the chance, no more second thoughts! Thanks for reading, Ashok!

    1. Post
      Marron Santillan

      Thank you so much! I feel like I was flying, not to mention it was hella cold up there!

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