I’ve put together these Dubai facts because in January 2019, I visited Dubai for the first time. I didn’t know much of the facts about Dubai as I Live in New Zealand, and Dubai is half a world away – one of the longest flights in the world is 17 hours from Auckland to Dubai.
I was on my way back from Africa and wanted to stop off somewhere different than the usual Singapore stopover so I decided on Dubai in the Persian Golf.
Dubai is known for its over the top luxury lifestyle and modern architecture in the middle of the desert. I am all about Dubai City!
Here are 29 interesting facts about Dubai – Fun Facts about Dubai
1. 50 years ago Dubai was just a little town in the middle of the desert.
The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is known for extravagant, newly built landmarks like the Burj Khalifa, the Palm Jumeirah, and the Dubai Mall.
In just over two decades, the city has transformed from a desert backwater port to a thriving metropolis with the third-most skyscrapers in the world.
Before oil was discovered in Dubai it was a little more than a port city in the desert. Dubai has now grown to a mega city full of sky scrapers and luxury boutiques.
2. Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – there are seven emirates
UAE’s seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
Abu Dhabi is about an hour away from Dubai and is the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates and is the capital city of the Emirate of Dubai. Dubai is located along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, at the southwest corner of the Arabian Gulf.
3. The population of Dubai is over 2.5 million people and the most populated city in the UAE
In terms of population, Dubai has an estimated population of 2,504,000 in 2016. This makes it the most populated emirate in the UAE, surpassing Abu Dhabi which, despite having a larger area, has the third largest population in the UAE that is estimated at just over 1.1 million.
4. Arabic is the national language but English is widely spoken
When I visited Dubai I had no problems getting around the city and asking for directions or talking to my taxi driver in English.
It is widely spoken throughout the city and the signs are also in English.
5. Wealth is abundant in Dubai
Oil was discovered in Dubai just over 50 years ago, but only accounts for one percent of its earnings. So, what makes the city of Dubai so rich?
Dubai began shipping oil in 1969 and before gaining independence from Great Britain in 1971, when it became one of the UAE’s seven emirates.
In 1958, the ruler of Dubai, started investing in infrastructure and completed its first airport in 1960 from loans amounting to tens of billions of dollars.
The move away from oil led to a boost in tourism, and the little oil Dubai eventually discovered in 1966 went towards building the city full of sky scrapers that we know today.
Some credit the business strategy of a tax free zone as the reason for the popularity of Dubai and why businesses flock to the city.
The UAE is the third richest country in the world after Qatar and Luxembourg.
6. Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building in the world.
The Burj Khalifa height is a staggering 828 meters (2716.5 feet) tall, soaring over Dubai. It’s three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building
Besides the world record for the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa holds six other world records.
The Burj Khalifa is also the tallest freestanding structure in the world,
The Burj Khalifa has the highest number of stories in the world,
The Burj Khalifa has the highest occupied floor in the world,
The Burj Khalifa has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world,
The Burj Khalifa has the elevator with longest travel distance in the world, and
The Burj Khalifa has the tallest service elevator in the world.
Did you know that the Burj Khalifa is also a sustainable building? Every year they collect 15 million gallons of water which is used for landscaping and the water fountains outside.
You can also have high tea at the top of the Burj Khalifa which is an amazing experience.
7. Dubai has the longest automated metro in the world at 75 km long
The longest driverless metro line is the Dubai Metro Red Line which is 52.1 km (32.37 mi) in length and is located in Dubai, UAE, as of 23 May 2011. Dubai Metro’s second line, Green line is 22.5 km (13.98 mi) which when combined with the Red Line will make it longer than the Vancouver Skytrain.
8. Burj Al Arab is a seven star hotel and the interior is covered in 24 carat gold leaf
At 321 meters (1,053 feet) it is the third tallest hotel in the world (not including buildings with mixed use); however, 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space.
Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 meters (920 feet) from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge.
The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship.
The Burj Al Arab is one of the most luxurious hotels to stay in. It has been called “The World’s Only 7 Star Hotel”.
Approximately 1,790 square meters (19,270 square feet) of 24-carat gold leaf was used to embellish the interior. Only the finest materials were used in crafting the building.
9. Dubai Palm is an artificial island that used 94 million cubic metres of sand – the largest man made island
Construction on the Palms started in 2001. The Palms are made up of three artificial islands called Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali all off the coast of Dubai.
This is where you will find the Atlantis at the Palm which can be seen from the coast of Dubai. You can spend the day there at their water parks and their famous water slide which goes through a shark tank.
For the ultimate adrenaline rush, jump out of a plane as it cruises over the Palm Jumeirah. Skydive Dubai offers tandem skydives at the premium Palm Drop zone!
10. Dubai’s police force use super cars such as the Ferrari FF and Lamborghini Aventador as police cars
Dubai’s police force has the fastest cars in the world worth up to $8.5 million. From Bugattis to Lamborghinis and everything in between.
Can you imagine being pulled over by a Lamborghini?
11. Emiratis in Dubai make up the minority and they are out numbered by expats.
Only 15% of the population is Emiratis. Most of the workers in Dubai come from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
There is a large expat community in Dubai so if you are thinking of moving there you will more than likely find a group of people from your country.
12. There is no income tax in Dubai
There is currently no income tax in Dubai and you can potentially earn your salary 100% free of tax in Dubai if you are tax resident in the UAE.
That does not mean you are exempt from any other obligation to any other state for the payment of tax on foreign earned. This is especially true for Americans who still need to file taxes in the US.
There are lots of other taxes in the UAE and you will find things such as food a lot more expensive in Dubai.
13. It is hot in Dubai and the sun shines most days of the year
May is the sunniest month of the year with over 300 hours of sunshine in Dubai. Its also the month where it starts heating up in Dubai.
Dubai is a dry, desert climate with two distinct seasons – summer and winter.
The temperature in Dubai regularly climbs over 38 degrees Celcius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
14. Home to the Largest shopping mall in the world
The largest shopping mall in the world is the Dubai Mall. It is equivalent to 50 football fields! Wow, this place is massive! I should know I spent four hours walking around here.
There are 1200 stores in the mall. You will find all of your high street stores, cafes and also the exclusive luxury brands as well.
Inside the mall you will find the Dubai Aquarium. You can see part of the Aquarium and a large tank on the ground floor. It is worth going inside the aquarium to see the huge tanks.
There is a cool waterfall inside the mall! I loved watching this.
This is also an ice skating ring in the mall. I kid you not this place is huge!
15. Islam is the official religion of the UAE
Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates and you will see mosques through out the city. Religion is an important part of the culture in Dubai.
16. Largest flower garden in the world
Dubai Miracle Garden is the largest flower garden in the world. This park is absolutely beautiful to visit and an Instagrammer’s dream!
The power of flower power – this garden has over 4 kilometres of walkways around the park. It is said to have 60 million flowers on display.
17. Vending machines that dispense gold bars
Yes that’s right. You can visit a vending machine or an ATM and it will give you a gold bar instead of cash! This is crazy to me!
18. The weekend in Friday to Saturday in Dubai and Sunday is the first day of the working week
Friday is a holy day in the Islamic faith so the weekend is on Friday and Saturday and the work wee is Sunday to Thursday.
19. No zip codes.
Until 2015 Dubai had grown so quickly that they had never implemented a proper postal system. This all changed recently as they have implemented a system of addresses and zip codes.
20. It only rains once or twice a year
There are no potholes or drains in Dubai because it only rains once or twice a year!
When it does rain though be prepared for the flash floods.
21. You will only find alcohol in major hotels and restaurants. Only non-Muslims are allowed to consume alcohol
Alcohol is forbidden in the Islamic faith so only non Muslims can drink alcohol. Places need a special license for alcohol and you will find it in most hotels.
22. Everywhere is air conditioned
Even the bus stops and trains stops are air conditioned in Dubai. It really does get that hot!!!!
23. The currency is the UAE Dirham
The United Arab Emirates dirham, also known as simply the Emirati dirham, is the currency of the United Arab Emirates
There are about 3 dirhams to one US dollar.
24. You can have afternoon tea at the top of the Burj Khalifa
I spent the afternoon having high tea (pun intended) at the top of the Burj Khalifa.
This experience was so worth it for me. I had a table by the window and for three hours I watched the view of Dubai down below.
25. One of the fastest growing economies – oil and gas and construction
Dubai has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. You can thank oil, tourism and construction for that. At one point Dubai had 50% of the world’s cranes in the city for building all of the sky scrapers. It amazing to see how far it has come.
26. Kissing in public is illegal
Decency laws do not allow public displays of affection in Dubai. Kissing is illegal and you may end up in jail.
27. City of Gold
I have mentioned all of the gold in the Al Burj and the fact that there are gold ATMs in Dubai but they also have hundreds of gold jewelry shops in the city.
Gold bangles and watches are plentiful in the city if you are looking for a souvenir.
28. National Holidays Eid al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and December 2nd is National Day
There are two major public holidays in Dubai. Eid al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the date changes every year.
The other is National Day which is on the 2nd of December each year.
29. You can snow ski inside the Mall of the Emirates
After visiting the Dubai Mall I decided to go to a smaller mall (not really) called the Mall of the Emirates.
This mall has a ski slope for indoor skiing and snowboarding. The snow park is a winter wonderland inside a mall. Crazy!
Which one is the most interesting fact about Dubai?
I think my favorite fact about Dubai is that the police there drive super cars! What do you think? Can you imagine getting pulled over by a police officer in a Ferrari?!?
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