Dubai Facts: Interesting facts about Dubai

29 Interesting Dubai Facts you need to know

What are some cool facts about Dubai?

facts about dubai

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.

itinerary to Dubai

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!

cool facts about Dubai

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

dubai itinerary

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.

dubai facts Burg Khalifa 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.

Dubai Fountains

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

Dubai has the longest driverless metro line in the world and holds a Guiness World Record for it.

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

Burj Al Arab facts about Dubai

 

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.

dubai facts

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.

itinerary for dubai

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 itinerary

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.

Dubai Aquarium itinerary of dubai

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.

Dubai Mall Fountain

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!

Miracle Garden Dubai Facts

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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12 thoughts on “Dubai Facts: Interesting facts about Dubai

  1. I have a 48-hour stopover to Dubai on the way to Florida this October. Thanks for these very
    helpful tips about Dubai. To see Burj Al Arab is my top priority – happy it is in your list. And beyond happy to know that it is a sustainable building!

  2. What a great article and so informative. I have to admit I don’t really know much about Duabi and these facts are quite interesting. Out of curiosity, why do the police cars need to be so fast? Is crime an issue? The most interesting fact for me is the vending machines that dispense gold. How do you carry it and use it after that? Learned a lot from your article 🙂

  3. So many interesting facts. Being pulled over by one of those fancy cars would be a little crazy. I would just want to get out and look. Did you know that the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas also has a gold bar dispensing ATM? That is just crazy to me. Dubai sounds like a fun place to visit and like you could almost live in the malls. Then you wouldn’t have to go out in the heat!

  4. We loved our two visits to Dubai. But I certainly did not learn all of these facts about Dubai. We were certainly amazed at the wealth we saw on display. But we missed the gold bar vending machines. The horrendous traffic we found was a surprise. Good thing they have a good transit system. But I am not sure I knew the Metro was driverless. It is a good thing I did not get arrested for kissing hubby in public. Thanks for the new facts!

  5. I’ve never been to Dubai but appreciate your photogenic guide to this wealthy emirate. For such a well-planned city though, I’m surprised that the traffic is so bad! Thank goodness for decent transit. I’d be keen to visit the Burj Al Arab though I’m not sure I’d be able to go to the top – it’s so high!

  6. I have grown up in this part of the world and these facts are quite known to me. Reading them all makes me feel so nostalgic. The fact abt it being a desert town – I have seen a bit of that as a kid. Of course, it was all developing but a lot of current areas like the mall area and the palm island did not exist.

  7. I have been living here in Dubai for over 8 years now and was going through the list with a lot of interest to see if there’s anything that I did not know or agree with and it seems you’ve got it all, and got it right. Hehe. It is quite a swanky little city, and the glitz and glamour here are unmatched. We do have the tallest building in the world, the largest flower garden, the most luxurious hotel and so many superlatives attached with so many places. I do hate how hot and sunny it is all the time, and that we do not get enough rains in the year!

  8. What an interesting article. I knew about a few of the facts but some are absolutely new to me. 7-star hotel interior covered in gold leaf, gold bricks vending machine, no income tax, Sunday is working- Wow!

  9. I have friends that worked in Dubai for years – they loved the tax-free earnings for sure! I’ve only been to Dubai once, and found the wealth and public display restrictions a bit much for me. But I would love to see the Burj Khalifa!

  10. Police cars are Lamborghinis? Oh my gosh, that really IS over the top. And a hotel lined with gold leaf? I did know that Dubai was a city of great wealth, and a popular tourist destination, too, but I guess there was a lot I didn’t know. Fun post to read!

  11. The facts you provided are really interesting. Dubai was nothing but just a small village amidst the desert few decades ago and now if you visit, you will be left surprised with all those tallest skyscrapers, largest malls, longest metros and more. They are so wealthy indeed. I am very interested in visiting Dubai and have an afternoon tea from the top of the Burj Khalifa, if only I can afford it.

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