With 3,3 million inhabitants, Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (followed by Abu Dhabi with 1.8 million and Sharjah with 1,4 million) and surely the most famous too!
For those of you who don’t know where Dubai is located, here is a convenient world map where I pinpointed it for you! 😉
LOCATION OF DUBAI – WHERE IS IT?
In this article, I will reveal to you the most interesting fun facts and curiosities about Dubai that will help you see this incredible city from a higher perspective and will surely enrich your journey through the city if you’re planning to visit it in the future.
If after your read, you would like to know even more about Dubai, I can also suggest you to check out the blog wowdubaitravel.com, which offers a great variety of articles all about the fascinating city of Dubai 🙂
Let’s stop the chitty-chat, and let’s dive right in! 😀
10 Surprising Fun Facts
that will Make you Smile! 🙂
1. Nobody Knows for Sure How, Why, and When
Dubai was named “Dubai”
Let’s start from the beginning: the origin of the name “Dubai”!
Well, funny enough is that nobody today seems to agree (nor knows…) about where that name came from.
According to Fedel Handhal, a scholar on the UAE’s history and culture, the word Dubai might have come from the word dabba (Arabic: دب) (a past tense derivative of yadub (Arabic: يدب), which means “to creep”), referring to the slow flow of
Said, that, the evidence is slim.
According to another popular theory, the name Dubai might have come from the Hindi “Do Bhai”, meaning “Two Brothers”, which could symbolize the Maktoum family (the ruling family of Dubai).
A third theory, derived from an old Andalusian book, states instead that the name Dubai derives from a small species of migratory locusts (Dubajj), now extinct.
As there are no ancient documents describing the history of Dubai, (the first commercial map showing Dubai appeared in 1822 and the population back then was just 1,000 people), probably we will never know for sure where the curious name “Dubai” truly came from 🙂
2. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the Tallest
Man-Made Building in the World!
The Burj Khalifa, with its impressive height of 828m, is by far the tallest man-made building on Earth!
To understand how tall this building truly is, might be useful to know that the second-tallest man-made structure is the Shangai Tower (which is not a building!) reaches “just” 632m, while the third one, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower in La Mecca, reaches 601m.
New York’s Twin Towers where stopping at 541 meters too!
The Burj Khalifa is a MASSIVE building, which hosts offices, residential apartments, hotels and clubs, restaurants, an observation, and a communication center.
To give you numbers, the Burj Khalifa of Dubai boasts 2,957 parking spaces, 304 hotel rooms, and 900 apartments, all in one building!
A bonus fun fact: at the Burj Khalifa you can see the sunset twice!
First, you can see it from ground zero, and once it’s set, you can take a super-fast 1-minute elevator to reach the 124th floor and see it reappearing and setting once again on the same day! ;D
(If you’re wondering how, the science behind it is pretty intuitive: the sun keeps going down, but as you rise very high, you can still see it in going down at the horizon – if you accept the Earth is round of course ;D).
3. Dubai is the 3rd City in the World
with Most 5-Stars Hotels
(behind just Macau and London)
Dubai is one of the top destinations in the world for luxury travelers, and this is reflected in the number of 5-star hotels in the city: 155 (as of 2023)!
The only cities that top Dubai in the number of 5-star hotels are Macau and London (according to Forbes).
The most iconic hotels in the city are surely the Hotel Atlantis (portrayed in the photo above), and the 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab, (also called “the Sail” hotel because of its shape), which has been voted year after year as the most luxurious hotel in the world!
4. Dubai is a new-born City,
mostly built in the past 25-30 years alone!
Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.
In 1950, Dubai was a small village hosting just 20,000 inhabitants.
At the beginning of the 90’s, in Dubai, there was a single skyscraper and in the whole urban area were only 450.000 people.
Fast forward 30 years, and in 2023 Dubai is the 4th city in the world by the number of skyscrapers over 150m high (after Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and New York) and the first city in the world by a number of “supertalls” skyscrapers over 300m high (in Dubai there are 395 skyscrapers as of 2023, of which 28 are considered “supertalls”).
Surely, Dubai has seen in the past decades unbelievable growth and an urban “explosion” like very few other cities in the world, which was funded mainly by petrol dollars and foreign immigration.
When walking around Dubai today, it’s indeed unbelievable how everything looks so new! Now you know that it IS new! ;D
5. Only 15% of Dubai Citizens
are UAE Nationals, all others are Foreigners
The UAE (and Dubai as its main city) has already been pursuing for decades the goal of diversifying the local economy to be less dependent on petrol and more repaired by its price fluctuations.
One way the United Arab Emirates government tried to diversify the country’s economy, has been by attracting foreign companies and ex-pats by creating an entrepreneurship-friendly environment, marketing attracting tax conditions, and making Visas easy to obtain.
All these policies brought their result: a strong inflow of foreign companies and foreign workers too!
As of today (2023), 85% of the population of Dubai (and the UAE) is composed of foreigners.
While getting UAE citizenship is pretty hard (can only be gained by working 30 years in the country or by marriage), living and working in Dubai for foreigners is easier than in most countries and more than 100,000 foreigners chose to relocate to Dubai every year!
If you’d ever need to visit Dubai, it’s important to check whether you require a Visa (different nationalities have different visa requirements).
If you’re not eligible for a Visa on arrival, know that requesting and getting a Dubai Visa takes approx. 3-5 day, while for last-minute Visas there are services such as Express Dubai Visa that can accelerate the process and deliver your Visa hassle-free in within 3-24 hours 🙂
6. Dubai has the
Largest Flower Garden in the World
The Dubai Miracle Garden is a garden of records and the largest in the world!
With 15.000 butterflies, 150 million flowers, 250 million plants, and 1,5 million visitors every year, the Dubai Botanical Gardens are by far the largest flower-covered expanse in the world and one of the craziest floral extravaganza you can witness in the world.
Among the many flower compositions, the Miracle Garden of Dubai hosts a flower-covered Airbus A380 and an entire flower-covered Disney Castle!
7. In Dubai No Public Display Of Affection Allowed,
and Kissing in Public might get you Jailed!
While foreigners are more than welcome in Dubai, not everything is allowed and some of the Muslim customs must nevertheless be respected by everyone.
One of these customs, is related to how people show affection in public: while holding hands with your partner is generally accepted, obscenities are not tolerated and could be severely punished, even with years of jail.
Kissing is borderline (and a bit beyond it too!, even on the cheek!).
While tourists kissing might be sometimes forgiven, it’s wise not to push your luck!
Kissing in public in Dubai is against local laws and traditions and should be avoided, as would make many people frown upon you (and you could get arrested too!).
Just to put that into perspective, keep in mind that in Dubai you cannot share a hotel room with a person of the opposite gender if you’re not married (crazy, isn’t it?!).
8. Dubai has a Ski-Slope
in the Middle of the Desert!
Gigantic skyscrapers, incredible flower gardens, man-made islands… how could Dubai get crazier?!
Well… the answer is a sky slope right on the tropic of cancer!
Ski Dubai is a facility where is possible to ski all year around. The slope is 85m high and 0,4km long.
Nothing crazy, if you ask me (I grew up in the Dolomites and I had the ski on my feet since I was 3 years old 😉 ), but it’s in the middle of the damn desert!
If you’re wondering how much energy this facility requires to keep the inside temperature at -1°C every day of the year, well… you’re in luck because I was wondering too: the coolers at Ski Dubai consume 235Kilowatt (which are the same power you would require to run 1550 average-sized freezers).
If that alone is not crazy enough for you, one last bomb: in this facility, there are over 40 penguins, which several times a day are let out of their haven, free to wander around the frozen ground. Extravaganza to the limit! ;D
I don’t want to open a sustainability topic on the matter (as I would need to write three more articles); nevertheless… seeing this kind of things in the middle of the desert is something that pushes us on reflecting about how far human extravaganza should be allowed to go… let me know what you think about it in the comments at the end of the article! 🙂
9. Dubai is an Income Tax-Free Country!
The unarguably main reason that attracts businesses, entrepreneurs and workers to move and live in Dubai is its income tax-free policy.
What does that mean?
In other words, in Dubai, you don’t have to pay taxes on what you earn. What you earn is yours and that’s it: you don’t need to declare it nor do you need to pay a percentage of your earnings to the state.
The only tax you need to pay in Dubai is the VAT on final products and services, which still is very meager (5%) compared to most Western countries (20-25%). All in all, a dream for digital nomads and entrepreneurs willing to make it big!
10. In Dubai, Police Forces
drive Ferrari and Lamborghini
Of all places you could be chased by police, Dubai is the one where you have the smallest chance of outrunning your pursuers.
Indeed, in Dubai the police cars are crazy: Aston Martins, Audis R8, Bentleys Bugattis, Ferraris, McLarens, Lamborghinis…
All cars available to the police forces in Dubai are luxurious and hyper-fast sportive cars, which can drive far beyond 300km/h (and some also beyond 400km/h).
If you’re wondering why the government of Dubai would be willing to pay 400.000-500.000$USD for each police car, the reasons are mainly two: one, because they navigate in petrol-gold, and second, luxurious police cars are a marketing tool to promote Dubai as a city of extreme luxury and wealth!
Bonus Fun Facts about Dubai
GENERAL FUN FACTS ABOUT DUBAI
- Dubai’s Official Language is Arabic
- Dubai’s Official Religion is Muslim
- Dubai’s Official Currency is the Dirham (1$ =3,6 Dirham ca.)
- Dubai’s Time zone is GMT +4
- In Dubai it hardly ever rains (15-30 days per year)
- The Cooler (and best months!) to visit Dubai are November/April
- Dubai International Airport is home to the world’s largest airport terminal (even bigger than Narita’s airport terminal in Tokyo!)
EXTRA CRAZY CURIOSITIES ABOUT DUBAI
- Camel racing has been an integral part of Dubai culture since people can remember What makes this camel racing even more interesting and unique, is the fact that the camels are ridden by robot jockeys (yeah, for real!) throughout the race.
- The Dubai Aquarium tank is the largest suspended aquarium in the world.
- Dubai had only one skyscraper in 1991.
- Dubai was once called the crane capital of the world as 25% of the world’s cranes worked in Dubai.
- One of the fascinating facts about Dubai is that it gave 2gms of gold to its residents on losing 2kgs of weight.
- Import-export, oil, tourism, and real estate play a huge role in Dubai’s economy.
- At the Dubai Mall, you can see the famous “Dubai Dino,” a really old Diplodocus Longus fossil that’s been there for 155 million years. It’s always on display for everyone to admire.
- The Man-Female Ratio in Dubai is roughly 7-3 (as many men come to work in Dubai without relocating their families)
- Alcohol can only be consumed privately, in licensed areas, and the age-restriction is 21
- The number on the plates tells how rich you are, the lowest the better (#1 auctioned at 14,5 million)
- In Dubai, there are ATMs for gold, and about 40% of the world gold trade is done in Dubai
- Dubai holds Camel Races, which are ridden by robots
And here we are at the end of the article! 🙂
In this post, we have seen 10 curious fun facts about Dubai, and I truly hope you discovered something new! 😀
Dubai is a grand and majestic city, full of incredible architectural masterpieces, skyscrapers, and extravagant excesses, and the best way to get to know it, of course, is by seeing it with your own eyes!
Before going I would like to ask you:
- Was the article useful to you?
- Have you ever been to Dubai before? How did you like it? 🙂
- Do you know any other curious fun fact about Dubai that could make it on the list? Let us know in the comments below!
LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! (We always love receiving feedback and exchanging a chat 🙂
Last but not least, before going, I will leave you here some articles you might want to check out too:
- Ireland: 10 Funny Curiosities You Didn’t Know About
- Discover the Beauty of Italy and its Countless Hidden Gems
- Guides and Curiosities about Destinations around the World
As always, thank you for reading,
And see you in the next article! 😀
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