Dubai has made a name for itself as a busy cosmopolitan center along the Persian Gulf. We are glad to let you know that this reputation won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. The metropolitan area has a population of nearly six million people, most of whom are foreigners. With this and all the tourist attractions, you are bound to find plenty of cultural contrasts and diversity in the emirate. The things you will see in Dubai will definitely astound you. We all think we know a lot about the Middle East, but Dubai will be nothing like the image you have inside your head. Take a look at Dubai as you have never known it before. We bet you will feel like packing your bags and booking a trip right away!
Rising Fashion Capital
Paris and Milan, it’s time to say hello to the new city in town. Dubai is making a name for itself in the fashion industry. Currently serving as the fashion oasis in the region, Dubai has taken this even further by making waves on the international stage. Its fashion scene has been propelled by creative designers, many fashion shows, and a whole district in the city dedicated to fashion. Dubai designers frequently have their garments exhibited on the catwalks in New York City and Paris. Although there is no doubt that some designs are more conservative than the ones you will find in the West, we cannot deny that it is still groundbreaking work.
Elite Female Police Officers
Did you know that the city of Dubai also has its very own elite all-female squad in the police force? The team was put together in an effort to combat fraud and theft in and around Dubai. They also handle gender sensitive matters that the emirate’s culture deems inappropriate for male officers to deal with. The members of this elite team had been handpicked out of “policewomen appointed at various police stations, with experience in protecting VIPs and guarding the convicts.” One requirement is to be fluent in both English and Arabic. This was a move that was praised as a large leap forward for the women of the Muslim world.
Dubai has definitely made waves in the past couple of years – so much so that it has even attracted many A-list celebrities! This is certainly impressive when you consider the fact that it was no more than a desert land fairly recently. As a matter of fact, the first skyscraper there was built only in 1979. Kim Kardashian is one celebrity who paid Dubai a high-profile visit. You can see her here dressed in traditional garb as she gets ready for her camel ride. Together with family members and fellow reality television stars, the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star was in the UAE to give a makeup class. Of course, she did not miss the opportunity to shop until she dropped in Dubai’s malls. Moreover, she also went on her very own desert adventure and dropped by a center for kids with special needs.
Patrols With Swag
Dubai has a penchant for luxurious things, and this includes police vehicles. You will not have a hard time seeing high-end patrol cars like Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris. If you are about to get arrested, perhaps doing it in style will make it better. Every single police car in Dubai cost the force nearly as much as the tuition for a college education in the United States! Luckily, they are not regularly used because the crime rate in Dubai is one of the lowest in the world. This can be attributed to strict laws, which includes deportation and/or imprisonment for the violation of any law. Going by the Numbeo website’s Crime Index Rate list, Dubai is currently ranked the 9th city in terms of safety.
You will have a hard time looking for another place with a more diverse population than in Dubai. This photo below shows you the contrast that you will probably find in the city. It shows two women having the time of their life on a beach – one of them is wearing traditional Islamic garb, while the other is sunbathing in her green bikini. At specific non-family beaches in Dubai, bikinis are considered acceptable attire. However, one should cover up outside of a pool or beach area to show respect. With this said, not a lot of people would have thought that Dubai is tolerant of Western culture.
Loose Dress Codes
We know this might surprise most readers, but Dubai actually boasts of a loose dress code – at least when compared to the other countries in the region. Foreigners are free to wear Western clothing in public, and it is not required of women to cover their head if they do not want to do so. However, it is still important to avoid showing off too much skin in the city as locals will definitely disapprove of it. If ever they send the police a complaint, they might ask you to change your attire. Despite the lack of a strict dress code, keep in mind that it is a requirement to wear headscarves and conservative dresses when you plan to visit mosques.
The Fastest Growing City In The World
Do we really need to explain this picture? You can see here how much Dubai has changed over the years. Just in 2005, it was more or less a barren desert that only had several tall towers looming over it. Most people did not think it was a good idea to build a city in this area, but they were proven wrong. The photo you are looking at shows what downtown Dubai currently looks like. Needless to say, the view is fantastic. With all the lush gardens, water fountains, and skyscrapers, the once barren wasteland has now been transformed into a busy cosmopolitan city in a span of several years. Impressive!
Cool Commute Conditions
There are many perks of living somewhere as wealthy as Dubai. It might be hot but just you wait until you hear how they beat the heat. This is a regular bus stop in the city, but this air-conditioned little room is definitely going to be extraordinary everywhere else. These amazing little pods will surely keep you cool in the blistering heat of the Middle Eastern sun. Since Dubai is located right in the desert, temperatures can reach more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When you have to live in a place like this, you will start to melt if you stay outside for a long enough time. No one wants to go to work or school all sticky, so this is a great solution.
Everything Is Gold-Plated
Apparently, the city of Dubai boasts of the biggest gold market in the world! If you give them the opportunity to do so, the people of the emirate are not scared to flaunt their gold. In fact, the city has so much gold that it has become nearly natural for people to get their personal belongings gold-plated. Locals also craft using gold a lot. If you are interested in getting something plated in gold, Dubai is the place to be. However, keep in mind that the abundance of gold does not translate to lower prices. We will have you know that Dubai is actually one of the most expensive cities in the Middle East.
Sports Up High
If you have a fear of heights, we will totally understand if you want to skip out on the tennis game. This impressive modern engineering wonder is connected to the Burj al Arab hotel and stands around 1,000 feet off the ground. Can you imagine how many balls have been lost during all the matches held here? Should you watch a game here, you will not want to fall off the perch! However, the truth is that people no longer play tennis in this court. It was opened as part of a publicity stunt ahead of the 2005 Dubai Duty-Free Men’s Open tournament. The court might have been temporary, but it nonetheless made for a great location for this photo op of tennis greats Roger Federer and Andre Agassi. They eventually turned it back into the helipad that it originally was.
New Camel Jockeys
Camel racing might be an ancient tradition, but the sport got an upgrade in 2004. In Dubai, they used robots to replace the human jockeys. The motivation behind the modern move was to prevent human rights violations since it is common in Gulf countries to have children serve as camel jockeys. In the UAE and Qatar, they decided to ban the use of human jockeys and use robots instead. The UAE, where Dubai is located, was the first country to do this in an effort to get rid of child abuse and slavery. You might not know about it, but camel racing is actually a multi-million dollar industry right now.
Bigger And Better
People say that “Everything’s bigger in Texas” but we think this would be a great tagline for Dubai as well. The city is currently out to give the Lone Star State a run for its money. The city does not seem to have limits when building huge structures for the sake of making something of this size. The city does not only boast of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world at a height of 2,722 feet, but it also has one of the biggest malls and the biggest indoor ski facility in the world.
Beaches For Women And Families
This is not a phenomenon that is specific to Dubai, but many tourists will probably be surprised to hear that there are beaches specifically for families and women only. No single men can go to these areas! People who want to go to these locations have to always be dressed in “respectful” beach attire. This means that women have to be fully covered. Locals have explained that it is nice to have a couple of beaches where they do not have to care about disturbing or being disturbed by others. According to them, the dress code in these places is more respectful of their religious and cultural beliefs. A local woman explained, “It ensures there are areas of the beach where everyone can feel more comfortable and avoid large groups with loud music and smoking, especially when you have children.”
Public Displays Of Affection
In comparison to Western countries, the laws in Dubai and the entirety of the United Arab Emirates are rather strict. Even harmless acts could result in big trouble with the authorities, so make sure to learn behavior that is and is not acceptable as soon as possible. Among other things, public displays of affection are not tolerated in the country. Only married couples can hold hands in public, but that is about it. Aside from this, physical contact between people of the opposite sex is deemed problematic. Kissing in public is another big no-no. Even shaking a woman’s hand is not recommended, though it is fine if she is the first to extend her hand.
Exotic Pets As Status Symbols
Dubai has a GDP of higher than $105 billion in 2015, so there is no use denying that it is a wealthy city with rich residents ready to flaunt their status and fortune. We have all heard of this saying: “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.” This is true even for the pets! Exotic animals have become a kind of status symbol in the United Arab Emirates, so you will find rich people who own cheetahs, chimps, lions, and baboons. Of course, it goes without saying that the more exotic and expensive the animal, the wealthier and more powerful the owner is. The trend has become so big that the government decided to outlaw this practice in 2017. These days, you will have to pay a $136,000 fine or enjoy a six-month stay in jail if you are caught with an exotic animal in your home.
Construction in the city is now booming some more. All the construction, of course, requires tons of money, infrastructure, and manpower. It actually boasts of more construction cranes than anywhere else in the world. Estimates have revealed that Dubai is home to about a quarter of all the construction cranes in the entire world. How impressive is that? The city that is the runner-up to it would be none other than Sydney, Australia. When it comes to the United States, most people will probably guess that Los Angeles or New York City would have the highest number of cranes. In reality, it is Seattle!
Ski Resort In The Desert
Although Dubai is in a desert, the city has proven that anything is possible as long as you have enough money in your pockets. Yep, you can go for a ski in the snow here! If you go to the Mall of Emirates, you will find Ski Dubai, which is an indoor mountain-themed ski facility with snow and everything else you would need. It comes with multiple slopes with different degrees of difficulty, a penguin exhibit, and a snow park. This must be an excellent way to escape the blistering heat for several hours or a whole day! A day pass will set you back by $83, while a two-hour ski pass costs $55. There are also multiple visitor packages that come with snow gear, lessons, and meals.
Gold Vending Machines
Nowadays, it is possible to get nearly anything you want from a vending machine. Although the Japanese have perfected the creation of vending machines for all your needs (and then some), Dubai boasts of a couple that even the Land of the Rising Sun does not. We are talking about a gold-dispensing machine! You can use cash or a credit card to buy pure 24k gold from a machine! It is even possible to choose the size, so you can get a 2.5 gram or a whole bar! There is a computer that keeps the prices up to date every 10 minutes to guarantee that it is updated on the current prices.
Now, it simply would not be the Middle East if there were no camels. The animals themselves are an integral part of life in the city. You can always go for a relaxing camel ride or eat food made with camel meat and/or milk. Although there are not a lot of restaurants that serve camel meat, we assure you that they exist. It is also possible to buy camel milk chocolate for your friends back home! True adventurers, however, will have a blast on a camel desert safari to see how the Bedouins live in the desert. Most of these camel desert safaris offer rich cultural experiences as well. Don’t forget to try out bread making, henna, and sheesha!
Another mind-blowing and unique bit about Dubai would be the artificial islands. Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Jumeirah are two artificial islands that have the shape of palm trees. However, there is another ambitious project currently in the works that is worth all of our attention: World Islands Project. It is a series of 300 small islands that will make up a map of the world. Each island there will represent a region, landmark, or country. The overall cost of this illustrious project was believed to be at $13 billion in 2005. In 2008, they had to halt the construction because of the financial crisis. At the moment, only several islands have been developed. Do you think they can still finish it?
If you wanted to see what a traffic jam in the city looks like, there you have it. You have all of these luxury cars piled up and honking horns at one another! If you ask us, it resembles a luxury car show more than a traffic jam. All right, not everyone actually owns a Ferrari but that does not make it any less impressive. The rapidly growing city is now facing traffic congestion problems, so the government is now spending big money to improve and upgrade transportation infrastructure. An example of this would be the Dubai Metro, which started operating in 2009 after a construction period of 18 months. Traffic congestion reportedly costs the city $790 million every year!
There is no need to worry if your multi-million yacht, Ferrari, mansion, or pet lion is making you feel a little poor. If this is the case, you can simply get them dipped in gold. This is certainly an effective way to show people that you have money! If you ask us, there is nothing gaudy or tacky about gold-plated luxury cars. People will surely be impressed by your money and maybe run their cars off the road when the sun shines off your car and right into their faces! Let us hope everyone else is wearing sunglasses for their own sake! Otherwise, there is no way they would live to survive the tale of your golden car.
Dubai And Its People
Dubai is a diverse city with a population made up of an overwhelming amount of foreigners. Just 17% of the people in Dubai are United Arab Emirates citizens! If you were wondering how on earth they could have built all those skyscrapers, they actually had to hire foreign workers. The population of the city is 83% immigrants, most of whom come from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. However, keep in mind that there are huge economic divides between the people in the city. Many immigrant workers suffer terrible work and living conditions, whereas Emirati citizens get free education, rent, and medical bills. If you want to move to Dubai, it is important to have a good job to make the most out of life.
Charity And Kindness
Charity is another mainstay in the culture of Dubai. This is even truer when the holy month of Ramadan rolls in. It is not uncommon to see things like these happening in malls. They provide free food to the unemployed and poor residents of the city. This is not something you will find in a lot of places in the world. “We keep everything from Laban Up to fresh yogurt. Then there are juices and water besides Arabic breads and ready-to-eat tuna meat or pre-cooked macaroni for anyone to come and take it for free,” a mall manager explained. Keep reading to learn about another surprising thing about the amazing city.
The Most Ambitious Mall In The World
Dubai has another project in the world. Called Mall of the World, it is expected to become the biggest mall complex in the world! It would not be your regular shopping center as the 8 million square feet complex will come with a huge indoor airconditioned city. The shopping mall will come with more than 100 hotel facilities to host the expected 80 million visitors each year! The complex will also come with a huge park that is reportedly even bigger than Hyde Park in London. They announced the plan in July 2014, and it should take at least a decade to finish. Are you ready to add another sight to your list of reasons go to Dubai? We sure are!
What do you think? The UAE, which is the United Arab Emirates, must be filled with Arabs, no? Well here’s the fact – 13% of the population is actually Arab, even though it still has a Muslim majority. But the truth is that because there are a lot of foreigners there (mostly Pakistanis and Bangladeshis) the Arab population is lower than expected.
The UAE is remarkable in that it welcomes a huge amount of tourists per year. In 2009 the country saw a mass visiting meaning that they were the 7th most popular tourist destination that year based on the numbers. It’s advised that tourists read up on all the laws of entering and moving around the UAE as you will see in the next fact.
Drinking In Public
It is well known that drinking alcohol in the Muslim religion is forbidden, however, this law doesn’t apply to tourists who are of different faiths. Having said that, it’s important to pay attention to the rules of the UAE. A Russian woman was arrested for drinking alcohol in public during the holiday of Ramadan.
Living up on the highest levels of the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages. When everyone else breaks their day of fasting when the sun goes down during Ramadan, those living on higher floors that still see the sun have to fast a little longer, even if it’s just a couple of minutes.
Not unlike other countries in the region, the United Arab Emirates has royalty. In their case the country consists of six different royal houses each of which rules different emirates. The Al Qasimi family has two of the seven emirates to themselves.
Ferrari Theme Park
When you have Ferraris as police cars, you’re bound to do something even more bizarre afterwards. Well, here we go. In the UAE you can find a Ferrari theme park. Yup, this award-winning park has thousands of tourists visiting it every year. It has been around for almost 10 years already.
The world’s tallest building is the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. It is 830 meters high and it has an incredible 163 floors! The Burj Khalifa has a one-of-a-kind design and draws inspiration from the Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq.
Snickers For Gas
Just when we thought we had seen it all, there’s this. Gold from an ATM was quite incredulous, but getting free gas for buying a chocolate Snickers bar is really something unique. Now there’s a promotion we’d love to see in the U.S.
Like we’ve mentioned before, in the UAE you are allowed to drink alcohol, unlike other Muslim-ruled countries. However, there is one catch. In order to do so as a resident of the desert country, you have to acquire a license first.
What would the world be like without income tax? Well, if you would like to know then you should move to the United Arab Emirates where there is no income tax at all. That might explain some of the purchases the locals make.
FIFA In UAE
In 2009, the UAE was lucky enough to host the FIFA Club World Cup. This marked the first time a Middle-Eastern country hosted a FIFA event. Who knows? Maybe the UAE will get to host the FIFA World Cup sometime.
From Camels To Cars
The founding father of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid, was asked about the future of Dubai – this is what he said: “My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel.”
No Grass Policy
If you’re thinking of bringing some illegal grass into the UAE, then please consider the following. A British man was arrested and jailed after being found with marijuana on him. Now before you get carried away thinking that he had a gram or so, let’s clarify that he had such a small amount that it weighed less than a grain of sugar. It was found in the tread of his shoe.
No Zip Codes
Do you have something important that you need to send to Dubai? Well, you might want to check exactly how to go about doing that. Why is it so difficult? Well, in Dubai there are no postal or zip codes, which means you’ll have to be able to rely on someone who knows where things are.
Not having a postal system is nothing compared to this next strange fact. Dubai’s municipality has at their disposal, many trucks that come and take human excrement from the city to a depot of sorts outside of the city. It’s kind of gross, we think.
Easy Come, Easy Go
When the 2008 financial crisis took the world in its grip, the people of Dubai suffered too. Their lavish lifestyles and fancy cars were not easy to maintain. One of the results was the letting go and reselling of fancy cars.
Seeing as the UAE is a major exporter of oil, it comes as quite a surprise that the country has advocated for the renewal of the Kyoto protocol. The United Arab Emirates has in the recent past moved towards using more solar power.
Pirates And Sheikhs
Based on its history of pirate attacks on ships in the Persian Gulf, the region was appropriately coined the “Pirate Coast”. Some believe that the descendants of those very same pirates are now the people ruling the UAE and Qatar. Isn’t that weird?
In 2011, a devastating tornado struck the city of Joplin in Missouri. The United Arab Emirates made a swift move to assist students in high schools there. They put together a fund that sent each high school student a laptop. How amazing is that?
Property In New York
There are certain buildings and structures in New York that are undoubtedly American – like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building. Many would think the same of the Chrysler building, but did you know that the Manhattan-based building is owned almost exclusively by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Par For The Course
Can you imagine how much 4,000,000 gallons of water is? It’s really hard to fathom such a great amount of water, but that’s what it takes to supply all of the golf courses in Dubai on a single day! For a place that is situated in the desert, that’s quite an amount to be using daily.
If you thought that innovation ended with solar power in the United Arab Emirates then you would be wrong. They plan to build a “zero city”. This city would consist of only renewable energy sources that would be able to sustain itself with zero-carbon and zero-waste.
After much excavation, archaeologists have discovered that nomads by the name of Bedouins had lived and still live in the area of the United Arab Emirates. They would travel by camel, eat their meat and drink their milk.
We all know now that the UAE is famous for having oil, but did you know that it was actually pearls that really brought people to the country from around the world? Yep, when pearls were discovered in the 1970s, people flocked there to do some pearl diving.
Many countries around the world faced bloody battles to gain independence for themselves. The UAE was quite different in this respect as they gained independence smoothly in 1971 from their British rulers.