Looking for the most interesting facts about Dubai? Perfect, I’ve curated this long list of the most fun and mindblowing facts about the UAE’s most-populated city.
There’s so much you can say about Dubai. Majestic. Surprising. Captivating. Cosmopolitan. Modern. These are just some of the ways to describe this popular destination.
It’s new, exciting, and vibrant – but also quite mysterious. It’s a haven for expats, a playground for the rich and famous, and home to some of the most famous Asian landmarks.
If you have dreamed of visiting Dubai, you are in good company. As more and more visitors jet to this U.A.E hotspot each year, now’s the time to get up to date on a range of Dubai interesting facts, as well as to read up on important local customs you need to know.
These 70 facts about Dubai are as fascinating as they are informative.
Fun Facts About Dubai
There’s a lot to learn about the richest city in the Middle East. Here are a few Dubai fun facts to kickstart your journey…
1) As of 2023, the population of Dubai is around 3.57 million. And only around 15% of this population is Emirati! Dubai is a magnet for nationalities from across the globe, and foreign expats make up the majority of the population.
2) Dubai is one of the “Seven Emirates” that come together to make the United Arab Emirates. Its closest neighbor is Abu Dhabi, which is the capital Emirate and another popular tourist destination.
3) Each Emirate (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc.) has its own king, otherwise known as a Sheikh.
4) Arabic is the official language of Dubai, with English being spoken by many as well.
5) Dubai’s main airport is Dubai International Airport, which is the main hub airport of the major airline Emirates. Visitors can enter the city via the Dubai airport or by flying into nearby Abu Dhabi or Sharjah and driving in.
6) Dubai’s food is delicious, and shawarma is the most popular local dish. It is much like a kebab or souvlaki, with meat, vegetables, and dressings wrapped in pita bread.
7) Dubai is fast becoming one of the world’s most progressive cities. Its population is growing rapidly, as is its infrastructure. It’s now one of the most popular destinations in the world for a holiday.
8) The national animal of the entire United Arab Emirates is the Arabian oryx. What’s an Arabian oryx, you ask? It’s kind of like a mid-sized antelope.
9) Dubai was founded in 1833, but back then, it was just a small fishing settlement. But it was only in the 1980s and 1990s that saw it revolutionize itself as a world-class tourist destination. In 30 years, Dubai has gone from a sparse desert city with very little infrastructure to a multicultural and cosmopolitan destination people are flocking to.
Live that cosmopolitan Dubai life with a stay at the best Airbnbs in Dubai. These incredible Dubai accommodations will make you feel like UAE royalty.
10) On average, 14 million tourists a year visit Dubai.
11) More than half of the population of Dubai is aged between 25-34, so it’s a youthful city that is geared very much towards those in this age bracket. Only 15% of Dubai’s population is over 45!
12) The king (or Sheikh) of Dubai and leader of their Royal Family is His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He has played a major role in turning the once-sleepy city into modern Dubai.
Interesting Facts about Dubai
Dubai is a fascinating and captivating city. These interesting facts about Dubai will be sure to take this United Arab Emirates city to the top of your travel bucket list.
13) The total land area of Dubai is 3,900 km2 (1,510 m2).
14) The currency of Dubai is the UAE dirham (AED). This is the same currency as the rest of the United Arab Emirates.
15) The climate of Dubai is hot, humid, and subtropical due to its desert location. In summer, the average temperature is 42 degrees Celsius (108F) during the day. In winter, the average daytime temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius (75F).
16) If you like a rainy, cozy day, Dubai may not be the place for you. After all, they only receive around 3.7 inches of rainfall per year. To compare, the rainy city of Seattle, Washington, in the United States, averages almost 40 inches per year.
17) The Indian population in Dubai makes up a large percentage of its residents.
18) Islam is the UAE’s official religion, with 76% of Dubai’s population being Muslim. The remainder of the population is Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and other faiths.
19) Dubai is a major port city, and its waterways are a unique way to see the city. A boat trip down the massive Dubai Water Canal will take you past many of the city’s luxury hotels and landmarks.
20) Dubai has the longest automated train network in the world. It stretches for 74.6 kilometers (46.3 miles) and offers modern, comfortable services. It’s a great way to explore the whole region on a budget.
21) For a long time, foreign nationals couldn’t get citizenship in Dubai and the UAE. However, this has changed, and you can become a citizen in various ways.
22) There’s no denying Dubai is mega-rich. But how did it get so cashed up? The main earner for Dubai these days is tourism, but before that, it was oil, fishing, farming, and pearl diving.
23) In 1968, there were only 13 cars in Dubai. Today there are millions. Crazy!
Information About Dubai for Visitors
Rules and laws in Dubai are stricter than in most countries, and it’s important to do your own research before jetting off. These facts for visitors to Dubai are just a few you must know…
24) Certain nationality passport holders are required to organize their visas for Dubai in advance, while others are granted a visitor visa upon arrival. Be sure to do your research when booking your trip.
25) Dubai is not an LGBQTI-friendly location, and homosexuality (or anything outside of the “normal” male/female partnership) can be punishable by the law.
26) While Dubai is a rapidly growing cosmopolitan city with a booming nightlife scene, it does have strict rules regarding alcohol. Alcohol can only be consumed at licensed premises by non-Muslims 21 and over, is illegal to drink in public spaces, and cannot be sold on select religious holidays.
Being obviously intoxicated or affected by alcohol can mean jail time or deportation, so keep yourself in check!
27) While Dubai is embracing liberal views on many issues, it’s still socially expected that you will cover up when out and about. Forget your vacation tank tops and short shorts combo. Opt for long-flowing clothes that cover your skin. Follow how the locals behave and dress, and you’ll have a great trip.
28) Dubai doesn’t have the relaxed attitude that allows smoking almost anywhere that other Asian countries are famous for. Their approach to smoking is much like the rest of the Western world. You can only smoke in designated smoking areas.
29) While Dubai has beautiful beaches and epic luxury hotel pools, you should stick to wearing your swimwear only at the beach or at your hotel pool. Topless sunbaking or swimming is a big no-no, no matter where you are.
30) If you’re a loved-up couple, that’s fine – just avoid showing public displays of affection in Dubai. It’s not culturally acceptable in Dubai, and penalties can apply. That even goes for holding hands, so keep it minimal.
The law in Dubai states that only married couples can have sex, this includes foreign visitors. Within the privacy of your hotel room, you’ll be fine, but chill out beyond the confines of your accommodation.
31) Don’t get snap-happy in Dubai. Taking photos of government buildings or locals without consent is warned against. That should go without saying, no matter where you travel, but it’s especially enforced by the Dubai police here.
32) During the month of Ramadan, be vigilant about following local customs and laws. Keep noise to a minimum (especially music), and do not consume food, drink, or smoke in public from dawn until dusk. If you are hungry, you can eat at your hotel or at your home no problem. Swearing is also warned against year-round, so no cussing ever.
33) It is illegal to bring any prescription or illicit drugs into Dubai. Harsh jail sentences can apply for traveling with things as simple as common antidepressants. Most people even warn against traveling with even the most basic painkillers. If you are reliant on medications like these, I would recommend you don’t visit Dubai.
34) Thanks to the Dubai crime rate being virtually non-existent, it’s one of the safest cities in the world. This is mostly due to the harsh penalties enforced by Dubai’s police force that apply for even small offenses.
Dubai Sights and Landmarks Facts
Dubai is all about being the best, the biggest, and the most modern, and it makes for a great luxury destination. Here are a few facts about the landmarks of the city so you can learn all about Dubai.
35) The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building, situated in the heart of Dubai. It stands at 830 meters tall (2,722 feet). If you’re game, journey to the 124th-floor observation deck. If you want to take it easy, unwind in the Sky Lounge on the 148th floor.
Book a stay at a Dubai apartment for incredible vistas. This luxe modern apartment overlooks the best of glittering Dubai, including the Burj Khalifa.
36) The uber-famous Burj al Arab Hotel is one of the world’s only 7-star hotels, and a stay here is luxurious and incredible. But you might want to start saving now. This hotel, situated on an artificial island just west of the magnificent Palm Jumeirah, starts at around 1050 US dollars per night.
37) Dubai is a destination for the world’s biggest things, and that also includes the world’s biggest shopping mall. The Dubai Mall spans 5.9 million square feet and has over 1200 shops, a full-sized ice skating rink, a luxury hotel, and 120 places to eat.
38) Fun fact about Dubai, it’s home to the largest man-made island in the world, Palm Jumeirah Island. In fact, it’s even visible from space!
39) During your trip to Dubai, be sure to visit the Al Fahidi historical neighborhood. This is one of the oldest parts of the city of Dubai and has lots of interesting pockets to check out.
40) A visit to the Dubai Opera is a popular pastime in this vibrant city, and it has a year-round schedule of productions and musical events to plan your trip around.
41) Dubai is such a modern, bustling city; it’s crazy when you realize just how close the desert is. Twenty minutes from the heart of the city, you can be in the Arabian Desert.
Have a break from city life and book a desert safari from the range of tour companies on offer. Available during the morning, afternoon, or evening, this incredible experience includes 4WDing, camel rides, a delicious feast, and live entertainment.
42) Among the city’s impressive world records is the fact that it’s also home to the world’s largest flower garden, The Miracle Garden. It’s a top tourist attraction that spans 780,000 square feet with 50 million flowers and 250 million plants.
43) For a dose of local culture, head to one of Dubai’s “souks” (marketplaces) and pick up some traditional Emirati souvenirs. Incense and Arabic pottery are popular gifts for visitors to snap up.
44) The world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, is located in Dubai at Ferrari World.
Crazy Facts about Dubai
Sometimes in Dubai, the truth is stranger than fiction. These strange facts about Dubai make this mystical city even more mysterious…
46) The weekly Dubai day off is actually Friday and sometimes Saturday, depending on which sector you work in.
47) The city is also home to the largest suspended aquarium in the world, the Dubai Aquarium Tank, located in the Dubai Mall.
48) The ratio of men to women in Dubai is 3 to 1.
49) One of the cool things about Dubai is that Dubai police often drive luxury sports cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis. A step up from your local police, no doubt.
50) Dubai is called Crane Capital for good reason, which makes it unsurprising that they want to eclipse the Burj Khalifa. The city’s new project, the Dubai Creek Tower, is set to be the world’s tallest building once completed in 2025, with it set to be 4,300 feet (1,300 meters) high.
51) You can order gold-infused coffee in Dubai. That takes your morning latte to a whole other level.
52) Much of Dubai’s water is desalinated water from the sea, thanks to its dry desert location.
53) Among the many world records held by Dubai, none are as golden as their incredible gold chain. The city is home to the Dubai Celebration Chain, the longest-handmade chain, which measures at 5.52 kilometers (3,42 miles) long and weighs 256 kg (564 lbs).
54) The UAE government has a Minister for Happiness, whose focus is – you guessed it – the happiness of residents.
55) Dubai’s world-record-beating exploits prompted the renowned Guinness Book of Records to set up an office in the city to keep track of them all.
56) It’s only in the last few years that residents of Dubai have been using an official address system. Before that, people just directed people to places according to local landmarks. Now, the government is assigning unique codes to each building to better the system.
57) In the past, the Dubai local government incentivized weight loss by rewarding families with 2 grams of gold for every kilogram lost. Unfortunately, this was a once-off campaign, but it’s still crazy nonetheless.
58) Horse racing and camel racing are both big businesses in Dubai. Camel racing is a historically important event in Arabian culture. But due to the small size required for jockeys, children were being trafficked into the city.
Fortunately, the Dubai government put a stop to this by introducing small robots that ride the camels instead. Look it up if you don’t believe me!
59) Again, Dubai is a rich city, as are many of its residents. Perhaps there’s been no greater display of their wealth than the fact that so many number plates have been sold for millions of dollars. Recently, a “P7” license plate sold for $15 million — crazy!
60) Many Dubai residents shun the standard dog or cat as a pet in favor of animals of a more exotic nature. Lions and cheetahs are highly sought after, and the more exotic the animal, the higher your social status. The government is systematically phasing out this practice, thankfully.
Facts about Working in Dubai
There are many benefits to living and working in the Dubai Emirate. Here are a few fast facts you need to know about laying roots in the U.A.E.
61) One of the reasons Dubai is so enticing for foreign workers is because of its tax-free system. Major businesses choose Dubai as their base for this reason, and people from across the globe head to Dubai to take advantage of the major earning potential and plethora of employment opportunities.
62) Expats make up 71% of the population of Dubai – so you’ll be in good company when relocating to the city. It’s home to over 200 nationalities, including those from Europe, Australia, the USA, Asia, and the Middle East – amongst many others.
So, it’s not shocking that when people think of Dubai, “global village” pops up in their minds.
63) Many jobs in Dubai offer to cover flight costs, organize visas, and sort housing for the right foreign candidate. This is helpful as navigating the often-confusing and expensive Dubai real estate and visa scene can be super tricky for a newcomer. When negotiating a new job in Dubai, try to ensure that all of this is included in your benefits.
64) The average monthly wage in Dubai is around 16,000-17,000 Dh ($4300 USD per month approximately). This generally includes housing and transport costs, amongst other benefits (depending on your employer).
65) Make your transition to life in Dubai as seamless as possible by getting out and about and meeting other expats. The internet is full of handy groups and social media channels to stay up to date with what’s going on in this booming city.
66) Adjusting to a new life in Dubai can be a steep learning curve for many expats. Be certain you are ready to take the plunge before doing it.
Lifestyle and cultural differences between Dubai and many other Western countries can be vast, and it can take a lot of getting used to. The oppressive heat, particularly during summer, and the cultural customs can require a big adjustment.
67) Dubai is much more progressive than other Middle Eastern countries in regard to their attitude to women in the workplace. Women can be found excelling across a range of industries and sectors in Dubai.
68) Debt of any kind is not tolerated in Dubai. You could find yourself in a debtor’s prison with your bank accounts frozen and unable to leave the country.
69) It only takes one hour to drive the entire length of Dubai, so you can guarantee your commute won’t be a total killer. Then again, peak-hour traffic is pretty crazy in Dubai.
70) The rapid growth of Dubai has meant that many jobs are now in-demand. If you work in finance, web development, IT, business support, or legal services, you could be just what many businesses in Dubai are looking for.
Am I Missing Any Interesting Dubai Facts?
I could go on and on and on with fun facts about Dubai because it really is one of the most unique destinations in the world. If you think there’s any fun or interesting fact about Dubai that I may have missed, please do let me know!
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