Think fast, the best city in the world! Perhaps you dream of Paris, London, and New York.
Yet in the first quarter of 2022, about 2.2 million tourists visited Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Thousands of Americans visited the city and saw sights they had never seen before. You can too, unless you know some important facts about Dubai.
Interesting facts about Dubai
How is the history and climate of Dubai? What are the biggest tourist attractions of Dubai? How can you respect local customs and stay safe in the city? Answer this question and you can make the most of this spectacular destination. Here are 19 facts you should know.
1. 20 years ago, Dubai was a desert
People have been living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 125,000 years. Yet the city we know today as Dubai before the 18th century was not established.
At first, the town was a small fishing village with only a few hundred people. It was small and compact, most modern day cities were desert. Farmers would not even use the land to grow plants or raise livestock because it was habitable.
The United Arab Emirates was established in 1971. The UAE has become a virtually rich country overnight due to its abundant supply of oil.
Oil has been found off the coast of Dubai, so traders are flocking to the city to start businesses. Although many traders left because of the Gulf War, they returned when oil prices rose. Starting in the 2000s, they invested in the development of Dubai, which continues to this day.
2. Don’t confuse the city with the emirate
When people think of Dubai, they think of the city of Dubai. But there is also an emirate in Dubai. Read more: 25 Best Things to Do in Dubai
The city of Dubai is the capital of the emirate, but the emirate also has small communities and underdeveloped areas. When you are asking for directions or travel advice, make sure you are talking about the city.
3. Foreigners love Dubai
Dubai’s population is just three million people. Despite the importance of Dubai to the UAE, only 15% of the population is made up of local UAE residents.
Dubai has a large population of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi residents. Many of these residents are businessmen who have moved to Dubai in search of different opportunities. You can find Indian and Pakistani communities and businesses across the city, especially in high-income areas.
The largest population of Western expatriates is made up of British people. But you can find a lot of people from Africa, especially Somalia, as well as Americans.
4. But rain does not cloud
The climate in Dubai is similar to the one you will find across the Middle East. On an average, it rains only 25 days throughout the year. February is the month of average rainfall, yet the city receives only 1.4 inches of rain that month.
Despite the lack of rain, there is not much sun in Dubai. There is 12 hours of daylight every day in June and only eight hours in January. You should expect to use street lights to navigate the city, especially if you are out late.
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5. Be sure to go in the colder months
Dubai fills the lack of sunlight with heat. In spring and summer, average temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
But in other parts of the year the temperature drops significantly. In January, you may have days where temperatures hover around 75 degrees. Since you are planning a vacation in Dubai, you should try to go to the city during winter or autumn.
6. Weekly holidays are not Saturday and Sunday
Year after year, the weekend in Dubai is Friday and Saturday. In January 2022, Dubai changed its official weekend to better align with the international financial markets.
However, their weekly holidays and vacations are still a little different. Dubai traders work Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They work until noon on Friday and their weekly holiday lasts until Monday morning.
7. Address system up and running
When asked about interesting information about Dubai, many say that the city has no official address system. That used to be true. When residents sent packages to each other, they wrote instructions on how to find the recipient instead of writing the address.
In the last few years, Dubai local government has created an address system. They have allocated codes on roads and buildings, so that people can send packages with written address.
However, many residents remain unfamiliar with the system. You should be able to provide instructions on how to get to the locations you want to go to.
8. You can use many languages
Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates. If you are talking to a government official or important businessman, you should try to use Arabic. Even a basic greeting can help break the ice.
But Dubai is a multicultural city, and many people are familiar with English. You can also speak Hindi, Chinese and Urdu, especially with Indian and Pakistani residents.
9. You can have luxury
Dubai is probably the biggest city in the world for luxury hotels. Even if you travel on a budget, you can stay in a position with great facilities and personal services.
There are thousands of five-star reviews on Burj Al Arab’s TripAdvisor, yet you can stay at the hotel for as little as 200 per night. You can use the free high-speed internet, enjoy a massage and manicure at the hotel spa, and have breakfast at the buffet. We were at JW Marriott Dubai and The Habitat Grand Dubai they were both great and quite affordable.
10. Burj Khalifa is the king of buildings
Ask someone about the information in Dubai, and they will talk to you about Burj Khalifa. At 2,722 feet, it is the largest building in the world.
The building is multi-purpose, so you can find various attractions inside. You can take one of the fastest lifts in the world up to an observation deck about 1,500 feet from the ground. When you are hungry, you can eat at the atmosphere Burj Khalifa, the highest restaurant in the world.
11. Miracle Garden is the largest flower garden in the world
The Dubai Miracle Garden has more than 50 million flowers spread over an area of 780,000 square feet. It is the largest natural flower garden in the world, and inside the garden you will find flowers of virtually every species.
The garden also has the world’s largest flower installation, a life-size version of the Emirates A380 made entirely of flowers. When you need to rest, you can sit under a flower canopy in the seating area and look out over the fountain.
12. You can find wildlife in Dubai
Despite the rapid development of Dubai, you can find many different animals in and around the city. You can imagine, you can see camels and even run on them. However, you can see falcons, wolves, leopards and Arabian orcs in their natural habitat.
You can also visit conservation centers outside the city, including the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. If you prefer to stay within the city limits, you can visit Green Planet, which has a complete tropical rainforest inside a bio-dome.
One of the best things about shopping in Dubai. With an area of more than five million square feet, Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world. You can buy luxury items from retailers like Louis Vuitton as well as electronics and home furniture.
If you want to shop and then see some attractions, you should visit the Emirates Mall. The mall offers a variety of clothing and fashion stores, as well as a theater and VR experience.
14. Dubai loves New Year’s Eve
If you want to go to Dubai on holiday, you should schedule your trip on New Year’s Eve. Dubai is one of the largest fireworks displays in the world surrounding the Burj Khalifa.
If you prefer something a little more comfortable, you can go on dinner cruises and desert safaris. You can see live bands and dancers performing their work. You can also listen to live music at the Dubai Opera and dance to the latest tunes on your own.
15. Don’t worry about your safety
Dubai is a safe area, including for women traveling alone and for families. You may encounter similar travel scams in other cities, including bump-and-grab. You should follow the same security precautions that you take elsewhere, but you should not worry too much.
If you plan to worship or visit the mosque, you should keep an eye on your departure. Many mosques in Dubai can accommodate thousands of people at once and can be trampled in an emergency. Avoid the crowds and move to the exit in a straight line.
16. Do not show affection in public
Dubai is notorious for its strict rules. Regardless of whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, you must respect local rules and deal with some cultural shocks.
Dubai takes public affection very seriously. Kissing your significant other in public can lead to fines or deportation. You may be able to hold hands with them in a restaurant, but you should not walk down the street holding hands.
LGBTQ people can be imprisoned or executed for any romantic or sexual activity in the UAE or even in Dubai. If you are an LGBTQ person traveling through the city, be very careful. There is no official spot for LGBTQ people to hang out and the police have used dating apps to trap people.
17. See what you are saying
There are also restrictions on freedom of speech in the UAE. You cannot criticize the government, the police or the royal family in any way. Foreign nationals have been jailed for making sarcastic videos and tweets about the government.
The government regulates internet usage. Although social media sites are free, you cannot access dating, LGBTQ or isolated websites.
18. Prioritize hygiene at the dinner table
UAE dining etiquette revolves around food and keeping oneself clean. You have to wash your hands before eating.
You should pick up glasses and finger food with your right hand, even if you are left-handed. Many people in the UAE use their left hand to clean themselves, so the food you eat with your left hand will be seen as dirty.
Don’t leave personal items like your cellphone on the table. This will free up space for the plates and prevent you from dropping things. If you run a business or need to show someone something, you can leave paperwork on the table.
19. Be humble in Ramadan
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. Observer Muslims fast during the day and perform prayers while awake.
It is a criminal offense to eat food in public during Ramadan. When you can eat at home, you should avoid doing it in front of other people so that you do not disturb anyone.
You should avoid playing music or dancing in the street during the month as well. Try to dress conservatively and avoid the house of worship unless you are going to pray.
Learn the most important information about Dubai
There is no doubt that some information about Dubai will surprise you. Dubai is a very young and arid city. Yet it is a center of culture, money and religion.
You can enjoy various attractions like Burj Khalifa and Dubai Miracle Garden and at the same time you can have a lot of fun with beautiful architecture and exotic animals.
However, you must pay attention to etiquette. In Ramadan, you should avoid showing affection, criticizing the government and avoiding provocative behavior.
We are lucky enough to visit Dubai and experience everything the city has to offer. Hopefully, this information about Dubai will help you understand the city better and encourage you to plan a trip to this unique city in the UAE.