11 Crazy Dubai Facts Everyone Should Know
Dubai has been my home for more than 3 years now, but the Emirate (not a country, not a city!) still amazes me to this day.
Unfortunately, because of its Middle Eastern location, people back home may have some bad preconceived ideas about the UAE, but boy they are wrong.
We already covered the cliches people have about Dubai, so I decided to share some observations from a Dubai insider about what daily life is in the UAE and all the crazy Dubai facts everyone should know!
Foreigners, residents, tourists and visitors, here are some cool, insane or just plain crazy facts about Dubai.
1. Ramadan Rules in Dubai
During Ramadan, muslims can’t eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight.
They get shorter work days and usually less work.
What people don’t know is that while non-muslims can eat, drink, and smoke in private, they also get 2 hours shorter work days, by the law! Pretty cool!
2. Dubai, The land of Superlatives
You probably know we have Ski Dubai, with its skiing slopes in the middle of the desert inside Mall of the Emirates, with a real altitude restaurant and penguins, a sled area and much more.
But Dubai is also building ANOTHER 1,2km ski slope in a mall the size of a small city, to be built before 2020… Just for the fun of it I suppose! The crazy project will feature the 25,000 sqm Meydan One Mall, the 711-metre tall Dubai One tower, a civic plaza, a 4-kilometre canal and a marina with 100 berths.
Watch: Indoor Skiing in Dubai
3. Dubai Taxi Drivers
When taking a taxi, unless you are going to a big hotel (and even if) make sure you know your itinerary as most taxi drivers will have no idea where to go, and most of the time, won’t tell you they don’t know where they’re going. Tell them which road to take as soon as you step in, and make sure you have a map!
There is nothing more
TIP: If you are a tourist with no data, download maps.me)
4. Photo Etiquette in Dubai
Don’t photograph local women without their permission, even if you’re trying to photograph something else and they might be in the frame, or even a selfie – they can take it very wrong and be mad at you.
Make sure you ask politely if that’s OK, and if not, don’t insist!
5. How Safe is Dubai?
You can leave your bag, car keys, and phone unattended at the beach or pool while having a dip in the sea, going to the bathroom or having a quick stroll on the sand. A lot of people also keep their door unlocked all the time as it is so safe.
I personally lived in an apartment for 2 years without ever owning a key.
Now I do because Jeff is scared of his own shadow, but really, no one steals here.
6. Dubai Records
A list about crazy Dubai facts would’t be complete without the incredible and sometimes borderline stupid records that belong to the UAE!
Dubai is home to hundreds of Guinness World Records.
The most famous is probably the Burj Khalifa, tallest building on the planet at 828m and breaking another 15 worlds records, but Dubai also welcomes the longest gold chain rope (5.5 km), the world’s largest flag made of pencils (1 million pencils) – see picture above, people for scale! – or the world’s largest tennis balls mosaic (2,327 tennis balls). Yep.
7. Dubai Post System Nightmare
There is no proper address system in Dubai, which is madness (please see #3 above)
You can live for example on street 6D, right between street 18A and 13G.
When getting things delivered, you will find a drawing box next to the address line where you can draw and write things such as
“After the petrol station take right, at the signal take left, then second right, at the construction site take the small road then we’re the 5th house on the left. You will see a red pickup truck in front of it“.
This is one of those crazy Dubai facts we wish wasn’t true – its a total nightmare.
8. Dubai’s Unique Population
Only about 10% to 15% of the population is local Emirati.
The rest are expatriates, with 71% of the total population being from Asia.
The first European nationality are the Brits. As a result, on top of Arabic and English being mainly spoken, you can hear Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, Balochi, Tagalog, Persian, Urdu, Bengali and Chinese languages.
And French. Too many French in my opinion. (Jeff agrees)
9. Dubai Rent Specifics
Another crazy Dubai fact people tend not to know is that most landlords require people to pay rent a year in advance, with one cheque. So if you want to move to Dubai, be prepared to drop $10,000-$20,000 right off the bat.
If you’re lucky, you can negotiate in 2, 3 or even 6 cheques, but they can then charge you more.
Oh also, if a cheque bounces, and the landlord complains, you could go to prison.
10. The UAE Populations Exponential Growth
The UAE only turned 44 years old in December 2015.
Back in 2003, the population was only 3,369 million people whereas we reached 9,346 million people in 2013, meaning the population has tripled over the course of 10 years. This fact is UAE wide and not Dubai specific, but let’s agree the development of Dubai really played a role there. By the way, can you name the 7 Emirates that compose the UAE?
11. Abandoned cars in Dubai
You might see many luxury and dusty abandoned cars at Dubai airport parking lots.
As said previously, under Sharia law, if a cheque bounces or if you fail to pay back a loan, you go directly to prison.
A lot of people take loans to buy Porsches or Ferraris and decide to leave the country instead of facing prison when failing to reimburse their loans, resulting in tons of cars being impounded and then sold by Dubai Police.
They found for example a Ferrari Enzo worth $1 million.
Every year, we estimate the number of abandoned cars to 3,000.
What other crazy Dubai facts do you know? Comment below!