Dubai has become pretty famous for its many attractions that consist of having built the largest of things. This beloved city attraction, though, is pretty unique. You see, it’s not just any old skyscraper.
No, The Dubai Frame is the biggest picture frame in the world! This highly Instagramable location holds a massive frame that towers over the city, with it being 492 feet tall. We’re sad to say, though, that there’s no picture in this huge frame.
You’ve Got Mail
While most people are used to having a specific address in their home countries, the residents of Dubai have a different system. Until a few years ago, Dubai had no standard postal system. Instead, they used old-school descriptions.
So, if you wanted to send a letter to a friend, you would need to actually fully describe how to reach their mailbox. Although the city does have postal codes now, it’s still a good idea to print out a detailed map of where you want to go so that people can help you find your way.
Happy New Year!
We all love traveling to vacation somewhere unique during the winter holidays. But, have you ever considered that Dubai might be the perfect destination for a New Year’s trip? Ideally, the end of the year is perfect weather-wise to visit the vibrant city.
But the true attraction in Dubai is the impressive fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. In fact, the display, which takes place around the famed Burj Khalifa, is among the largest fireworks shows in the world. Now, that’s a way to start the year bright!
The Cleanest Metro System
In most cities, while the metro or subway system is the quickest and easiest transportation method, it’s also kind of the grungiest. Dubai’s metro, however, is extremely clean, neat, and safe, thanks to a few rules.
Just keep in mind that if you decide to take a nap, eat, or drink, on the metro, you’re likely to be hit with a hefty fine. Of course, littering is completely out of the question. So, just wait until you’re off the metro to do any of these.
Like many countries in the area, Dubai had its weekends on Thursday and Friday in accordance with the religious beliefs of the residents. But, to try to accommodate the international market, they’ve decided to alter their days of rest.
Since the beginning of 2022, Dubai has had an extended weekend of two and a half days! Now, Thursday is a work day, and from Friday at 12 pm until Monday at 7:30 am, the people of Dubai get to relax and enjoy themselves.
Jockeying for Tech
While we might be used to horse racing, Dubai has its own version of the sport — with camels, of course! That’s pretty interesting on its own, but to make it even better, in Dubai (and several other Arab countries), it’s not humans jockeying the camels.
They actually use remote-controlled robots! These machines replaced the children, who were the only ones small enough to act as jockeys to these desert animals. This way, everyone can enjoy this beloved local sport knowing that no humans (or animals) are harmed in the process.
It’s been a centuries-long tradition between the nations of the world to fight over who holds the record of having built the tallest building. It’s no secret that Dubai’s impressive Burj Khalifa tower currently holds the title.
However, for some years, Saudi Arabia has attempted to build a project that would out-rank the 2,717 ft high building. So far, though, that project has been delayed. In the meantime, Dubai is working on the Dubai Creek Tower, which is due to be 4,265 ft high!
As of summer 2022, Dubai holds 339 world records! While some are very well known (like having the tallest building in the world), others are a bit more esoteric and unique. For example, did you know Dubai holds the record for the most diamonds on a perfume bottle?
The Dubai authorities are also proud to have the fastest police car in the world — a Bugatti Veyron, which can go from 0 to 60 mph in two and a half seconds! On the sweeter side, in 2014, Dubai unveiled the tallest chocolate sculpture, a mini Burj Khalifa (44 ft).
Past, Present, and Future
It seems that Dubai has spent the past few decades running as fast as it could toward the future — standing at the forefront of building lavish, impressive, and state-of-the-art superstructures. But, one part of the city has been saved from progress.
The Bastakia Quarter in the Bur Dubai district has been kept in its old condition. The Quarter, built in the 19th century by Persian merchants, has been preserved as a heritage site in this progressive city.
It’s Raining Men
This fact is especially interesting for those looking for a man — Dubai’s population is made up of 69% men and only 31% women. In fact, the ratio stands at seven men to three women.
However, keep in mind that many of those men are people who come from other countries to work in the great city. They do usually have families back in their home countries, though, so there aren’t as many eligible bachelors as some might hope.
It’s pretty clear that the people of Dubai pride themselves in being record-breakers. That also seems to apply to their craftspeople. The Dubai Gold and Jewelry Group unveiled another record-breaking artifact to celebrate the 20th year anniversary of the Dubai Shopping Festival in 2015.
The winner is a beautiful gold chain. The 22-carat gold chain took 45 days and about 100 craftsmen to create, and it is indeed the largest in the world. It’s 18,116 ft 9.14 in and weighs 529.109 pounds.
All You Can Eat
Most cosmopolitan cities pride themselves on not just having a diversity of people but also of cultures and, by extension, food. So, it’s no wonder that Dubai boasts a wide variety of foods from all over the world.
But it’s not just specialty cuisines that the city holds. Dubai also has a brunch of every popular food chain in the world. Craving McDonald’s, Starbucks, or Domino’s Pizza to enjoy in the desert heat? Dubai has got you covered!
Keeping it PG
While we might love taking lovey-dovey photos with our significant others while on vacation, you might want to rethink that behavior while you’re staying in Dubai. You see, public displays of affection are heavily frowned upon.
Holding your husband or wife’s hand is generally considered alright, although not totally accepted. But anything beyond that could land you in some pretty serious trouble. Just keep any kissing to when you’re in the privacy of your own home.
All That Glitters
This luxury hotel has become famous for several different reasons. Firstly, the Burj Al Arab is among the tallest hotels in the world at an impressive height of 648 ft. It also holds the impressive title of the world’s only seven-star hotel.
But, what makes the sail-inspired structure so iconic is its dazzling interior. The interior is gilded with a staggering 19,267 square feet of 24-carat gold. In case you’re wondering, getting a room there can cost up to $20,000 a night!
Viva Las Dubai
Thanks to the many movies set in Sin City (namely Ocean’s 11), everybody knows of the Bellagio’s dancing water show in front of the iconic hotel. But, it turns out that Las Vegas isn’t the only place with such an impressive water show.
In fact, the same designers that created that famous show were also hired to create the beautiful Dubai Fountain, which is the largest choreographed fountain system in the world. Now, that’s definitely worthy of an iconic movie scene!
Listening to some cool local music out on the street and feeling the urge to let loose with a cool little jig? Well, reign that urge right back in. While it might seem fun to dance out in public, in Dubai, you probably shouldn’t.
In fact, busting a move outside the privacy of your own home is considered highly offensive and is heavily frowned upon. So, just enjoy the music, and leave the fancy footwork for some other time.
The Palm Jumeirah
The Palm Jumeirah has become pretty famous around the world, mostly thanks to the impressive and esthetically pleasing images of the structure from a bird’s-eye view. In fact, that iconic view can apparently be seen from space!
The Palm Jumeirah is actually a part of the Palms Islands project of constructing man-made archipelagos in the Persian Gulf. Beyond having many hotels and resorts, the artificial islands actually also have private residences. Can you imagine living in such a unique location?
Of course, the official language in the area and the country is Arabic, so maybe brush up on at least a few basic phrases in the language before you travel there. Luckily for tourists, Dubai is now incredibly diverse, and most people know English.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to know how to say “hello” and “thank you” in Arabic. You can also use Hindi, Urdu, and Chinese since many businesspeople and immigrants in Dubai come from those areas of Asia.
Full Steam Ahead
Dubai is often called the Crane Capital due to, at one time, having employed 25% of the world’s cranes to build its many impressive buildings. So, it’s pretty hard to believe that in 1991, Dubai only had a single skyscraper.
As of 2022, Dubai had 28 buildings at least 984 feet or over, and 97 buildings at least 656 feet in height. In both these categories, Dubai, of course, has the most in the world. This makes Dubai the city with the tallest skyline in the world.
Obviously, Dubai stands in the middle of a pretty hot desert — with summers even reaching a high temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it’s no wonder that water consumption in the UAE is the highest in the world.
Beyond parching the residents’ thirst, though, the city actually uses water to cool down buildings in an engineering marvel. The water is pumped from deep underground through a vertical cooling system all the way to the top floors of the many skyscrapers in the city.
A Desert Oasis
Just because they live in the desert doesn’t mean that the residents of Dubai aren’t lovers of lush greenery. In fact, one of Dubai’s most beautiful attractions is the world’s largest flower garden called The Miracle Garden of Dubai.
During its opening months in winter, this gorgeous location is covered in over 150 million flowers in full bloom. But, just having a giant flower field wasn’t enough. The devoted gardeners create majestic, floral structures and sculptures with these incredible plants.
Lions, Tigers, and Bears…
While most of us are used to seeing cats, dogs, pigeons, and the occasional rat in our city streets, Dubai, being a recently developed city, has some surprising wildlife that still considers the area their natural habitat.
Obviously, camels can be found all over the place. But did you know that wolves, Arabian oryxes, falcons, and even leopards consider Dubai their home and can be seen prowling through the streets?
While ATMs are nothing new around the world, the ones in Dubai don’t just hold cash. Ever wanted to feel like Scrooge McDuck and cuddle with a bar of gold? Thanks to this Dubai tech attraction, that dream can become a bit of a reality.
You see, Dubai holds some of the world’s only Gold ATMs, which do exactly what you would expect from the name — let you buy pure gold bars with a credit card. Keep in mind, though, that they only operate with the local currency, Durhams.
Walking on Sunshine
Having been built in the desert, Dubai sure seems like it sees a lot of sunshine. In fact, it only rains about an average of 25 days a year. However, due to its geographical location, even in summer, the city only has 12 hours of sun.
Luckily, with all its skyscrapers and attractions, Dubai glows even in the dark. So, the fun doesn’t stop even after the sun is gone, even in the colder months when there are only eight hours of daylight.
Right or Left?
Table etiquette is an important skill to learn. But, what’s considered polite in one country might be seen as extremely rude in another. So, for those who aren’t versed in Dubai’s table manners, here are two important rules of thumb:
First, always wash your hands before sitting to eat — hygiene is extremely important. Second, don’t use your left hand when eating. In many eastern countries, the left hand is used to clean one’s self in the commode. Therefore, when picking up glasses or food, use your right hand.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
We’ve established that Dubai likes going big – on everything! So, is it really any wonder that it goes supersized when it comes to shopping too? The Dubai Mall is over 12 million square feet, making it the largest shopping mall in the world.
Beyond the many luxury shops and restaurants in the mall, it also holds several massive attractions like the aquarium, an Olympic ice rink, a 22-screen movie theater, a real fossil of a Diplodocus dinosaur, and even a haunted house!
No More Tiger Kings
Thanks to the super-rich residents of Dubai who enjoyed posting their lavish lives on social media, Dubai used to be known as the ultimate place to have exotic pets like cheetahs, tigers, lions, and more.
This, however, finally changed in 2017 when the country banned the private ownership of such animals. You can still find these magnificent creatures in wildlife centers, zoos, and conservation parks. But in the homes of residents, cats, dogs, and parrots are a lot more likely to live as pets.
Dubai’s grandeur can be experienced from the moment you set foot in Dubai’s International Airport (DXB, for short). DXB Airport isn’t any old airport. Not only is it one of the largest airports in the world, but it’s also the busiest one, welcoming over 80 million visitors every year.
It’s also pretty fancy. Not only does it have its own five-star hotel, but there’s also a full mall (including an Apple store) and even an impressive zen garden, which includes a fish pond and a jungle gym for kids.
Swimming With the Fishes
As we’ve said, the Dubai Mall isn’t just a fun shopping experience. With the number of attractions on the premises, it would take days to see everything. A must-see is the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, which holds more than 33,000 aquatic animals.
It has the world’s largest collection of sand tiger sharks. Of course, it also holds several other records, like having the largest suspended aquarium with ten million liters of water and the largest acrylic pane in the world. Definitely worth a visit!
Your Weight in Gold
Healthy living is something we all strive toward. While many cities try to encourage their residents to have an active lifestyle by investing in sports parks or bicycle lanes, Dubai has gone the extra mile.
The rich city decided to encourage its citizens by paying them for every kilo lost (about 2.2 pounds). But the prize isn’t regular old money — for every kilo lost, the person who lost that weight received a gram of gold. That’s a heck of a motivator!
Fast & Furious Dreams
If there’s one thing that most people know about Dubai, thanks to several blockbuster hits in recent years, it’s that Dubai’s authorities have the coolest cars. Instead of driving old, beat-up cruisers, these law enforcers ride in style.
Whether they’re driving a Bugatti Veyron, a Ferrari FF, a Lamborghini Aventador, or another fancy car, the authorities are sure to reach any person in distress at top speeds and in the lap of luxury. They also take photos with tourists, so don’t miss out on that opportunity!
To Eat or Not to Eat
Due to its seaside location, Dubai’s cuisine relies heavily on fish, along with meat (lamb and mutton), rice, and, of course, dates, which have all been staples of the Middle Eastern kitchen for centuries.
What might be harder to find in the city is pork. This is because the country’s religion is Islam, which prohibits pork in any form. It actually used to be illegal to get pork in the city. However, due to so many foreign tourists, it’s allowed, though still difficult to find.
So Many Visitors
As cosmopolitan people will probably know, tourism is an extremely lucrative business, making it an important part of the economy of many countries. It’s why there’s such a bitter rivalry between different cities. They’re competing for which of them is going to be at the top of the list of most visited cities.
Though Bangkok leads the pack with over 22 million visitors, Dubai holds a top spot as the fourth most visited city with over 15 million visitors. Famed tourist destinations Paris and London are, of course, in second and third place.
Being the quickly progressing city that it is, Dubai has quite a few upcoming massive building projects in its future, like the planned world’s largest theme park. One of its coolest (pun intended) projects in the works is the Mall of the World.
The Mall of the World is planned to be basically its own covered city. The shopping district will be over four miles of shops, hotels, services, and housing that will all be covered from the city’s greatest problem — the heat. The whole place will be fully air-conditioned! Now, that’s cool!
Skiing in the Desert
We’ve gone on and on about how hot it is in the middle of this desert city. But what can you do if you want to chill in Dubai? You go skiing, of course! Wait, what? That’s right! The Mall of the Emirates holds one of the world’s biggest indoor skiing resorts.
Ski Dubai has a 278-foot-high indoor mountain, with its longest run being a quarter mile. It even has the world’s first indoor black diamond run. Most incredible — Ski Dubai has real penguins that get to go on walks and interact with the guests several times a day.
All Aboard the Fashion Express!
Dubai’s metro is at the heart of the city in more ways than one. Beyond just being an extremely fast, efficient, and comfortable transportation option, it’s also a cultural hub. Especially in 2013, when it became a moving runway.
The world’s longest driverless, fully automated metro network turned into the Fashion Express for a day in February 2013. Over 100 models, both professional and amateur, showed off the most luxurious high fashion brands to celebrate Dubai’s Shopping Festival.
Getting a Drink
If you’re used to having a nice, chilled adult beverage in the evening, you might be out of luck in Dubai. That’s because the only places allowed to serve a stiff drink are golf clubs, nightclubs, and hotel facilities, like their bars and restaurants.
But, instead of being bummed that you can’t enjoy that drink whenever and wherever you want, you can find solace in the strong local coffee or the unique tea that often has flavorful spices like cardamom, saffron, or mint added to it.
It’s a Small World
Dubai isn’t just about people appreciating the local culture. The people of Dubai love celebrating other cultures and countries from all over the world, and they do it in their Global Village. The Global Village is a yearly festival that takes place from October to April.
The festival grounds aim to celebrate 90 different cultures every year with food and shopping stalls, carnivals, concerts, and events. It even has a Ripley’s Believe it or Not area and dedicated selfie spots! It’s definitely a unique experience that’s worth a visit.
Dubai wasn’t always the lush, expansive, and luxurious city that it is today. While humans have lived in the area for thousands of years, the first modern town in the area was only established in the 18th century (around 200 years ago)!
The original settlement had less than 1,000 members and consisted mostly of fishermen and their families. It wasn’t until the United Arab Emirates was established in 1971 that the small town began to grow into the metropolis that we know today.
City and Country
There are actually two Dubais! The first is the Emirate Dubai which is part of the UAE. The second, of course, is the capital city (and only major city) of the Emirate. For the residents of Dubai, though, it’s no issue, since 90% of them live in the city.
The other 10% live in small villages around the Emirate. Over 85% of the population, though, are not actually UAE nationals. 85% of residents are expats and foreigners, with only a small amount of those being Westerners.