Dubai, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s got every fancy thing that you can imagine: high towers, exotic cars, and fantastic panorama. Since its inception (or there we say reimagination) of the city, Dubai has also rapidly grown into a cosmopolitan metropolis filled with various tourist destinations. Just take a look at the mighty Burj Khalifa as an example!
Visiting the fabulous city must have been in every person’s bucket list. However, you also need to know some interesting and fun facts about Dubai before planning a visit there! These facts will definitely change your overall perspective about Dubai, and hopefully it will increase your desire to visit it. Let’s check out those fun facts now!
1. “Modern Dubai” Began Its Revolution in the Mid 60s
We really need to applaud Dubai and its government officials for transforming Dubai into the metropolitan city that we now know and love. The “project” can be traced as far back as the mid-1960s (or 1966 to be precise), when the late Sheik Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum began transforming Dubai into a modern port, city and commercial hub. Back then, the project started with the construction of several ports (Rashid and Jebel Ali Port), Dubai Drydocks, and the Dubai World Trade Center.
For your information, Dubai has been around since the early 1000s. Back then, their main source of income was trading and selling pearls, as in all other parts of the Trucial States (which is now known as the UAE).
2. Contrary to Popular Belief, Oil Only Contributes a Little Part in Dubai’s Economy
Most people are led to believe that oil is the main reason for Dubai’s prosperity. That statement couldn’t be more wrong! In fact, oil only contributes to one percent of its total earnings. So, what is the main contributor to Dubai’s fortunes?
If Dubai were to rely on oil as a main source of revenue, they will definitely lose out to Abu Dhabi. Therefore, they had to turn their attention away to hospitality and tourism. Since the Burj Al Project began in 1994, the tourism industry sparked new life to Dubai and gave a long-term alternative for economic survival. Besides that, Dubai also serves as an international tech hub for industries like IT and Finance. The Jebel Ali port also operates as the center of export trade in the Middle East.
3. Dubai is so Populated with People and Cars
As one of the most prosperous cities in the area, it makes perfect sense that Dubai has become one of the most populous cities in the world. As of 2022, the UAE population statistics shows that there are 3.49 million people residing in the area. Certainly, the influx of immigrants as well as the number of foreigners settling there contribute to the increase of numbers.
Besides citizens, vehicle density is also very high in Dubai. In fact, Dubai has a vehicle density of 540 cars per 1,000 Dubai residents. That number is significantly higher than other cities like New York (305 vehicles per 1,000 residents) and London (213 vehicles per 1,000).
4. Never Ever Go Bankrupt in Dubai
Hypercars are a common sight in Dubai, and that just goes to show you how prosperous the residents are. However, there might be certain scenarios where the owners go bankrupt. And although Dubai is known for a lot of things, being merciful isn’t one of them. If an owner of a car cannot afford to repay the loan they took to buy these supercars, it will be considered as a criminal offense. Therefore, they are forced to leave the city and their beloved car.
Each year, there are about 2000-3000 hypercars that are abandoned in some random parts of Dubai. These abandoned cars are collected and stored in a huge impound lot that contains most supercars known to man. After some time, people can buy these cars, as they are sold through an auction.
5. You Can’t Outrun the Police Car Here
Don’t ever think that if you own a supercar, you can race it freely across the streets of Dubai. In fact, Dubai police cars are far superior than your vehicles. Sometimes, you can see Lamborghini and Bugatti police cars patrolling around and making sure that street racers won’t run amok. One of the police cars is even awarded as the fastest police car to be made. Dubai Police’s Bugatti Veyron is said to be clocking at 407 km/h.
The decision to use police cars is not only for protection purposes. In fact, it also increases tourists’ interest in visiting Dubai, as these cars are regularly seen near various tourist attractions.
6. Dubai is The Minister of Happiness
Yep, you heard it correctly the first time. This unique (but equally as important) position was created back in 2016, with the responsibility to harmonize various plans and activities in order to make Dubai’s residents happier and stress-free. After the Cabinet reshuffle in 2017, the position was renamed as the Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing. Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi was appointed as the first (and current, as of 2022) Minister of Happiness and Wellbeing.
There are a lot of unique programs and initiatives created by the Ministry. Happiness meter is one of those awesome ideas. It is a meter designed to calculate the satisfaction level of a customer towards government’s services. The ministry also designates time for activities and programmes that promote happiness at the federal government.
7. Palm Jumeirah is Big That It Can Be Seen From Space
One of Dubai’s iconic landmarks is the artificial island known as Palm Jumeirah. It was created using land reclamation which extends all the way to the Persian Gulf. When you take a look at its overall shape, it will resemble a palm tree. What’s more magnificent is that it can even be seen from space!
In fact, NASA Commander Leroy Chiao took a photo of Palm Jumeirah from the International Space Station back in 2005. Russian astronaut Oleg Artemyev has also provided us with another magnificent photo of the landmark during his time in space.
8. Water is More Expensive Than Fuel
The United Arab Emirates is known for producing lots and lots of oils that can be used for fuels and gasoline. It’s safe to say that they won’t have to worry about this natural resource. On the other hand, water is scarce there. At one point, water is even more expensive than fuel.
In 2015, 7.75 AED will be able to buy you 1.5lt of Evian mineral water, while 1.47 AED can buy one liter of fuel! While the price of water has gone down a bit since, it’s still crazy when you think about it, right?
9. Burj Khalifa Can Be Seen from Afar, But 1/3 of It is Uninhabitable
95 km. That is how far away you can still see the amazing Burj Khalifa. This building is 828 meters tall, and it is thrice as tall as the Eiffel Tower. It’s no wonder that Burj Khalifa has been dubbed as the world’s tallest building in the world.
There are a total of 163 floors inside the tallest building in the world. However, nearly 1/3 of its space is uninhabitable. In fact, its highest usable floor is only 585m above the ground. Most of the unoccupied space is used for mechanical purposes. You can also see telecom equipment there.
10. There are ATMs That Spit Out Golds
ATMs usually dispense cash from various currencies. However, Dubai is the first ever city to use ATM machines that store and spit out gold. The first ever gold ATM machine was introduced in the Emirates Palace Hotel back in 2010. Using these unique machines, you can just put money or a credit card into the machine, and it will buy gold that you wish to buy.
Golds are very precious, but there are security cameras that are fixed inside and outside every machine. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about security concerns anymore. Currently, there are about 50 gold ATM machines that are spread all across the world.
11. Robot Jockeys for Camel Race
Horse races? Nah, because Dubai preferred camel racing! In fact, the camel race is one of Dubai’s most traditional sporting events, and they love it. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the vast amount of camel racing tracks in Dubai!
While camel racing on its own is unique, you might be more interested in learning that they also use robot jockeys to ride the camels. Since 2002, the UAE has outlawed the use of human jockeys for camel racing. To compensate for the loss, they use small robots that are lightweight and made from metal and aluminum. The robots also have awesome features like GPS and heart rate sensors to monitor the camel’s health.
12. Burj Al Arab, World’s Only Seven-Star Hotel
Staying at a five-star hotel is amazing, but it’s not that astonishing. Booking a room at a seven-star hotel, however, is a different story, especially if there is only one such hotel in the world. Burj Al Arab, the world’s only seven-star hotel, is a 321m building that has been open since 1999. There are a lot of exciting features and entertainment, such as a 180m tall atrium, a fleet of white Rolls Royce cars, and dancing fountains.
You might also be astonished to learn that 1,790 square meters of Burj Al Arab’s interior is covered with gold leaves! Most rooms are dripping with those gold leaves, along with other exotic and exciting features like marble bathrooms, and iPad control system.
13. Dubai Holds 190 Guinness World Records!
We don’t really know which world record to highlight, because Dubai holds a lot of it! In fact, they have held at least 190 world records at one point in time (2018). Some of them are cool, while some others are weird and random. However, it doesn’t hide from the fact that it is a cool accomplishment. Here are some highlights of their world records:
- World’s Largest Stencil: 119.8 square feet
- World’s Tallest Chocolate Structure: 13.52 meters tall
- World’s Biggest Shopping Mall: The Dubai Mall measures for 1,124,000 square meters
- World’s Longest Gold Chain: 5 kilometers long and weighs for about 240 kilograms and has over 4 million links