Dubai is full of culture and history, and its landmarks are some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. If you’re planning a trip, it is always good to know a few interesting Dubai facts to help enhance your travel experience.
Interesting Dubai Facts
Here are some practical and fun facts about Dubai – its history, culture, people, landmarks, and food that you may not have known before.
Dubai also come from humble beginnings
Looking at the incredible growth in Dubai today, one of the more inspiring facts of Dubai to remember is that they also started small.
Dubai began as a desert outpost for Bedouins (nomadic people of Arabia). It was first settled in 1799 when 800 members of Bani Yas tribe moved along the coast from Liwa Oasis in search of water and pearls during long summer months.
In the old days, Dubai was a small fishing village that depended on its trade routes to survive. It wasn’t until 1966 when the first oil well was discovered that Dubai began to grow into the city it is today. The GDP of Dubai was over $68 billion in 2016.
Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The UAE has seven emirates, each ruled by a different ruling family. Dubai is the largest and one of the top tourist destinations. It has a population of over three million. The capital city Abu Dhabi is also an Emirate.
Tourism is a big industry for Dubai
One of the most relevant Dubai facts for travelers, because you are actually part of it.
Dubai is a popular tourist destination in the Middle East and tourism plays an important role in the city’s economy. The city attracts over 15 million tourists every year making it one of the top destinations to visit across the globe!
Dubai Creek has been an important trading route for Dubai since the early days
The Dubai creek is a saltwater inlet that runs through Dubai and separates it into two parts – Bur Dubai and Deira. It is still a point of trade and transport. You can see the hustle and bustle around the Creek today.
This is where most of the iconic souks are, and this would be one of the historic Dubai facts to remember when visiting to better appreciate the atmosphere. Make sure you take the abra across the creek for a local experience.
Dubai is one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, with over 200 different nationalities living there. The extent of diversity is one of the more impressive facts about Dubai.
The majority of the population are Indians and Pakistanis, with a large number of British expats too. This makes Dubai a very diverse and cosmopolitan city!
Dubai has one of the longest driverless metros in the world
The Dubai metro is one of the city’s most popular public transportation systems and it runs without drivers. It was built as part of Dubai’s 2030 plan to cut down on traffic congestion and pollution.
It was the longest automated metro when it first opened in 2009. Today, it ranks behind Vancouver’s SkyTrain and Singapore’s driverless line.
You can find ATMs for gold in Dubai
Dubai has gold ATMs that dispense gold bars and coins of different sizes. They are available in prominent spots like Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. Dubai is one of the largest gold trading hubs in the world, with about 20-40% of gold passing through the city.
Typical food in Dubai has a mixture of influences
Some Dubai facts that will get the foodie traveler excited. Dubai’s culture is a mix of Arab and Indian influences with a modern twist. You can see this reflected in their food as well.
Popular dishes include Biryani rice dish flavored with saffron and spices, Shawarma (a type of doner kebab) made with lamb or chicken, Kebabs served on skewers, and Machboos – an aromatic rice dish with meat or fish.
Dubai also has some great restaurants offering western cuisine, but you should not miss traditional Dubai food as well!
Arabic coffee is a favorite in Dubai
You can easily find Arabic coffee at every corner, and they can sometimes come with dates. Arabic coffee is a traditional drink in Dubai and it is usually served sweetened and spiced with cardamom. “Kahwa dubaiya” means “Dubai Coffee”.
Dubai is home to some of the best restaurants in the world
One thing Dubai is definitely not short on is amazing places to eat! Dubai has some of the best restaurants in the world, serving everything from Arabian cuisine to international dishes. There are 11 Michelin Star restaurants in Dubai.
The Dubai food scene is constantly evolving so there are always new restaurants opening up every week! The restaurants in the posh hotels also offer up some great gastronomy experiences.
Camel racing is a major sport in Dubai
The racing of camels is a popular sport in Dubai and there are camel races during weekends at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse. The sport is said to date back to the 1800s when it was used as a way to transport goods across the desert.
The Camel Racing Club was established in 1969 as a way to regulate the sport. The club sets rules and regulations for camel racing, as well as organizes races, and manages bets.
There are many professional camel racers. The races are usually grouped into categories according to the age and weight of the camels. The most famous race is the Dubai World Cup, which happens at the Nad Al Sheba.
Roaming camels are not uncommon in Dubai
Dubai is one of few cities in the world where you can find camels roaming around on sandy beaches and dunes near their homes. Dubai’s desert safari is a popular tourist attraction for people who want to experience this unique way of life up close!
You can ride one yourself at Camel Rides or go sandboarding down massive dunes up 60 meters high (200 feet) on an exhilarating trip into the desert wilderness – if you’re feeling brave enough.
The desert in Dubai is the largest on the Continent
Dubai is actually located within the Arabian desert, so the desert in Dubai is the Arabian desert. It is the second-largest desert in the world only behind the Sahara desert in North Africa.
The desert spans 900,000 square miles and is home to a number of interesting animals, such as the Arabian Oryx and sand gazelles. In fact, the Arabian Oryx is Dubai’s national animal!
Facts about Dubai Landmarks
Dubai has the tallest free standing structure in the world
The Burj Khalifa is the highest building in Dubai. It has more than 160 floors and is over 2700 feet tall. You can see the structure from up to 80 kilometers away.
It takes just over a minute to get from the base to the top of Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa elevator is one of the fastest in the world. The elevator moves at 22 miles per hour to achieve that feat. Each observatory elevator has a capacity of 12 to 14 people.
Palm Jumeirah was built in 2001 for US$1.5 billion
The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago in Dubai. It is one of the three Palm Islands which extend into the Persian Gulf. The Palm Jumeirah is the smallest and the original of the three Palm Islands.
It is designed as a luxury resort destination and contains some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
Another interesting opinion, rather than a fact about Dubai, is that there is nothing really exciting to see in Palm Jumeirah on the ground. The best way to “experience” the Palm is from the skies.
The first seven-star hotel was coined in Dubai
Dubai is famous for some of the most luxurious hotels in the world with incredible views. However, the term/rating of seven-star hotels actually came from one of them – the famous Burj Al Arab.
This luxury hotel is the first ever seven-star hotel in the world. Certainly one of the proudest facts of Dubai.
A night in Burj Al Arab costs upwards of $20,000
Burj Al Arab, which translates to “tower of the Arabs,” is a spectacular luxury hotel and one of the most expensive in the world.
It is one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks and has become synonymous with the city’s skyline. There are 202 rooms in this hotel and they run around $20,000 per night.
Dubai Mall Facts: It is one of the largest shopping malls in the world
Dubai Mall covers an area of over 12 million square feet and offers everything from luxury brands to traditional souks (markets). The mall attracts over 750,000 visitors each day!
Dubai Mall also houses a large aquarium
Dubai Mall has over 1200 stores, 300 restaurants, and cafes. It also has an aquatic zoo which is the largest indoor aquarium in the world! The aquarium features over 33,000 fish and marine animals from all over the world, consisting of 140 species.
Dubai is a city that’s constantly growing and changing, so there’s always something new to explore! Dubai is famously a luxury and expensive city but there is also a lot to do. Be sure to check out some of the cheap and free things to do in Dubai when visiting.