from short trips to traveling the world
& living abroad

from short trips to traveling the world & living abroad

Last month I spent a few days in Dubai. It was my third trip to this Emirate and I have to say, the more I get to know it, the more enjoyable I find this place.

Yes, it’s artificial, over-the-top and a bit strange to see such a modern, air-conditioned city in the middle of the desert. But, spending some time in Dubai with a friend who lives in the city made me see much more of it than just the tourist attractions and I have to admit, it is a city where you could lead a very comfortable life!

Dubai, a small desert town only 50 years ago, has developed into a vibrant city that is a business and cultural focal point in the Middle East and a popular tourist destination.

Dubai is known for luxury shopping, modern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, with its 830m the tallest building in the world, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. Real Estate and tourism drive the economy, and there seems to be a never-ending development of innovative and over-the-top projects.

Dubai is unique and therefore I wanted to share some crazy facts about Dubai with you:

1. The Burj Al Arab hotel uses enough gold to cover the Mona Lisa painting 46,265 times

Facts about Dubai: Burj al Arab, Dubai


The interior of the Burj Al Arab is decorated with around 1,790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf. With that, you could cover 46,265 Mona Lisa paintings.

2. 25% of all cranes in the world were once located in Dubai

crazy facts about Dubai


During the height of the property boom, Dubai’s skyline was filled with cranes. Some say the city was home to almost 25 percent of the world’s cranes! But, this might be a bit of an urban legend as other sources only state 2 or 3%.

Nevertheless, the number of cranes in Dubai was and still is, crazy, and the city keeps developing.

3. Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands use enough sand to fill 2.5 Empire State Buildings

Constructing Dubai’s Palm Islands required 94 million cubic meters of sand. The Empire State Building is only 37 million cubic meters.

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4. The police force in Dubai spends more on each of their super cars than it costs to send a child to college in the USA

Facts about Dubai: Dubai police force cars


Dubai’s police force uses supercars to impress tourists and show how “classy” the city is.

This includes cars such as the Ferrari FF ($500,000), Lamborghini Aventador ($397,000) and an Aston Martin One-77 ($1.79 million).

In comparison, attending New York University, the most expensive college in the USA, costs about $248,000 for four years.

5. Roughly 85 percent of Dubai’s population is foreign

Fun facts about Dubai: Dubai population

It is estimated that around 15 percent of Dubai’s population are Emiratis, while the other 85 percent are expatriates.
Most of the workers building Dubai’s hundreds of skyscrapers immigrated to the United Arab Emirates from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. As a result, they now comprise over 50% of the city’s population.

The class divide is big, with many of the immigrant workers living and working in horrible conditions while Emiratis have their rent, education and medical bills paid for and upper class foreigners earn extremely attractive salaries.

6. In Dubai robots are replacing illegal child labor in camel racing

Fun facts about Dubai - Camel racing Dubai


Camel racing is a very popular sport in Dubai, similar to what football is to the USA and hockey to Canada.

Given the camel’s size, only children can participate in racing them. Instead of allowing Dubai residents’ children to participate, there has been a problem in the past with having children illegally trafficked into the country to race camels. The rest of the world eventually caught on to the issue and has since put a stop to it for the most part.

Leave it to Dubai to come up with a solution. Now, child-sized robots are being built and are racing the camels. They cost anywhere from $300 to $10,000.

7. Dubai is building a climate controlled “city” 2.25 times the size of Monaco

Fun facts about Dubai


Dubai is planning to build a completely climate controlled city which will be 4.45 km² in size with air-conditioned boardwalks connecting the various sections. Monaco has an area of only 2.02 km².

For more information click here

8. Until recently Dubai had no addresses, no zip codes, no area codes, and no postal system

fun facts about Dubai

Due to the rate at which Dubai has been growing, it never developed a standard address system. Instead of an address line on a mailing label, there was a space where residents could draw a map or write out specific instructions such as: “After you pass the white mosque, it’s the first street to the left, blue door.”

It wasn’t until 2015 that Dubai started assigning so-called Makani numbers (a unique 10 digit code) to all buildings to help identify them.

9. You pay no income tax in Dubai

Fun facts about Dubai: taxes

Apart from an often very attractive salary you also won’t have to pay any income taxes when you make your money in Dubai. This attracts a lot of people who come to Dubai with the idea of saving a good amount of money in a short amount of time. Too bad it is also very easy to spend a lot of money in Dubai…

10. Dubai loves gold

Interesting facts about Dubai: Dubai loves gold

picture by Theodore Scott

There are ATMs in Dubai that dispense gold bars and 40% of all physical gold traded in 2013 occurred in Dubai. Altogether, that gold weighed more than 354 elephants!

Dubai: larger than life

Dubai’s goal seems to be to constantly have the biggest and best of everything. Its hotels try to be the most luxurious on earth, including the best hotel in the world: The Burj Al-Arab.

Dubai built the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, which can be seen from 95 km away and is 163 stories high. And on top of that, the city has the largest indoor mall in the world, the biggest aquarium, the biggest automated fountain, the tallest hotel, the longest automated rail network, and the largest indoor ski park…

If you ever get the chance to visit this truly unique city, go! Whether you end up liking it or not, it will leave a unique impression.

For more information & facts about Dubai:

Also read: In Pictures: Where to Travel to Next – The Perfect Travel Inspiration

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10 Crazy Facts About Dubai

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.