13 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT DUBAI
Dubai is certainly a holiday hotspot (in both senses of the word) and with sizzling summer temperatures topping 40 degrees and mercury staying between 25 and 30 throughout the rest of the year, you can pretty much guarantee amazing weather. It's spectacular cityscape, gorgeous beaches, world-class malls and bustling markets make it one of the most magnificent places to visit in the world. And you’ll find a host of cheap fun things to do in Dubai while you’re there, too. So if you're heading to this dazzling destination and want to know more, here are 13 things you didn't know about Dubai...
You'll find everything you need to know with our advice for travelling to Dubai.
CATCH A CAMEL RACE AT SUNRISE
If you're looking for an exciting day out with a difference, one of Dubai's most popular and oldest-running attractions is camel racing – of course! The early start will certainly be worth it once you step foot on the sun-kissed desert in preparation for the colourful camels to set off on their way. The Al Marmoum Racetrack hosts weekly events between September and April - even more reason to book that winter sun holiday!
IT’S A REAL RECORD BREAKER!
The United Arab Emirates is currently topping the charts with around 150 world records! If that doesn't impress you, there’s even a Guinness World Records Dubai office – to save them constantly making the trip to adjudicate – makes sense. Records held range from the spectacular to the bizarre, including the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest manmade island, the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s largest gold ring and the most people gathered to eat breakfast together - 1,350 people ate cornflakes at Dubai’s Marina Mall! So you can rest assured your visit will be nothing less than spectacular!
Take advantage of the world-class sights, sands and skyscrapers with our list of the top 15 things to see and do in Dubai.
DUBAI HAS FRIDAYS OFF!
Unfortunately, residents have to work on Sundays, as the Dubai working week runs from Sunday to Thursday. This is because Friday is the rest day for Muslims and Sunday has no significance as a rest day associated with Christianity. Thursdays and Fridays are great nights out and you'll find lots going on. Trust us, there are a lot of fun things to do in Dubai at night, such as dancing the night away at a chic rooftop club or camping under the desert stars.
DUBAI HAS THREE ISLANDS
There are three islands off Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and Deira Island. Each of the islands are manmade, but Palm Jumeirah is the most developed and is handily linked to the city by monorail. Jumeirah was the world’s biggest manmade island when built, and is set to be eclipsed by its sister islands - The Palm Jebel Ali however is yet to be completed. The distinctive designs are so grand they can even be seen from space! There’s a further project underway called The World, which is a group of 300 islands, however this was halted during the 2008 financial crisis and is still uncompleted - so watch this space!
IT HAS THE MIDDLE EAST’S FIRST MONORAIL
The monorail that connects Dubai mainland and the Palm Jumeirah island is the very first in the Middle East. Although it’s a great way for visitors to get to the island's attractions (which include the Atlantis waterpark and aquarium) and observe stunning views on the way. The city seems to have mixed feelings about driverless trains, with most of them carrying only a small number of passengers compared to their capacity - whether they were worth the $400million price tag is debatable!
YOU CAN SKI ON REAL SNOW!
Despite temperatures outside being consistently scorching, it’s perfectly possible to whizz down slopes of real snow, if the mood takes you - so pack your salopettes as well as your swimwear! At Ski Dubai, in the massive Mall of the Emirates, you can ski, snowboard, toboggan or just have a good old-fashioned snowball fight - the perfect way to cool yourself down! There are lots of things to do in the Dubai Mall, which also has over 560 shops to browse, including 90 places to eat, a cinema, theatre and a family entertainment centre – making it a definite must-see city attraction.
IT HAS AROUND 3in RAIN A YEAR
Average rainfall is just over 3.5in a year in Dubai, so it's little wonder why we love heading there for a dose of vitamin D! If you fancy some winter sun, check out some of our great-value deals for cheap holidays to Dubai.
IT WAS ONCE PART OF THE UK
Although the two countries couldn’t be more different, pre-1971 the United Arab Emirates actually belonged to the UK. National Day is celebrated on 2 December every year to mark the liberation of the sheikhdoms and the formation of the UAE. Visit during this holiday and you’ll find the city to be a riot of parties, including a massive parade hosted in Downtown Dubai.
ITS TALLEST BUILDING CAN BE SEEN FROM MILES AWAY
The Burj Khalifa can be seen from 100km away. If it was located in London you’d be able to see it from the south coast of the UK! Although at 830 metres tall - the tallest manmade structure in the world - it’s hardly surprising. Dubai also boasts the world’s tallest fountains, which rival the show in front of The Bellagio in Las Vegas and give a spectacular daily performance over the Burj Khalifa Lake at the Dubai Mall. Expect jets as high as 150 metres, and lights that can be seen from space!
IT DOESN'T DO STREET ADDRESSES
Make sure you look up your hotel on a map as street addresses are hit and miss in Dubai. Most residents get mail delivered to a PO box. Alternatively, they might draw a map or directions on the envelope for the poor postie to follow…
THE DESERT IS ON THE DOORSTEP
Though it’s hard to believe when you’re surrounded by skyscrapers and shopping malls, Dubai is built on the Arabian desert, and you can be on the sand dunes in around 45 minutes. A camel or 4x4 jeep safari is a must for those with a taste for adventure. You can also sleep in the desert, whizz over the dunes on a quad bike or even go sand skiing – lucky you packed those salopettes! This is among the top things to do in Dubai at night, or during the day for that matter.
EVEN THE AIRPORT IS MASSIVE
Dubai doesn’t do things on a small scale and that philosophy even extends to its airport, which is like a holiday destination in itself! Not only is Terminal 3 the largest airport terminal in the world, but it’s also the second largest building in the world for floor space! Not surprisingly, there is a plethora of things to do in Dubai airport itself, where you’ll find a 5-star hotel, Apple store, swimming pool, two Zen gardens and even Snoozecubes where you can relax or catch 40 winks if you find yourself with time to kill before your flight.
IT’S ONE OF THE SAFEST CITIES IN THE WORLD
Safety is usually a concern for anyone travelling to a foreign country – and we can be especially nervous about travelling outside of Europe. There’s no need to worry on holidays to Dubai though, as it’s one of the safest cities in the world. A high morality among residents, plus strict laws, mean that the crime rate is exceptionally low for a city of its size. So you can holiday in Dubai, worry free!