“SIM CityTM”, “adult Disneyland”, “paradise” and “otherworldly” are some words Dubai is described with. Interestingly, these descriptions are credible. I mean the city is simply posh, chic and at another level with innovations. It’s little wonder Dubai is so famous; even more famous than the country that hosts it.
Given the totality of its architectural and hospitality awesomeness, vacationers from all around the world are taking trips to Dubai to enjoy different Dubai tours. Others have it in their bucket list. But while Dubai has become very popular so that it’s now a household name, it’s surprising that not so many people know much about the dynamic city.
For example, what is a Dubai local called? Is Dubai a country? Which continent is Dubai in? What are some of the best attractions in Dubai? Which language is spoken in Dubai? We’ll touch on these questions and more Dubai-relevant questions to get you familiar with the cosmopolitan city of Dubai. Let’s jump right into it.
About Dubai | Where is Dubai | Is Dubai a country?
First up, Dubai is not a country but a city in, and the capital of, one of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (the UAE), the country Dubai is in. Specifically, Dubai city is in the Emirate of Dubai. Interestingly, the name Dubai is both the names of the contemporary urban city and of its hosting Emirate.
In other words, Dubai is a city in the Emirate of Dubai; the Emirate is a state in the UAE and the UAE is a country in the Middle East or West Asia.
The Emirate of Dubai is the UAE’s second largest and second most populous emirate, with the total area of about 3885 km2, while Dubai municipal is only about 35km2, excluding its man-made islands such as the Waterfront, the three Palm islands, the World, the Universe, Dubailand, as well as many other construction projects underway in the desert.
Bounded by the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the south and west, by the Emirate of Sharjah on the east and northeast, Dubai has the coordinates of 25.2048° N, 55.2708° E. In addition to its immediate territory, the small exclave (detached section) of Al-Ḥajarayn in the Wadi Ḥattā, more than 25 miles (40 km) from the nearest territory of Dubai city, belongs to the state.
Due to its location, Dubai usually experiences no snowfalls, and has a dry climate which usually ranges from 19.5 °C (67.5 °F) in January to 36.5 °C (98 °F) in August. The winter months in Dubai are usually cooler and are the period Dubai usually sees its rains.
While people from cooler countries may find the city as rather hot, most of its activities are indoors or done in the evening and/or at night, which are usually cooler. Although, Dubai is not sleeping on its heatwaves. It was reported, in July 2021, that when the city experienced temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius, Dubai created artificial rainfall in order to mitigate the heatwaves by flying drones, capable of unleashing electrical charges, into the clouds. These drones unleash their electric charges on the clouds causing them to clump together to produce rain and it was a success. Pretty advanced and thoughtful.
Maps of Dubai – Map of Dubai on the World Map | Dubai city map
Population of Dubai
While Dubai city is relatively small compared to the rest of the emirate, it hosts about nine-tenths of the emirate’s total population, and consequently is the largest city in the UAE. Dubai’s population is an interesting mix. Only 5% of it are locals or Emiratis, the rest are expatriates.
Studies carried out in 2019 show that the city had the population of about 3.33 million people, with three-quarters of the population being male. With its population growing by 5.64% annually, Dubai is mostly populated by Asians, particularly Indians who make more than half of the city’s total population; and other Arab nationals. You’d also find a good number of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Iranians, Filipinos, Chinese, Indonesians and Malaysians in the city. As of now, of the 85 per cent expat populations that live and work in Dubai, about 71 per cent are from Asia.
What Is the Official Language in Dubai?
Dubai’s official language is Arabic. While there are variations in the spoken Arabic in the city, the colloquial dialect most locals speak is the Gulf Arabic dialect or Khaleeji. The second most commonly spoken dialect is Egyptian Arabic, known as Masri. In writing, Standard Arabic – the modernized, literary version – is the one that’s used in legal, administrative and government texts, as well as books and newspapers.
Arabic may be the official language, but English is more widely spoken than Arabic in the sense that the high number of Dubai expats speak English. From road signs, and public transport to menus and phone directories, you’d easily use the service you want as English is always an option. Services are also rendered in English, so you wouldn’t have trouble finding your way around Dubai and getting things done.
Over the decades, the languages of Arabic, Hindi and Tagalog mix together to form popular vernacular, now peculiar to Dubai. Don’t be caught off guard when you hear the following expressions with their meanings. You could also use them to help you settle in more easily:
- Can I get your good name? – a polite way to say, “your name, please”
- Ma’am-sir – a catch-all term used primarily by service staff to address customers, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman
- Maffi mushkil – is an Arabic phrase that means, “no problem”
- Habibi or Habibti – terms of endearment that mean, “my dear” (male) or “my darling” (female)
- Inshallah – an Arabic sentiment that means, “God willing”
- Jaldi, jaldi – is Hindi for “quick, quick” for when you want to speed something along. Or, try it out in Arabic by saying “yalla”
Dubai as a City of Contrasts
Dubai is paradoxical in nature. It’s common knowledge that Dubai’s territory is mainly desert. In a sharp contrast, the city boasts turquoise waters thanks to the Persian Gulf. Also, renowned for its glitz and glamour, Dubai would be expected to be like Singapore where virtually everything is contemporary. That’d be wrong as its historic heritage or old world charm are still very much present in the city.
Further, the city boasts the highest number of supercars for one city in the world. In fact, the first and only female supercar owners’ club is in Dubai. Notwithstanding the foregoing, camels and dhows are still in use in some parts of the city; say Deira and at the desert. Camels and dhows also feature in things to do in Dubai.
As though the foregoing aren’t enough, Dubai also has a sharp contrast in its shopping experience. While it boasts some of the most contemporary shopping malls in the world, you’d still find traditional souks in the city. At the souks, you could buy spices, handicrafts, clothing et cetera. These are great places to buy traditional souvenirs. There are gold souks in Dubai too, by the way.
Need I say more Dubai’s contrast? It’s been mentioned that Dubai is built on the desert. But did you know that the city has touristic destinations that would make you feel you’re at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, Courchevel in France or somewhere better. These places in Dubai are Ski Dubai and Dubai Ice Rink.
Ruled by an Islamic monarch/emir, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai would be expected to be strictly Islam-informed. It is Islam-informed; and even strictly until recently that personal freedoms are now being legally respected.
For example, Dubai was notorious with punishing premarital sex offenders, but people are now allowed to copulate in Dubai. And contrary to the fact that you needed an alcohol license to consume alcohol in the city, you no longer need an alcohol license to consume alcohol in Dubai, so long as you’re at least 21 and that you don’t drink in public places and while driving.
Why Is Dubai So Popular? Places To Visit in Dubai
Why is Dubai so famous or popular? If there’s one things Dubai is renowned for, it’s tourism, thanks to its architectural wonders. The city is the fourth most visit city on Earth and a leading tourist destination by any contemporary standard. Rising out of the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula, Dubai’s landscape looks like something out of a Star Wars movie. The contemporary city’s touristic destinations are either larger than life or futuristic or both.
In 2010, the city shocked the world with launching of the Burj Khalifa, tallest building in Dubai, and of course the world, standing seven hundred and seventeen feet (2,717 ft/828 m) tall. Sited in Downtown Dubai, the building is not merely the world’s tallest but is also cutting-edge. It has some of the fastest elevators in the world. Its design was inspired by a flower called Hymenocallis or spider lilly, giving it a Y-shape when viewed from above it. The view itself is arguably more beautiful than the actual flower. If you’re wondering what the most popular Dubai destination is, it’s none other than Burj Khalifa. It’s not for nothing to cost $1.5 billion to built. Lastly here, it’d be boring to start mentioning the awards it has earned over the years. Please see Burj Khalifa to learn more.
Dubai is safe
Dubai Fountain and Dubai Mall
Outside Burj Khalifa are the amazing world’s tallest fountain, Dubai Fountain and one of the biggest shopping malls in the world, Dubai Mall. While Dubai Mall has virtually everything you wish to buy contributing to why Dubai is considered a global shopping destination, Dubai Fountain, also considered a dancing fountain by some, is where millions and millions of tourists converge every evening throughout the year for a romantic and/or ecstatic atmosphere, especially during big events such as new year.
Sucking up $217 millions to be built, the fountain is the world’s tallest fountain and performs stunts, synchronizing with songs being played for it. Its lights, too, synchronize with the songs. It’s a spectacle to behold by both adults and children.
Lest it gets omitted, Dubai also has a serious shopping culture, thanks to cheap shopping malls in Dubai and the Dubai shopping festival, among other shopping experiences.
Burj Al Arab
When it comes to luxury, the city has Burj Al Arab, the hotel that earned the informal title, the seven star hotel, because of its sheer splendor. The developers made sure the sail-shaped hotel was lavishly built for that royal treat. You have the options of getting picked up or transferred either on a helicopter or in a white Rolls Royce. Which do you want to be transferred in?
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah’s interior is clad in gold with a soft, warm and sensuous glow throughout. The Dubai seven star hotel has been described as opulent, glamorous and start-of-the-art. And, given its lavish splendor, it has in fact been criticized. Nilz77thinks, “It has got some of [the] finest dining on planet [Earth]. We experience[d] just [the] restaurant there which is [the] best in the world, I must say. And [the] sunset view from [the] hotel is magical. Must experience.”
For the want of space, we can’t touch on all the marvels of the amazing Dubai hotel. Visit its Al Mahara retaurant for some seafood and an underwater feel. Burj Al Arab has in several cases earned “most luxurious” and “most romantic” hotel awards. Its Talise Spa is so stupendous; it could rejuvenate you. Further, the hotels moonlit swimming a good tryst for lovers. Please see Burj Al Arab, to learn more…
If you think the foregoing are awesome already, then you need to see Atlantis Dubai, or Atlantis, The Palm. Where do we start from describing it. From the underwater restaurant, to its underwater suites to the Lost Chamber are where you want to be if you want to experience something unreal, yet real, incredible yet credible, memorable and indelible; something that’d wear off your stress and heal you psychologically from within. This is possible due to the fact the hotel was inspired by popular and fascinating myth of Atlantis — a lost island nation that sunk into the Atlantic ocean — by Plato in his dialogues “Timaeus” and “Critias”.
If you take your spouse here in order to establish or rekindle love, you’d succeed at one take. The underwater restaurant, Ossiano, to be specific, has seen a lot of successful proposals, among other things. There something they do where a diver swims towards a couple with a message usually arranged by the male couple; messages such as “Will you marry me Jane Doe?” “I love and appreciate you in my life Jane Doe.” et cetera. Please see Atlantis Dubai to learn more…
Opened in 2005 in the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the Middle East’s first entertainment park for snow activities such as snow skating, snow bumpers, snow bullet ride, Mountain Thriller ride, zorbing, bobsledding, tubing, tower climbing et cetera. Thanks to its activities, it’s named the world’s best indoor ski resort in 2016 and 2017.
Covering an area of 4,500 square meter and being a snow entertainment park, Ski Dubai is a good destination to escape from Dubai’s desert heat. The park also boasts live penguins and lets you learn about them. Whether you’re visiting with a spouse, children or with both, you’d have plenty of quality things to do.
Dubai Ice Rink
Related to Ski Dubai is Dubai Ice Rink, although, unlike Ski Dubai, it’s situated in the Dubai Mall. With a courteous staff, you wouldn’t have to worry about snowskating if you’re a beginner. And, given its location, high-end technology and equipment, it’s little wonder the snow park easily gets frenetic. Visit the park for electrifying get-togethers and birthday experiences, or just as a pastime.
While Dubai Mall has other things for tourists, you’d be enchanted by Dubai Ice Rink’s stunning snowfall sessions and would get ecstatic from its exhilarating DJ nights.
Dubai Ice Rink, which is 60 meters long and 30 meters wide, has hosted some rather notable events such as the telecast of the FIFA World Cup matches (thanks to its big television), the Dubai tournaments of the Emirates Hockey League Cup and Broomball games for Corporate team building.
Dubai Miracle Garden
Are you in need of something romantic, something that engages your visual and olfactory senses, filling you with satisfaction and awe? Go no further than Dubai Miracle Garden. Given its spectacular blossoms and sweet floral scents, couples, lovers of flowers and like-minded people love visiting this Dubai destination. It’s little wonder it was launched on a Valentine’s day in 2013. Could that be why lovers love proposing here? Hm.
The Dubai floral park boasts over 50 million outstanding flowers in astounding colorful designs, patterns and shapes. Visit it to get gently sailed into a whole new world of ideals. The park is a good fit for lovers and a family with kids.
The Palm Islands
The Palm Islands refer to three stunning archipelagoes in Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, and Palm Deira. Of the three, the first mentioned is the most popular. Each of these islands was inspired by the silhouette of an actual palm three. The Islands boast about 5,000 waterfront apartments, about 4,000 residential villas, about 1,000 water homes and lots of lusury hotels as well as a number of marinas, health spas, shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas, sports facilities, dive sites and the popular Atlantis Dubai which is actually sited on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah.
Palm Jumeirah is a whole district. You could spend weeks full of activities in it without needing to go somewhere else in Dubai.
This is where you find the highest collection of Dubai’s skyscrapers, including the exquisite Dubai Marina. Because of its premium quality, and also for the fact that it’s Dubai’s most sought-after neighborhood, apartments here are pricy and they are commensurately luxury.
Transportation here is pretty advanced and thanks to its 3.5km canal, you have to option to commute on the water. The area is served by the Dubai Tram which makes it possible to get around Dubai Marina cost-effectively as well as out of the area. There are interesting things to do here. THey include The Walk and The Beach at JBR, Dubai Marine XLine, RIB Speedboat Sightseeing Tour, Sunset Dinner Cruise at Dubai Marina, Zero Gravity Beach Club and Ski Dubai. Ski Dubai is not actually in Dubai Marina. It’s rather close to it.
What Other Things Do People Visit Dubai For?
What other things do people visit Dubai for? A very good question. Let’s start with security. Dubai is pretty safe. This is not what makes it popular, but then it creates a safe environment which enables people to visit Dubai to experience all of its wonders.
It’d be expected that as Dubai is in the Middle East, there’d terror in the city. This is quite the opposite. The UAE has established a couple of initiatives to help prevent acts of Islamic terrorism. And they are actively working against terrorism. Recently they published a list of terror sponsors. See “Is Dubai Safe?” and “Is Dubai Safe Solo Female Travelers?” for more.
With the foregoing established, Dubai is so popular among tourists for many other reasons. The city is studded with lots of architectural wonders. Its standard and taste are pioneering and its skyline is second to none. Everything here is done in a posh and chic fashion. Dubai is the city with probably the highest number of Guinness World Records.
To the amazement of many tourists, Dubai’s police use supercars like the Bughatti Veyrons, the Lamborghinis, the Bentleys, G-Wagons, other luxury cars including luxury Benz cars. And according to Guinness World Records, the Arabian city has the fastest police car in use in the world.
Further, it has the largest LED-illuminated facade on Burj Khalifa and its Dubai Miracle Garden has the largest floral sculpture in the world. Summarily in this connection, Dubai frequently undertakes futuristic projects. And that’s how it always breaks Guinness World Records.
Other Dubai attractions include skydiving in Dubai, Dubai desert safari, Dubai beaches, kayaking in Dubai, trekking in Dubai, long distance driving across scenic Dubai roads et cetera.
Can we touch on everything that makes the city popular? That won’t be possible with this one article. As a matter of fact, Dubai’s gems are what Dubai Tour Pro is all about.
Dubai is not a country but a city.
Dubai is in the country of the United Arab Emirates which is in the Middle East or Western Asia.
A Dubai native is called an “Emirati”
Yes, there’s inclusiveness for other religions including Christianity.
Yes, you can drink alcohol in Dubai without a license, although it must be done in private places and you must be at least 21. Please see consuming alcohol in Dubai.
Yes, you can. See Dubai law update on cohabitation. This and the foregoing item are possible thanks to the November 2020 law reform. Gov.uk still holds that cohabitation, and drinking alcohol in Dubai without a license are prohibited, but we think that’s a case of delay in updating their information.
From experience, you can. Although this depends on where you are. But avoid public sex to stay out of trouble.
Not really, although you shouldn’t dress gaudily or immorally. Regular Western clothes are just fine in Dubai. If you’re going to public offices, however, you would want to be duly modest as public offices are usually peopled by locals who are usually Muslims and therefore conservative.
Arabic, English, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog are widely spoken in Dubai, while Mandarin is on the rise in the city.
Yes, English is spoken in Dubai and it’s the most spoken language in the city.
The currency of Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED), also casually referred to as Dirham. $1 is equivalent to AED3.67.
From what we know, there’s no terrorism in Dubai and the UAE has established a couple of initiative to prevent terrorism.
Dubai is so rich because they are rich in crude oil. With a relatively small population, they had a lot of money to build up a whole new cutting-edge city from the desert with tourism at the epicenter of their objectives. Today, Dubai generates a lot of revenue from tourism which includes aviation; so much so that now crude oil accounts for only 5% of the city’s GDP.
Dubai is beautiful because it’s a contemporary city that features cutting-edge and novel feats, second to none. It has the world’s tallest building, some of the most luxurious and most romantic hotels, and one of the most exquisite landscapes in the world.
Learn about Dubai laws for tourists to stay on the safer side of things.
Conclusion – Other Things Dubai Is Renowned For
There you have it, where Dubai is, whether Dubai is a country, Dubai’s continent, Dubai on the atlas, why Dubai is so popular and more.
Dubai sees that everything is state-of-the-art and virtually all their projects are tourism-inspired, this is why Dubai was steeply affected during Covid-19. Lots of businesses in Dubai directly and indirectly rely on tourism (aviation, transportation, hotels, restaurant, shopping, tour agencies), but with the Coronavirus lockdowns globally, they were some of the worst hit. Because of this, they were one of the countries that first opened up. If you’re considering working in Dubai, the foregoing are some good reasons why you could work in Dubai.
That said, the city will continue its path with cutting-edge and futuristic projects as it keeps re-inventing itself. Have you seen the recently completed Dubai Expo 2020 site (Dubai Exhibition Centre) yet? It’s like some perfect drawing. See its images below.
We now come to the end of this article. Please support us and until we meet again, stay guided. 🙂