Everyone, or at least most people, think they know all there is to know about Dubai. And it's little wonder why everyone thinks themselves as something of a Dubai expert, given that the emirate itself goes above and beyond to promote its larger-than-life attractions, state-of-the-art constructions and innovative new ventures.
24 things you probably didn't know about Dubai
Yet, if you scratch a little beyond the surface you can find there's more to Dubai than most people know about, and you can discover a new thing or two about the most popular of emirates.
Presented as a series of fun facts, this blog aims to give you the low-down on a series of things you probably didn't know about Dubai, at least not in this context and certainly not with our added tongue-in-cheek humour and comparisons to better illustrate them. Without further ado, here they are:
Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest tower
Alright, so you probably knew this one, or at least had some inkling of where the world's current tallest structure was at. You might have heard about this as it made news everywhere when it was built, but in case you didn't here it is.
The staggering Burj Khalifa is a whopping 830 metres high (or 829.8 metres if you want to be painstakingly precise), which means you would need 441 (and-a-half) Arnold Schwarzeneggers standing on top of each other to match its height. Over 400 Terminators? Now that's a sight many people might dread!
Dubai made the world's largest gold chain weighing in at 256 kg!
Now, I'm sure this is one fact most of you were utterly clueless about. But yes, it happened, Dubai broke a universal record on January 2015 when it made the world's largest 22-carat gold chain and presented it to the world at the Deira Gold Souk bus station (where else, huh?), in a stunning display that saw the 5.52 kilometres of gold woven into a huge mural against a sunset picture of Dubai's skyline.
Guinness World Records was there to validate the feat, which was all part of the 20th celebrations of the popular annual Dubai Shopping Festival. Bet you can't wait to see what they do for next year's edition!
Dubai is the most populous emirate with 2.657 million inhabitants
That's roughly around 15 times the number of people who attend Glastonbury in recent years, so not a number to easily overlook, especially considering Dubai is not the largest emirates in terms of land mass and Abu Dhabi's geographical extension surpasses that of Dubai's a whopping 16 times!
So, while a little over two-and-a-half million people might not seem like a lot (especially not when compared to London, one of the world's most heavily condensed cities) it is a hugely significant number. Just imagine that huge Glastonbury field, the largest greenfield festival of its kind in the world, a whole 15 times bigger, with 15 times the number of bobbing heads, jamming along – there you'd have the whole of Dubai!
Dubai receives a whopping 14.2 million visitors every year
If you were impressed by Dubai's population while picturing 15 Glastonburys put together, standing side by side, you're going to be astounded at learning the number of annual visitors the emirates receives; as not only does it exceedingly surpass Dubai's total population by a large margin, but it quintuples its number.
Now, for that you'll have to picture the equivalent of the entire population in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, put together.
Dubai produces 50,000 barrels of oil daily
OK, so it probably won't come as too big a surprise to learn the United Arab Emirates are big oil producers, one of the world's top oil diggers in fact, but still; you probably haven't the slightest clue as to how much exactly they make. Dubai alone greatly contributes to the world's oil production in generous amounts.
To help you better picture Dubai's thriving oil business, we are comparing it to filling 15 million wine bottles daily, beating some of the world's top wine producers and nearly matching Spain in terms of the volume of wine the country makes per day. Now that's quite a bit of tipple to make your mind dizzy before even going for a sip!
Dubai traded 40 % of the world's gold in 2013 – 2250 tons of it!
Gold, gold gold...there's no shortage of it in Dubai, if in doubt just stroll down the city's popular Gold Souk, or simply look around, there's gold practically everywhere. But what you might not know is how much of the coveted golden mineral Dubai trades in the global market.
In 2013 alone, the country traded a staggering 40 per cent of the world's gold, weighing in at 2,250 tons. If that amount is hard to imagine, just picture a herd of 45,000 Kim Kardashians (or 450 African elephants, whatever's easier – or less traumatic - on the eyes).
The Burj Khalifa can be seen from 95 km away
We've already covered the fact that the Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest tower, so it stands to reason that you can see it from a great distance, yet you probably don't conceive that distance to be the equivalent of the 31 miles of ocean separating Dover from Calais, multiplied by three!
Think of it as standing on the very tip of Dover's rocky cliffs and being able to see the top of the Tour de Lille (if only it were anywhere near as tall as the Burj Khalifa!). Quite impressive!
Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping centre
We bet this is one fun fact you've probably wondered about if you've ever been to the mega-large Dubai Mall. After wandering around its roomy interiors, I've asked myself that very question several times: could this be the world's largest? And as it turns out, indeed it is!
The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping centre in the world in terms of total land area covered. This small detail is an important one, given that others beat it in the list of world's largest shopping malls based on their gross leasable area, which is how the world's largest malls are often calculated. But by total land area, the Dubai Mall certainly tops them all!
Dubai's Princess Tower is the world's second tallest residential building
If we had written about this fact a little over a year ago, we would have said Dubai was home to the world's tallest residential building, but on 23rd December 2015 a new residential building in New York knocked it from the top position and ever since, Dubai's Princess Tower has had to make peace with being the world's number two.
Still, it proudly held the title of the world's tallest residential abode from 2012 until 2015 and in the story game it beats New York's 432 Park Avenue flat- out, with a total of 101 stories versus Park Avenue's 85 floors.
After being beaten by the completion of 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan, which rises over 426 metres, the Princess Tower may no longer be the planet's tallest residential skyscraper but it still stands very tall at over 413 metres-high. It also stands as Dubai's second tallest building, trailing behind the Burj Khalifa, and occupies the 20th spot on the list of the world's tallest buildings. Not bad after all, eh?
The UAE holds an astonishing 150 world records (and counting)
OK, so this one fact cannot be credited solely to Dubai, but in its vast majority, it is Dubai that leads the way in the total number of world records the UAE holds, and it is Dubai that most generously contributes to the United Arab Emirates' staggeringly high world records total. As of September 2016, The Guinness Book of World Records had certified over 150 world-breaking feats in the UAE alone, most of which had taken place in Dubai.
The list includes peculiar and quirky achievements such as: fastest 10 metres on hind legs by a horse, first hybrid of a camel and llama, longest wedding veil, largest chocolate mosaic, largest indoor ski resort, most expensive decorated Christmas tree, largest puzzle completed underwater, most nationalities washing their hands simultaneously, largest synchronised car dance and tallest tower of cupcakes – with all of these (and many more) titles belonging to Dubai exclusively. Oddly enough the UAE also holds the record for "Highest rate of diabetes by country", and we're sure this is the one feat they're least proud of.
Dubai hosted the world's largest public breakfast, breaking 3 world records at once!
Smashing three world records at the same time, Dubai hosted the world's largest public breakfast in 2013, attended by 1,350 people (recorded by Guinness World Records as the largest number of people eating cereal in one place) and featuring a large spread of corn flakes bowls, so large in fact, it took a 300-metre table to seat all breakfast eaters and it broke a second record – the world's biggest breakfast table.
Sponsored by Kellogg's Corn Flakes, the event also saw the world's biggest cereal box at 2.84 metres long, 1.12 metres deep and four metres high! Now that's quite a breakfast gathering! So much cornflake was eaten at this one mega-sitting, that if you stacked it up against the weight of the world's largest penguin species, you'd have enough for roughly two Emperor Penguins (bear in mind they weigh anywhere from 22 to 45 kg each!).
Dubai's record highest temperature is only 3 degrees short of frying an egg!
This is one fun fact that more than one reader will want to put to the test (I know I want to!) but it's not as easily done as you might think, yet entirely possible, given the right conditions. Dubai's highest ever recorded temperatures stands at a soaring (and searing) 52.1 degrees Celsius, which puts it only three degrees below the minimum required temperature to fry an egg, with the optimal temperature for doing so being 70 degrees Celsius.
On a particularly hot day in Dubai, if you want to try out the experiment, it's better to do so on a metal surface, as it retains and conducts heat better than asphalt does. The hood of a car would work well as it would be preheated (although we don't recommend you do it on a stranger's car) as would a metal pan. Then cross your fingers...and be prepared to wait a while to see the magic happen!
Men account for 70% of Dubai's inhabitants – 30 times Greenland's population!
It's certainly a man's world in Dubai. Men make up the vast majority of Dubai's population, I'm guessing because many of the population in Dubai is immigrant workforce (the ones working hard at building all those skyscrapers and luxury hotels at any given time) in the construction industry and in other areas that call for hard physical labour, typically carried out by men.
With a total 1.7 million males living in Dubai, that's roughly the amount needed to make up Greenland's entire population 30 times over! Dubai is certainly a country of men, so watch out for all that testosterone flying about!
The Burj Khalifa took 22 million man hours to build
Oddly enough the previous fun fact leads us to the next in a funny way. While earlier we were talking about the large number of men needed to build Dubai's mega-buildings, now we're talking about the many hours they've put into the building of the world's tallest tower, the unmistakable Burj Khalifa.
It took 22 million man hours to build Burj Khalifa, which is the equivalent of watching Game of Thrones' full six seasons a total of 61,111 times, or 366,667 episodes, if only that many existed – we can only dream!
A mammoth weight of 13,800 tons of steel were used to build the Dubai Mall
Now that you know that the grand Dubai Mall is the world's largest (by total land area) you probably won't be that surprised to learn just how heavy the amount of steel in its structure is. Or maybe you will, after all it's not every day that you get to concoct the image of 1,975 elephants holding up a mega-sized building.
Yet, that's exactly what you'd have to imagine as the equivalent of the 13,800 tonnes of steel used to build the Dubai Mall – if only they had been elephant-shaped...and the walls see-through to better appreciate the steely skeleton – now that'd be quite something! We're talking about Dubai so maybe that'll be in the cards one day.
Burj Al Arab's interiors contain 1,790 sq. metres of 24-carat gold leaf
There's gold everywhere you look in Dubai, well not actually everywhere, but if you look closer you might find thin layers of gold leaf covering anything from columns to walls, marble staircases, lamps and chairs. But there is this one place that has the most quantity (and quality) of gold in its extravagant interiors and that's Dubai's only (self-proclaimed) seven-starred hotel, the landmark, dhow-shaped Burj Al Arab.
Covering some of its interior spaces, you'll find no less than 1,790 sprawling square metres of 24-carat gold leaf – that's about the same size as five iMAX cinema screens. Now that's some serious bling!
The Dubai World Cup horse race offers 30 million US dollars as prize money
Everyone knows the races are posh business, after all Ascot is famous for its attendance by the Queen and several other royalty members (as well as the privileged aristocracy and wealthy individuals from all walks of life), so a generous winning prize is to be expected.
Yet Dubai is more generous than most, by quite a while. Whereas Ascot offers slightly over £6.5 million for the winning jockey, the Dubai World Cup gifts the winner with a combined $30 million-dollar prize. If you think that's a lot just ask Leonardo Dicaprio, as that were his "mere" earnings for starring in The Wolf of Wall Street film. Just a pittance after all...
After sunset it is forbidden to play music any louder than a cat's meow!
After dusk, in Dubai you will not hear neighbours play blaring music any louder than 45 decibels, the equivalent of a cat's meow.
The rule comes in force after 8 p.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends, which means that if you want to have an early lie-in, neighbouring noise will not disturb you. If, on the other hand, you're worried about this rule being a party pooper during your holiday, you needn't fret as this rule only applies to residential areas and doesn't affect hotels and resorts or (quite obviously!) nightclubs.
Dubai is home to the busiest travel retailer in the world – Dubai Duty Free!
Having closed 2015 with a total revenue of £1.933 billion in sales, Dubai Duty Free is the world's busiest travel retailer. If you want to draw comparisons, that amounts to 52.24 per cent of Donald Trump's reported net worth.
However, if you were to believe Trump that would be reduced to 19.33 per cent. Whoever you believe, that's certainly not a figure to overlook and Dubai has certainly earned its reputation as a major world-class shopping destination.
Dubai's man-made Palm Island imported 94 million cubic metres of sand
If you thought making an artificial set of islands in the shape of a palm tree was an enormous feat that also proved an incredible challenge, that's because you haven't even considered the small (or, rather, not so small) details.
For the creation of this paradisiac man-made islands and the scenic landscaped beaches that dot their shoreline, Dubai imported a truly massive amount of sand - 94 million cubic metres of the golden powdery stuff. If such an amount proves hard to picture just imagine filling 587 million bathtubs with it - where in the world would we line them all?
The overall wealth of Dubai's 4 listed billionaires is estimated at $18.7 US billion
The estimated wealth of Dubai's top four billionaires is estimated to be around the $18.7 billion-dollar mark. If you wanted to spend it all on a junk-eating binge that would buy you over 3 billion Big Mac menus (yes, that's including drink and fries) or over 4 billion individual Big Macs - 4.6 billion of them to be precise!
That sort of junk binge-eating frenzy would make McDonalds very happy indeed, although we wonder how many venues would have to team up to fulfil such an overwhelmingly large order – yikes!
Dubai's Gold Souk contains an estimated 10 tons of gold at any given time!
We're back to Dubai's undying love for all things that glitter, more specifically their passionate love affair with the most precious of metals – gold. Most visitors to Dubai make time to pay a visit to their Gold Souk, a visually striking market selling an exquisite collection of gold jewellery – from bangles to rings and the most elaborate chains.
If you wonder exactly how much gold is contained in these shiny premises at any given time, the estimation is a whopping 10 tons! Yes, you read right, the amount of gold here is 2.5 times heavier than a full-grown hippopotamus.
Annual rainfall in Dubai measures up to less than 7 aspirin-sized drops
It's no secret to anyone that rain is scarce in the desert, so Dubai having little overall annual rainfall probably doesn't come as a shock to anyone. What perhaps may prove shocking to many is to realise that the emirate's annual rain count is so small, it adds up to less than seven aspirin-sized drops...yes, that's only six-and-half- aspirin capsules of water all year!
This means that on average it only rains five days a year in Dubai, with the period from December to March being the wettest...if you could call 3.5 inches of rain enough to get anyone or anything wet...it's barely a misty spray that probably vaporises in the air as soon as it falls! Probably less sprinkling than you'd find on a cupcake!
Dubai's total land area is five times that of New York City's!
New York City might triple Dubai in terms of population, (8.5 milling versus Dubai's 2.6 million people) yet, when it comes to land area, Dubai is crowned the absolute winner – five times over!
Even when you count Dubai's urban area only, it still triumphs over New York's, with a total 1,287.4 square kilometres extension versus NYC's 789 square kilometres. So, now you know, Dubai can not only be compared to the world's largest cities, it also beats one of the top ones.
Impressed? Download the full infographic here!
If these fun facts amused or impressed you in a way that makes you want to keep them forever, you certainly can, as our infographic illustrating 24 things you didn't know about Dubai is available on pdf format for you to download here. We're sure the list of peculiar things about Dubai is bound to keep growing over time, but for now this is as fresh as it gets when it comes to the most funnily, oddly amusing or purely entertaining facts there are about Dubai right now. If you know of any fun fact not featured in our list, feel welcome to keep them coming and tell us about it in our comments section below. Cheerio!