The largest city in the UAE, Dubai is known for its lavish hotels, ultra-modern architecture and designer shopping. But there’s more to this Arab city than you might have initially realised. From its unusual laws to its male-to-female ratio, here are five fascinating facts about this plush desert destination that you might not have otherwise known.
1. We’ve all heard the strict laws about public displays of affection (avoid them), but there are also restrictions on what goes on behind closed doors too – specifically hotel rooms. As in Dubai, it’s actually illegal to share one with the opposite sex if you’re not married (unless you’re closely related). However, if you’re there on a romantic retreat with a new flame, you should be fine, just get used to be called ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ by the hotel staff.
2. Although Arabic is the city’s official language; don’t worry if you’re not up to speed on it as English is widely spoken here. And with just under 89 per cent of the country consisting of ex-pats and an estimated 10,000 foreigners moving to Dubai each month, it’s easy to see why.
3. In 2010, the city introduced cash points that spit out none other than bars of gold! In exchange for your money, the machine will dispense the precious metal in a range of different sizes from 1-10 grams or in the form of small coins too. These bling-filled ATMs take Dubai’s flashy image to a whole new level.
4. If you’re a single lady, the odds are in your favour as the city is mostly made up of men. So much so, that there’s a 3:1 ratio of males to females. In fact, single men outnumber their female counterparts by a hefty 7:1.
5. Despite being a year-round, warm destination, you can still ski in this cosmopolitan city as it’s home to the world’s largest indoor snow park. Based in The Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai not only features 22,500 square metres of slopes to traverse, but it also comes with 6,000 tonnes of manmade snow.
Morven McCulloch is a London-based writer who often goes to Dubai. She always checks the deals from Purple Travel before booking.