10 Interesting Facts about Dubai

Dubai is a key destination for most Filipinos looking for workabroad. Filipinos probably heard stories from their family or friends already working there, about the best place to find Pinoy food and where to shop for the best-priced Bench clothes, all very introspective. While you can find tons of weird facts about Dubai from hearsay and the World Wide Web, here are 10 general facts about Dubai that may surprise or astound you, before heading off to your possible new home.

1. Currency and 0% Income Tax Myth

The currency they use in Dubai, and all of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the Dirham (Dhs or AED). The notes in circulation are Dhs/AED 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000. The rough floating exchange rate between the Dirham and Philippine Peso is 1 Dhs to 12.85 Php. Money Changers and ATMs can be found almost everywhere around the main cities; however, for easy transaction, one can exchange money at banks, hotels and at the airport. A big reason Dubai is a destination for workabroad is the myth that there is 0% Income Tax. This is true; however, OFWs will face the tax from their home country, the Philippines, and the Philippines definitely charges income tax.

2. Gold, Gold, Gold

Gold is everywhere in Dubai that ATMs dispense gold bars, seriously. Gold To Go can be found in the Dubai Mall. 1790 sqmts of 24-carat gold leaf covers the interior of the tallest building in Dubai, Burj Al Arab. Gold is so commonplace that gold bars are traded in public markets. 40% of all gold traded in the world in 2013 happened in Dubai, weighing about 354 elephants.

3. Dubai is virtually crime-free

The city of Dubai is ruled under the strict Muslim law by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. As foreigners primarily inhabit the city, they know that one can be imprisoned or deported for various slight criminal acts. Dubai virtually has a 0% crime rate, making Dubai one of the safest cities to live in. As a result, Dubai takes pride in their police force, showing off to visitors and foreigners. The Dubai police fleet includes Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentley and one Ashton Martin, prices at almost $2 Million.

4. Dubai is seriously HOT

Dubai can become so hot, that almost everything has to be cooled. Dubai is located right in the middle of a desert that sand storms is a common problem and temperature rise well above 120 degrees. What saves the residents is the city’s excessive air-conditioning in every building and household. For every construction, engineers have installed vertical cooling systems that pump water upwards to cool down buildings, which uses millions of liters annually.

5. Dubai is covered in cranes

1 out of 5 cranes operating in the world is found in Dubai. Dubai is growing at such an astronomic pace that the world’s economists fear that a financial crisis is impending. Rapid growth is seen when Dubai’s 42-station metro system was completed in a shocking 18 months back in 2009. Aside from this, when Disney rejected Dubai’s offer to host Disneyland, the city decided to build Dubailand, twice the size of Disney World, expected to drive in 200,000 visitors daily.

6. One of the most popular sports is Camel Racing

Horse racing may be the sport of kings; the sport of the rich and glamorous in Dubai is Camel Racing. Camel racing is so popular in Dubai that the same frenzy surrounding football in the US, surrounds camel racing. Camel racing is a sport that is often surrounded by controversy. Because of problems with illegal child trafficking for camel racing jockeys, child-sized robots are being built to be the jockeys for camel racing. One of them can cost anywhere from $300 to $10,000.

7. Dubai is building a Climate-Controlled City

Dubai is planning to build a climate-controlled city, which will be the home to the “Mall of the World.” Already an example of extravagance with the biggest mall in the world, the Dubai Mall, Dubai will further impress the rest of the world by building a climate-controlled city, which is 2.25 times the size of Monaco. This temperature-controlled establishment will also house an indoor theme park, hotels, health resorts and theatres.

Tourism, a key economic driver, is already at a high during the winter months. Dubai plans on extending the tourism high year-round with temperature-controlled “establishments” for the summer months.

8. There are barely any locals living in Dubai

Only 15% of the population is really from UAE or Emiratis. The rest of the population is split between India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, European Countries and OFWs. The total Philippine population is around 450,000 residents or 21.3% of the total population. While the Emirati population is meager, the class divides remain huge with immigrant workers living and working in “filthy locations and conditions,” while remaining Emiratis have rent, education and medical needs paid for. Things are looking up with multiple human rights organizations fighting for the fair treatments of blue-collar workers in Dubai.

9. Dubai has no address system

Dubai has no standard address system, no zip codes, no area codes and no postal system. Online Shopping will be a nightmare.  On mailing labels, instead of an address line, there’s a blank space where residents draw out a map or configure specific instructions to their home. If a guest is heading to Dubai from the airport, it’s advisable to print out a map with directions from the airport, unless he’s heading to one of the many luxury hotels, of course.

10. Oil only makes up 6% of Dubai Business Activity

Dubai produces 60,000 barrels of oil a day, enough to fill 4.5 Olympic swimming pools. The amount remains miniscule compared to the 1990s when Dubai’s oil business was at its prime, producing more than 400,000 barrels a day. Nowadays, local economy is mainly circled towards real estate and tourism, the main business Dubai is growing and growing.

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