Dubai city and emirate, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The emirate of Dubai is one of 7 emirates that make up the country called the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai is also the name of a city in the emirate of Dubai, well-known around the world for landmarks such as the Burj Al Arab hotel, the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world); sporting events such as the Dubai Tennis Championships. And infamous for less appealing issues such as jail sentences for kissing in Dubai, and companies such as Dubai World swimming in debt after over-enthusiastic purchases of expensive assets around the world in the mid- to late-2000s.
Dubai city ratings
*Information moved to Dubai city ranking page.
Activities, entertainment and events in Dubai
Art and culture in Dubai
- Al Fahidi Fort
- Art galleries in Dubai - list of art galleries, locations, and brief description
- Bastakiya Quarter, Bur Dubai - good selection of art galleries an a restored historical area. Also a couple of cafes and boutique hotels.
- Heritage Diving Village, Al Shindagah
- Museums in Dubai - the Dubai Museum especially is worth a visit
- Round House, Jumeira 1
- Sheikh Obaid bin Thani House, Shindaga
- Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, Shindagha
Business in Dubai
Crime in Dubai
Personal safety in Dubai
- Compared to most large cities, Dubai is a relatively safe place with regards to crimes of a personal nature (theft, pickpocketing, mugging, rape, assault, murder, etc).
- A particularly nasty incident was reported in August 2010. Three brothers allegedly attacked a pregnant woman and her husband in a shopping mall in June 2009 over a disagreement about a seating arrangement. The woman received treatment in a hospital for a dislocated jaw and ended up with permanent facial injuries, and her husband was beaten unconscious. Another man who attempted to intervene was also threatened and beaten. Two of the three accused did not appear at a court hearing in August 2010, and the one who did, denied the charges. The next hearing is on 14 October 2010. This abhorrent and traumatic incident stands out not just because of the vicious nature of the attack, but also because it is so unusual. Residents and visitors to Dubai shopping malls are not usually physically assaulted by someone if they don't like where they are sitting. Update 31 January 2012 - the three brothers were each sentenced to a month in jail and fined AED 12,000 between them by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. To give some idea of perspective in terms of what crimes the UAE considers to be more serious than others, a day or so earlier the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced a 15 year old boy to up to 3 years in juvenile detention for sexual assault as punishment for allegedly kissing two 12 year old sisters (the father of the sisters made the complaint); and the two girls were charged with the same offence but the verdict was to deliver them to their parents for disciplining. So in the UAE, the conclusion one might come to is that it is much cheaper (in jail time terms) to beat someone up rather than kissing them.
- Pickpocket theft in Dubai is becoming a problem in 2010 apparently, with men (or perhaps women occasionally) dressed in abayas (the long black garmet that is traditionally worn by UAE and Gulf national women) with their faces covered, sticking their hands into victims' pockets and handbags to steal their wallets and other belongings. This happens mostly in shopping centers and other crowded locations. Emirates 24-7 reported on 17 December 2010 about the increasing number of thefts, and that due to the sensitivity in the UAE about male security guards and police searching apparently female suspects, it is difficult for victims to report a crime successfully. This story is not entirely new. Several years previously there were reports of similar crimes in Dubai. Be careful rather than be afraid would be an appropriate comment. Dubai is a long way from Amsterdam on the pickpocket threat scale, at least for now. And hopefully the authorities will overcome their timidness at dealing with men disguised as Emirati women before the problem escalates. Advice to visitors (and residents) is to be alert if someone dressed in an abaya is standing or walking very close to you, especially if you are male. Genuine Emirati (and Gulf) Arab women will almost always keep a significant distance from men who they are not related to or married to.
Theft in Dubai
- Property theft from cars, apartments, villas, is uncommon but does exist, especially villas during the summer when many residents leave for several weeks.
- Car theft is relatively uncommon. When it does happen, it is usually because owners leaver the car unattended with the motor running while they go and do an errand.
Road rules in Dubai
- Road rules in Dubai sometimes seem inconsistent or odd, and inconsistently enforced, to say the least.
- Traffic offences receive punishments that seem disproportionate to the potential danger level of the offence.
- For example, a police sergeant doing some two-wheel driving and other stunts in a large 4wd on a major Dubai highway (Sheikh Zayed Road) received a fine of AED 1000 in July 2010.
- In the same month in Dubai, a different motorist who made a rude hand gesture at another driver received a one month jail sentence.
- So the message seems to be that you can drive with no respect for other road users, but at least be polite about it. Wait ... that doesn't make sense ...
Financial crime and fraud in Dubai
- Financial crime, extortion, fraud, money laundering, etc exists and there are various ways people can be, and are, scammed or conned out of money.
- For example bogus or abandoned property ventures, fraudulent job advertisements, con artists performing magic tricks to double your money or similar activities. Be alert.
- Cheque fraud and bad debts - many residents discovered in 2007-2009 that bouncing a check in Dubai could cost them some jail time.
- The recipient of a bounced check is entitled to report the signer of the check (including company executives with signing authority) to the police, who can then arrest the signer.
- The amount is irrelevent in terms of the crime of check fraud, however the jail term might be longer if the amount was larger.
Drugs in Dubai
- Drugs in Dubai are a problem but not as significant as in many other countries. Gang warfare and drug cartels don't really have much of a foothold in Dubai, at least not as far as the general public is concerned.
- The biggest issue for most residents and visitors will be the possibility of spending a few years in jail if caught with substances illegal in the UAE but not in their home country (some over-the-counter pain killers such as codeine for example), or failing a drug test in the UAE after partaking of something in another country (smoking a joint at an Amsterdam coffee shop for example).
Sex crimes and kidnapping in Dubai
- Sex crimes in Dubai and kidnapping - Dubai and the UAE authorities are attempting to deal with the sex trade. Women are lured to the UAE under false pretences (for example for seemingly respectable jobs), locked away and forced to serve as prostitutes.
- The kidnapping of, or at least the deception of, women for this trade usually occurs in other countries rather than in the UAE itself, although it has happened in the UAE also. The point being that generally women in the UAE do not have to fear being abducted under normal everyday circumstances.
- For children the UAE is probably safer than most western countries in terms of them being kidnapped, molested, and/or abused. But unfortunate incidents do occasionally happen so as a parent, don't be entirely complacent.
- Prostitution is illegal but exists. Many bars and nightclubs in Dubai will have a few ladies that are ready to be your new friend for a price, and it is not uncommon for men to be propositioned on the street in some areas. Or for women to be asked at what price they are available. For women, this type of question, whilst offensive, is not usually threatening - the enquirer can normally be dismissed or ignored.
- Kidnapping for financial gain is rare. If or when it does happen, it seems to be more likely to do with arguments over debts. For example, in July 2010, three Bangladeshi labourers appeared in court on a charge of kidnapping as a result of them bundling one of their colleagues into a car and allegedly holding him to ransom. The colleague had apparently borrowed AED 500 and not paid it back. The gang were arrested after Dubai Police tracked down mobile phone numbers from the licence plate (which had been spotted by a security guard) and asked them to visit the police station, which they did, with the victim in the car (reported in 7 Days 12 July 2010).
- There are occasional reports of both men and women being taken off the street against their will, and abused and raped. Sometimes these stories make it to the press, sometimes they don't, sometimes there's a question mark about what really happened. It's something to be aware of rather than frightened of, the reality is that Dubai is probably far safer for most people than how it sounds listening to horror stories that all the old-timers tell the newbies. All the same, keep your wits about you, and if you're standing drunk outside a bar at 3 am, it's probably wiser to take a taxi than to accept a lift home from those 4 hungry looking guys in the big 4wd that just pulled up.
- What women should be aware of is that although rape is a crime in the UAE, so is having sex outside marriage. And it seems to be a bit of a lottery as to whether police and the courts will treat the rape or the sex as a more serious crime. Reporting a rape can be seen as an admission of having had sex, and so the police officers listening to the victim might lock up the complainant instead of treating her as a victim of a crime. This situation results in women being apprehensive about reporting a rape. If you are a victim of rape, you could consider going to a hospital first to at least be sure of getting a medical exam before being locked up. And get a good lawyer as soon as possible. Bizarrely, there was even a case in 2009 where the rapist was punished for rape, and the woman was punished for having sex. This paragraph is not intended to put women (or men - yes it has happened) off from reporting a rape. Rapists are punished by the courts, and the UAE is aware of the anomaly, but sadly, change for the better sometimes takes a while. Emirates other than Dubai seem to be more likely to treat the offence of having sex outside marriage as being more serious than the rape offence, especially Sharjah. One rumour is that it is easier to prosecute, given that the potential offender has by default admitted to the crime by reporting the rape.
Crime rumours and facts in Dubai
Economy in Dubai
- 2012 growth forecast 6% - Farouk Soussa, Middle East economist for Citigroup Inc. (Bloomberg 30 March 2011). Forecast of 6% - Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (The National 12 September 2011).
- 2011 growth forecast 4% - Standard Chartered PLC (December 2010). Forecast of 3.5-4% - Farouk Soussa, Middle East economist for Citigroup Inc. (Bloomberg 30 March 2011). Forecast of 5% - Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (The National 12 September 2011). Forecast of 3.7% according to a Reuters poll of analysts (June 2011).
- 2010 IMF economic growth forecast -0.4% (contraction). Updated in October 2010 to growth of about 0.5%. UAE Statistics Bureau said Real GDP up 2.2% (21 March 2011)? Update 26 Sep 2011 (Reuters): Real GDP for Dubai rose from AED 286 billion in 2009 to AED 294 billion (US$80 billion) in 2010, an increase of 2.8%, according to data from the Dubai Statistics Center.
- 2009 economy suffered a 2.5% contraction according to Bloomberg 16 September 2010 reporting government estimates. IMF estimated contraction of 1.3% (October 2010 report).
- Total debt belonging to state owned companies in Dubai is estimated at about $109 billion by the International Monetary Fund (as of mid 2010).
Education and educational institutes in Dubai
Geography of Dubai
History of Dubai
- 1971 - The United Arab Emirates was formed with Dubai as one of the first 6 emirates (Ras Al Khaimah joined in 1972).
- History of Dubai - also a list of some historical buildings in Dubai
Important and famous people in Dubai
- Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum - the Ruler of Dubai, the Vice-President of the UAE, and the Prime Minister of the UAE
Infrastructure in Dubai
Dubai growth 2008-2020 (EB 18 January 2008)
- Dubai road network to increase by 500 km from 2008-2012, costing AED 44 billion
- Number of registered vehicles increasing from 700,000 to 5.3 million
- Dubai population to increase from 1.5 million to 5 million or more from 2008-2020
- Dubai urban area increase from 500 sq km to 2,200 sq km (2008-2020)
- Dubai Creek crossings number 40 lanes in 2008, up to 49 by 2010, and 100 by 2020
- Highway interchanges increased by 95, with another 25 to be revamped by 2020
- Nine new inner and outer ring roads around Jebel Ali Port, Dubailand, Business Bay, Bur Dubai and Deira
Dubai road projects 2008-2020
- Shindagha Bridge and another bridge near the Deira Sheraton will form and internal ring road around Deira. Scheduled completion in 2009 with a total of 24 lanes.
- Dubai Outer Bypass in 3 phases, completion of all phases scheduled for 2009. Cost AED 960 million, length 72 km.
- Garhoud Bridge - new 13 lane bridge to replace current Al Garhood Bridge which will be demolished. Started February 2006, completion March 2008, cost AED 415 million
- Al Ittihad Road (Dubai-Sharjah Highway) - expansion to 8 lanes on 7.5 km stretch between Al Nahda Interchange near Sharjah and Al Garhoud Bridge. Cost AED 830 million, completion by end 2008.
- Arabian Ranches Interchange - 13 bridges on 3 levels, construction started June 2006 with completion by end of 2008. Cost AED 409 million.
- Double-decker road (first one in Dubai) - Doha Street with 3 lanes in Jumeirah direction, 5 lanes towards Al Khail Road. Completion by August 2008, cost AED 605 million. Part of the Ras Al Khor corridor project, cost AED 1.86 billion.
- Emirates Road expansion from 3 to 6 lanes in each direction. Completion by middle of 2008, cost AED 333 millioni.
- Al Khail Road expansion to 6 lanes in each direction.
Landmarks in Dubai
Living in Dubai
Politics and government in Dubai
Population and demographics in Dubai
Religion in Dubai
Shopping in Dubai
Tourism in Dubai
Transport in Dubai
Transport in Dubai - main page.
- Private cars in Dubai - what many people use to get around, if they can afford one. Petrol is cheap, car prices in Dubai are moderate (avoid the really cheap ones), repairs are cheap and then expensive to fix the cheap repair, taxes are cheap, traffic fines are moderate to expensive but sometimes a bit random.
- Dubai Metro - above and below ground mass transit railway started in September 2009. Cheap, fast, clean, quiet, and efficient if there's a station near where you want to go. Expansion plans include more lines and stations but will take longer to be operational than originally planned. Summer heat makes walking more than a few meters to a station unpleasant.
- Dubai buses - many routes cover most of Dubai but can be slow due to bus timings and timetables rarely synchronised. Feeder buses to the Dubai Metro are a bit more on time. Cheap, clean, good a/c on the RTA buses.
- Dubai taxis - RTA operate taxi franchises in Dubai. Relatively cheap compared to other large cities in western countries. A surrogate public transport system to make up for the lack of other cheap alternatives (although that is improving). Convenient - it's usually easy to flag down a taxi at any time of the day or not on a main road, smelly in the summer if you get a driver who doesn't know what a shower is but complain to the RTA. Cheaper options with illegal private taxis are common - check newspaper classified ads if you're looking for a regular service.
Travel - Getting to and from Dubai
- Dubai International Airport (airport code DXB) - most visitors and residents fly into and out of Dubai. Some use Abu Dhabi Airport (airport code AUH). Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai's second airport, opened for passenger flights in October 2013.
- Oman is easily accessible by road and most nationalities can get a visa easily. Other Gulf contries (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait) are accessible by road but visa requirements and border crossings, especially to Saudi Arabia, make this an unattractive option for non-GCC nationals.
- By sea is an option but rarely used except by people in the freight industry and/or people travelling across the Arabian Gulf/Perisan Gulf to Iran. An increasing number of tourists are visiting Dubai as part of a cruise around the Gulf countries and the new Dubai Cruise Terminal was opened in 2010.
- Dubai visas on arrival are available for some nationalities and GCC residents, Dubai visit visas or Dubai tourist visas are available for most other nationalities, and GCC nationals don't need a visa.
Weather and climate in Dubai
- Spring - hot
- Summer - welcome to the sauna, very hot and humid.
- Autumn - hot
- Winter - pleasant during the day but can be surprisingly cool at night.
Last update Monday 09-Jun-2014. Page development 4L 5C.