11 Things You Didn't Know About Dubai

11 Things You Didn't Know About Dubai

Last week, Dubai went wild when it was chosen to host Expo 2020, the upcoming world's fair.

Already a city of luxury, Dubai will spend an estimated $6.8 billion prepping for the six-month event. Rulers say the city's spruced-up Trade Center and surrounding sites will "astonish the world."

A few things you may not know about our opulent new host town:

  1. There are no street addresses in Dubai. People get mail delivered to office PO boxes, and if they want something taken to a house, they might draw maps on the envelope or write out directions.

  • About 85% of Dubai’s residents are foreigners.
  • Since 2008, there’s been a series of theme parks in the works at DUBAILAND, the city's already-gigantic "entertainment complex." When completed (reportedly in 2015), DUBAILAND will include such zones as “Attractions and Experience World," “Themed Leisure and Vacation World," and "Sports and Outdoor World." It will encompass 107 square miles.

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  • Part of DUBAILAND? A $1 billion replica of the Taj Mahal -- filled with hotels and shops instead of a tomb -- which developers hope will become a “major wedding destination.”
  • Dubaians (as some might call them) celebrate National Day on December 2, the day the United Arab Emirates broke from the U.K. in 1971.
  • It’s never not hot in Dubai. The average summer temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and in January the average high is 75. This is probably because the city is near some massive desert dunes.

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  • There's no federal income tax for individuals in Dubai.
  • If you kiss in public, you're subject to arrest: in 2010, a visiting British couple spent a month in jail after a two-year-old saw them smooching in a restaurant.
  • Dubai has an indoor ski resort... but you probably already knew that. Lesser discussed is the Madinat Jumeirah, a massive "resort" compound with two hotels, 29 summer homes, 40 restaurants and taxi boats to shuttle visitors through its manmade thoroughfare of natural sea water.

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  • At the Burj Al Arab -- the $2,000 per night hotel on a man-made island in the Persian Gulf -- private butlers are on call 24/7 for each guest.
  • Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport is the largest airport terminal in the world, and the second-largest building in the world in terms of floor space. It has a full-service hotel, an Apple store, and two zen gardens. ...all the more reason to fly in for the World Expo!
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