Outrageous Things You'll Only See In DUBAI
Let's check out some truly outrageously things you'll only see in Dubai!Society
Famed for its ultramodern skyscrapers, gigantic shopping malls, and flashy lifestyles, there’s no doubt that Dubai is an interesting place to live and visit. More importantly, it’s the perfect place to show off, and the city has found some truly outrageous ways to do just that. From 700-foot-high tennis courts to multimillion-dollar license plates, and diamonds from space, here are some of the most outrageous things you’ll only see in Dubai.
"On Top of The World" Emirates Ad
In just a few decades, Dubai has transformed itself from a desert fishing hamlet into one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world, and nothing illustrates the transformation better than the construction of the Burj Khalifa.
Standing at 2,716 feet and 6 inches, the Burj Khalifa has held the title of the world’s tallest building since 2009 and has become Dubai’s most popular tourist attraction. But it’s not just the building itself that’s been grabbing attention.
In 2021, UAE-based Emirates Airlines took things to the skies when they seemingly placed one of their very own air hostesses on top of the Burj Khalifa. While you might suspect that a shot like that would be impossible without visual effects, think again.
The high-rise daredevil is Nicole Smith Ludvik, who teamed up with Emirates Airlines for a special advertisement. After months of training, a rigorous safety briefing, and of course, a vigorous cabin crew-ready hair and make-up session, Nicole spent over an hour climbing to the pinnacle of the tower from the 160th floor.
Thankfully, she was safely secured the whole time. Not that that makes it a pleasant morning activity!
Despite the final ad only being 30 seconds long, Nicole had to spend 5 hours tethered to the top while a camera drone zoomed around to get the best shots. You might be thinking that there’s no way this kind of thing could possibly be in an Air Hostess’ employment contract and you’d be right.
Nicole is actually a professional stuntwoman and skydiver who played the role of air hostess for the day, albeit in the most unconventional way possible. While it took 39,000 tons of steel to build the Burj Khalifa, it’s clear that when it comes to nerve, Nicole’s levels of steel are truly infinite.
Walk down any street in Dubai and chances are, you’ll be greeted with sidewalks dotted with supercars in every color you can imagine. While it might look like all sunshine and rainbows, often, the futures of these cars are far from bright.
While it’s easy to be taken in by Dubai’s exterior of perfection, the truth is that abandoned, dust-clad supercars can be found all over the city. In fact, a whopping 3,000 pricey supercars are mysteriously abandoned in Dubai every year for seemingly no reason.
Are the hyper-wealthy citizens of Dubai just so rich that they can dump their costly cars when they get bored and want a new one? While maybe this is true in some cases, it’s often more a case of irresponsible spending habits! In Dubai, the process of buying a luxury car is more straightforward than you might think.
Several Dubaian banks offer car loans with interest rates as low as 0%, making it possible for just about anyone to get the car of their dreams. This is particularly attractive to those who have rapidly and recently accumulated wealth, who head to Dubai to spend without much foresight for the long-term future.
Unfortunately, many of these loaned-out supercar owners go too far with their spending and live to regret it, as missing loan payments in the UAE have seen some end up behind bars. To evade the law, many bankrupt expats opt to make a swift exit from the country, leaving their supercars, ranging from McLarens to the million-dollar Ferrari Enzo, to be found left in the dust.
When found, these abandoned autos are carted off to what’s become known as Dubai’s supercar graveyard, an enormous scrapyard that’s homed to row upon row of discarded super vehicles.
While the damaged cars among these often end up being harvested for parts or are even crushed completely, the lucky cars that are still intact when found are put up for auction and sold at a fraction of their original prices. While Dubai’s supercars certainly live life in the fast lane, one wrong financial turn from their owners and it’s a car crash waiting to happen.
Expensive Dubai License Plates
Seeing as some of Dubai’s gearheads are happy to just abandon luxury cars like it’s nothing, it looks like merely owning a regular supercar isn’t enough. So, a select few of Dubai’s most elite have found an even more outrageous way to stand out in traffic and you probably won’t believe it.
To most of us, a car license plate is simply a piece of metal stamped with an identification number, but in Dubai, they are a gateway to prestige. When it comes to most things in Dubai, excess is certainly king, but in the case of their license plate system, less is actually more.
Turns out, the fewer the printed characters, meaning the numbers or letters, the more valuable the license plate is. Rare low-character license plates are sold for insane prices at private auctions in Dubai. In 2016, one auction saw a record-setting bid for the Emirate when the coveted number 5 license plate was purchased by billionaire property developer Abu Sabah.
While the Rolls Royce Abu was planning on placing his new number 5 license plate on was worth a whopping $800,000 the single-digit plate costs not twice, not three times, but more than 10 times the cost of the whole car that’s $9 million.
Thankfully, the proceeds of the auctions such as the one in which Abu made his purchase are donated to charitable causes. That way, those like Abu can keep up their outrageous splashes of wealth without anyone questioning the morality of their spending habits, and if it’s all for a good cause, who’s to argue?
Dubai is home to and visited by some of the wealthiest people on the planet, so it’s no surprise that the city has graciously provided plenty of places for them to spend. There are already more than sixty-five shopping malls dotted across the emirate (with ‘emirate’ meaning a territory ruled by a monarch known as an Emir), but the most famous among all the shop spots is the Dubai Mall.
A colossal megacomplex that covers twelve million square feet the Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world by total area, and it's certainly made the most of its real estate. As well as traditional stores, the mall offers a startling variety of unique amenities, including the world’s largest virtual reality park, an Olympic-sized ice rink, as well as a haunted house.
But the mall’s greatest attraction of all is its gargantuan aquarium in the main atrium. Measuring 167 by 65 feet, the spectacle is the largest shopping mall aquarium on the planet, with the capacity to hold 2.6 million fluid gallons, as well as 33,000 aquatic creatures.
And if looking at all that fish isn’t enough, you can swim with them too. In between stops at Gucci and Prada, shoppers can take a dip into the shark-infested aquarium on a scuba diving extravaganza that’s sure to snap any millionaire into the reality of mortality.
The world has been dreaming of flying cars for more than 130 years, and current experts predict that there could be 430,000 flying taxis in our skies by 2040. But as always Dubai is taking matters into the fast lane, by treating helicopters as flying taxis. Forget Uber Lux, there is the Uber Chopper.
When in Dubai, you can scroll past the likes of Uber Comfort and Uber Black to book your very own helicopter that will meet you at one of the many helipads dotted all over the city. Costing $150 per person for a 12-minute flight, the Uber Chopper functions as a luxurious aerial tour bus that gives riders an incredible aerial tour of the Dubaian skyline.
While an app-booked helicopter tour is certainly wild, Dubai’s ambitions are even higher. The Emirate has set its sights on becoming the first city in the world to offer a fully-fledged flying taxi service, elevating the likes of the Uber Chopper to the next level.
In October 2022, in partnership with Chinese company XPeng, Dubai launched a test flight for the X2, an electric propeller elevated vehicle that genuinely resembles a futuristic flying car.
The driverless or pilotless vehicle offers a glimpse into an exciting and not-so-distant future, but there are plenty of challenges to face, including battery life, air traffic control as well as safety issues. Still, with plans like these being seriously explored, it looks like Dubai is gearing up to well and truly fly into the future.
Burj Al Arab Hotel
Situated on its very own purpose-built artificial island, Dubai’s world-famous Burj Al Arab Hotel is the pinnacle of luxury. While the sleek architecture and elaborate interior décor are more than enough to turn heads, it’s what’s outside that truly takes this hotel to the next level.
And that is the helipad atop the Burj Al Arab, but it’s not just helicopters that come to land here.
Ironically, it seems that the hotel’s helipad is rarely used as a helipad at all, and instead acts as the Burj Al Arab’s secret weapon in achieving sky-high clout. In 2005, the 689-foot high helipad was converted into a makeshift tennis court, for legendary players Andre Agassi and Roger Federer to play the world’s highest tennis match.
Later, in 2013, Aston Martin gave the entire city a show by airlifting one of their Vanquish cars onto the helipad in celebration of the car giant’s 100th birthday. Well, if you want to rub shoulders with high society, an elevated spot like this is the best place to be, right?
Emergency Supercars and Jetpacks
While Dubai certainly provides its citizens with the perfect tools to construct a life of luxury, even the emergency services are getting in on the action. Dubai’s police have a whole fleet of supercars, reporting for duty, including a Lamborghini Aventador, a McLaren 12C, and the most criminally expensive police car of all time, the $1.2 million Bugatti Veyron.
While the only way you’ll get to ride in one of these bad boys might be in handcuffs, Dubai’s officers are more than happy to pose with the public for some legally awesome vacation snaps. In fact, it’s rumored that the very reason the cops own these ridiculous vehicles is as attention-grabbing PR for Dubai as a whole, rather than for extra zoomies when chasing perps.
And while million-dollar cop cars are outrageous, the Dubai emergency fire response unit is living the high life literally. Dubai’s fire squad has jetpacks on their team! Known as a "Dolphin", the flying device is essentially a foot-mounted water jetpack with accompanying firehose which allows firefighters to tackle flames from Dubai’s waterways, away from Dubai’s notoriously slow-moving traffic.
And it’s not only waterside fires that are getting the higher hose down. As of 2023, Dubai has 237 skyscrapers, which can make it challenging for fire services to reach high-rise blazes quickly. To tackle this problem, the city has also invested in the development of air-based jetpacks that, when eventually available, will carry responders to altitudes of 3,000 feet.
City Of Gold
With all the glitz and glamour, as well as up to 40% of the world’s gold passing through the city each year, Dubai has solidified itself as the self-proclaimed City of Gold. Back in the early 1900s, global merchants were drawn in by the tax-free and trade-friendly nature of Dubai and set up shops in the waterside district of Deira.
Today, the Deira Gold Souk is a marketplace made up of a labyrinth of 380 stores all selling the finest gold Dubai has to offer, mainly in the form of spectacular jewelry. But the craziest of all is the largest gold ring ever made. Dubbed The Star of Taiba, the 21-carat ring weighs in at almost 141 pounds and is studded with 11 pounds of precious stones.
The one-of-a-kind bling was commissioned in 2000 by jewelry company Kanz Jewels, who invested $547,000 to have the showpiece made to encourage gold jewelry sales in their souk store. It took 55 craftsmen 45 days to finish the oversized ring, and thanks to the increase in gold prices, it’s now worth an astonishing $3 million.
While a multi-million dollar ring that’s too big for anyone’s finger, except maybe Shaq, is certainly outrageous, at least it’ll last forever, which is more than can be said for the next golden delight. The edible gold offering comes from Rhain Dubai, a restaurant that serves up a 24-carat gold leaf steak, which is presented to customers in an outlandish spectacle.
Featuring a chorus of staff in army uniforms as well as a smoke-filled briefcase, the steak, as well as the show, will eat a chunk out of diners’ wallets to the tune of 1,000 Dirhams. That’s $270 blown for gold that will be lost in your belly before you know it unless you’re willing to try to make your money back by selling what comes out the other end.
And to wash it down, how about a cocktail? The 27321 is an exclusive cocktail that you can only get at the Burj Al Arab Hotel’s Skyview Lounge. Described as a take on the Old Fashioned cocktail, the 27321 is made with a Macallan single malt scotch whisky, as well as dried fruit bitters produced exclusively for the hotel. With just two ingredients, the 27321 costs an astounding $7,438 that’s $400 per sip.
But what could possibly justify that kind of price? The whisky in question is one of just 420 bottles aged for 55 years and can fetch up to $155,000 per bottle. Not only that but the drink is also served in an 18-carat gold glass that the buyer is allowed to take home for bragging rights, how very generous!
And it’s not only your stomach you can fill with gold in Dubai, you can fill your wallet too. Take a look at the image below, which might look like a vending machine or ATM, you should know by now that nothing in Dubai is regular.
All over Dubai, there are ATMs like that one that spits out varying carats and weights of gold. Real-time gold prices are automatically updated every 60 seconds, starting from $160 for a mere 2.5 grams of 24-carat gold all the way up to 10 grams for $630. Whoever said that all that glitters is not gold has clearly never been to Dubai.
In January 2022, Dubai unveiled a unique black diamond named The Enigma, a rare gem that experts believe to have come from outer space. Black diamonds like this are a type of carbonado, which is one of the toughest forms of natural diamond.
While there are many theories as to the precise origin of the Enigma diamond, many scientists believe that it was formed through an extra-terrestrial source. Specifically, a popular theory is that this diamond is the result of an explosion of a star, a supernova that occurred billion years ago.
Supporters of this theory propose that the collateral elements from the supernova merged together while traveling through outer space for around one and a half billion years, and the remnants crashed onto Earth as part of a meteoric impact.
Boasting a glittering 555.55 carats, the Enigma lives up to its name and holds the world record as the largest cut diamond in the world. While it was first shown to the public in Dubai to tempt prospective buyers into purchasing, in the end, the space diamond ended up being sold in a London auction for a stellar $4.3 million in cryptocurrency.
The buyer in question was Richard Heart, founder of the US cryptocurrency company Hex. And the crypto he used to bewitch his way to the diamond is Hex coins. So, while the diamond definitely has an essence of Dubai about it, it’s a little more international than most of the stuff we’ve discussed so far.
The Moon World Resort
Despite being home to almost 68,000 millionaires, even Dubai’s richest are currently still unable to take a vacation to the most elite spot the moon. While a ticket to the moon has been reported to cost up to $750 million, no commercial trips there have actually been carried out as of 2023.
So, instead, Dubai is set to be the first place on Earth that will offer an authentic experience of space tourism from the ground. The Moon World Resort is a proposed hyper-realistic carbon fiber replica of the moon that doubles as a hotel. If built, the building will come with all the usual facilities seen in luxury resorts, including a spa and restaurant but with a lunar twist.
There are plans for a nightclub that looks like a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and hallways that could easily be confused with the Death Star. These hallways will lead guests to a colony of 4,000 astronomically lavish hotel suites, as well as 300 private residences, encased inside the 735-foot tall lunar orb.
To uphold the galactic atmosphere, none of the suites will include regular windows. Instead, each room is envisioned to have electronic LED screen windows that guests can set to display any scenery imaginable.
The hotel’s main attraction will be its lunar surface simulation, which will allow guests to experience the sensations of space exploration for real. Access to the resort’s lunar surface is expected to cost guests $500 for 90 minutes to explore a 10-acre space using a moon buggy replica, which is quite the bargain compared to a real lunar ticket.
Visitor experiences aside, the founders of the Moon World Resort even hope to eventually establish the hotel as an authentic training location for various space agencies. Not only that, but if the hotel is a success in Dubai, there could be even more Moon World Resorts opening in Europe, North America, and Asia.
The construction of the outrageous lunar hotel is predicted to cost an astronomical $5 billion to build and if the project is approved, the Moon World Resort is set to blast its doors open as soon as 2027.
Right now, only 12 people have ever set foot on the moon, and by contrast, as outrageous as it seems, Dubai’s Moon World Resort could soon be playing host to up to 10 million lunar experience visitors per year. While Dubai is already an outrageous place, the possible addition of a literal mini replica of the Moon is truly out of this world.
It’s easy to see why Dubai is frequently dubbed the city of the future, aside from a few cultural things, it’s not much of a surprise that the city is well and truly in the race towards the robot revolution. While that robot race is a figurative one, there are actually very real robot races taking place in Dubai itself.
Instead of the horses and human jockeys that you see in many animal races around the world, in Dubai, they often race camels with miniature robot jockeys.
Camel races are an ancient Middle Eastern tradition that dates back to the seventh century, but ancient Arabs could’ve hardly predicted the use of these mechanical riders. While it may look a little silly on the surface, the robots actually serve as an alternative to the employment of child jockeys in the past, a practice outlawed in Dubai in 2002.
Thanks to the efforts of a Swiss robotics company known as K Team, by 2003, robot jockeys were being offered as an alternative solution to keep the sport going. Each robot is outfitted with a remote-controlled riding crop as well as a radio, which allows owners to deliver commands to the camels while driving alongside them in fleets of SUVs.
Dubai is also home to the six-mile-long Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack, the largest of its kind where highly competitive multi-million dollar championship races take place annually. While you might argue that some traditions live forever, in Dubai, this one lives on thanks to ultramodern technology taking the driving seat literally.
If we’ve learned one thing by now, it’s that strange and outrageous things are constantly rolling through Dubai as regularly as buses, but have you stopped to wonder what the city’s actual buses are like?
While most cities ferry their regular citizens around in cramped, old public transport vehicles, Dubai has plans to make sure that everyone feels like the ultimate VIP with the whacky six-wheel invention, the Superbus!
While a regular bus can typically max out at around sixty to eighty miles per hour, the fifty-foot superbus is geared up to carry passengers at top speeds of 160 miles per hour.
With 23 seats and 16 doors, the superbus was proposed as a superfast commuters’ vehicle to operate between Dubai and Abu Dhabi via its own ‘super lanes’ that were to be built alongside the E11 Road that connects the two cities.
Despite touting a team including Formula 1 engineers, as well as being backed by the likes of Richard Branson, the Superbus project seems to have stalled since its creator, a Dutch astronaut named Wubbo Ockels, passed away in 2014. While we’re still waiting at the bus stop for this ride to pull up, the hope for the superbus idea to become a reality is still speeding around our minds.
While Dubai has endless luxuries on offer on land, it turns out it does on water too. If you’re one of those yacht owners who find docking for groceries just the biggest drag, Dubai’s got you covered. Dubai is currently seeing a growing number of millionaire residences and the city’s waters are becoming increasingly crowded by yacht owners and seafarers with money to spend.
So, in 2018, Dubai debuted a floating grocery store. Over three hundred grocery items can be collected from the vessel’s ‘sail-thru’ window; but items can be delivered by boat to an exact location on the waves as well, kind of like a water-based Postmates.
While it might look more like a waterborne ice cream truck now, given some time, it isn’t outrageous to imagine this humble grocery vessel expanding into a sprawling aquatic megamarket, if you will.
While the idea of a fully-fledged floating mega mart may seem outrageous, it’s not even the craziest idea Dubai has for its waterways. There are already underwater hotel rooms in Dubai, like the one at the Atlantis Resort on the Palm.
But there's one place that will blow all of that out of the water. It's none other than the Water Discus, a concept hotel that looks more like a spaceship than a holiday resort. But the only place it’s going to take guests is directly under the sea.
Designed by Polish tech firm Deep Ocean Technology, the partially submerged structure includes two main disk structures, one above the surface and one 30 feet below. The underwater disc is planned to have 21 rooms all including large windows with a view of the underwater world of the Persian Gulf.
Experts predict that underwater hotels are set to witness massive growth by 2029, so we could be seeing the Water Discus Hotel splashing onto the Dubai scene sooner than you’d think. Bringing a whole new meaning to sleeping with the fishes, let’s hope the Water Discus Hotel is more than just a pipe dream.
If you were amazed at the things you'll only see in Dubai, you might want to read our article about Dubai's underwater train and crazy developments! Thanks for reading!