Dubai went from a fishing village to the ultimate desert metropolis, the meeting place for the rich, beautiful and famous. With a population of around 3 million and an area of more than 4,100 km², Dubai is by far the largest city in the United Arab Emirates.
The main person responsible for the rapid and modern development is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and at the same time the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates.
With more than 90% of the population being expats/foreigners Dubai is more diverse than Abu Dhabi, which is also reflected in everyday life. Both on the streets and in the numerous malls, you will feel like you are in the US rather than on the Arabian Peninsula. A local emiraty in traditional clothing is actually rarer to see than many would expect.
Due to the high proportion of foreigners, there are no language barriers. The official language is Arabic, of course, but English is probably more prevalant than arabic and is spoken everywhere. By law, all contracts must be drawn up in two languages (Arabic/English), otherwise they are not valid.
In addition to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel is also the tallest hotel building in the world. You can admire the largest gold ring in the world weighing over 63kg (!) at the Deira Gold Souk. The Dubai Mall, the largest shopping center in the world has an area of around 1 million square meters, is recommended for shopping.
Still not enough? How about a trip to the Dubai Metro, the world's longest automated, free metro network. Or marvel at the Dubai Fountains, the largest and most coordinated fountain system on earth.
The list goes on! Right next to the Dubai Fountains and the Burj Khalifa you will find the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping center in the world. Visitors will find the Dubai Mall Aquarium here, which is also the largest in the world with almost 250 tons of water.Overall, Dubai has more than 100 (!) entries in the Guinness Book of Records.
Just like Abu Dhabi, Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world. Out of 319 cities, Dubai ranked into an excellent 8th place, just behind Munich and ahead of cities like Zurich, Basel, Vienna and Stuttgart.
In addition to the video surveillance, the reason for the high level of security is the relatively high penalties even for minor offences. However, relatively high penalties only mean that offenses that are unfortunately not punished at all or only very lightly in Europe are punished with higher penalties in Dubai.
The rumor that the hands are chopped off when someone steals is really just a rumor and has absolutely nothing to do with reality. A very effective punishment and deterrent here is deportation, i.e. depending on the offense a person can very quickly have to leave the country.
As already mentioned, Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world. And that is especially true for women.
But first of all we want to clear up the prejudices and rumors here: YES, as a woman you can drive a car! NO, women don't have to veil themselves! As a woman, you don't have to fear any disadvantages here, quite the opposite! (Woman are very impowered here)
An example to illustrate: In Germany and the rest of Europe it is almost a normal part of the day for men to whistle at women they do not know, make inappropriate comments or even take unauthorized photographs, and nothing or very little happens.
In Dubai and the rest of the UAE, even this disrespectful behavior towards women is punishable with a fine of 10,000 AED (around 2,500 euros), possibly also with a prison sentence of up to 1 year.
The authorities' official statement on the matter is clear that all women have the right to feel safe, secure and protected here in the UAE. Such crimes of harassment are alien to the culture and traditions of the UAE and have no place here.Conclusion: Also or especially as a woman you can feel absolutely safe here!
From time to time, the strangest stories appear on this topic, sometimes in connection with draconian punishments. Again, these stories largely have nothing to do with reality.
Alcohol is available in Dubai in all hotels that have an alcohol license, as well as in the restaurants and bars affiliated with these hotels. Non-Muslims can easily buy alcohol in so-called liquor stores.The consumption of alcohol in public (if not in an area where it is permitted) is not permitted and the zero alcohol limit also applies when driving.
It certainly never gets boring in Dubai, here everything is always up to date. Attractions such as the Burj Kahlifa, the Dubai Fountains or the many shopping centers are just the beginning. Night owls are also well catered for with countless night clubs and lounges.
There are also numerous opportunities for families to spend their free time. Family beaches, open beaches, cinemas, amusement parks, huge playgrounds and much more.
In terms of the cost of living in Dubai, the desert metropolis currently ranks 115th out of 392 cities, with 1st place being the most expensive city and last place being the cheapest. For comparison, Munich is in 80th place and Hamburg in 88th place. This means that both cities are more expensive than Dubai overall.
Just like the rest of the UAE, living in Dubai is 100% tax-free, meaning there are no income taxes, payroll taxes and/or corporate taxes here. The only exception is currently the 5% value added tax (VAT). However, a corporate tax rate of 9% has been announced for June 2023.
Excluded from this are freezone companies. It should also be noted here that there is an allowance of around 90,000 euros (profit) per year. In the case of privately run companies, the profit can of course be minimized quite easily by means of adjusting expenses such as implementing higher salaries.There is no income tax in Dubai, i.e. there are no private tax returns here and accordingly you do not have to provide any information about your own assets to any authorities.
Driving in Dubai is very cheap, not only because of the low petrol prices, but also because of the car prices. On average, used cars are around 30 to 50% cheaper than in Germany or Austria and the car insurance is even around 70 to 80% cheaper.
Driving licenses from other countries are recognized here until the visa (Emirates ID) is received. From this point on, you have to get the UAE driver's license, i.e. this is then created on the basis of the foreign driver's license. (you do not need to take any tests, and fee is very low)
Gasoline prices are regulated by the government and adjusted accordingly on a monthly basis. In general, the price of petrol is less than half the price in Germany.
There is also no need to worry about medical care in Dubai. In addition to the local clinics, countless international clinics have also settled here. The bottom line is that medical care here is higher than in most European countries.
Unlike in Abu Dhabi, foreigners are allowed to buy real estate almost everywhere. There are thousands of apartments or villas to choose from in town or right on the beach.