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16 Shocking Things You Only See In Dubai

High Life
16 Shocking Things You Only See In Dubai

Believe it or not, Dubai wasn’t always the thriving and sparkling metropolis it is today. It used to be a small fishing village, but it soon became known as the fastest growing city in the world. In just a few decades, the destination grew to be captivating. Today, it’s a fascinating vacation destination, if you can afford to go, as round-trip airfare can be incredibly expensive. If you fly Emirates, the ticket can cost upwards of $30,000, depending on when you travel. The 16-hour direct flight (LAX to Dubai) will seat you next to some of the country’s A-listers, including VIP businessmen, fashionistas, and actors. And even if you can swing an affordable flight, you still have to account for the fact that Dubai is an expensive city to visit. Daily Mail estimates vacationers spend an average of $278.92 per person per day (so maybe you should consider not bringing the kids?). Because Dubai is so expensive, it’s filled to the brim with elitists who can afford it, so when you go there, you get an up-close view of how people on the other side live, and it can be weird.

Dubai is the most notable city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of its lavishness. Travel sites refer to it as a “millionaire’s paradise” because it’s on the ocean and attracts oil magnates from all over Egypt and the Middle East, but also the upper echelons of the entire world. Those who can afford to, head to Dubai for the shopping, high-end dining, pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife, and all the other fancy sh-t the rest of us can’t afford to do at home, much less travel halfway around the world to do. That’s why there are certain things you can definitely only see in Dubai. Just remember that what you see cannot be unseen and that not everything in Dubai is a beautiful stranger sunbathing on a sandy shore (although you will definitely see that).

16. Gold ATMs That Dispense Solid Gold

Inside Dubai’s premier hotel is a gold ATM that dispenses 320 customizable items, including solid gold bars. Abu Dhabi Emirates Palace Hotel saw that there was a market for blowing money in tacky ways, so it cornered that market by offering an ATM machine that dispensed gold. The machine itself is coated with a thin layer of gold, and the rates of gold are constantly updated to reflect the current market. According to its creator, German businessman Thomas Geissler, Dubai was hot for gold. He saw the demand and met it. “On the first night, we had a lot of demand,” he said. “One customer even bought one item of every product we have.” So what does a 24-karat solid gold dispensing machine offer? Personalized coins, gift boxes, and gold bars in 1, 5, and 10 grams. It’s basically the same thing as asking your mom for fifty cents, so you could get the oversized stickers from a grocery store vending machine; only, this is for actual adults with unlimited coffers.

15. Abandoned Luxury Cars

Dubai has its share of problems; they’re just not the problems you and I are used to. In other cities, there are the standard issues. There may be income inequality, infrastructure failing, or quite a bit of homelessness. Dubai doesn’t have similar issues. No, it’s problems are truly bizarre. According to Viral Nova, you’ll see abandoned luxury vehicles, like the one pictured, all over the city. “This is a familiar sight when walking around the country’s airport parking lots… Dusty sports cars, long abandoned, clog up parking lots…” And, it’s not just regular high-end vehicles, such as BMWs and Mercedes, that get left behind; Ferraris and Porsches are just as likely to be abandoned too. A Ferrari Enzo, valued at more than $1 million, was abandoned at the airport once. The reason this happens is kind of sad. It’s due to Sharia Law, which states that if you get yourself into debt, such as by missing your car payments, you’re in direct violation of the law. A lot of the people who abandoned the luxury vehicles are serving time in prison for nonpayment.

14. Enormous And Lavish Sports Fields

Dubai is a great place to attend huge sporting events because the city is equipped with incredible luxury stadiums. The biggest stadium in Dubai is the International Cricket Stadium, which houses 25,000 seats. Dubai’s residents and visitors love cricket, and the city is the Pakistani cricket team’s home base for now. There are a lot of gold courses and spaces for indoor-court games, such as ice hockey and basketball. Although not the biggest of Dubai’s sports fields, Dubai’s tennis courts are the most interesting. There’s the world’s tallest tennis court at Burj Al Arab and soon, the world’s first underwater tennis court that could potentially host official tournaments. Unsurprisingly, because this is Dubai after all, the underwater tennis court is expected to cost $2.5 billion to build. Perhaps the craziest thing about Dubai’s ultra-luxury investment in sports entertainment is that the city hosts events pretty infrequently; the most expensive courts only see professional action about once per year, but the courts stay open for public use because Dubai’s city officials are cool like that.

13. High-Performance Luxury Police Vehicles

Cops in Dubai have it made. Because the world’s wealthiest individuals reside in or frequently visit Dubai, there’s a high concentration of super-fast cars on the road. Because of this, Dubai’s police cruisers have speeds to match, so they can keep up with criminals. While visiting Dubai, you may see police officers cruising in V10-powered Audi R8s, McLaren MP4-12Cs, Nissan GT-Rs, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs, and even Bugatti Veyrons. The cars are repainted, so you’ll know you’re being followed by police by the colors of their ultra-fast luxury vehicles: green and white. It should be noted that Dubai is a strict city, and police officers do enforce the law. So, don’t get caught drinking in public, dancing in the street, or necking with your significant other. PDA is strictly prohibited, and Dubai’s jails aren’t as nice as their fine hotels, but the back of the police car is sure to be an incredible ride.

12. Underwater Hotel Suites

Being that Dubai is a luxe destination, it only makes sense it would be home to some of the nicest hotels in the world. It’s hard to stand out when everything is so opulent, so Dubai’s luxury hotels have started offering some uncommon features. Atlantis the Palm luxury hotel offers underwater suites. This isn’t your roadside aquarium-themed hotel along Rt.69. Atlantis the Palm is super high end. The resort opened in 2008 to rave reviews. The underwater suites immerse you in ocean life. The rooms’ floor-to-ceiling windows provide unmitigated views of ocean life, an incredible 65,000 marine inhabitants. The rooms themselves are incredible to behold with ensuite bathrooms and luxury furniture and linens. If sleeping in an underwater suite creeps you out, consider staying at the Burj Al Arab 5 instead. It’s rumored to be the world’s most luxurious hotel. It sits offshore of the mainland on its own island, which means a private beach for anyone who stays there. However, the most unique thing about the Burj Al Arab 5 is the submarine ride you’ll have to take to get there.

11. Rich Kids Of Dubai

Did you know there’s a Harvey Nichols retailer in Dubai? There, most of the dresses cost more than a grand. Imagine shopping at a place that expensive. Yeah, I can’t either… the last dress I bought was on clearance for $9 because it was a sweater dress I purchased in May. The rich kids of Dubai don’t know the joys of clothing bought cheap — clothing you can’t wear for six months because it’s out of season. They do, instead, know the joys of shopping at the world’s largest mall, complete with the world’s most luxurious retailers, such as Dior, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. And, they don’t have to watch what they spend. Lucky for us plebes, they document it all on their Instagram channel @richkidsofdubai, so, even if you don’t have plans to travel to Dubai, you can still catch a glimpse of the luxurious world of Dubai’s wealthiest kids, whose most notable talents seems to be spending millions in style.

10. Sheikhs With Exotic Animals

Dubai’s super rich love flaunting their exotic pets. As you’re touring the city, don’t be surprised to see Ferraris weaving in and out of traffic, and there may be a cheetah in the passenger’s seat. Daily Mail reports that exotic pets are the wild new accessory and the super-rich are flaunting them all over town. According to the site, exotic pets are the “new must-have status symbol for the super rich. Forget a designer dog breed; the most sought after ‘pet’ for the wealthy is an exotic animal such as a tiger, a cheetah, or a lion.” Cheetahs are the more popular exotic pet to adopt, and surprisingly there’s really nothing new about the rich adopting them. According to an exotic pet expert, cheetahs have been companion animals to the world’s wealthiest people since the 16th century. Even some American celebrities, including Phyllis Gordon and Josephine Baker, have adopted cheetahs. I just wonder if cheetahs enjoy car rides and luxury speedboats because if they don’t, I’ll gladly take their place.

9. Luxury Taxi Cabs

Not all cabs are luxury class in Dubai, but with its reputation, you’d think they would be. No, most cabs there are the modern equivalent of K-cars. Still, when visiting the city, you’re certain to see some luxury taxi cabs. Heck, you may even be rich enough to ride in one, in which case, lucky you. I’m a fan of bicycle cabs myself; what they lack in luxury, they make up for in embarrassment. Dubai’s luxury cab services are sleek looking, but like the typical yellow taxi cab, you can flag them down on the street. If you see a black Nissan Infiniti with its vacant sign up top, go ahead and throw your arm out. Just expect to pay an arm and a leg for the ride. These cabs cost more. Also, although they’ve yet to launch the program, Dubai has approved the use of self-flying passenger drones. According to the Associated Press, the passenger-carrying drones being considered are the Chinese-made EHang 184, “an egg-shaped craft with four legs sticking out, each with two small propellers.”

8. The Priciest Alcohol In The World

If you like to drink alcohol, you may want to skip Dubai on your trip around the world. Alcohol is very expensive and hard to get. It’s only served in venues that are attached to hotels. It’s also sold in private clubs, so if you’re a member of one of those, it’s the rare place you can get a drink. You have to be a high roller to be invited to Dubai’s ultra-exclusive private clubs. Street drinking and public intoxication are very illegal, and the rule is strictly enforced. In general, the price you pay for alcohol depends on where you are and what you’re drinking. Expect to pay about $10 per alcoholic beverage in regular places and much much more in Dubai’s fancier locales. Dubai is home to the world’s most expensive cocktail, the 27.321. The cocktail is named for the bar it’s served at, the Skyview, which is located on the 27th floor of the 321-ft. tall Burj Al Arab hotel.

7. The World’s Most Beautiful Women

Dubai is home to some of the world’s most beautiful women, and even more visit from all over the world. Everywhere you go, you’re certain to run into a beautiful face. The actual Miss Universe is a frequent visitor, and the entirety of the Miss Universe pageant once danced on its shores. Top model Bella Hadid makes cameos on the Rich Kids of Dubai Instagram page and is considered one of the most beautiful women to grace runways today. Of course, Dubai’s native population is beautiful, too. Dubai is widely known as having the hottest Tinder pool, as is confirmed by the site’s Reddit page. One commenter said, “Of all the things I wouldn’t want to be, an average-looking girl in Dubai’s Tinder pool is one of them…” I concur, random commenter; I concur. I’m happy just being pretty for Buffalo, and never having to use Tinder. That must be some kind of record, right?

6. The Biggest Yachts In The World

All 531 feet of the world’s largest yacht used to be called Platinum 525, but now it’s known as Dubai, renamed for the country it calls home. The huge yacht features luxury accommodations for as many as 72 guests and 88 crew. It cost an incredible $622 million to build the yacht, and it was too big for the sheik’s private island. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum had to terraform his island, essentially modifying it in a real-life game of Minecraft. If the boat’s luxury accommodations don’t spell fun for you, then consider that Dubai is known for its hard-partying boat parties. Dubai has a strict anti-public-intoxication law, but the sea is covered by maritime law, so people are getting crazy lit in boats. DJs and party captains host huge parties for you and 100 or so of your closest friends along with plenty of celebrity guests to class up the place. Where else but Dubai?

5. Cell Phones That Cost More Than A House

If you can get past the guards, you can get into Dubai’s elitist shopping centers and view some of the world’s most expensive cell phones. Sony’s BlackDiamond VIPN Smartphone is $300,000. If two diamonds embedded into your phone isn’t flashy enough for you, then the Vertu Signature costs a bit less, and it comes with glitz out. With some of the jewels dangling from the phone, the Vertu Signature comes embedded with one pear-cut diamond, one round white diamond, two emerald eyes, and 439 rubies. Peter Aloisson’s Nokia Arte is probably the most expensive phone in the world. It costs $1.31 million and is made of white gold that totals 18 karats and is covered in a dazzling array of white and pink diamonds. This is a phone that says, “Target me for robbery.” My only real question is: what does one do when one drops their million-dollar cell phone in the toilet.

4. Beautiful City Views From The World’s Tallest Buildings

The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, stands a total 829.8 meters tall. It holds several records, including tallest freestanding structure, building with the most floors, building with the world’s highest occupied floor (584.5 m), and world’s longest travel distance elevators. It’s a pretty incredible experience for those willing to make the journey to the top. For some, it can be frightening. If you don’t make it to the top, no worries. The bottom of the building houses the world’s largest shopping mall, The Dubai Mall. The attractive shopping complex is humongous and houses both an aquarium and an underwater zoo. The Burj Khalifa isn’t the only huge skyscraper in Dubai. The city is littered with cloud-touching buildings, including the Princess Tower, the 23 Marina, the Elite Residence, the Almas Tower, and so many more. There’s limitless potential for gorgeous picture-taking throughout the city.

3. Ridiculous Custom Motorcycles

Motorcycling is very popular in Dubai, and there’s no shortage of custom motorcycles. Look out for some of Dubai’s signature bikes, such as The Gilera, The Piaggio, The Triumph, and The Moto Guzzi Dubai. Vespas are also quite popular and frequently tricked-out in Dubai. The reason motorcycles are so popular is due to the incredible road trips you can take across the UAE. There’s the Khasab road trip, which takes bikers around the Khasab Castle, Oman Fjords, and Khasab Fort. The Ras Al Khaimah road trip is fit for adventurous individuals, as along the way, road trippers can stop to fish, horseback ride, and paraglide. Motorcyclists even have biker bars to hang out at, but don’t expect them to be the dingy hardcore places from back home. Places like Dubai’s Bikes n Bites is one example of a modern-art infused biker bar fit for high-class motorcyclists. Most of Dubai’s restaurants are like this, so you may want to pack a lunch.

2. Some Of The Finest Dining In The World

You’re probably too poor to eat there, but Dubai is home to some of the world’s finest dining. Dubai’s most expensive restaurant is At.mosphere, the world’s tallest restaurant at 1,350 ft. A serving of Maine lobsters costs about $161, and that’s just the dish… It doesn’t include drinks, appetizers, dessert, or much else. Zuma Dubai is another lavish restaurant and the most popular restaurant in Dubai. It’s frequently voted as the most-loved and as the one with the best food. Unfortunately, the city’s best restaurant is also its most exclusive, so good luck getting in the front door if you’re neither a known millionaire nor an A-list celebrity. As far as food goes, the city’s offerings are as unique as its landscape. You can eat the world’s most expensive cupcake if you can afford it. It only costs $1,010. Middle Eastern and Indian food are most popular, but American, French, Italian, and more are available to delight in. Only in Dubai can you pay a couple bucks for some delicious and memorable Middle Eastern street food and also shell out a few hundred bucks for similar fare in a fancier restaurant.

1. People Dangling From Buildings

Earlier this year, this image of a model dangling from Canyan Tower in Dubai went viral. Obviously…she’s dangling hundreds of feet above ground, overlooking the rest of the magical world of Dubai! According to reports, the model, Viktoria Odintcova, is from Russia and the stunt was part of a photoshoot. Now that’s commitment! No wonder she has three million Instagram followers… In fact, she wrote: “All the stunts performed by professionals, do not try this yourself.” What exactly makes someone a professional when it comes to dangling from 73-storey-tall towers like this one in Dubai?

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