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20 Surprising (and Unbelievable) Things You Can Only Find in Dubai

TimeOut Dubai

If you’ve never been to Dubai, you may find yourself in for quite the culture shock upon arrival. Not only is this lavish place located in the United Arab Emirates considered to be one of the richest in the world, but it’s also one of the most unique. From twisted skyscrapers looming in the sky to vending machines that dispense gold (literally), Dubai is truly a place that has to be seen to be believed.


Here are 20 surprising and sort of crazy things you can only find in Dubai. We promise you’re going to be doing a double take with some of these.


Fashion Capital of the World

Capital Group

New York Fashion Week has got nothing on Dubai. Every year, thousands of celebrities and worldwide fashion designers flock to the city to show off the latest (and craziest) trends in fashion And believe us when we say, you won’t find outfits like this anywhere else in the world.

Fancy Patrol Cars

The Cheat Sheet

The police in Dubai don’t play when it comes to their vehicles. In fact, luxury cars are the norm for the squad. You’ll see Aston Martin, the Audi R8 and even a Bentley patrolling the streets from time to time. Crazy, right? Who knew the police could ride in such style?

Burj Al Arab’s Helipad


One iconic spot in Dubai is the Burj Al Arab helipad. Weddings are a popular activity at the infamous location, and wrestling matches, as well as tennis games, have also taken place there. We’d be afraid we’d accidentally fall off. Seems a bit risky, but to each their own.

Exotic Pets


Don’t be alarmed if you see someone walking a lion down the street or riding in a car with their cheetah. Exotic animals are allowed as pets in Dubai. We’re sure PETA is having an absolute meltdown.

All-Female Police Force


The women working in Dubai are far from oppressed. In fact, you’ll find an all-female police force. Talk about women empowerment! These ladies also don’t mess around. They may look like fashionistas, but they’ll cuff you without thinking twice.

Beach Diversity


The diversity on full display in Dubai is fascinating, to say the least. Take this photo, for example, a western woman in a bikini and next to her a local woman in a burkha. The mix of cultures is a wonderful thing to see.

Air Conditioned Bus Stops


Waiting for the bus here in American can be a real drag. During the summer, the heat will about kill you and during the winter the risk of hypothermia is quite real. However, in Dubai, all of the bus stops are air-conditioned. Life’s really not fair.

Parked Camels


Nothing to see here, just a parked camel. Yes, camels are a mode of transportation in Dubai and yes, you’ll see them resting in parking lots. Who needs a car? Personally, we’d love our own camel.

The Cayan Tower

Blaze Press

The Cayan Tower, not far from MagicSpace, is an iconic building in Dubai, due to its rare twisted design. You won’t find any twisted buildings here in the United States. A marvel of modern construction, there are quite a few unique buildings like this throughout the city.

Shopping Mall Ski Slope


In Dubai, you can enjoy skiing year round thanks to the indoor ski slope at one of the shopping malls. How fun is that? If you’re looking for a chilling adventure, you must head to the Mall of Emirates if you ever visit.

Double Wide Jeep

Joe IE

Is this not the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever seen? Dubai is known for its custom luxury vehicles, but talk about too much of a good thing! Yikes!

Gold Vending Machines


Gold is a popular currency in Dubai; therefore, you’ll find gold vending machines around the city. And no, we don’t mean the vending machines are a gold color. They actually spit out bars of gold! Talk about over-the-top, but we love it.

Free Food or the Poor

Destination Tips

The United States could take a page out of Dubai’s playbook when it comes to feeding those less fortunate. You’ll find pantries like this set up around the city with free food for those in need. It’s nice to see a city that takes care of its citizens.

Cars of Pure Gold


You’ve probably caught on by now that gold is a popular color and commodity in Dubai. And when it comes to their luxury vehicles, it’s commonplace to see them plated in pure gold. Personally, we find the look a bit tacky but to each their own.

Incredible Views


The views in Dubai are a sight to behold and can’t be found anywhere else in the world. This is due to the fact many of the buildings are the tallest ever built, providing grand vistas people travel from across the globe to see. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the sunrise over the city.

Exotic Animals Eating Sharks


Oh, nothing to see here. Just a few lion cubs eating a shark. This is actually pretty normal for Dubai. With exotic animals being legal, sharks are often bought for feedings. We’d rather them eat a shark than us for breakfast that’s for sure.

World’s Largest Urban Zip-Line

Dubai Online

If you want to soar over the city, Dubai features the world’s longest zip-line that’s over 1km long. However, we don’t suggest it if you’re afraid of heights. The zip-line is as high as some of the skyscrapers at some points of the experience. We’d probably pass out!

The Miracle Gardens

Dubai Online

Considered to be the largest natural flower garden in the world, the Miracle Gardens is home to over 109 million flowers. Creatively designed to uniquely display an abundance of florals, you should also stop by the indoor butterfly garden and sanctuary. However, if you have allergies you might want to avoid this place like the plague.

The Country’s Largest Mosque

Radisson Blu Blog

Dubai is home to the country’s largest mosque, known as the Sheikh Zayed. A stunning landmark and popular tourist hotspot, the architecture here is incredible. The marble features rare and precious stones you won’t find anywhere else in the world and at sunset, the view on the horizon is like none other.

BBQ While Tubing


If you’re visiting Dubai and want to experience something unique, you must try the BBQ donut where you can tube down the river and enjoy a barbecue meal for six! Definitely an odd pairing, but one we’d love to try nonetheless.

Stay the Night in a Palace

No Destinations

Why visit a palace when you can spend the night in one and live like royalty? The Emirates Palace is an iconic landmark, but also a functioning hotel. It’s definitely a location right out of a dream and we are living for it!