Everything You Wanted to Know About Living in Dubai
The UAE’s most populous city, Dubai, is one of seven Emirates that make up the country. As of 2021, Dubai is home to an estimated 3.4 million residents. Dubai’s cosmopolitan city’s population is 85% expatriates from all around the world making it a true melting pot of culture.
Dubai is located on the Persian Gulf, bounded by Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, Dubai’s rich heritage and modern infrastructure are the perfect meeting place between culture and innovation. Its spectacular coastline, calm waters, ideal for beachfront living and watersport lovers, while perfect desert sunsets and the world’s most spectacular skyline serve as a backdrop for urban bliss. Expatriates come from all over the world to enjoy the city’s dynamic lifestyle, record-breaking attractions, prime recreational experiences and luxurious nightlife. Year-round sunshine and blue skies allow residents to enjoy the outdoor and indoor leisure entertainment.
What Are the Most Desirable Neighborhoods in Dubai?
The best of outdoor living can be found among neighborhoods such as Emirates Hills and Dubai Hills Estate, otherwise known as the green heart of Dubai. Surrounded by luscious parks and walkways, these locations offer a diverse range of elite properties only moments away from championship golf courses and top-tier country clubs.
If beachfront serenity is your style, then Palm Jumeirah’s luxury residences, Port de la Mer’s Mediterranean-inspired marina promenade or Jumeirah Bay’s exclusive gated island community might be ideal for your type of retreat. Each neighborhood is its own man-made marvel spread across Dubai’s coastline.
If endless rolling dunes is your style there are several developments and fully serviced communities such as mansions, modern villas, and high-rise residences in District One located within the neighborhood of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City. A multipurpose neighborhood, MBR City is home to the world’s largest man-made lagoon and premier amenities, such as the Meydan Racetrack and Grandstand (home of the renowned Dubai World Cup horse race).
Notable Restaurants and Cuisines in Dubai
Dubai’s cuisines are diverse due to the large amount of expatriates and international business professionals. There is fine dining restaurants that service international specialties. If you’re looking to discover traditional Emirati cuisine, Aseelah is the place to go. Your palate will be delighted to pair the simplicity of freshly caught fish or locally reared lamb with the complex blend of the region’s spices—cardamom, turmeric, and saffron to name a few. Dishes like thareed and harees are cultural staples, whereas the widely popular shawarma, manakish, and hummus are modern favorites. Don’t forget a cup of Arabic coffee!
What to Do and See in Dubai?
Every part of Dubai caters to everyone’s likings – shopping sprees, high-rise buildings, the marina, DIFC and Downtown Dubai are a few places to see. If you lean towards a luxury beachfront lifestyle, Port La Mer, Palm Jumeirah, and JBR are neighborhoods overflowing with prime seaside nightlife and outdoor entertainment.
A global capital for high-end shopping, Dubai is home to the world’s most haute couture stores. Every major mall will have access to designer options. Downtown Dubai Mall is for urban luxury dedicated solely to fashion and situated next to the Burj Khalifa. After a day of luxurious shopping, relax and enjoy an exquisite dining experience with a front-seat view to the world’s tallest building and the dancing Dubai fountain. Across the bridge in Jumeirah is City Walk, a dynamic outdoor mall with modern street-style flair. The Mall of Emirates caters to a more cozy and relaxed setting with stores such as Apple and Harvey Nichols.
Emirates Hills’ iconic Montgomerie Golf Course will keep you entertained until its finishing hole, which measures a astounding 656 yards in distance, while Jumeirah Golf Estates’ challenging Earth Course hosts the DP World Championships. Thrill seekers who prefer fast cars over clubs can live next to the Dubai Autodrome, where you can race a Ferrari GT, feel the V8 power of a McLaren racing machine, or drive Formula One racecars. Alternatively, exclusive marina access or charter a yacht at Dubai Marina, surrounded by high-rise architecture and bustling crowds, or at Port La Mer, a more intimate, island-style location.
Parks & Open Spaces
Safa Park is one of Dubai’s most historical landmarks. Built in 1984, this popular picnic spot is ideal for those looking for greenery in the Jumeirah area. A digitally integrated nature experience, Zabeel Park is a large park with tech-based interactive exhibits. Family-oriented gated communities such as Arabian Ranches and Victory Heights contain some of the most stunning parks to meet friendly neighbors and a suburban charm. For a private haven for Dubai dogs, Bark Park is a great enclosed area to let your canine friend run free outside.
Can Foreigners and Non-Residents Purchase Property in Dubai?
Yes, the city has designated freehold zones wherein foreign expatriates and non-residents are allowed to buy property; Dubai’s most sought-after communities belong to freehold areas, where foreigners are allowed to purchase, sell, and lease homes.
Travelling to the UAE without residency requires an easily obtainable tourist visa; however, the government has created several initiatives to further simplify the entry process for property owners and part-time residents. If your property is worth over 5 million AED, you are eligible for a five-year visa. If it’s 2 million AED (and you are over 55 years old, you can apply for a five-year pension visa. As of 2021, it is possible to self-sponsor a one-year visa for remote work in the UAE, even if your employer is overseas.
What Languages Are Spoken in Dubai?
Dubai’s official language is Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools, and most native Emiratis speak a dialect of Gulf Arabic. A number of languages are spoken among the international and expatriate communities, including various dialects of Pashto, Hindi, Balochi, and Persian. English is also widely spoken.
What Is the Currency in Dubai?
The Emirati Dirham abbreviated as AED.