Busted: Dubai’s Biggest Myths Debunked

Busted: Dubai’s Biggest Myths Debunked
A view of Dubai skyline, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Is Dubai really the 'City of Gold'?

Roshni Subramanian
August 30 , 2019
04 Min Read

Dubai, the land where dreams become reality. The land of sky high towers and sheikhs clad in gold from head to toe. At least, this is what the popular opinion is. Dubai has always topped the bucket list of most travellers. For some Dubai is the ultimate holiday destination, while others aspire to go there for work. Till a while ago, my knowledge of Dubai was limited to Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah and Arab sheikhs. But courtesy ‘gelf - return’ cousins I’ve been introduced to that aspect of the city that goes beyond all these stereotypes. While some of their opinions might not have gone down well with the ‘true patriot’ in me, like their endless raving about the superior quality of kitkats in Dubai, la vache qui rit, and how the shawarma in Dubai is the OG deal. Nonetheless, it made me realize that there are so many misconceptions that tourists often have about Dubai. From assuming that it's the land of the rich and only the rich, to being disappointed on not spotting a Rolls Royce on the road the minute they land, the list is endless. Take a look at these myths as we try to clear out some common misconceptions about Dubai.

Dubai is full of billionaires

Dubai based businessmen

Sure, Dubai is home to some of the richest people you’ll ever meet, but to paint the whole city with the same brush, seems a bit unfair. The massive wealth in the country doesn’t really translate into wealthy citizens. There are those who are living paycheck to paycheck, trying to make the two ends meet. While only the Arabs are rich, others are still trying to make it to the top. 

There are no options for vegetarians in Dubai

Emirati Cuisine

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The local Emirati cuisine is generally meat heavy but  this doesn’t mean that there is a dearth of vegetarian options. Though their lip smacking kebabs and lamb chops are irresistible, there are plenty of vegetarian joints that serve Indian traditional vegetarian food. With the emerging trend of veganism taking the world by storm, Dubai is all set to welcome the world’s biggest vegan friendly restaurant - Veganity.  

Dubai has awful weather

Persian Gulf Beach in Dubai

Yes, we agree. Summers can be a little harsh in Dubai, with temperatures rising up to even 50 degrees. However Dubai seems to be quite sorted even for the sultry summers. With swanky infrastructure and the world’s best indoor theme parks and water parks the dry spell doesn’t seem that much of a hassle. While May to August are particularly unbearable, the ideal months to visit Dubai would be from December to March. 

Alcohol is prohibited in Dubai

A nightclub in Dubai

Home to some of the most happening clubs and pubs, the nightlife in Dubai is unmatchable. So the assumption that consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Dubai sure comes across as bizarre. Though carrying alcohol or being intoxicated in public is against the law, there are no legal rulings against the purchase of liquor from licensed shops.   

Women must always wear a Burqa

Women anywhere in UAE are not required to cover themeselves form head to toe

This misconception is not specific to Dubai but is common to most Islamic regions. However, UAE is a bit more relaxed in terms of ‘dress code’ when compared to other Islamic nations. There are restrictions on what might be considered appropriate in public, but women anywhere in UAE are not required to cover themselves from head to toe. 

Dubai is just a vast desert

Skyscrapers in Dubai Marina

This is as far away from reality as it gets. With skyscrapers everywhere and the world's most luxurious cars on the road, the misconception that Dubai is a desert is probably one of the biggest myths about this city. This statement could have been partially true a few decades ago, but today’s Dubai is the global hub for shopping and entertainment.

One can only find luxury cars on the roads

Traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road

Well, no matter how much we might want this one to be true, not everyone can afford these supercars. Though Ferraris and Rolls Royce are quite common on the roads, a lot of locals also prefer taking public transport. The Dubai metro is not only economical but one can also avoid the traffic on the road.


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