Introduction to Dubai

By using the sub-menu on the right, first-time visitors to Dubai will be able to get quick answers to many of the questions they may have. Other topics that require longer answers, such as the Best Ways to See Dubai, Places to Visit and Things To Do in Dubai, and even our Brief History of Dubai can be accessed through the main menu on the left.

But first here’s a brief overview – Dubai is a fascinating and widespread multicultural city where under 20% of its inhabitants are native Emiratis. The rest of the population is made up of ex-pats from a whole range of countries. English is widely spoken in most places but not to any great degree by officialdom such as the police.

Dubai is a young city in terms of its development and its population. It’s a work hard, play hard sort of place. Any Westerner working in Dubai, and you can’t go to live there unless you have a sponsored job to go to, is likely to be a well-educated go-getter. Apart from an occasional tourist, you’ll not find the ‘drongo’ sub-species of angry, illiterate, ‘the world owes me a living’ down and outs or lifestyle benefit recipients living here that you’ll find in many Western countries. This makes for a better life for everyone.

However, it is not a classless society. It is a tiered society, from the top:

The Dubai Royal Family headed by HRH Sheikh Mohammed bin Saeed al Maktoum
Native Emirati
Other Arabs
European and other Western Expats
Asian/Oriental manual and service workers – including taxi drivers.
Remember, Dubai is a Muslim state and it’s best to be aware of this. This is not a democratic society. For a greater insight into the political structure see our section on Power And Politics in Dubai and the Emirates as a whole.

You’ll see plenty of Arabs in their traditional clothing which is always clean, pressed, and very smart, but check out the men’s shoes. You’ll see the men always have somewhere on their traditional clothing for sunglasses, a pen and at least one mobile phone! The ladies have some fantastic outer traditional clothing but look discreetly and you’ll often see the jeans underneath. Sit and people-watch for just a few minutes in a shopping mall & you’ll see plenty of examples.

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