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10 Difficulties in Dubai Faced By Visitors & Residents

Hi, Sunil here to discuss the difficulties in Dubai faced by many travelers and even the residents.

Not everyday is a sunny day in the beautiful, world famous Dubai City.

If you haven’t taken an objective look into Dubai, you may have only heard about all the up and ups about the place.

However, just like any other place in the world, Dubai has its share of nuisances that bother many travelers and residents alike.

Not much has been published or talked about in terms of Dubai flaws and controversies involving the city.

We have a whole section dedicated to Dubai Controversies that will shed light on and make you think about the underlying problems in Dubai.

This discussion is a summary of factors of difficulties in Dubai faced by many travelers. It is not a comprehensive list by any means, but we will be adding to it with our research, first hand experiences and your valuable contributions.

Difficulties in Dubai #1

Traffic& Congestion

Do you know how small Dubai is? Smaller than the smallest state in the US. Population is expected to more than double by 2010 and by 2020 it is expected to have over 4 million residents. Add to this the millions of tourists all year long and you have the perfect recipe for a disaster.

It can take over an hour for a mere 2-3 mile commute in Dubai. Sad thing is, you cannot avoid the rush hour if you want to do the “normal things” everyone else does at “normal hours”.

There is a ton of construction going on all year long and new roads popping up everywhere. However, the high increase in vehicle rates on Dubai roads, non stop Dubai tourism flow and more people moving to Dubai every year has completely and significantly outpaced the growth in infrastructure.

Then you have the extreme inconvenience of having only 3 ways to go from one side of Dubai to the other. Dubai is divided in 2 sides, Deira and Bur Dubai. As of 2008, you can go to one side from another through either the Garhoud Bridge (6 lanes), the Maktoum Bridge (9 lanes) and the Shindagha Tunnel (4 lanes).

There are over a million vehicles on Dubai roads. If each vehicle makes just one trip a day to and from, you are looking at over 2 million vehicles to and from. If each vehicle makes 2 trips on average (very common), now you are talking over 4 million vehicles on limited road space.

Dubai almost needs to take a year or two break and shut itself down until it can solidify its infrastructure enough to accommodate for all things and people.

Difficulties in Dubai #2

Speed Control

Ever seen or heard about an accident on Dubai roads? You don’t want to! Not many survive a crash on Dubai roads. Dubai freeways are some of the deadliest freeways around the world.

People drive just like animals would if you put them behind the wheel. They are in such a rush to go absolutely nowhere and they are so bloody dumb to realize that. They end up with road rage, putting both their and other drivers’ lives in jeopardy.

Dubai driving is quite primitive. Very surprising to me. Especially the big truck drivers who think they own the road. They will tailgate you, flash their lights at you and even chip you off to intimidate you and make sure you get out of their way.

Other rich sports car drivers treat the roads as their private Indy 500 race track. What idiots. This is one thing that absolutely pi*#$s#es me off the most!

Difficulties in Dubai #3

Parking Problems

So check this out. You get to your location 3 miles away after about an hour and a half and now you can’t find parking. What a mess. And when you find a place to park, they will demand your index finger as payment. What crooks!

Here is the worse thing. You may be parked at a legal spot or at a parking meter, but next thing you know there will be someone parked just a quarter inch behind you so that you are boxed in. You will definitely get fined if you are the meter.

Then you have the local Muslims who will abandon their cars no matter where during prayer time. I mean here we are talking religion and of course religion is very important to many of us. But show some courtesy please? What if the car is parked outside your driveway blocking your access?

Difficulties in Dubai #4

Captain Construction

Over 40% of the world’s crane supply is in Dubai (2008). So they say and I believe it. There is so much noise and pollution in the air IT IS SICK! This place will become just like India pretty soon you just wait and watch.

There is no land so there is this need to build skyscrapers next to each other all over the place. So many that you cannot walk or breathe air because it gets trapped. That was an exaggeration but I absolutely hate the fact that you can’t sleep because some bulldozer is dozing another plot of land.

Fact is there is a shortage of housing in Dubai (so they say) and in 2005 rental rates went up 38%. In the past two years rents have gone up over 70%. Population has grown 10% on average per year over the same time span. Absolutely ridiculous!

Difficulties in Dubai #5

Drainage Systems Stinking Up the Place

So many residents are unhappy with the stench around some of the newer residential developments in Dubai like the Dubai Waterfront area. It rarely rains in Dubai, but when it does the streets cannot handle all the water.

Water can remain on roads for days and the lack of a sanitary and well functioning sewage system creates this stink that many residents smell while sleeping at night. Not exactly the smell you want in your living room or bed room do you?

It is interesting that skyscrapers and useless other garbage is on top of the priority list of the Dubai government and yet something so basic and fundamental such as a good sewage system is not. Tells you what the priorities are. Just a morale killer if you ask me.

I love Dubai, I really do, but the few flaws it has are so basic and fundamental with such large repercussions that it just makes my blood boil. But then again, I am not running the Emirate. I am sure they know something I don’t. It’s not a democracy otherwise I wouldn’t mind running for President to enact some changes (that was a joke).

Difficulties in Dubai #6

The Dubai Sun

Technically you and I share the same sun too, but Dubai is located in the Middle East, close to the equator and surrounded by sand and humidity. The heat CAN KILL YOU, and that is not a joke!

Dubai has the Arabian Gulf on one side and the mountains on the other. If you are a science Olympian I am sure you know where I am going with this.

It doesn’t matter where you go in Dubai, you won’t be able to escape the brutal heat. Many locals leave the place and travel outside for vacation or business. They purposely schedule travel time in the summer. Dubai is mostly dead during this time and many shops advertise blow out sales to attract tourists.

Read this discussion on Dubai Weather to get a good understanding of what it is really like over there. Not only is the heat so brutal, but add to that high humidity levels and you are talking a gigantic sauna in which you are expected to dwell. Most people just lock themselves at home in full blast air conditioning.

Difficulties in Dubai #7

Good Luck Communicating Where You Live

This one is great. But to Dubai’s credit, significant improvement are being made and soon it will be no longer a problem. The problem is that Dubai roads didn’t really have names until recently.

Most streets and side roads still do not. We give directions in East and West in the US and use street names. In Dubai, you say “Go here and make a right, then go there and make a left”. Or you may say “I live right behind the golden mosque close to the Burj Al Arab”.

There are no street addresses in Dubai (2008) and that is why you will notice all addresses on a P.O. Box system. This is why door to door services like UPS and FedEx have long struggled in Dubai.

It is getting better though. The last time I was there I actually witnessed a GPS work. Further, my friend told me that MapQuest works. Lol I found this funny. It is a big problem though in all honesty. It just comes down to priorities.

Difficulties in Dubai #8

Red Tape

No freedom of speech or movement, racism and censorship are all severe issues in Dubai. There are certain TV channels and websites that the government blocks. You cannot use VOIP technology for your home phone. You can’t really speak up or engage in free journalism.

Pretty soon you will have to ask permission before using the toilet in your own bathroom. Either that or a camera will stare you right at the face as you are taking care of your business. It’s just so sickening.

You want a cell phone? You have to give your passport. You want to stay in a hotel? You give your passport. Soon you will have to give your passport if you want to breathe. These are some of the most ridiculous aspects of living in Dubai or simply visiting the place.

Difficulties in Dubai #9


This one is a matter of perspective. Depends on who you are, you may like the idea or not. It is not my place to question anyone’s morals, preferences, religion or personal beliefs.

The fact is, prostitution exists and it is everywhere in Dubai. Pretty ironic for a traditional Islamic city-state isn’t it. You will find many other contradictions within the Dubai culture. Many say Dubai is lost and it doesn’t know what it wants or what it is doing.

I don’t think that is the case. It is difficult to strike a balance in the environment Dubai is in. It has to keep all its constituencies happy and that is not an easy task by any means. Any time you try to do that you are bound to step on some toes and piss some people off.

Read more about prostitution in Dubai in this comprehensive discussion.

Difficulties in Dubai #10

Dubai Schools

You better start saving now if you are moving to Dubai with your children. Education is not cheap here (not the good kind at least). There are a ton of schools in Dubai but as you already probably guessed, there aren’t enough to meet the needs of the current expat population.

So what happens when demand overdoes supply? Prices go up like everything else in Dubai. Schools in Dubai can get very expensive. In the past three years (2008), tuition costs have gone up by 70% - just as much as rents.

Just like rental rates are capped off at a certain percentage a year, so are educational costs at about 7%. But who cares? They keep going up and up in double digits anyways.

Read all about Dubai schools in this comprehensive discussion.

This discussion is just a short summary of some of the difficulties in Dubai that you can expect to face if you plan to move there. There are many other factors not covered here but these are the main ones in my opinion. That said, there is a solution to handling all difficulties in life. After all, so many others are making it work for them.

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