Global Village is a wondrous place.
Tickets are relatively inexpensive to enter at fifteen dirhams per person, which you can book online to beat the crowds. However, be prepared with some cash when you go in as there are many different attractions that make Global Village a worthwhile destination if you find yourself in Dubai.
Situated on the outskirts of Dubai, Global Village is a popular destination for families and travelers alike, especially in the evening when the temperatures cool down. The parking lot is massive and circuitous, but there are usually employees flagging cars to whichever parking area they’ve designated as being open. Try to park near the small trolley route if possible to avoid long walks to and from your car. From the ticket booth, it may appear overly crowded, but the vast expanses inside the park dissipate the crowds enough to make them tolerable.
You will be doing a lot of walking inside, so it’s best to visit Global Village on its own, rather than as an end to a busy day of touring around the wonderful city of Dubai. If you decide to squeeze it into an already hectic day, I highly suggest bringing some camping chairs as seating inside is relatively sparse and always taken up.
Daytime is the time to go to beat the crowds, but the magic happens in the evening when the sun sets. The buildings are all very well appointed, with light displays and neon adorning their façades. Special attention is placed on the Middle East, with countries in the region occupying their own buildings, replete with stalls for food, clothing, furniture, and handicrafts.
Nowhere is this more evident than when you see that Africa and the Americas have been given single buildings in which to operate. But don’t let that fool you. The size and scope of offerings more than make up for the regional disparities. We were able to buy Colombian coffee, shoes from Mexico, and kebabs from Turkey – as well as peruse an assortment of spices and goods from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and many more countries.
Food is a big draw at Global Village. You can sample footlong brats and bratwurst from Germany, then curry dishes from India before Turkish pastries and Italian gelato. If you are new to the area and looking for a place to buy things to spruce up your flat, you could do worse than Global Village. Just be prepared to drop some dirhams and have plenty of energy to lug your purchases around.
There is an amusement park inside, as well, though we didn’t get to enjoy that part of Global Village. After marveling at the buildings, trying out different languages with the people in the different “countries” – we were already exhausted from being on our feet for over three hours (mind you we had already had a full day lest you judge us on our physical prowess and stamina).
Along with the food and rides, there are also special events and displays which occur regularly and randomly. We were walking along when a magician and his assistant walked past us and stopped to perform a five-minute disappearing act, much to the delight of our seven-year-old son. After they completed the act, they packed up and walked to another part of the park to continue their merriment. There was a small commotion beside us and we turned in time to see a troupe of Shaolin Monks performing feats of Kung Fu on a stage to our right. I put our son on my shoulders and he stared, transfixed at the acrobatics and swordplay – sometimes performed by children not much older than he was.
Global Village is a beautiful sight to behold so make sure to bring your camera. The picture at the top of this article was taken as a panorama – with the lighting changing as I swept the camera sideways to capture the Russian architecture – a reflection of Byzantine roots. The opportunity to take amazing photos is everywhere, which is a perfect situation for any budding photog to practice their skills in an environment that is supremely photogenic. I mean, where else can you see Big Ben, the Effeil Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Burj Khalifa, and the Sydney Opera House together in one place – and looking in one direction?