Remember the movie Around the World in 80 days? Dubai countered it with an offer to experience the world in less than 24 hours through Global Village. This ‘village’ is strategized as a venue to experience different cultures and see landmarks in a fast phase. It reached a milestone this year since it is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
We have been visiting since 2014 and we can vouch that it has improved remarkably since then. The showcase of architecture (replica landmarks) and other displays is more appealing and organized. Further, there are better shopping and entertainment options. When you ‘visit’ each ‘country’ (i.e. technically the stalls), you are in for food, clothing and other merchandise options (quite tiangge style). While we visited primarily just to look around and go for the extreme rides (well, not me but my companions as I am scared), it was worth checking each stall. ‘Being in’ Turkey is a priority for me though because of the delicious kunafah. By the way, I have never been to the real Turkey.
We had major parking challenges from our last visit. Hence, we opted to arrive at least 30 minutes before the park opened at 4:00 PM on a Friday. It also provided a great opportunity to see Global Village in its peaceful state before it transformed with the aid of dancing hues later on.
Unlike most of the theme parks that charge an all-in entrance fee, entry to Global Village requires a very reasonable AED 15 (USD 4) fee. However, one would have to pay for each of the ride (the extreme rides are always a hit, there are family and kiddie rides, too), and being aboard the abra (boat ride) which I consider overpriced. Apart from these, the scheduled performances which range from the circus to concert to traditional dances and more are open to everyone for free. When we were about to leave at past 9:00 PM, we were lucky to be coincidentally so near the manmade river as there was a fountain show dancing to Titanic’s My Heart Will Go On and have watched the fireworks display near the ferris wheel.
It is better to come early before it gets crowded and to see the landmarks in both their day and night views.
While Dubai is known for the several rare and mega projects, Global Village is one of the sensible ones that they have created and managed. No wonder that it receives at least 5 million visitors annually.
Exit 37, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, Dubai, UAE
Park timings: 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM (Saturday to Wednesday), 4:00 PM to 1:00 AM (Thursday to Friday and holidays), Monday is a family day
Entrance ticket is AED 15 each, Open until 9 April 2016.