Global Village is wrapping up its 21st edition on April 8 and this weekend is the last chance to try out some of their best activities before the village closes for summer.
Here are our 10 top picks of what every visitor should experience before this season ends.
Watch Farhan Akhtar live
Bollywood actor and singer-songwriter, Farhan Akhtar will be performing live on the main cultural stage on April 7 from 9pm. Expect to enjoy some of his most popular songs such as Rock On, Dil Dhadakne Do, Manzar Naya. Concert tickets come with your entry fee of Dh15, so it’s basically free for all visitors on Friday.
Rest that full stomach by one of the lawn areas and wait for the fireworks to start. This may be the last fireworks show you’ll get to see before Eid Al Fitr. It makes for a great end to your visit to Global Village as the night skies explode with colour and in tune to music. On Thursday and Friday at 9pm.
There is no dearth of venues for adventure and adrenalin fanatics in the UAE, but the SkyCoaster at Global Village is surely worth a try for you brave souls. We’ve all been on swings, screaming “higher” as an adult pushes us from behind. This is somewhat like that, but you may not be screaming for more height, as you make a free fall of 33 metres after being winched up on a tower and then swung over Fantasy Island. Doing this first means you can’t back out.
Cost: Dh75 per person (Maximum 3 persons at a time)
Pottery crash course
So you have touched down, and need a minute to calm down. Enjoy a pottery display at the Egypt pavilion, where you cannot only enjoy watching the ancient Egyptian art of clay pot making but also practise it. The pavilion’s potter, Mohammad Atiyeh Mohammad, has 30 years of experience making a number of beautiful flower vases and other creations including the famous Egyptian ‘olla’, which has been used since the times of the pharaohs to keep water and food cool. He then gives a free basic skills training so you can create your own piece of art.
Mobile movie experience
A blast from the past is a great pick-me up. Try a unique cinema experience through a classic bioscope or a hand-driven movie projector in the Indian pavilion. First brought into Calcutta back in 1896, bioscopies used to be the centre of attraction at fairs and festivals across India and triggered the evolution of the Indian film industry. Very few people in the world own a bioscope today, and even fewer use it — so this is a must try.
Cost: Dh5 per person
Enough downtime and on to exciting stuff now; bundle up the stragglers and head to this live and entertaining escape game, one of the biggest crazes in Dubai right now. Set up teams of two to five people and select from three different missions that last up to 20 minutes each. Play detective, plan a prison break or fix a time travelling device using clues to escape.
Cost: Dh150 for two; Dh190 for three; Dh220 for four; and Dh255 for five.
Get a caricature of yourself
Try something personal next. Every experience is about souvenirs, becoming all the more special if it represents you in some way, and a portrait or caricature is as close as it gets. At the Spanish pavilion, get a funny caricature made in black and white or full colour in less than 15 minutes. You just have to sit still and be prepared to laugh at yourself.
Cost: Black and white Dh80 per person, Dh150 for two; Colour Dh160 for two (Discounts offered for groups and charges vary)
The Haunted House
If you haven’t met your adrenalin quota yet (are you human?), you won’t want for thrill with Haunted House, one of the most exciting features at Global Village. You have to walk through a scary maze; covered with all sorts of gruesome objects that claim to make your skin crawl and your heart pound, literally, out of your chest. We don’t want to give spoilers but rest assured it is pretty scary.
Cost: Dh50 per person
Ride the abra
This abra ride is the answer to the down from that adrenalin rush. Abras are all too common for UAE residents but taking this ride at the Global Village is in a whole other league, especially if you plan it carefully. And what’s better — it is an eco-friendly ride with RTA’s electric-powered abra. The ride will take you across Global Village’s canal to give you a glimpse of colourful Fantasy Island rides and some of the popular pavilion facades. Book a ride around the same time as Global Village’s water fountain show for a magical view from the canal. Once every hour on the hour, except during prayer break.
Cost: Dh50 per abra (for 7 people) for five to ten minutes (Water fountain shows start by 7pm)
Food, food and more food
After all of this jumping, walking and crawling (if you went into the haunted house), you need sustenance. Global Village has no limits to what you can find to eat; whether you want to try something traditional or just something to whet your appetite. Want to make a fun video for your social media? Start recording as you get to the Turkish ice-cream vendor — he might drive you insane but we say, anything for a hilarious video. Other food stalls visitors must try include the honey stalls in the Yemen pavilion (claimed to be the best in the world) and the Abu Laban ‘knafeh’ stall in the Syria pavilion along with other mainstream restaurants and street-side vendors.
Location: Exit 37, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, Dubai, UAE; Timings: Saturday to Wednesday from 4pm to midnight (Entry gates close at 11.30pm) Thursdays, Fridays and public holidays from 4pm to 1am (Entry gates close at 12.30am); Entry: Dh15 per person (entry and concert ticket); Public transport: Bus 103 from Union Station, Bus 104 from Al Ghubaiba (3.15pm to 11.15pm).