Global Village is wrapping up their 21st edition on April 8 and this weekend try out some of their best activities before the village closes for the summer. The weather is cool enough for you and your family or friends to enjoy a night or two exploring this gargantuan exhibition.
Location Exit 37, Shaikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, Dubai, UAE Timings Saturday to Wednesday from 4pm to 12am (Entry gates close at 11.30pm) Thursdays, Fridays and public holidays from 4pm to 1am (Entry gates close at 12.30am) Cost Dh15 per person (entry and concert ticket) Public transport Bus 103 from Union Station, Bus 104 from Al Ghubaiba (3.15pm to 11.15pm) Contact 04 3624114 Website globalvillage.ae
Here are our 12 top picks on what every visitor should experience before this season ends and we’ll help you plan your day there. And we say your first stop should be;
The Sky Coaster
There is no dearth of venues for adventure and adrenaline fanatics in the UAE, but the Sky Coaster in Global Village is surely worth a try for you brave souls. We’ve all been on swings, screaming “higher” with our parents pushing us. 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 and the sun is still out, giving you a nice view, when you are falling and if you are looking.
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 can not only enjoy watching the ancient Egyptian art of clay pot making, but also practice it. The pavilion’s potter, Mr. Mohamed Atiyeh Mohamed, 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 for keeping 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 at Global Village. First brought into Calcutta back in 1896, bioscopes 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 practice 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 in time.
Cost Dh150 for 2 persons, Dh190 for 3 people, Dh 220 for 4 people and Dh255 for 5 people
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 depending on requirement)
The Haunted House
If you haven’t met your adrenaline 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 adrenaline 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 abras. The ride will take you across Global Village’s canal to give you a glimpse of the 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.
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 in 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.
Ms. Yuri Nakagaw makes handwritten Japanese calligraphy scripts, at the Far East pavilion’s heritage square. Ms. Nakagawa has been practicing the art of calligraphy since elementary school and has been teaching the art for 15 years. Guests can enjoy watching this unique art and at the same get their own names written in the Japanese calligraphy style.
Freej Festivities petting zone
For kids and adults alike, animal lovers should head to Freej Festivities centre, located in Global Village’s new cultural square. From bunnies and birds to sheep and iguanas, this area hosts 11 animal species and is sure to be a hit with the children as well.
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. It makes for a great end to your visit to Global Village as the night skies explode with colour and in tune to music.
Details Thursday and Friday at 9pm
Watch Farhan live this weekend
Not over yet, you still have a concert to go to. The Bollywood actor and singer, songwriter, Farhan Akhtar will be performing live on the main cultural stage on April 7 from 9pm onwards. Expect to enjoy some of his most popular songs such as Rock On, Dil Dhadakne Do, Manzar Naya and more. Concert tickets come with your entry fee of Dh15 into Global Village, so it’s basically free for all visitors on Friday.