Global Village is back for its 21st season this year, and every year this multicultural festival park outdoes itself from it’s previous year. Last weekend, my family and I headed down to enjoy all that is on offer. Having visited Global Village last year, and on another occasion a very long time ago when I was only visiting Dubai as a tourist, I was familiar with the concept and excited to experience it once more.
The park opens at 4 pm every day, closing at 12 am on weekdays and 1 am on weekends. To ensure we got the best out of our trip we got there early at roughly 4 pm, and I would urge you to do the same, because after sunset it gets pretty crowded! The entry ticket for each person is only AED 15 and they offer a Family Pack too for AED 99, including 4 Entry Tickets, 1 Valet Parking Ticket, 1 Fantasy Island Card (worth AED 75)and 2 Mini Train Tickets. Quite the bargain!
Once we got our bearings, we decided to make our first stop to Fantasy Island, which is an area dedicated to rides to suit all ages and skill games that bring out your competitive streak. Baby Z was bewildered to say the least, and once he grew accustomed to the noise and lights, he was excited to go on as many rides as he could. You can go on all the rides by using the Fantasy Island Card, which you can top up at various ticket offices dotted around the area, and each cost roughly ride costs roughly between AED 10-30.
There are also plenty of skilled games that you can try your luck with and win enormous soft stuffed toys. I was pretty chuffed to win a super cuddly and humongous stuffed goat. It has currently taken pride of place on our living room sofa, and makes for a great cushion whilst watching tele! Ha!
We all enjoyed plenty more rides, though I was not willing to go on the scary ones that I could hear screams emanating from. Baby Z also enjoyed himself on the bouncy castle, which is one of his favourite things to go on, so that pretty much made his day.
Snacks and Dining
In between all the playing and shopping, we refueled time and time again on the snacks being offered by the vendors everywhere around us. There was a huge range of street food cuisine to choose from, each symbolising a different country. I particularly enjoyed the barbecued corn, especially in the chilly breeze of Winter in Dubai. My sister opted for the delicious chocolate smothered pancakes, whilst the rest of the family enjoyed Punjabi Samosas. There’s so much else you can choose from such as the legendary Potato Swirl sticks, waffles, momos…the list goes on and on.
The options are no less for dining, again each bringing a different facet of culture with it, so you can pretty much enjoy any international cuisine that your heart so desires. From the normal fast food chains like KFC and Pizza Hut, to steak houses and even a Bosnian House Restaurant, equipped with waiters in costumes and lampshades of a lost era, you are truly spoilt for choice.
That’s what I was really here for. Taking Baby Z to the Fantasy Island was just a ruse or bribe so I could ensure a guilt free shopping spree could ensure soon after. With exactly 30 pavilions to enjoy, you can cancel your holiday tickets because if you need to know more about a certain country, you only need to head to their pavilion to experience the best of what the country has on offer.
“Participating pavilions include: UAE, Turkey, Jordan, Russia, The Americas, Pakistan, Italy, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Morocco, Thailand, Kuwait, Yemen, China, Africa, Spain, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, Germany, France, UK, KSA, India, Egypt and Syria pavilions, as well as Khalifa Foundation and Forsati. For the first time, a Far East pavilion will be representing the countries of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Also being represented for the first time is the Algeria pavilion, and the Eastern Europe pavilion representing Romania, Serbia, and the Ukraine. Furthermore the Jordanian pavilion will be returning from the 19th season.”
See what I mean?
I also noticed straight away one big change from last year that Global Village has made is the addition of new cultural landmarks to pavilion entrances as well as museum like sections within some pavilions that give a snapshot of the culture.
I think we would need to visit many more times to be able to visit all the pavilions and give each their due time, but one of my favourites is to visit the India Pavilion, which is one of the biggest pavilions. Below are a few photos from the pavilion, including vendors selling traditional shoes, gorgeous ribbon shops, ladies putting on Henna whilst being adorned in traditional Rajisthani attire, live pottery and even a walk through where you can take photos with Bollywood actor cutouts. You can bet I took a a few selfies with Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan!
Visiting the India Pavilion has made me SO much more excited for our trip to India next week! Next up, we visited the China Pavilion as it is my favourite for shopping clothes and techy items, and the vendors are often open to bargaining, which is great if you enjoy haggling for the best price. I may have picked up an item or two…
I could go on and on about each of the other pavilions I visited, and trust me when I say I have over a hundred photos in my camera roll that I could bombard you with, but each pavilion has it’s own speciality that you need to discover for yourself.
To end the night of shopping, dining and playing, we qued up to watch the thrilling show “Speed Chase Action“. Queing up isn’t the most pleasant thing, even if it is what us Brits are known for, so be sure to fuel up with snacks before or during the wait to avoid cases of “Hanger” or toddler tantrums. However, the show itself is well worth the wait, even if you aren’t a thrill seeker like me. The show was engaging, loud and exciting. Baby Z was transfixed for the entire show and really enjoyed hi-fiving the actors once the show was over, making it a memorable show that he was talking about the entire way home. He is also currently trying to re-create the cars drifting with his toy cars.
That’s not the only entertainment in store though, as there is a huge variety of shows including award-winning theatrical cultural performances and concerts every Friday by International music icons, as well as magic and clown performances for the younger audience. You can keep track of the not to be missed shows via the Global Village App you can download on your phone.
Fri-Yay at @globalvillageuae was a fun filled event for the entire family! Plenty of rides were enjoyed by Baby Z and Baby A (my Neice) at Fantasy Island, followed by Shopping in the different country pavillions and ending on a high with the "Speed Race Action" show, watching the cars and motorbikes drifting insanely! Oh and snacking at every snack vendor in between of course! We even managed to win the cutest giant soft toy! Whoop whoop! 🐑💋🏆 Find out what it was and lots more action from today over on my Snapchat (👻 zenisanj) #globalvillage #family #fun #weekend #weekendvibes #familyfun #giantwheel #globalvillagedubai #mydubai #uae #motherhood #parenting #lifestyleblog #lifestyleblogger #mummyblogger #dubaiblogger #mummyblog #dubaiblog #expatblog #dubaimoms #dubaimummy #mummylife #toddler #toddlerlife #instamood #instadaily #dubaitourism #dubaimedia #dubaipr
If you are looking for an fun filled evening that caters to the entire family, be sure to visit Global Village. Also since it it all completely outdoors, now is the perfect time to visit whilst there is a chilly breeze out there, and don’t forget to take a jacket as it does get pretty cold as the evening ensues. Also, make sure to take your running shoes or comfortable footwear as there is A LOT of walking involved, and though the tickets are pretty cheap, I do not take any responsibility for the amount of money you during your shopping spree! Overall, I would highly recommend you visit Global Village with your family, and personally, I think it has earned it’s spot as one of those winter family traditions of must-visit places for us.
For more information, head on over to the Global Village website or follow them on social media for the latest updates.
Note: This post is written in collaboration with Global Village, however all views and opinions expressed above are honest and solely my own.