Global Village is a real Dubai institution: the kind of quirky tourist attraction that you'll happily go to even when you have no visitors in tow. It's a place where social hierarchies melt away, and all that's left is an excuse to enjoy its unique charm.
In case you're unaware, this is (briefly) what Global Village is all about: it's split into 27 pavilions, which represent countless countries from around the world, across five continents (Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America). There's also a floating market, a circus, a carnival, Ferris wheel and shows, not to mention food stalls and restaurants, as well as all sorts of retail shops.
This year, the seasonal theme park has been open for that little bit longer than usual: in mid-March it was announced it'll stay open until April 13. Plus, the park has extended its opening hours until 2am and 3am over the next few days. Sadly, however, that extra time is running out, and this weekend is your last chance to experience the extravaganza that is Global Village for one last time this season (or the first time, as the case may be).
Here are five more reasons why you should head through its glorious gates:
It's basically the most fun you can have for Dh15 in the city
There is so much shopping to be done, plenty of food to be eaten, rides to go on, performances to see, even a brand-new floating market to check out; Global Village is everything to everyone and we love it. It's also a place where parents can keep their kids entertained for an entire day (and tire them out for a quiet evening at home). But it's not just for families, either; everyone from teenagers to 20-something singles and the elderly can have fun here.
You can pick up all sorts of delicious food to eat there or take home
There are all manner of restaurants, cafes and kiosks dotted around the various national pavilions throughout the park, serving food from across the world: from Pakistani to Persian and Levantine cuisine. You can even find harder-to-find national dishes, such as Uzbeki and Bosnian favourites. But there are also stalls selling gourmet treats for you to take home and stock your pantry with. One of the most coveted is pure honey from the Yemeni mountains that can be picked up for Dh250 per kilo.
It's a true cross-section of the cultures that reside within the Emirates
No matter your age, your nationality or your income, Global Village is truly a place for everyone. As the pavilions represent so many peoples' home countries, it's no wonder every spectrum of social strata come to do a spot of shopping. This is entirely representative of Dubai's inherently multi-cultural make-up; it's a reason we love the emirate, and one of the biggest reasons we love Global Village.
It's cheesy, but in a really, really good way
It's like a funfair; it's good old-fashioned fun in an over-the-top atmosphere that harks back to simpler times. There's nothing particularly high-tech about it, nor is there much sophistication to its methods, but that's what makes it so charming. It has a bustling, jolly ambience, and it's full of happy, smiling faces, and myriad things to do. What's not to love?
The shopping is amazing, and you can find things from peoples' home countries
As already mentioned, countless countries from around the world are represented across the pavilions. This is where people of many nationalities can get a taste of home. From Persian rugs to locally made incense burners, and Moroccan-style home decor to leather sandals from India, if you're looking for something slightly cultural to add to your life or abode, you're bound to find it here.