How my family makes the most out of our Global Village VIP passes

My family and I visit the park twice a week during the cooler months, and no two trips are ever the same

Global Village opens on October 18 this year. Photo: Global Village
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The Global Village VIP passes go on sale at 10am on Saturday and – if the process is anything like the past two years – the chances of snagging one are slim.

I’ve lived in Dubai for 18 years now, and over the years my enthusiasm (some call it an obsession) with the shopping destination has only increased. So much so that I simply must get my hands on a VIP pass this year. Again.

I have my eye on the Silver package (Dh1,750 for 100 tickets), which also includes a VIP parking sticker and two Wonder Passes loaded with points for the carnival area, in addition to a host of vouchers for other attractions. The higher the value of the package, the more freebies and discount it contains.

The separate VIP parking area is useful especially on weekends where it might take a longer time (sometimes, up to an hour) to find a parking spot because of how busy it can get.

The prices might seem steep, but Global Village is a bi-weekly excursion for my family during the cooler months. And no two trips are ever the same.

While my children clamour to head to the rides, and we head towards the carnival section, I scan the countries we pass, mentally planning which ones to hit up today.

Why I love Global Village

Whenever I visit, there is always something for everyone. Turkey is at the top of my list for its dainty jewellery and handmade soaps. In Egypt, I hope to find a new coffee set – one that will double as a statement decor piece in my home. In India, there are some accessories for the wedding I have to attend this season.

In Africa, I plan on picking up a cream that apparently does wonders for stretch marks, and while I'm there, I might just get my hair braided too. Saudi Arabia has divine dates and ma’amoul biscuits, and I plan on tasting a few before settling on the box I'm going to buy.

If it's like any other previous visit, I'll likely join the children for a round on the massive Ferris wheel and take in the aerial view of Global Village, eyeing the continuing traffic and thanking my lucky stars I'm not still there.

After taking the little ones for a few rides and games and a handful of prizes, we'll likely get hungry. Although they'll want the Turkish ice cream from the stall outside the Thailand pavilion, we will need dinner first.

For authentic Pakistani food, there's Bundoo Khan’s (where you’ll likely spot me and my family on the rooftop), or for a nice bowl of tom-yom soup, there's Thai at Yahya’s. If the aroma of freshly grilled kebabs is tempting, head to Bosnian Kabab House.

It's nice to enjoy a wholesome meal in the open-air. Afterwards, I like to make a visit towards the desert train located across from the China pavilion and survey the different sweet treats on offer with a delight akin to the children’s.

I usually make the wise choice to defer dessert until after shopping but it's easy to get caught lost in time and realise it isn't possible to visit all of the countries on my list for the day.

Oh, well, there’s always next time.

Global Village opens on October 18; VIP packages go on sale 10am Saturday at

Updated: September 29, 2023, 9:41 AM