What are visitors' favourite things to do at Expo 2020 Dubai?

The UAE pavilion has been a main attraction, but what other sites have drawn visitors?

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Expo 2020 Dubai has put on a grand show for visitors from all over the world since it opened almost six months ago.

From the glittering Al Wasl Plaza that comes to life at night to the 192 pavilions that put their country’s culture on dis­play, there is much to explore.

While the UAE pavilion, with its falcon shape, has proven to be a main draw for visitors, there are a few hidden treasures that have also stood out.

The National caught up with some visitors to discuss their other favourite Expo sites.

Garden in the Sky

For South African student Otto Heini, 21, the Garden in the Sky is the best experience.

“It’s beautiful and romantic. You get incredible views from it when it goes up and it’s probably the most unique offering here,” he said.

Otto Heini from South Africa said he enjoyed the Garden in the Sky experience. Pawan Singh / The National

The observation tower takes visitors 55 metres above the ground.

During the five-minute experience, the cabins rotate, as they ascend and descend, offering visitors exceptional panoramic views.

It is even better at night when the base of the tower and cabins glow with colourful lighting.

“The Expo, overall, is a great place to visit and there’s always something to do here. So far, for me, the sky garden is the best,” Mr Heini said.

New Zealand pavilion

Hengchen Hao, 22, a tourist from China, said his favourite spot at the world's fair was the New Zealand pavilion.

“People are just very friendly there and interact with the visitors a lot,” he said.

Located in the Sustainability District, the 2,000 square metre structure has the theme Care for People and Place, based on the Maori aboriginal ethos that humans and nature are linked.

Hengchen Hao from China at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

It has a moving facade that replicates the sound of a river to signify that the building is “alive”.

“I really love how you can feel the river. It’s a very relaxing feeling. The temperature inside is also very comfortable. It’s a great experience overall and I really enjoyed myself,” Mr Hao said.

Luxembourg pavilion

Greek tourist Jovana Kelmendi, 24, said the Luxembourg pavilion is special for her.

While among the highlights is the structure's three-storey slide, Ms Kelmendi said she enjoyed how the pavilion portrays the country’s history and culture.

“You get to learn more about the country and what it has to offer, instead of it just being known as a tax haven,” she said.

Jovana Kelmendi from Greece said the Luxembourg pavilion is one of the best at Expo 2020 Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

The pavilion has an atrium filled with trees and plants that represent Luxembourg’s lush green woodlands.

Located in the Opportunity District, it has the theme "resourceful Luxembourg" and looks at the country’s history, present and future.

It focuses on some of its main resources, including technical, industrial, natural and financial.

Indian pavilion

Saad Malik, 24, an Indian architect in Dubai, finds his own country’s pavilion the best.

The architecture is impressive and so is the section that focuses on yoga and meditation, said Mr Malik.

“I love architecture and the Expo has been a wonderful place for that. The Indian pavilion for me has been the best,” he said.

“I like how it is simple on the outside but there is so much on offer on the inside. My favourite part is the area that focuses on yoga.”

Saad Malik from India loves the architecture of his country's pavilion. Pawan Singh / The National

The four-storey structure has a theme of ‘Future is in India’ and is built across a 0.5-hectare plot.

It shows off the country’s heritage, its past and future, including a section on medicinal herbs, yoga, meditation and another area focused on the country’s space exploration programmes.

There is also a floor that cover the gems and jewellery industries of India, and the Bollywood movie business.

Palestinian pavilion

Tala Nasser, 18, a Palestinian university student in Dubai, also described her own country’s pavilion as the best.

Ms Nasser said she enjoyed how Palestine’s culture is showcased.

One of the exhibits is a recreation of Jerusalem’s Old City, with its narrow alleyways and decorative arches and screens.

Stone slabs were imported from the city to recreate the atmosphere and feeling.

There are pictures that illustrate the busy bazaars, where Palestinians sell textiles, souvenirs and bread.

Located in the Opportunity District, the structure offers something for all of the five senses. This includes food you can taste, flowers and fruit to smell, sites you can see and hear using augmented reality and special items you can touch.

“Using all of your five senses inside was a great concept because Palestine has so much to offer and the pavilion really shows that well,” Ms Nasser said.

South Korea pavilion

For Indian student Sakina Nihal, the South Korean pavilion stands out because of its design, which includes more than 1,500 spinning cubes on its facade that can form phrases.

“It’s so unique. You can walk up the ramps that take you closer to the cubes. The way they spin makes the pavilion look so futuristic,” she said.

“My favourite thing inside is the vertical cinema. It feels like you’re actually in the movie because it feels so close to your face.”

Situated in the Mobility District, the structure spans 5,200 square metres and is the Expo's fifth-largest pavilion.

It has the theme 'Smart Korea, Moving the World to you’ and illustrates the country’s culture through architecture, exhibitions and performances.

In the vertical cinema, visitors can lie down on beanbags and watch as the roof and front wall transform into a giant cinema screen.

The experience is almost 3D, with Korean characters “popping out of the walls and walking around the room”.

Al Wasl Plaza

The favourite for most visitors at the Expo is probably still Al Wasl Plaza, the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen.

The National spoke to about 20 people at the world's fair on Sunday and the majority said the enormous dome was number one.

Ivy Soliven from the Philippines has visited the Expo five times. Pawan Singh / The National

Ivy Soliven, 23, a nanny from the Philippines, has visited the Expo five times.

“How can anything beat the Al Wasl dome? It’s the most attractive thing, especially at night when it lights up,” she said.

“It’s very eye-catching and some of the projection shows that they have displayed on it have been so amazing.”

The dome will remain standing even after the Expo is closed at the end of this month.

Updated: March 13, 2022, 7:05 PM
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