Global Village in Dubailand is one of my favourite places to discover unusual gems, to shop for great bargains, find souvenirs and gifts from all over the world, test new food, and simply have a great time with the whole family!
I always take my guests here, and I have the feeling it is one of the places where you meet most Arabs and Emiratis condensed in one place. On the other hand, I am astonished that so many of my European friends, sometimes even after living in this city for years, have never come here! You are missing something!
This Mini Expo is set up during the winter months (November - March) and features various country pavilions - a lot from the Middle East, but also India, Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, to name just a few.
Due to special regulations, sellers from these countries can come with their products and sell during these months at their specific pavilions.
This means, you don't have branch shops from UAE based retailers, but real authenticity - in African, you have "real" Africans selling handwoven baskets, wooden carved and handpainted masks, chairs, elephants, and all the other African souvenirs that they have brought specifically for this fair.
I have actually bought some of my African souvenirs cheaper in Global Village than during my holidays in their original country!
But there aren't only souvenirs and handcrafts to discover - you can also buy Saffron from Iran, nuts and mulberry from Afghanistand, Olives from Turkey, cheese from Lebanon... I always end up stocking up some special foods!
And, the village is full of little food stands, as well as restaurants and a food court, so don't bring any food with you!
Walk around and watch old Emirati ladies rolling and frying luqeymat (the sweet balls of pancake batter drizzled with date syrup - my son loves them!), or get some fresh shawarma, fried corn, and much more.
What you should also check out are all the shows by each pavilion - there is traditional dancing and music, but also many great artists performing amazing shows on stage.
And of course, not to forget, the entire fun fair! That's a complete other section, boasting all sorts of rides for kids and adults alike!
It is really easy to find just along Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (311), close to Arabian Ranches / Hessa Street (from there in direction Sharjah, you will see signboards, it is exit 37).
The Entertainment Park is open every day from 4pm to midnight, and costs 15 AED entrance fee. For details and updates on the exact opening dates for next year, have a look at the Global Village website.
Below is a Google Map to find it really easily.