Global Village, is the highlight of the year in Dubai – an enormous festival and shopping area only open during winter. It’s a celebration of the world’s diverse cultures and traditions, hosting colorful pavilions based on different countries – you can buy Turkish rose perfumes, Nigerian spices, Egyptian scarves and much more besides. Global Village also hosts cultural musical performances, a theme park, and an enormous range of food stalls and restaurants to indulge in culinary delights from around the world. Entrance is only 15 dirhams; here are 11 reasons (out of many) on why you have to visit Dubai’s Global Village this season.
The Turkish Pavilion is one of the most popular, and while the Turkish Delights and coffee are a big hit, it’s the clothing from Turkey that steal the show. Browse through elegant and modest dresses and long vintage skirts so typical of Turkish fashion—you’ll have a hard time leaving without buying at least one cute outfit! You’ll also have a fun time shopping with the Turkish vendors, they’ll always put a smile on your face (but beware as they are also skilled in getting you to buy almost anything!).
Oman, and more famously Yemen, are the best places to get honey in the Arabian Peninsula; and their pavilions in Global Village will not disappoint you. Pamper your taste buds with the lines of honey samples in these pavilions, and good luck trying to choose from the many flavours. From golden honey to the charcoal black variety, from rose to berry flavored, you’ll come up with a million new ways to eat honey just to justify buying this honey in bulk.
You’ll be able to hear the Egyptian pavilion the moment you step inside Global Village. From colorful scarves and dresses to vendors bellowing out laughter, from every type of Egyptian dessert possible to the loud Arabic music blasting out of old speakerphones; this pavilion will excite all your senses and cannot be missed!
Once you get past the main entrance that’s blasting old Bollywood songs, the Indian pavilion is quite calm and peaceful. It’s also one of the largest pavilions, and you can easily spend an hour browsing its quiet stalls and chatting to its friendly vendors. The highlight of this pavilion however must be the antiques sold in the far-end corner, with older Indian gentlemen still speaking 1800’s style English, selling dusty antiques. From old watches to faded book ends to wooden chests and carvings, you’ll find something you never even knew you needed.
The UAE and Saudi Arabian pavilions probably smell the best in Global Village, and with traditional bakhour and oud perfuming the entrances, you’ll be enticed to enter just from the aromas. Perfumes are extremely popular in both countries, and if you want a deeper perfume with traces of musk, wood, sage, and rose; then you’ll have to pick up a bottle or two here. You’ll nearly always get a free matching body lotion or perfume sample along with your buy, so why not?
There are a huge number of Iranian expats who live in Dubai, so having the Iranian pavilion in Global Village proves to be completely worth it as thousands of Iranians and Afghanis flock to this pavilion to stock up on Persian snacks, nuts, spices, and tea. The saffron from Iran however, is probably the best thing to browse through. The deep smell and rich red color gives you the clue that this is some of the finest saffron in the world. Try the saffron in warm water with honey, sprinkled on sweets, or mixed in with rich Iranian rice for the best flavors and aromas. Although it’s a bit expensive, it’s worth it to buy a small package if you want to try making your own Persian feast at home.
The pavilions of Ukraine and Russia offer a refreshingly cool breeze from the heat of Dubai, with Russian sweets, Kremlin trinkets, and Ukrainian scarves and snacks. The most popular thing to shop for however are the vintage-looking teacups and plates. With delicate flower designs or bright blue and white patterns, these adorable Eastern European teacup sets will make you forget you’re in Dubai, and instead want to cozy up next to a fireplace while reading Tolstoy or listening to Tchaikovsky.
Global Village has its own enormous stage with different performances almost every night of the week. From vibrant Bollywood songs to North African bellydancing, from Chinese folklore plays to the latest dances from South Africa, there’s always something entertaining for those who need a break from shopping.
Although there are new places to eat every year, the Pakistani restaurants in Global Village are always the most popular; and the flavours are always delicious enough to make you want to pack your bags and head to Pakistan. From buttery paratha bread to succulent lamb chops, from spicy curries to crispy pakoras; the food here will have you licking your fingers!
If you’re still feeling a bit peckish after dinner and want something to snack on, check out the food stalls lined up in all four corners of Global Village. These literally sell everything from around the world: from Japanese takoyaki to British fish and chips, from Brazilian chocolate desserts to Turkish gyros, from Palestinian kunafa to fresh tropical fruit juices from Thailand, some people visit Global Village just for these amazing food stalls!
Finally, one of the main reasons to visit Global Village is to participate in a truly enormous celebration of the world’s beautiful diversity. Located in international Dubai, Global Village symbolizes what is so desperately needed in this world today: a love for diversity in spite of our many differences, through a celebration of culture, food, and the best of all our backgrounds. Here you can meet and mingle with new friends from all across the globe. Representing more than 75 different countries with over 5 million of people visiting the Village just last year, join in the celebration and rekindle your love for humanity!