Global Village? Is that like Disneyland’s It’s a Small World? Thankfully not. This is not a theme park ride, and there are no shrill puppets insisting over and over and over again that the world is very, very small. Too small, in our opinion, for such a monumentally annoying ride. But we digress. Dubai’s Global Village is essentially an enormous market, themed around different continents and countries from all over the world, with each section selling products from those nations. This year’s season started on Tuesday November 3, and finishes on April 9, 2016.
Great, I love shopping. What sort of stuff can I buy? If you can think it, you can probably buy it. Yemeni honey, Indian pashminas, Spanish paella pans, Italian pasta, Tunisian birdcages, Saudi dates, lucky cats from China, fresh fruit from Thailand, Afghan rugs, plus olive wood bowls and utensils, carved wooden animals, paintings, flamenco outfits and so much more. Prices are keen, but you want to have your wits and your haggling skills about you – this is a market in many senses.
Is that a Ferris wheel I can see? Indeed it is. There’s not just shopping to keep you entertained – Global Village also has a reasonably sized fun fair, with all sorts of rides to keep kids and adults suitably giddy and just a tiny bit nauseous. There’s also an ever-changing line-up of live entertainment, from jugglers to dancers, musicians to kids cartoon characters. Visit the website for the daily schedule. Major events such as UAE National Day usually see Global Village put on a spectacular fireworks display, as well as some special, one-off concerts and performances from international stars and talent.
Anything else I should know? It’s fairly out-of-the-way from most neighbourhoods in Dubai, and taking a taxi could undermine any savings you make. Car pool, or get the bus – the 103 and 104 both serve the destination. Check out routes and timetables at www.dubai-buses.com. Visitors should also be aware of their attire – it’s not unheard of for security to send women in shorts to the first shop past the gates to buy more modest leggings. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, www.globalvillage.ae (04 362 4114).
Only at Global Village
Among the many different stalls, the Tunisian section of Global Village is always one of our favourites. Packed with colourful buys and friendly, helpful stall-holders, it’s a great place to choose a housewarming gift for a friend or pick up a Christmas present for your mum. Negotiate a good price and you could treat yourself as well as everyone else.