Global Village is an excited bubble of a place where different countries around the world come together to share their cultural differences and unite in a village of entertainment and tradition.
Or at least that seems to be the aim.
There are different 'countries', in Global Village, each representing a different slice of culture. However, in some cases they have got in wrong. In 'Spain' and 'China' for example they had Oud - the Arabic fragrance. I don't recall visiting either these countries as a child and seeing musky herbal perfume being wafted my way. Just saying.
In other sections however it's great. Africa is by far the best, and the busiest. Full of traditional, authentic, and high quality pieces mostly from Kenya, it was like coming home: warmth felt from the shop keepers, and an interest in you. It was also the least pushy section compared with the other 'countries'. The haggling was met with a smile, and you really do walk away with a bargain.
The Filipino section is full of kitsch jewellery and East Asian bric-a-brac. Stereotypical, but it's nice to see something different compared with the Middle-Eastern countries who are all the same. Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE, and Kuwait all have the same stock: abayas and shalas, oudh fragrance, counterfeit designer hand bags, juice bars and dates.
But that's not to say it's not atmospheric. There's an excitable, interested spirit in the air and everyone is keen to explore each country and immerse themselves in culture - even if it is for ten minutes before they move onto the next.
Be aware Global Village is vast and you will be walking around a lot. In the same vein however, there is a lot to see, and ideal for an all day trip with the kids. Speaking of your children there is a large children's play area with rides, games, and children's activities to keep them more than entertained.
For the adults there is plenty on offer. You can have a boat ride, akin to riding in a gondola in Italy I imagine. The river doubles as entertainment every hour - they have dancing fountains just like the ones at the Dubai Mall.
There is also a ferris wheel and a fair complete with 'scary rides' like the 'cyclon coster', 'sky fire', and others.
At 8pm each 'country' has live entertainment so you're spoilt for choice! The African section has Kenyan dancers that put on a fantastic energetic show that really gets the crowd going. The China section provides a more subtle show, women twirling umbrellas in traditional Chinese dress, and dancing slowly to melodious Chinese music. In the UAE section Arabic singers take the stage, and play to the adoring crowd - not for everyone but there are so many stages, so take your pick.
There are juice bars and fresh fruit options dotted around the village, and hot and cold meals, there is a lot of the same: kebabs, wraps and fast food options, which can become a bit monotonous. That said there are some novel options such as Turkish ice cream that is egg, and sugar free, as well as camel's milk and ice cream and traditional Emirati cuisine. Try the camel's milk, it is definitely different, and the Turkish ice cream is surprisingly yummy. Awamat is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert - they are rounded balls of dough, fried until crisp and then dipped in date syrup. Delicious if you have a sweet tooth.
It is great value for money, especially if you bring your little ones. 10DHS entry fee, and the food in most restaurants and food carts aren't expensive. Head down for a fun filled day with the kids, and maybe a novel evening with your friends.