Now that we’ve reached the final stretch of the biggest global event currently taking place, our Expo Experts are eager to share their favourite experiences thus far. With new events, celebrations and festivities happening daily, Expo 2020 Dubai truly has something for everyone. To help you feel less over-whelmed when planning your first visit, or to spark a bit of inspiration in those returning for a second, third or fifteenth time – here are some Expo insights from our avid experts.
Pavilions Not to Be Passed
With 192 country pavilions and numerous other signature pavilions covering the grandiose Expo grounds, picking the ones to visit may present quite a challenge, especially if you’re only visiting for a day or two. Although you might be tempted to explore those with the shortest queues (and you definitely should!), there’s a reason why getting into some pavilions may require a bit more patience. Our expert tip - use the Smart Queue feature on the Expo app to book a time slot for your visit and save more time for discovering!
The Saudi Arabia Pavilion
A true crowd favourite among our experts! The Saudi Arabia Pavilion has definitely put its best foot forward when it comes to representing the country at the world exhibition. The prism-inspired structure and use of cutting-edge technologies are guaranteed to leave visitors collecting their jaws from the ground.
Explorers of the pavilion will experience 14 cultural landmarks during an eye-opening escalator ride created by a collective of local artists. Saudi’s ‘window to the world’ aims to introduce the rich history of the country, whilst sharing the excitement for an ambitious future. Visitors will find out more about the heritage, natural wonders and residents of Saudi.
Being the second largest pavilion at Expo (two-football-fields large!), the attention to detail is truly admirable. There’s even a glass escalator for people of determination to ensure an awe-inspiring experience for everyone. An absolute must-see!
The Republic of Korea Pavilion
If you’re a fan of Squid Game or K-pop, take a deeper dive into the country’s culture when you visit the Pavilion of the Republic of Korea. Located in the Mobility district, the colourful, lights-covered pavilion is hard to miss. Don’t go looking for the same exact building on your second visit however, as the façade of the pavilion is constantly changing.
Visitors can partake in a unique interactive experience guiding them through real and virtual environments. The pavilion aims to offer a fantastic peek into the future of mobility on a mobile-guided augmented reality (AR) excursion. On their journey, visitors will gain a better understanding of the Republic of Korea and all that it has to offer. Oh, and you can skip your usual Friday movie night for this, as the pavilion comes completed with a vertical cinema. Just don’t forget your camera to make the most of unbeatable photo ops.
The Switzerland Pavillion
If you’ve ever dreamt of travelling in the Swiss Alps, this is your chance to get a glimpse into what the experience could be like. Visitors can admire the beautiful Swiss landscape, whilst “hiking” through a sea of fog. A visit to the pavilion will give you an understanding of the innovation and entrepreneurship possibilities in the country.
If you’ve been in Dubai for a long time, chances are it’s been a while since you’ve needed an umbrella. Now it’s time to brush up on your umbrella-handling skills, as you’ll be handed one, whilst making your way to the Swiss crystal cave. Make sure to look up and snap photos of the mirror above, reflecting a wonderful sea of red umbrellas.
Your Swiss pavilion explorations will definitely leave a sweet taste in your mouth, as no visit to Switzerland would be complete without a piece of melt-in-your-mouth delicious chocolate. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the pavilion café or head to the rooftop terrace for some delectable snacks and refreshing drinks.
The UAE (United Arab Emirates) Pavilion
You didn’t think we’d leave the magnificent, out-of-this-world UAE Pavilion off the list, did you? Hosting Expo 2020 Dubai, no corner has been cut whilst bringing the UAE Pavilion to life. With 28 movable wings, the falcon-inspired pavilion is impossible to miss. The three-story structure is the largest pavilion on the site offering its visitors an unforgettable experience. You’ll get to explore six different zones, introducing the past, present and future of the country.
The pavilion aims to celebrate the traditions and progress of the UAE over a multi-sensory journey. Among other attractions, visitors can enjoy a wonderful animation created to highlight the uniqueness of the local culture and take photos with beautiful dunes made from nothing other than the sand from the Arabian desert. This one is definitely worth any potential queues.
Hidden Gem – the Pakistan Pavilion
According to our Expo Experts, the Pakistan Pavilion is an underdog in the race for the best pavilion. The colourful structure offers an unexpected, yet wonderful surprise to all visitors.
Guests of the Pakistan Pavilion will get a glimpse into the rich history and fascinating culture of the largely unexplored tourist destination. You’ll fall in love with the amazing landscapes, incredible hospitality and cultural diversity over a journey through 7,000 years. Once you’re done being mesmerised by the history of the country, you’ll be given an awe-inspiring look into the future of innovations and investments.
Beware - even a short visit to the pavilion will have you looking up how quickly you can fly to Pakistan.
The Liveliest Scenes
If you’re looking for an activity-filled day without having to roam the entire Expo site, there are a few places where the action level per square metre is significantly higher. According to our experts, the excitement-seekers should head straight for the Sustainability district to get their fix.
The epicentre of attractions can be found in the main pavilion, Terra, but the excitement spreads far beyond. Strolling through the Sustainability District, you’ll be met with state-of-the-art technology as well as ideas and innovations to help us live in harmony with the environment, whilst building a sustainable high-tech future.
With interactive attractions galore, visitors can take part in different games (how about a game of pinball?), explore water-condensing ‘trees’ and enjoy several amazing cultural shows and jaw-dropping performances taking place at the district stage.
Our top places for making extraordinary memories in the Sustainability District include the Singapore Pavilion and the beautiful Hanging Garden, the Netherlands Pavilion complete with a vertical farm, and the Germany Pavilion, where visitors can accessorise with futuristic devices to get a look into the future of sustainability. If you need some refreshing, head to the Brazil Pavilion and make your way to a waterfall as you immerse yourself in the intoxicating aromas of the Amazon.
Take a ride on a camel to channel your inner Emirati and find your balance sandboarding down the beautiful dunes.
Honourable mentions in the most action-packed category will also go out to the Opportunity and Mobility District. Anyone yearning to get a sneak peek into the future of aviation (think the 70s – 2070s that is), take part in educational workshops and enjoy inspiring live events, should also include the Emirates Pavilion to their list of fun-filled adventures.
Don’t forget to get a Henna painting before you leave the camp to make the memories last longer.
Fuel Up on Flavours
With all the walking and exploring you’ll be doing at Expo, there’s no way to get through the day without needing a snack break (or three, once you see all the incredible options). Luckily, the coming together of cultures from all over the world also means the chance to experience the greatest buffet under the Sun. No doubt, the small cafés, rooftop terraces and Michelin-worthy restaurants at country pavilions are well worth a visit, but according to our experts, there are a few culinary experiences too good to be missed.
Those who’ve visited the popular Dubai Mall branch probably already know to queue up for Al Baik’s famous chicken nuggets and shrimp. Vegetarians will also be welcomed with delectable falafels and best of all – the menu offers a bang for your buck. Our experts chose Al Baik as their all-time Expo favourite.
The official food delivery provider at Expo, Talabat, has opened a sustainable two-storey cloud kitchen on site, to tickle the taste buds of hungry visitors. Our experts were most impressed by an incredibly wide array of food choices offered at reasonable prices. Oh, and where else can you have your coffee and ice cream served by a robot barista?
If you’re visiting for multiple days or the whole season, we suggest going for a morning coffee and Lamington on Melbourne Lane, enjoying scrumptious sushi at Sushiro by the Japan Pavilion, devouring an authentic Belgian waffle at the Belgium Pavilion and getting your artisan cheese and baguette fix at the France Pavilion. With more options to choose from than we could possibly list, one thing’s for sure – no one leaves Expo on an empty stomach.
The Ultimate Unmissable Experiences
The saying “so much to do, so little time” definitely rings true for those visiting the Expo 2020 Dubai for only a day or two. To make sure none of our readers miss the best of the best, we’ve asked our Expo Experts to name their ultimate unmissable Expo experience. Here’s the creme de la crème of Expo 2020 Dubai.
Al Wasl Dome Plaza – especially at night
Those reaching the site by metro, will be welcomed by the magnificent dome right as they enter. Al Wasl Dome in all its glory is the unmissable focal point of Expo. Once the sun has set, visitors can witness the dome lighting up the sky and admire incredible light shows throughout the evening. Al Wasl Dome perfectly depicts the theme of the entire exhibition – to connect people, minds and come together to build a wonderful future for us all. Once there, you’ll be awed by the sounds, sights and a range of emotions taking over.
The Magnificent Water Feature
Dubbed as the “Coolest Fountain in Town”, the Water Feature at Expo is undeniably an attraction every visitor simply must witness for themselves. Combine a powerful soundtrack from the Game of Thrones composer with a gravity-defying, fire-spitting dancing waterfall and you’ve got yourself a sight to remember!
The waterfall offers visitors a chance to cool off during the day by dipping their toes in. Come night-time – the spiral structure in the centre of the ring starts spewing fire, mesmerising viewers with flames bursting in green, yellow and red. All that’s left to say is “Wow!”.
Garden in the Sky
This crowd favourite has earned its spot as one of the top attractions at the world exhibition. Imagine a rotating park 46 meters above the ground, offering amazing views of the site - that’s exactly what you’ll find at Garden in the Sky. You’ll enjoy all the perks of an observation deck, with the added bonus of feeling like you’re out in the nature.
Whether you’re looking to get a bird’s-eye view of the Expo site during the day or admire the gorgeous surroundings once the sun has set, the five minutes in the sky garden are sure to land on your Expo highlights list.