Top 10 pavilions at the Global Village
India Kashmiri pashmina (woollen) shawls that are incredibly soft and light yet keep you warm and cosy are draped over several stalls here. Depending on the quality of the Himalayan goat wool (cashmere) and colourful hand-stitched embroidery used, prices hover between Dh200 and Dh2,000. They can last a lifetime; be sure to wash the shawl only in cold water and air-dry it.
Iran Grace your home with famed Persian handmade carpets in a variety of designs and sizes. The Tarasoli rug stall there claims to be the only one at Global Village with authentic Persian carpets. They start at about Dh2,000 – no matter what the size – and come in silk, wool, and silk-wool varieties. On your way out, don’t miss out on Iran’s superior quality dry fruits, priced at about Dh100 per kilo for a bag of mixed nuts.
Africa African tribal men and women greet you at the gates as you enter a microcosm of the continent. The entire pavilion is lined with souvenir stalls, selling wooden miniatures of wildlife, tribal caricatures and masks. They start at just Dh20, but one shop there is offering two 10-foot giraffes for Dh25,000. There are also reptile-skin handbags, with tiny wallet-sized ones costing about Dh200.
China It is easy to see why China is the “workshop of the world” when you come across a dizzying variety of readymade garments, window curtains, bedcovers, accessories and toys. The price range is equally wide, with some steal deals on window curtains (2.5mx2.7m) for just Dh125. You can also pick up offbeat nightdresses and lingerie for only Dh35 a piece.
Thailand It’s a mini bazaar seemingly air-lifted from an alley in Bangkok and put down in Dubai. The aroma of spicy Thai delights wafts across the pavilion, which has back-to-back food stalls selling combos for about Dh25. There is also a Thai grocery store stacked with products from the Southeast Asian country. If all the hustle and bustle wears you down, pop in for a Thai massage, priced at about Dh200 per hour.
Pakistan Keep the winter chill out – and do it in style – with handcrafted pure leather jackets at rock-bottom prices. Starting at about Dh200 for sheep leather, the much sought-after attire also comes with collars and sleeves lined with fox fur, for around Dh500. If you want to really stand out, it will cost you extra, with cow leather overcoats going for some Dh800. You can take a tea break at the traditional food stall there, serving hot tea and tangy fried snacks like samosas.
UAE The incense burns non-stop here, drawing in curious shoppers with its natural woody fragrance. It’s like stepping into a traditional market out of the 1,001 Arabian Nights legend. There are perfumes and incense for use at home and for clothes starting at Dh30 (for as many grams), flowing black abayas for Dh200, and UAE dates for Dh50 per kg.
Yemen You won’t have to guess what this pavilion is known for, when scores of honey salesmen spoil you with freebies of the golden stuff. The honey is so pure and fresh you can smell and taste hints of the nectar the bees sipped to produce the end product. Dh150 a kilo is the going rate for most types, though you should expect to fork out more for varieties such as “Only for married”, said to boost intimacy.
Spain The Mediterranean country has come to the fair for the first time – and taken visitors by pleasant surprise. The spotless pavilion is decked out with festive décor and traditional shop signs, offering cute little souvenirs, the world-famous churros (sweet fried bread) and, of course, Real Madrid football club gear. Stall keepers said their prices are unbeatable, despite traditional Spanish products not being easily available in Dubai. But the showstopper is a stall with traditional Spanish silk shawls known as manton de Manila. Some of these handmade beauties take six months to make. Prices start at about Dh350, going up to Dh10,000 for the larger ones. They even have shawls turned into Arabic headscarves for about Dh265.
Egypt This is one of the biggest, tallest pavilions – but small on costs. At every corner you turn are giant stalls selling Egyptian gowns for men and women, and night suits for children. The men and children’s clothes – said to be of pure cotton – are priced at about Dh35 per piece (or three for Dh100). The women’s dresses go for about Dh60 per item, or two for Dh100.