Ok, so here we go about the best way to experience Dubai Expo 2020.
You can catch the first part here.
At first, the entire Expo complex will overwhelm you.
It is HUGE.
So to make sense of it all, just see the whole thing into three districts:
All the countries are located within these three districts.
First, decide how much time do you have on hand.
Strictly speaking, if you want to explore the Expo in its entirety, then you will need at least one entire week. If you have only one day, then you best had decide which countries to visit. If you have several days, you can plan out the route for yourself. See which countries you would love to explore.
Second, get the map.
This is available from any of the kiosks or official souvenir stores. The map is free.
Third, download the official Expo App.
This will help you see the various activities for each day, whether they are talks and seminars, shows, singers, performances, everything is mentioned in the app. The app also shows your location, so it can guide you to the nearest restaurant, bathrooms, convenience stores, ATMs, or any specific country.
Here are some Dos and Donts:
Do wear super comfortable shoes.
(There will be waiting times in some pavilions and there will be some experiences within the pavilions that will require lots of walking and standing. Japan had a 40 mins wait time, and the tour was for 1 hour. Germany had a 35 mins wait time, and the experience was 40 mins in itself. Korea had a 30 mins tour.)
Do keep an empty water bottle handy.
There are free water fountains everywhere. Keep yourself hydrated.
Make use of the People Mover.
This will help you to move between the districts to save yourself from walking. I didn’t bother with renting out a cycle as we are supposed to return the cycle to its station after 45 mins before renting it out again.
Do wear sunglasses/ hats/ sunscreen
(although weather is getting better these days.)
Don’t over exert yourself from the walking.
Explore the complex at your own pace. If you rush, you will tire out and will not be able to take in the experience. Take it easy. Rest. Recover. Sit on the cool calligraphy benches or the bean bags in the parks.
Do talk to the natives.
Some of my more fun conversations were with natives from Mongolia, Tuvalu, Netherlands, Burkina Faso, Romania, Belarus, Seychelles and so many others. Ask questions, understand what makes their countries so unique, learn how to say hello and goodbye in their language.
Do use the Expo App
This will help you to by-pass the long queues and go straight in with the Smart Queue system.
Do eat your heart out
At the exits of the countries pavilions, there will be restuarants- I enjoyed the Spanish, Moroccan, Portugal and German cuisines. Japanese restaurant is extremely popular and had a one hour waiting time. French restaurants was insanely popular with the desserts. There was also a lot of rush at the Swiss cafe serving coffee and chocolates.
Don’t eat at Al Baik.
I was lucky enough to get first in line at 11am but was disappointed to see them serve only nuggets and burgers. Taste was average at best. Usually their lines are extremely long closer to meal times. You will not find their famous chicken pieces at the Expo.
Do watch the performances.
China has a drone show above their pavilions. Oman has their local folklore dances. Thailand has a dance show. There are loads of other shows happening. They will keep on rotating the shows, and bringing in newer acts each month.
Do say yes anytime the staff asks you to participate.
I had a mindscape/ zero gravity experience at Estonia, played drums at Columbia, jumped in the ball pit in Germany, slid down the slide at Luxembourg, danced the salsa at Cuba, experienced the luxury of a spa at Hungary, watched a movie in a vertical cinema at Korea and so many other amazing experiences. I will share more on this in the next part.
Do use the Metro
It’s much easier and quicker than driving and parking and using the bus to come to the main entrances. Metro trains start at 8am and go all the way up to 1am.
Do experience other pavilions.
Apart from the countries, there are loads of other pavilions and they are quite an interesting experience.
Do take tons of photos/ videos.
The Expo 2020 site is an amazing opportunity to explore your creativity. Be inspired by the buildings. Take creative photos. Each and every pavilion will have ample opportunities for you to take lots and lots of photos. At the same time, don’t forget to take in the experience as well.
Finally, IMMERSE yourself!
I have said this to many people over and over, use the brilliant opportunity to immerse yourself into the massive number of cultures on display here.
Next part will be about the individual pavillions!