Dubai Expo 2020: Visiting the World Exhibition in 2022
One of the main reasons we wanted to visit Dubai this February was so we could visit the Dubai Expo 2020. Of course, the perfect weather, gorgeous hotel, and the many activities to do in Dubai were also selling points. But as the Dubai Expo finishes on the 31st of March 2022 we thought this was a great opportunity to see what it was all about.
Dubai Expo 2020 is a World Expo, also known as a world exhibition that has been hosted in countries all over the world since London’s Great Exhibition in 1851. The theme of this world expo is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future‘. And within that, there are three sub-category themes of Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity.
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Size of Dubai Expo 2020
192 countries are represented at the Dubai Expo with country pavilions spread across the huge 438-hectare area.
The expo really is enormous. We tried our best to see as much of it as we could on the day we went. But really, you probably need a couple of days to see and experience everything. You need one day to get your bearings and visit a few country pavilions, and then the second day to have more of a plan of what you definitely want to see.
Our experience of Dubai Expo 2020
We were able to get a free transfer to the expo site with our hotel which was nice and easy. The site was about 25 minutes drive from our hotel and we were dropped off at the car park close to the entrance. The first thing that strikes you as you make your way to the ticket area is the enormous gate structure. As you walk under this stunning piece of engineering you feel like you’re being set up for what’s to come. A place of creativity, engineering, and plenty of wow-factor.
After checking our vaccination status and going through security we immediately stumbled across the Australia pavilion. We joined the queue and after about 10-15 minutes we were guided through the stunning Australia experience.
The Australia pavilion was an immersive audio-visual experience sharing the history and wisdom of indigenous Australians followed by an exploration of how Australians are working to protect their unique environment and eco-system.
As we left the Australian experience there was a gift shop followed by a Melbourne coffee stand and a food stall.
We found that many of the large county pavillions had a similar set-up of a gift shop where you can buy products from that country, along with some kind of cafe or restaurant.
For our lunch, we decided to eat at the Thai restaurant attached to the Thailand pavilion. We are huge fans of Thai food so this was quite the treat.
And then, much to my delight, the France pavilion was next door and had a little Laduree food cart outside so I bought some of my favourite pistachio macarons for dessert!
We tried our best to visit as many country pavilions as possible. From the large pavilions such as the UK and Peru pavilions to smaller ones such as the Kenya and Uganda pavilions.
It was fascinating to see how each country presented its work, ideals, projects, and culture within its pavilions. There is so much to learn and enjoy in each country.
The architecture and design of many pavilions at the Dubai expo were a marvel. It was truly inspiring to see the level of creativity and innovation in these designs. Simply walking around the expo sightseeing all the pavilions would be exciting.
Of course, the centerpiece of the Dubai Expo 2020 is the Al Wasl Dome. It’s an awesomely large dome of steel and stretched fabric that is lit up at night by thousands of coordinating lights. The dome acts as a centre point of the expo and plays host to events throughout the day. At night it lights up in an awe-inspiring light show. It is a truly astonishing space.
Dubai Expo Attractions and Features
Other Dubai Expo moments of interest include the striking water feature experience of Surreal. This water feature is an immersive 360-degree experience where it feels like you can stand within a waterfall. It is 14 metres high wall of coordinated water moving to music. It was stunning.
There is also the Garden in the Sky which is a 55-metre observation tower of a platform planted up with greenery which moves up and down allowing visitors to take in the sights of the whole Dubai Expo space.
Another fascinating feature of the Dubai Expo 2020 was the numerous robots making their way along the paths. It felt super futuristic and it was fascinating to see how people interacted with them.
Queues at Dubai Expo
The Dubai Expo is a popular attraction so it does get busy. There can be queues into some of the large and popular country pavilions so do factor that into your day trip.
Some of the pavilions have fast-track queues so if you have specific countries you want to visit, look up if you can get a fast-track ticket.
Dubai Expo App
It is worth downloading the Dubai Expo app to your phone. The app lets you view a map of the entire Dubai Expo site as well as the locations of all the pavilions. You can favourite or save the places you want to visit on the map. And whilst you are there you can use the map for directions to each expo location you want to visit.
The app also has details on where the amenities are, where to eat, and the events scheduled for that day
Search in the App store or Google Play function on your phone or visit the Dubai Expo website.
Tickets for Dubai Expo 2020
We were able to get free tickets as we flew with Emirates Airlines to Dubai for our holiday.
Otherwise, the tickets are relatively affordable – the season pass finale costs just over £10. Tickets on sale here.
Dubai Expo Opening Hours
The Dubai Expo is open 7 days a week from 09:00 in the morning until midnight on Sunday through to Thursday, with the last entry at 23:00.
On Friday and Saturday the Dubai Expo is open until 02:00 in the morning with last entry at 01:00. But this is all subject to events each day, so do check the website or the app.
The Dubai Expo pavilions are open every day from 10:00 to 22:00, or 10am to 10pm.