World EXPO’s are the largest and longest-running mega-events that are hosted every five years in different cities around the world. They have wowed audiences since their inception in London in 1851, and over the years showcased innovations including the mobile phone, x-ray machine and even the ice cream cone for the very first time! This six-month festival celebrates human brilliance and achievements in the fields of architecture, technology, innovation, music, arts and much more.
Being the resident of UAE I feel myself very lucky that I will witness this once in a lifetime event held in our country. This is the first world EXPO in the Middle East region. Also, for the first time in EXPO history, there will not only be countries’ pavilions available but also thematic and landmark pavilions to enjoy live entertainment, history, culture and innovation. The EXPO will be held for six months (1 October 2021 lo 31 March 2022) and during this period you will experience the warm Emirati hospitality, discover world-class global culture, international cuisines and thrilling entertainment.
Theme for EXPO 2020 Dubai
Every world EXPO has a theme geared towards finding solutions for a better future. The theme for the EXPO 2020 is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, with three sub-themes that inspire solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. True to its motto ”connecting minds, creating the future” you will connect with like-minded people from all over the world and discover things you have never seen before.
Every sub-theme is brought to life through a thematic pavilion created by world’s most renowned architects. The three sub-themes are;
1 – Opportunity
Opportunity is at the heart of development, creating new opportunities for individual and communities to help them meet their current requirements and unlock the potential to shape their future, creating a better world. The main pavilion in this sub-theme is UN HUB where you will explore the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDC) and learn about how you can contribute to a brighter future. The audio-visual experience will make you think about issues related to basic needs of water, food, and energy, and the sustainable solution provided by real-life individuals who are agents of change in their own communities. We must make individual and collective action for the sustainable development goals (SDG) and at the end you can pledge your one.
2 – Mobility
Mobility is the bridge to opportunity by connecting people, goods and ideas, both physically and virtually. The main pavilion in this sub theme is named “Alif” after the first letter of the Arabic alphabet and symbolizing the beginning of progress and new horizons. Its ribbed and curved shape was designed to evoke movement and the building seem alive and in motion. The visible lines of the building’s layers hint at how we are all connected, even when physically far apart. Inside the pavilion visuals and presentation will take you through the house of wisdom in the 9th century Baghdad before you head on to meet the 9-meter-tall historical giants of mobility. Here you will explore the latest innovations in mobility, world’s connectivity and witness how we have gone from driver less cars to the future of space.
3 – Sustainability
Sustainability guides how we grow opportunity by doing more with less, utilizing resources and at the same time protecting and preserving it for our future generations. The main pavilion in this sub theme is named Terra. The Pavilion is funnel shape which is surrounded by mushroom shape e-trees. Both the structures have solar panels on the top to harness solar power. This pavilion creates its own electricity and contributes to a net zero energy goal of the building. The Sustainability pavilion features global projects that are charting new paths for sustainability. Here you can know more about the renewable energy investment opportunities, new technologies, latest innovation etc. You will understand your impact on the environment and learn how you can become an agent of change.
After the grand opening of the EXPO2020 event on 30th Sep 2021, we were super excited to visit the event at the earliest. So far, we have been there four times. For first two visits in October climate was little hot and humid but later its start cooling down. October was also a festive season for us and we were busy in preparations, but still we managed to visit expo 2020.
Kids got their find hand knowledge about the Expo from their school and teachers. Almost all schools are arranging field trip to Expo for their students. When our kids came to know that we are going to Expo before the school trip, they are more excited than us. So, on weekend in October we planned our first visit to Expo 2020 in Mobility pavilion.
As we reside in Abu Dhabi, we plan to reach the venue as early as possible. After having our brunch, we started our journey from Abu Dhabi towards Dubai. It takes around 1and half hour to reach in mobility pavilion parking lot. After reaching there we parked our car and took pictures of parking lot number then we move forward according to security guard’s directions to the nearest shuttle bus stop. Then we took shuttle bus to reach our final destination, EXPO 2020 Mobility pavilion gate.
How to get there
The fastest way to get there is by Dubai metro. Expo 2020 Dubai is served by its own dedicated Metro station called the Expo 2020 Station which is on the Dubai Metro Red Line. This new line is specially made for this event and you have to change at Jabal Ali metro station for connecting services.
Regular RTA buses and dedicated EXPO 2020 buses with “EXPO Rider” written on them are available which are free of charge for visitors.
The fastest and costliest option is the RTA Dubai taxis and other ride-hailing apps. You can get the taxi from designates place, road side or from the RTA app. From RTA call center you can book only limousine service. Other than RTA taxi, Careem, Uber service is also available in Dubai.
If you are going by your own car or rental car, EXPO is next to E311 which is connected to all the Emirates of UAE. Depending on which theme you want to visit, you can go straight to that parking lot. There are four huge parking zones around the expo. Opportunity parking zone, Sustainability parking zone, Mobility parking zone and Dubai Exhibition Center parking zone. Once you reach the parking area of the theme you wish to visit, take the picture of the parking lot where you have parked the vehicle. After that once you reach the nearest bus stop take the picture of the bus stop too, since parking lot number and bus stop numbers are different and you need to know the stop while returning.
There is a free shuttle bus service frequently operating between the parking and the main gate. If you want to use the valet parking service then it next to the entrance gate.
EXPO 2020 Opening Time
Expo 2020 opens every day from 9 AM to midnight except Thursday and Friday when it remains open till 2 AM. Last entry is 1 hour before the closing time every day. Pavilions opening time is between 10 AM to 10 PM every day. Most of the big pavilion close in the afternoon for a lunch break for approx. 1 or 2 hours, so plan accordingly.
EXPO 2020 Tickets
You can buy the expo tickets online or at the entrance Gate. For entry you must be vaccinated (at least one dose) or you must present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours. Follow all other covid-19 precautions during your visit.
Before visiting the Expo check the ticket offers available. In the month of October, a single day ticket was converted to monthly pass and for the month of November it is 45 AED instead of 95 AED for a single-entry weekday ticket. UAE Airlines are also offering a free one-day expo ticket for their passengers. There are many others merchants in UAE who are offering free or discounted Expo tickets with their products.
Without any offer a single entry day pass will cost AED 95, a 30 consecutive days pass will cost AED 195 and six month season pass will cost AED 495.
Download the Expo app before visiting the event. Register yourself before visiting the expo. From the app you can buy your tickets and the free tickets for the kids before visiting the event. If you are not comfortable buying the ticket from the app, then buy the tickets from the expo2020 ticket counter and then register your ticket in the app. Get the maximum benefit of the app by using it for the smart queue. A single day ticket allows you 10 Smart Queue bookings and a multi-day pass or season pass allows you 10 bookings per day. You can also use the app to navigate to your favorite pavilion.
If you want to use the Expo explorer, then just after the entrance turn right and walk towards the expo explorer starting point. Irrespective of the pavilion, expo riders are available from right side of the entrance gate.
Once you are inside, first thing you should do is to buy an Expo 2020 passport from the official store. If you are visiting Expo with your kids, handover the passport to them. They will enjoy stamping the passport after visiting the pavilion. After you get the Expo passport start enjoying the pavilion of your choice. Learn more about the country, their past and present, read the info boards, discuss with the exhibitors, get acquainted with their future projects and the innovations / solutions they are working on. Some countries are successful in showcasing their history, culture, tourism and business opportunities while others are focusing more on innovations & technology.
Most of the big pavilions have food courts which serves cuisines from their country. Many of the pavilions food court also serve alcohol, which must be consumed there. Though its subjective, I personally like the main pavilion of each theme i.e. Alif, UN HUB & Terra along with pavilions of India, UAE, KSA, Germany, Singapore, Australia, Columbia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and many small pavilions in opportunity district. This is from my visit so far and many more are there on my wish list.
EXPO management has taken a great effort in organizing the event and making it such a success. As per the EXPO 2020 management, no two days will be same as each day will brim with new experiences and unforgettable memories. The immersive experiences will provide an exclusive opportunity to experience warm Emirati hospitality at its finest, discover global culture, international cuisines, thrilling entertainment and state-of-the-art innovative technologies.
There is a lot to see and discover and it’s not possible to write everything in this post. If you want a virtual tour and experience most of the pavilions, visit my Facebook and Instagram page.
Practical Tips for visiting Dubai EXPO 2020
- Wear comfortable shoes and dress. There is a lot of walking. Other than comfortable shoes and loose clothes carry your cap, sunglasses and suns cream in case you need.
- If you have a Nissan car you can park in Nissan parking slot, which is very near to the gate. Valet parking is also available close to the gate for AED 95 per visit.
- Download Expo app and link your ticket. You can enable smart queue and save your lot of time.
- This is a very big event spread on a huge area. You cannot visit all the pavilions in one day. Plan visiting multiple times to cover most of the things. If you have only one day for visiting, choose the pavilions you want to visit and use smart queue to get maximum out of your visit.
- When choosing which Pavilion to go, I recommend visiting several pavilions in the same district to avoid walking a lot around the expo. Focus on big Pavilions during early hours when waiting time are less.
- Visit during the week days because weekends are very crowded. Even during the day evenings are crowded, so plan accordingly.
- Enjoy the outdoor area as much as the pavilion. After sunset spend some time in central dome shape Al Wasl Plaza.
- Carry your water bottle with you. Free drinking water refill points are available in every route at Expo. Chilled water is also available from vending machines conveniently located throughout the Expo. Vending machine accept card and cash both.
- Food courts are very crowded during lunch time. Download Talabat app and order you food online to save time. You can collect your food from the designated place.
- Bring spare clothes for your kids and allow them enjoy Expo waterfall.
- Take a ride in Expo explorer carriage. Kids will enjoy the ride.
- Buy an Expo passport from official store which costs AED 20. Get it stamped from every country pavilion you will visit. It will be your lifelong expo2020 memory and the best souvenir.