Your Guide to EXPO 2020 in Dubai
The World Expo is being hosted in Dubai for the year 2020 (delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic), where countries will showcase their greatest innovations and plans for a better future. Expo runs from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, so make sure you plan your trip now!
The Expo is divided into 5 sections: Mobility, Jubilee, Sustainability, Al Forsan, and Opportunity. There are main pavilions for each section, as well as country-specific pavilions. The Expo offers breakthrough innovations, ideas for the future, and exhibitions of country-specific achievements. It is definitely a celebration of nations, but the content was a little lacking in my opinion. I highly recommend going to check out the Expo and explore the lively and colorful event!
Planning Your Trip:
Getting There – The best way to get to Expo is to use the metro. There is a metro line that takes you right to the main entrance. The earliest arrival at Expo Station are at 6:15 AM Monday to Saturday and 9:15 AM on Sunday. The last departures from Expo Station are at midnight Sunday to Thursday and 1:00 AM Friday to Saturday.
Download the or visit the RTA Website to better plan your journey.
COVID Requirements – In order to enter Expo, you will need to prove that you are either fully vaccinated (and present a vaccination card) or have a negative PCR within the last 72 hours (and present proof). You also must wear a mask AT ALL TIMES while visiting Expo, even when outside. The only exception is while eating or drinking.
Tickets – Single day adult tickets are $12.99 on weekdays and $27.42 on weekends. There are also ticket bundles if you plan to stay more than one day. Check out the expo website to buy your ticket, or even better, get it on the app to have a virtual ticket with you.
Lines – Some of the more popular pavilions have really long lines to enter so go on off-peak hours to those (I’ll indicate below). Another option to help mitigate the lines is to use the Expo app and book smart queue entries. Each ticket gets 10 smart queue slots where you can schedule your entry and skip the line. Some pavillions you can book day-of, others you will need to schedule days in advance to snag a smart queue spot.
Expo Passport – Every pavilion offers a stamp for your Expo passport. It is really a fun way to collect memories and see new pavilions. Pick up your passport at any of the visitors centers or ahead of time on Amazon.
Food – There are plenty of food and drink options at Expo, but they are significantly priced up from normal food prices. I recommend bringing some snacks and then grabbing a few special food items from the stands and restaurants.
* – recommend booking smart queue day-of
** – recommend booking smart queue day before
*Mobility: This is the main pavillion in the mobility section of Expo. The line can get long but moves in big chunks because the entrance is a whole group of people going on the world’s largest elevator.
*Women’s Pavilion: This pavilion had the most inspiring content in my opinion, and was very nicely curated.
Malaysia: Experience a cool 3D rainforest experience and learn about Malaysia’s conservation efforts.
Hungary: Only came inside because it started pouring rain, but was a pleasant surprise. Make your way all the way to the end/top of the exhibit and then go to the theater where the base is a ball pit!
Saudi Arabia: Exhibition was very nicely done and lots to see.
*India: The India pavilion had a lot of high quality content and had great visuals.
More Pavilions Worth Seeing:
Terra: This is the sustainability main pavilion with some fun interactive elements.
**Thailand: Fun content with immersive visuals, but the content was pretty fluffy. The line was also long because they only let in about 30 people at a time and it takes about 10 minutes to go through.
**USA: Nice story of the United States founding, values, and innovations.
Russia: Probably the coolest external pavilion design, and an immersive light show inside.
Finland: Nicely curated and good content.
Ireland: Not much to see unless they have live music going, in which case it’s worth stopping in!
Other Pavilions We Visited:
Costa Rica: I wanted to visit because I lived in Costa Rica for half a year, but the content was underwhelming.
Algeria: Nice content, but nothing spectacular
France: Also had some nice content, but nothing that stood out
New Zealand: Very random and hardly any content, but cool video of a whale.
Spain: Pretty much focused around one large visual, and I’m not really sure what it meant.
Highly Recommended Pavilions (That We Didn’t Visit):
**Singapore: A cool live flora tower experience.
**Netherlands: Indoor rainforest experience
**UAE: The host country’s pavilion, the wait was over 2 hours.
China: We just ran out of energy and didn’t make it over.
Switzerland: Features a digital Einstein that is said to be pretty cool!