Al Forsan is one of the two smaller districts of the Expo 2020 ground. Apart from the 360 degrees Opera, it does not feature too many country pavilions, but most of them are really interesting. On top, there are a bunch of sponsor presentations. Here is my view about the places my wife and I visited at the Al Forsan area.
Expo 2020 Al Forsan – Key Pavilions
The Al Forsan District does not feature any key pavilion.
Expo 2020 Al Forsan – Country Pavilions
The Country Pavilions are given in alphabetical order:
Visiting the Indian pavilion was definitely one of the most special moments of the Expo 2020 to me – of course, as I have a very special relationship to the country. The pavilion is really huge. On ground level, the country is presenting some environmental effort and their space program. The section thereafter projects several Indian places and cultural events (like Bollywood movies) to the screens around the room.
After this rather touristic view on India, the second part of your visit is rather presenting India’s industrial and innovative powers. However, there are also some regional presentations – I loved to see a video of Northern Indian ice hockey, even though I was desperately looking for a sign of Indian tennis in the pavilion. The shopping opportunities at the end of the visit are a bit of limited, unfortunately.
Italy is presenting themselves between tradition and modern times. You find Italian fashion design as well as the Frecciarossa 1000 high-speed train, which I already tried in Executive Class. Even though the pavilion creates good pictures that stay in your mind, I was not that fond of it. However, I did not do the perfect stay at the pavilion and went for the original Italian restaurant at the end of my visit.
The Japanese pavilion is the only one mentioned in my Expo 2020 coverage, which I did not visit. The reason is that access is extremely limited: they allow 30 people some every twenty minutes. Already when you arrive there very early in the morning, waiting times of 90 minutes and more are not unusual. People who have visited the very interactive tour are ecstatic about the visit – so if you want to see it, plan sufficient times. There are no Smart Queues for this pavilion.
Palestine focused on their history as well as the country being great hosts. Later during the visit of the pavilion, the Palestine cuisine and hospitality has also been key elements of the presentation. A nice pavilion with a lot of interactive elements, which felt a bit of strange to me – the potential of visiting the country under the current political situation is just too limited.
United Arab Emirates
I have to say that I have been a bit of disappointed about the presentation of the hosts. You initially queue to be assigned to a group, the group is then giving you access to the beautifully designed pavilion. This procedure is only done to control the flow of people into the building, you can move around freely. The first section is giving some insights to the history of the U.A.E., majorly projected in sand. Unfortunately, many visitors feel to be more attracted by the idea to play with the sand and explore it.
The pavilion then focuses to present the unity of the nation, the strength of the Emirates by having so many different people and entrepreneurs. There is also a comic-style presentation in a theater, which I rather felt unnecessary and distracting from the key message of this exhibition. It is the host’s pavilion, so you will want to visit it – and it is actually not bad at all. I highly recommend Smart Queue, though.
United States of America
The last country pavilion of the this list of Al Forsan presentation is the United States of America. The pavilion is definitely worth visiting, even though I felt it is having a bit too much of American exceptionalism in it. After some general introduction, you are driving on a conveyor belt (like the ones some SeaLife aquariums have in their tunnels…) through an exhibition of important US characteristics and people. For example, the pavilion praises Graham Bell and Steve Jobbs, but also some people highly involved in social questions.
The presentation Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Future majorly deal with the US space programs. Walking up to the upper level introduces you to some US National Parks. However, the second floor is only trying to attract you to study in the US, which felt a bit of disappointing. The American restaurant and the gift shop give you some nice time to relax.
Expo 2020 Al Forsan – Partner Pavilions & Other Places
Apart from a large park you can use to relax, the Al Forsan area features displays of various sponsors. I especially recommend DP World.
In general, the main topic pavilions and the country pavilions are much more exciting to me than the sponsored ones – but the DP World Pavilion should definitely be on your Expo 2020 bucket list. DP World is majorly operating harbors around the globe (needless to say that they are Dubai-based). However, they are also investing into other logistic and transport-related infrastructure nowadays. One of the most interesting parts of visiting the posh pavilion is learning about their plans to support building a Virgin Hyperloop track between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. There are some presentation, a model of a capsule – and you can even sit in a Hyperloop mock-up seat.
Of course, the pavilion presents the harbors driven by the company as well as their innovation. One of the key reasons to visit the pavilion is also the impressive artificial waterfall show. DP World was one of the few pavilion which gave goodies to the visitors – during the waterfall show, we were served hot and iced coffee.
Not only as they said to display about the future of aviation, visiting the Emirates airlines pavilion was on my must-do list. Even during these low-visitor days in early November, we were lucky to grab a time slot for the pavilion for Wednesday afternoon – on a Monday morning. Thus, plan your trip well ahead, the pavilion is not linked to the Smart Queue, but working with their very own ticketing.
Even though the pavilion was interactive and had a quiz and “build your own future airplane” thing, it was overall not too thrilling. A small ball with an RFID was your personalized access to all stages of the stages. The most exciting one was definitely a VR presentation of a future solar airplane concept. A final movie reflected the results of your effort in the other stages. The pavilion has a nice design, the shop is cool and it is a must-visit for aviation buffs – but overall, Emirates could have done better.
Pepsi / Lay’s
Drink sponsor Pepsi and their crisps brand Lay’s share a pavilion right across the Emirates one. To me it was too much advertisement in there. I would have expected to get some sort of bite or drink in this place at all, but overall it was rather boring. The best thing was maybe that you could watch a personalized message of Messi. A place to visit when you urgently long for an air conditioning.
The Desert Farm
The DesertFarm is not a sponsored place at all, but a display of some scientists, how you can arrange faming and fishing even in desert areas.This small area next to the Pepsi and Lay’s paviolion is really cool. I especially loved to see plants, which even grow well with salty water and create valuable nutrition. Very educative place.
Postings related to India
Here are all my postings related to India: