We went to try the gondola ride as a fun despedida activity for my brother Aladdin to do with Mati and Hannah before he left for his studies abroad.
Here are some things to know before going taking a gondola ride at Venice Grand Canal Mall:
You need a minimum of 4 people to get a gondola for your own group, and each gondola can take a maximum of 6 people.
Since we were only three paying customers (Hannah was technically free), they gave us the choice to wait for another person to join our group, or pay for an extra seat. We paid for the extra seat since we wanted to enjoy the ride for ourselves.
Important! Note also that the ticket booth is inside the mall. We made the mistake thinking that tickets are sold in the gondola-riding area itself, so we had to double back to the ticket counter.
2. Operating Hours
As of this writing, the gondola operating hours are: Monday to Thursday: 11:00am-10:30pm; Fridays to Sundays, Holidays: 10am-10:30pm
We went on a Tuesday morning, expecting there to be no lines. We were a bit surprised that we had to wait for about 20 minutes before our turn. Our gondolier (gondola driver) told us that it was early January was still very busy because there were a lot of balikbayans who come with their family.
After you purchase your ticket, there’s an open air waiting area with a TV set, where you wait for your name to be called out for your turn.
3. How Long Is The Gondola Ride?
The Gondola Ride takes approximately 15 minutes. The gondolier takes you around the canal twice, then you disembark from the same point you started from.
Since it was still Christmas season, there was a beautiful, giant Christmas tree decorated with Carnivale masks at the roundabout point!
4. Enjoy The View
The canal is quite narrow, but you get a nice view of the colorful buildings around the mall, as well as the open sky. It was beautiful day when we went, so the kids really had a blast just floating around.
Hats off to our kuya gondolier who to masterful vertical panorama shots with our iPhone.
5. Enjoyable Learning Experience
Mati’s interest in gondolas all started when he saw a photo of Albert and I riding one during our honeymoon. I didn’t want to bombard him with facts, so I gave him a brief overview about Italy, Venice and some facts about gondolas.
Is It Worth It?
We all had a great time enjoying our ride. Our gondolier was very chatty and cheerful too! For 15 minutes, the ticket price is a bit steep, but it’s a good treat for a first-time experience!