There is a real misconception that you shouldn’t visit a Muslim country during Ramadan.
Having lived in Dubai and Egypt as an Overseas Holiday Representative for a few years I have experienced it both as a worker and a tourist. Whilst things are slightly different it really shouldn’t put you off visit and Ramadan is one of the most cost-effective times of year to visit Dubai.
Quite often I get people not realise that their holiday coincides with Ramadan 2018 but fear not; we guarantee you’ll still have the time of your life. We actually spent some of our honeymoon in Dubai during Ramadan 2017 and it was amazing.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is the time when Muslims believe that God (Allah) first revealed the Koran (the Islamic holy book) to the Prophet Muhammad.
Muslims observe Ramadan by fasting during daylight hours. This involves abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. The idea is to reach a heightened sense of spirituality and feel closer to God.
Islam follows a lunar calendar and in 2018, Ramadan is expected to take place from May 15th until June 14th.
Eid marks the end of Ramadan and the breaking of the fast, meaning spectacular fireworks, parties and parades.! The festival of Eid can sometimes last for days
Whilst non-Muslims fast and abstain from drinking whilst they are on holiday its still polite to adhere to local customs and respect the culture. In hotels you will be able to still dine and drink, our hotel still served alcoholic drinks though out the day on the beach around the pool and in the bars, however we will be able to advise you on your hotel.
Here are some quick tips to follow:
Avoid eating or drinking in public; instead make your way to designated areas found throughout the resort. Dubai is a very tourist destination.
We still suggest that when you go out and about maybe to the shopping mall etc that you try to dress conservatively and cover up where possible. This is especially important if you are visiting a mosque or a religious monument.
I do get asked so many times if you allowed to sunbathe in bikinis etc and of course you can although you may want a swimming costume for the waterparks, to preserve your modesty more than anything and of course a sarong it so handy for covering up. There is no live bands or loud music played.
Eating & drinking in Dubai
Whilst we didn’t go out of the resort during the day, our hotel still served lunch and drinks around the pool on the beach etc. Smokers could still smoke either in a smoking area or on the beach.
If you go into the Shopping Malls you will find that many restaurants and cafes stay open during the daylight hours in Ramadan, discreetly serving meals behind screens or in designated areas. We will advise you what your hotels policy is on food and drink during this time.
It’s a great time to go shopping especially in the evenings as we found that they were open till midnight, there are also Sales running during this time so you may even grap yourself some bargains.
Do note however that most of the resorts/bars/restaurants do not have live music and that the nightclubs are closed during Ramadan.
Iftar – Ramadan in Dubai
Iftar is the name given to the meal Muslims enjoy after sunset and is a wonderful time to enjoy the spirit of Ramadan.
Many of the largest resorts in Dubai host fabulous feasts where you are invited to join in with the festivities.
Its a great opportunity to sample some of the delicious local cuisine as you dine on tantalising dishes and meze from all over the Middle East, including hummus, spicy lamb kofta kebabs, falafel, halloumi and shawarma (my personal favourite).
As for dessert, be sure to save room for baklava. The sweet and sticky treat made of filo pastry, syrup and chopped nuts.
You will also get the opportunity to share the shisha too.
Dubai is a city that never sleeps as you will find out no matter what time you land at Dubai Airport. Most tourist attractions stay open throughout Ramadan, including the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab, the Wild Wadi Waterpark, Aquaventure Waterpark, Legoland Dubai and the Mall of the Emirates.
We went out into the desert for some Dune Bashing by 4×4, this used to be my favourite trip when I lived there, the only difference was that they did not serve alcohol and no belly dancing – but it was still an amazing night and one not to be missed.
So, if you are still unsure about visiting Dubai during Ramadan you don’t need to worry, it a great time and you will get to experience some of the culture as well as the stunning hotels, beaches and shopping malls.