Ramadan in Dubai
There have been quite a few questions lately about how Ramadan in Dubai is. Since Jan and I traveled around Dubai during Ramadan last year, it is right to combine my impressions and observations into one post.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a month of fasting for Muslims when they do not eat anything from sunrise to sunset. It usually lasts 29-30 days, depending on the moon. Before sunrise and after sunset, they then have huge banquets where a huge number of people gather. It should be adhered to by all healthy adults, with the exception of pregnant women, the elderly, children, and the chronically ill. During Ramadan, believers also perform several prayers.
Our experience with Ramadan
Dubai is not our first experience with Ramadan, we were introduced to it on our first trip to Tunisia. However, since we were in an all-inclusive hotel there, we didn’t even feel it and, honestly, I wouldn’t have known it at all if the guide hadn’t warned us about it. During Ramadan, we also traveled around Istanbul, a few years later, where I remember mostly huge feasts after sunset.
Preparations for Dubai
What worried me most was how I would survive the heat without water. Since I was pregnant, I knew I needed at least water during the day. I was also worried about being properly dressed, so I bought quite a few longer dresses before leaving that covered my knees.
Ramadan in Dubai
Then we came to Dubai. And realized that we really worried for nothing! Last year, they said that they were releasing measures for tourists, and that was true. Out of respect, we still adhered to certain things, but we had no problems or worries.
As for food and drink – when we walked around, I drank from a bottle of water here and there, but out of respect, I always retreated to somewhere alone. But we also had a drink in a bar in the old part of town – in some places even on the street, and in some places we were asked to sit inside. We practically didn’t see the curtains that were mentioned on the Internet, we only saw them in one shopping center.
I was also shouldn’t have worried about clothes. I do think it’s better to dress respectfully and not too revealing, but I’ve also seen tourists in shorts, and no one said anything to them or looked at them sideways.
There are no rules on the beaches. Bikinis, normal swimsuits, some even in thongs, no problem. Ok, you cannot be topless, which seems logical to me, and everything else is ok. We were on several beaches, both tourist and those where the locals stayed.
Smoking, however … was not desirable. Smoking is not allowed indoors anyway, and there was no smoking in public during the day. It was okay in a hotel complex by the pool (provided you can’t be seen from the street), but it also depends on the hotel.
Otherwise, there are no parties, loud music,… during Ramadan in Dubai. Even when we went to the desert, there was no belly dancer. Another thing to look out for is the fact that when it’s sunset, many stores close for 15 minutes to half an hour. So the workers can eat something. Then you either wait at the door or go elsewhere. 😉
Advantages of Ramadan in Dubai
It is certainly a special experience. Which also has some advantages. As a rule, there are fewer tourists in Dubai during Ramadan, certain attractions and hotels have lower prices and ‘Ramadan discounts’, shopping malls are open longer, … So if you are planning Dubai during Ramadan, you don’t need to worry, there shouldn’t be a lot of problems if you just adjust a little. 😉
If you are interested in anything else, just ask! Do you have any experience with Ramadan?