by Vincent I. Porter
5 Things You Should Know About Visiting Dubai During Ramadan
Before you think about visiting Dubai during Ramadan, it is important to understand what this festival is all about. Ramadan is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar. Throughout the month, observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset – this means abstaining from eating, drinking, and even engaging in anything that could be considered entertainment.
However, there is a flip side to this seemingly sombre sacred period. Before sunrise, Muslims fill up for the day with a hearty meal called suhoor. This meal needs to last them all day until they can break their fast with the iftar meal. Iftar is an extravagant banquet, often served in a Bedouin style tent.
The feasts can be quite elaborate and there is nowhere better to experience them than in Dubai, in the heart of the Middle East. Feasting aside, however, there are some other things you should know if you are planning on visiting Dubai during Ramadan.
The Shops Have Crazy Ramadan Sales
Most of the malls in Dubai stay open extra late during Ramadan – sometimes until 2am! This gives people plenty of time to hunt for bargains after their iftar meal. In addition to the extra opening hours, the shops in the malls often have fabulous sales in honour of the holy month. It might be worth starving all day if it means you can nab some delightful deals in the evening!
Hotels and Flights Are Cheaper
As you might imagine, people are often put off travelling to Dubai during Ramadan. This is a blessing for those who do travel as accommodation and flight prices plummet in this month. You could see your budget going far further than you imagined while you shack up in a luxury resort for a fraction of the normal price.
Eating and Drinking in Public is Illegal
It is important to note that eating, drinking, and smoking in public during Ramadan in Dubai is illegal. Even something as trivial as chewing gum can be seen as disrespectful and could cause you problems with the authorities. If you are hungry or thirsty, there are plenty of restaurants that still serve food and drinks during fasting hours. However, out of respect to observers of Ramadan, they will put up a screen to hide you from public view.
Some Activities Will Have Reduced Opening Hours
If you have grand ideas about all the activities you are going to do while you are in Dubai, don’t worry. You can probably still do everything you planned, you might just need to be a bit more meticulous with your planning. Some activities open late and close early over Ramadan. These include water parks, safari tours and some entertainment complexes. It is simply a case of googling the activity and finding out its Ramadan opening hours.
Be Wary of Offending People
While Dubai is generally a lenient place, people expect a higher level of respect during the holy month. Refrain from kissing or touching in public, dress modestly, and do not play music out loud (headphones are fine). The holy month is a time for peace, tranquillity, and self-reflection. Be sensitive to this and you won’t have any problems.