First-time visitors to Dubai may not know when or what Ramadan is. We assume you’re here because you’re wondering whether you can go to Dubai during Ramadan. So we’ve put together this quick guide to visiting Dubai during Ramadan, plus everything else you need to know about Ramadan to enjoy your vacation to Dubai whilst also being respectful to the culture.
First of all, Yes you can go to Dubai during Ramadan but there are a few things you should learn first before booking a trip.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a celebration of when the prophet Mohammed revealed the Muslim holy book, The Qur’an. During this almost month-long celebration period, Muslims do not eat or drink during sunlight hours. This is done to remember the poor and struggling people of the world, past and present. Muslims use Ramadan as a way to engrain self-discipline.
When is Ramadan?
This is an important one to know while planning to book a trip to Dubai in advance. The dates of Ramadan change each year and are based on the Islamic calendar.
For the year 2022, Ramadan was celebrated from the evening of Saturday 2nd April to sundown on Sunday 1st May. In 2023, Ramadan will be celebrated from 22nd March to 21st April. There might be slight changes in the exact start and end times. Otherwise, the dates remain more or less same.
What Is Dubai Like During Ramadan?
Although the population of Dubai doesn’t decrease during Ramadan (see numbers travel away), you would think many have left the city.
Ramadan in Dubai comes with shorter business hours. That’s why restaurants and nightlife are quieter and the emphasis is very much on the time spent with the family inside the home. Most, if not all of the main attractions, are still open in Dubai during Ramadan however there may be different opening times. Restaurants and nightclubs will not open until the evenings in most cases.
Public transport operates as normal but you may notice a lull in the number of taxis around sunset for a couple of hours. This is so, because the drivers can go and break their fast to refuel for the night.
It is essential to be respectful during the holy month of Ramadan in Dubai and not eat or drink in public or in view of any Muslims during broad daylight. This is just a simple way of being respectful towards their culture and tradition. Although, many hotels and restaurants still operate during normal hours.
Some hotels such as The Atlantis Palm Jumeirah arranges Iftar every evening. Iftar is the ritual of breaking the fast and surprisingly, many places across the city put on some amazing all-you-can-eat spreads. Many Muslim families feast, smoke shisha and play games at iftar parties.
How to Dress in Dubai During Ramadan?
Dubai is becoming very liberal as years pass by. The city is becoming a fastest-growing tourist destination in the region with every passing year. So many expats of different cultural backgrounds and ethnicity now live here. However, during the holy month of Ramadan, you must make sure to dress more conservatively or at least modestly.
Men should wear a minimum of a t-shirt and shorts long enough to cover their knees. Women need to cover their shoulders and the same goes for the knees. When at your resorts, this rule does not apply but please be respectful when you are out in public.
Can You Go to the Beach in Dubai During Ramadan?
Beaches are popular even during Ramadan month and you are free to visit them at your will. Though swimwear is well accepted right at the beach, remember to cover up as soon as you leave the beach and enter a public area. We will suggest keeping your appearance more modest during Ramadan.
Are Restaurants Closed in Dubai During Ramadan?
Restaurants in malls and food courts may be closed during the day but they are not all closed. In fact, many malls last year had designated areas that were opened to non-fasting tourists and residents. They were behind closed doors/curtains. Almost all hotels and restaurants will be open for their guests who are not fasting.
Do Shops and Restaurants Close Early During Ramadan?
The shorter working hours may be more into smaller businesses. Generally, however, operating hours for most malls and shops are not at all affected by Ramadan. They open at their usual times (around 10 am) and actually remain open for much longer than usual. The usual closing time during Ramadan is after midnight. But always double check opening hours before setting out.
Can you Drink or Buy Alcohol in Dubai During Ramadan?
Yes, you can drink and buy alcohol during Ramadan. Ramadan rules not at all affect the non-Isalamic people’s travelling mood. There may be some rules for drinking on the street (as it does year-round in Dubai anyway) but purchasing alcohol is fine.
The sale of alcohol both within supermarkets and at hotels or nightclubs brings huge revenue to Dubai government and so the state rulers have loosened the rules on this recently, even during the Ramadan month.
Can you Eat and Drink at Dubai Airport During Ramadan?
The rules of Ramadan in Dubai do not apply to the airport. If you have arrived from a long flight then do not delay in refreshing yourselves with food and drink. The authority knows that Dubai International Airport is a conjuncture for the people of different countries and they don’t wish to disturb this balance.
How Is the Traffic During Ramadan?
Traffic can be very difficult after sunset as people rush to iftar parties during Ramadan. A combination of the side effects caused by an empty stomach and sweltering heat makes the roads a bit unsafe during the day as well. As a result, road accidents increases. Luckily, Road Safety UAE offers a guide advising everyone on how to navigate the roads safely during Ramadan.
Reasons to Visit Dubai During Ramadan
So if you’re reading this you may be wondering why you should visit Dubai during Ramadan when you are at the liberty to plan any other time of the year! Below are some of the main reasons that tells you why travelling to Dubai during Ramadan can be a wise decision.
- The Beaches are Quieter
- Main attractions such as Burj Khalifa or Waterparks are less crowded
- Many hotels and restaurants partake in ifter each night with sumptuous menu
- You get better chance to shop with malls and shops operating with extended working hours
- Because of the warmer months in Dubai, the city hotels slash rates considerably
- A great way to learn about the Muslim culture
- Eid-Al-Fitr that marks the end of the month-long fast is a city-wide celebration.
- The only time of the year to witness the Cannon Firing Tradition is during the Ramadan
So, can you go to Dubai during Ramadan? Absolutely yes. Hotel rates can be cheaper and beaches and attractions are quieter. As long as you respect the culture, ve you can have a great time in Dubai during Ramadan.
For more information on travelling to Dubai during Ramadan and what to expect you can go to visitDubai.com.