The holy month of fasting, Ramadan is celebrated with gusto in Dubai, a city boasting a significant Muslim population. Travellers can expect elaborate Iftar feasts, sumptuous Ramadan-specific menus in restaurants, enriching cultural events and parties as well as discounts on shopping in the ‘City of Gold’ popular for its mega-malls.
While visitors will certainly get a peek into an unknown facet of the city, more soulful than glamorous, it’ll be wise to be aware of a few rules, regulations and basic etiquettes while thinking of a holiday to Dubai during this time. As many stores, restaurants and attractions are expected to be closed during the period of Ramadan -15th May to 14th June, 2018 – it’ll do you good to be a wee bit more careful while planning a Dubai holiday during Ramadan.
Here is everything you need to know about visiting Dubai during Ramadan:
Things to do
Attend Iftar parties
Breaking fast in the evenings during Ramadan can be a memorable experience. The entire city bursts to life after sunset; promising a wonderful treat for the tourists, which range from delectable feasts to the grand Iftar tents. You can treat your taste buds to the finest Arabic and Emirati dishes and can also get a chance to interact with the locals. If you are holidaying in the city during this period, do not forget to attend Iftar parties at key hotels such as Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort and Four Points by Sheraton.
Experience the joyous festival of Eid al Fitr
Eid al Fitr is a major Islamic celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. Every year, Dubai celebrates this festival with fireworks, concerts and a large number of cultural events and dance performances; also, the Emiratis get together to exchange gifts and food. If you are here in Dubai during the festival, you can add to the excitement by being part of massive events such as Ramadan Nights with Alserkal Lates, Ramadan Majlis and Ramadanization at the Gallery of Light.
Shop and shop!
Dubai is a shoppers’ paradise and it remains so throughout Ramadan. Special Ramadan night markets are held across the city where you can shop for all kinds of stuff and enjoy the traditional delicacies. Of course, you can visit the many malls and shopping centres this city is famous for. In fact, shopping at Dubai’s prominent malls such as The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall and Mall of the Emirates, and the Gold Souk market is more inviting because of the less crowds and great discounts available.
Besides, Dubai’s top tourist attractions such as Burj Khalifa and Wild Wadi Waterpark are relatively crowd free during this month-long fasting.
Dos and Don’ts
- Though Dubai is usually relatively liberal, dress codes get more conservative during this long month festival. People are advised to respect the dress code and wear modest clothes in public.
- Eating, drinking and smoking are strictly prohibited in public areas during the day, from sunrise to sunset. However, some hotels do offer meals to their guests within the premises. (Breaking these laws will lead to punishment with fines or imprisonment).
- Do not expect restaurants and bars to remain open throughout the day; they open after sunset; and bars will not play any music and will be quieter. Also, you will not get alcohol anywhere during the daytime.
- Iftar is a special meal. Do accept food and drink when offered during Iftar; it is a sign of respect.