Traveling during Ramadan can be an unforgettable experience. Traveling to Muslim-majority countries during this month will open your eyes to an entirely different side of their culture and heritage.
Compliance with Ramadan rules is of utmost importance; in particular, eating and drinking in public during daylight hours (including while driving your car) is forbidden.
Ramadan offers visitors an incredible cultural experience of Egypt like no other time. Locals are extraordinarily welcoming and friendly during Ramadan (though this does taper off towards its end). Families gather every evening at sunset for Iftar dinner; which usually features delicious food.
Cairo truly comes to life at nightfall as its streets light up, people dance to live music and you’ll see traditional lanterns that celebrate holidays and are lit. Additionally, history buffs will find this to be an ideal time to discover its Islamic history as many mosques remain open through the evening, including Al Azhar Mosque & Mausoleum which can be visited.
Old Cairo is an amazing destination, boasting both historic buildings and Islamic treasures. El Moez Street serves as an open-air museum of Islamic monuments; other highlights include Wekalet El Ghouri with shops selling handicrafts such as copper, tin and pottery products; Madrassa Al Azhar which is considered one of the oldest universities; as well as Mosque-Mausoleum of El Ghouri which serves as one of its ancient mosques.
Morocco, an intriguing North African country, blends Berber, Arabian and European culture in stunning landscapes. Marrakesh’s medina features mazelike alleyways leading up to Djemaa el-Fna square with souks selling crafts like ceramics and metal lanterns; on Morocco’s coast are resort towns such as Agadir and Essaouira offering sandy beaches and thriving arts scenes.
During Ramadan, business hours are reduced and restaurants close early so people can return home in time for Iftar when fasting ends at sunset. Muslims are not permitted to consume, drink or smoke in public during these times; your server may ask you to eat behind a curtain or in a private room instead. Airlines typically also provide special boxed meals prior to departure during Ramadan.
Respecting local traditions during Ramadan travel can make for a much more enjoyable and safe experience, no matter who isn’t Muslim. Dress modestly; female travelers should cover arms and legs when dressing modestly while male travellers should consider wearing hats or scarves to cover heads and necks with clothing if wearing one, and both sexes should refrain from showing excessive flesh. Also be wary of any major religious festivals which draw large crowds or pose safety risks that might require you to be on guard against.
Ramadan (known in Arabic as Eid-ul-Fitr) will occur from 21-22 March 2023 on the Gregorian calendar, and many tourist spots should remain open during this time. To stay safe during Ramadan it is advisable to seek local advice and remain aware of potential sensitivities regarding eating, drinking or smoking near those fasting.
Restaurants, bars and cafes remain open during the day but will likely be quieter than usual. Once the sun has set in the evening, people gather with family and friends to break their fast together – an opportunity to give back to charity while showing compassion to those less fortunate than themselves.
Many places host public iftar meals at night to welcome in visitors from their community. Even if you aren’t Muslim, attending these events is acceptable – just ensure you dress accordingly!
As much as possible, try and plan your journeys during the day without driving; traffic could be heavy and public transport less frequently or slowly than normal.
As this holiday approaches, it is an opportunity to visit historic mosques and observe how Turkish people celebrate it. In Istanbul’s old town alone, both Sultanahmet Cami and Suleymaniye Mosques will likely become busier than ever as people come in to pray – though children, elderly people, sick people, menstruating women don’t need to fast. Instead they can still eat and drink during daylight hours without restrictions.
Indonesia, home to one of the highest Muslim populations, provides one of the best environments in which to experience Ramadan. There are various cultural traditions here that make the ninth month an especially joyous period for Indonesian Muslims and provide a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere during Ramadan.
Indonesian restaurants typically close or cover their windows during the day to show respect for fasting people and encourage self-control; however, larger food chains and budget restaurants tend to remain open all day long.
Indonesian mosques become more crowded each day for Iftar and Taraweeh prayers in the evening. One of the best spots to witness this phenomenon is Cut Meutia Mosque in Jakarta, situated right in its city center and accommodating up to 3,000 worshipers at once.
After Ramadan ends, Eid Al-Fitr (also known as Lebaran in Indonesia) is celebrated over three days as part of an exciting holiday tradition filled with great decorations and family celebrations.
Lebaran in Indonesia can be an especially hectic period as locals travel back home or to villages outside their cities to celebrate this holiday. Expect traffic jams, packed domestic flights and hotels charging their maximum rates; international travelers often won’t see such dramatic impacts as their counterparts living within cities do.