Traveling to Muslim Countries During Ramadan

If you plan to travel to Muslim countries during Ramadan, there are a few things you should know.

Ramadan Image by

Ramadan Image by

If you plan to travel to Muslim countries during Ramadan, there are a few things you should know. Ramadan is the ninth month in Arabian culture and the Islamic calendar, which is celebrated several days earlier each year because the calendar is based on the phases of the moon.

This month of fasting during daylight hours also includes restrictions from drink and sex from dawn until sunset, and more prayer than usual. Similar to the Jewish practice of Yom Kippur.

Fasting symbolizes empathy for those who go hungry. The month is dedicated to avoiding what they consider obscene sights and sounds. This practice of self discipline encourages reading the entire Qur’an during the month.

Some groups are exempt from fasting including children, the unhealthy, pregnant or nursing women and those who are traveling. Instead some of these groups must feed the poor or make up for the days of fasting that are missed.

If you travel to Muslim countries during Ramadan, be forewarned that food and drink may be difficult to find during the day. Tourists are also encouraged to avoid drinking, smoking and eating in public during daylight hours in respect of this practice and to partake in private where they cannot be seen by Muslims.

Some countries are more strict than others. According to “Keep in mind that in some countries like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar it is illegal to eat, drink, or smoke in public during Ramadan. In other places, like Turkey, many restaurants will be open (varies by city), however they might not serve alcohol for the length of Ramadan. Turkey Travel Planner points out that while it is not illegal, it is Impolite too eat, drink and smoke in public or around those fasting.”

To help understand more about Ramadan and what is means to Muslims, I found this Egyption press release very enlightning.

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1 Comment

  1. Cynnielynn

    During Ramadan (this year it started on August 11th and continues for 30 days until September 9th), it is illegal to eat or drink in public from sunrise to sunset in Kuwait. This includes even chewing gum. You will be arrested and thrown in jail even if you are not Muslim. Keeping in mind the current temperature in Kuwait is 102°F (the lowest temperature all week!) and the low is 91°F, imagine not being able to even drink water outside!

    To stay afloat restaurants change their hours. Since they have every American chain restaurant that you can think of there, they all deliver at all hours of the night.

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