Ramadan Dubai – What You Need to Know
Dubai is one of those bucket-list locations where everyone has to visit at least once in their lives – however, as I found out, the city is a far different place to be during Ramadan.
When you think of Dubai, you think of a vibrant city with supercars whichever way you look and something going on at all times. However, that all changes during the Holy month of Ramadan, as the residents fall into a time of reflection and the city becomes peaceful.
Although Dubai is famous for its laws, there are certain exceptions that are made to accommodate tourists while the Islamic city honours its religious traditions.
Food and Drink during Ramadan
Ramadan is the time when those of Muslim faith fast during the daylight hours for one lunar month. This means no food and drink, with early breakfasts and late meals (sunrise and sunset) being part of the culture during this time, and you will find that most businesses stay true to this.
Although I was aware that businesses may not operate as normal during this time, I was not completely prepared for the measures that are taken. As a tourist visiting a beautiful city, I did not want to accidentally insult local residents as they took part in Ramadan, so I sought advice from the hotel that I stayed in.
Eating and drinking are permitted in private places only during the daylight hours, while some hotels and bars may put on a limited menu specifically for tourists visiting Dubai. On top of this, it is commonplace for hotels to serve food between the hours of 1am and 4am (prior to sunlight) as this is the time that Muslims observe the pre-fasting meal, also known as the Suhoor.
Businesses Work Around the Culture
As opposed to businesses almost coming to a halt for a month, when you visit Dubai during this time you will find the shops will open later to coincide with prayers – which can be quite fun. As fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (the others being the declaration of Shahaadah (faith), Prayer, giving to charity or Zakah and Hajj), this is ingrained into the culture which means that businesses make allowances to follow religious practices.
This means that if you are planning to hit the shops when you are in Dubai over Ramadan, you should be prepared to wait until after sunlight. On top of this, you will also find that it is commonplace for shops to offer various discounts during Ramadan, so this is the best time of year to visit Dubai if you will be looking for gifts and holiday memorabilia.
Coping with the Sun
As well as the culture, the other key aspect that you will have to contend with is the sheer heat of Dubai during the month of Ramadan. During this time, temperatures can soar up to 40 degrees (Celsius).
Beaches are open, but it is not wise – nor healthy – to be sitting in the sun without a means of hydrating yourself. My advice would be to stay in the hotel compound and sit by the pool, as you will be able to stay hydrated as this will be classed as a private place. Even if you cannot drink poolside, your hotel room will not be too far away.
Dubai temperatures are why the winter months are the popular time of the year to visit the UAE. Between November and March, temperatures are at a much more bearable average of 26 degrees (Celsius).
Whatever time you choose to visit Dubai, you will find yourself in one of the most amazing cities in the world. Ramadan is a time of reflection, as well as a time of celebration, and when the sun goes down, nowhere does it quite like Dubai.
Brought to you by our friends at Human Relief Foundation
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