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Travel Noire's Guide To Islamic Countries During Ramadan
Traveling to a Muslim country is a great way to embrace the culture, and learn about the customs and traditions. It offers a unique experience to appreciate the beauty of Islam.
When traveling to these countries, it is important to respect the local traditions and dress codes. Travelers should be mindful of the religious practices and the sensitivities of the people. As Ramadan gets closer, it is even more important that travelers keep these things in mind and travel respectfully. Some of the adjustments may entail travelers having to change their dietary habits and being mind of their behavior in public, especially during prayer times.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is one of the greatest months in Islam. The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan’s greatest night, Lailat Al-Qadr. During Ramadan, Muslims observe the fourth pillar, which requires fasting from sunrise to dusk.
Ramadan represents a period of fasting and spiritual reflection for Muslims around the world. It’s a time for increased devotion to prayer and charitable acts. Travelers who are not Muslim should strive to honor these traditions and customs with respect and sensitivity.
During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. Visitors need to be cognizant of this and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours. It’s also important to be respectful during prayer times by not engaging in loud conversations or disruptive behavior in public spaces.
In 2023, Ramadan is expected to be on Thursday, March 23. If that is the case, Eid Al-Fitr will begin on Friday, April 21, after the 30-day annual fast ends.
Egypt is one of the most visited countries in the world, which makes it the perfect place to experience Ramadan. It is the perfect time to experience local culture and customs, but operating hours and service availability may change.
At night, when most restaurants and shops are closed, visitors can enjoy unique and tasty street food experiences. Visitors also can learn about Egypt’s rich cultural history through the lantern shows and Iftar meals that happen every night during Ramadan. If you want to go to one of its most popular tourist spots during Ramadan, you should plan and be flexible. Some places may have limited hours or be closed completely. The pyramids, for example, are open during Ramadan, but their closing times vary per day.
Morocco — Celebrate Ramadan with Family
Morocco celebrates Ramadan with family dinners and breaking fast.
For travelers, it is worth it to experience authentic Moroccan cuisine at local markets and restaurants with Ramadan menus. Try harira, a lentil-and-chickpea soup, and msemen, a flaky bread with honey or jam. Many households make “pastilla,” a savory pie with chicken, seafood, almonds, and spices.
Before visiting Morocco during Ramadan, check business and restaurant hours. Some tourist attractions and markets may close early or have limited hours.
In Turkey, many restaurants and cafes are open during Ramadan as the country is not as restrictive as other Muslim countries. However, it’s respectful to avoid eating or drinking in public during daylight hours. Some of the business owners have reduced their stores hours.
The bustling bazaars serve Ramadan-inspired food and sweets. Döner kebab, a street food made with rotating meat and wrapped in a pita, is another must-try in Turkey.
Since Turkey is not as strict as Arab countries during Ramadan, traveler may find food and alcohol easier in its major cities. However, tourists should still be polite and respect the religious practices. Some tourist spots may have different hours during Ramadan, so it’s best to check ahead of time before making plans.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. With a population of over 260 million people, the country offers a diverse range of cultural and historical sites to explore.
During Ramadan, tourists will be able to find many traditional Islamic practices being observed throughout the country, including fasting and prayer. However, Indonesia is more open to non-traditional practices and cultures compared to other Muslim-majority countries.
Visitors also will enjoy the beautiful nature, delicious cuisine and unique traditions of various ethnic groups in Indonesia. It is also a popular destination for surfing, trekking and other adventure activities.
Visiting the United Arab Emirates during Ramadan is a unique experience because the country celebrates traditional Islamic practices grandly and lavishly. From fancy iftars to Quran recitation contests, the UAE is a great place to see Ramadan celebrations.
During Ramadan, there are night markets, cultural events and traditional tents where special meals are served. The UAE also has amazing desert safaris, camel rides and other exciting activities that can give tourists memories they will never forget.
Dubai, the UAE’s most visited city, does not require fasting. Hotel restaurants and bars serve food and drinks, despite public bans on eating, drinking and smoking.
Saudi Arabia — One of the Most Authentic Ramadan Experiences
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has the most authentic experience. This ountry during Ramadan is full of fasting and prayer, daily iftar feasts and bustling Ramadan markets. It creates a magical experience for a tourist.
Saudi Arabia during the Holy Month is a must-see for Islamic culture enthusiasts. There are tons of charity events and cultural tours. In Mecca, Medina and Riyadh, pilgrims can experience the Holy Month at its most sacred. The cities are rich in historical and religious sites, which makes it an unforgettable spiritual journey for visitors.