Tips for non-Muslim Travelling during Ramadan
Muslims around the world start observing the holiest month of Muslims, Ramadan, every ninth of the Islamic calendar once the crescent moon is officially visible. Muslim abstains from food and drink including water once the sun rises until the sun set around 30 days. It is the time for reflection, sacrifice and deeper spirituality. Follow these guidelines if you are visiting Muslim countries during Ramadan.
Know the Muslim practice
If you are travelling to Muslim countries, it is respectful to know the basics Muslim practices. Fasting, or sawm is one the five pillars of Islam. Abstaining food and water, is a way of self-control, delaying gratification, and gratitude, as Muslims are reminded of those less fortunate. It is the time of extensive prayers to renew the mind, body and soul.
Muslim prepares their fasting by waking up before the sun rises, for pre-dawn meal, suhoor. After sunset, Muslims break their fast with iftar, a feast shared with friends and family.
Plan ahead and prepare
The start of Ramadan varies from country to country. Book an accommodation and transport before the trip. Business operates in limited hours. In Saudi Arabia, restaurants are closed until sunset within the 30 days of Ramadan.
On the celebration of the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, all business and services will be closed. Prepare and pack foods and be mindful to eat in private. Always bring water bottles with you during the trip. Please note that alcohols will not be available throughout the day. Dressing conservatively is also advisable.
Take part in Ramadan
Travelling to Muslim region during Ramadan is a time to experience and understand the deeper meaning of Muslim religion. Mosques set up tents and table to offer free iftar meal. Engage with locals to know the food, practices and culture in a new perspective. Ramadan is also the time to connect within the community. Participate in the country you are visiting by doing even a small act of kindness and sharing to the community.
If you are travelling to Muslim countries at this time, plan ahead to make the most out of your travel and take the time to understand the Muslim religion in a new way.