Ramadan 2018 in Dubai: Do's and Don'ts

by Travelbag on 03 May 2018, 11:05AM

Dubai Mosque

It’s a misconception that holidays to Dubai during the Ramadan period are a bad idea. Restaurants and cafes may operate different opening hours; public transportation might alter their schedules – but these are minor inconveniences, easily worked around with a little planning ahead. Besides, there are some seriously good Dubai holiday packages to be had at this time of year.

This May, the Emirates capital takes a breather from its normal frantic pace and remembers the simple things in life. Dubai city will be a little subdued on a day to day basis with less tourists and citizens taking time out of their normal schedules for prayer and reflection. But come night fall there are all you can eat feasts and Arabic banquets. When Ramadan ends – Eid celebrations jolt the city back into life again.

We’ve put together a handy Dubai Ramadan rules guide to help you get the most out of your trip without upsetting local customs and traditions. If you want to visit Dubai during Ramadan 2018 or if you’ve already booked flights for your Dubai holiday, read on to find out more about what to expect.

Ramadan in Dubai

Ramadan 2018 runs from Tuesday 15th May until Thursday 14th June. Muslims have fasted during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (that follows the lunar calendar) for more than 14 centuries. Ramadan, or Sawm, commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. It lasts for 29 to 30 days, moving back 11 days each year. The day begins with suhoor, a pre-dawn meal and prayer time. Between the hours of sunrise and sunset is siyam which loosely means ‘to refrain’. The fast officially begins with the call to prayer and practisers don’t eat, drink or smoke and use their time of abstinence to pray and do good deeds/charity. The day culminates with iftar at sunset, the fast traditionally broken with a sip of water and some dates.

Eating and Drinking

iftur dates and water

Consuming food or drink in public where fasters can see you is considered extremely disrespectful, regardless of your faith. We recommend checking what dining facilities your Dubai hotel offers before you fly to help better plan your trip to Dubai. Between some hotels putting on a limited meal service and alternative restaurant hours, it’s easy enough to arrange meal times with a little thinking ahead. There are also designated food and drink locations throughout the city. Supermarket hours are unaffected by Ramadan – again just make sure you consume what you’ve purchased in private.

Alcohol and Nightlife

Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited in Dubai at all times and drunken behaviour can land you in trouble with local authorities – a hefty fine or even jail time. This law is particularly sensitive during Ramadan when quiet reflection and peace are the order of the day. That said, plenty of hotels do still serve alcohol to guests so check with your accommodation before flying to help plan your stay. Bars and clubs in Dubai are normally closed for the month and no music is played out loud during the day.

Dubai Beaches

Dubai beach

Pools, beach parks and public beaches all remain open and as following the normal dress code rules that apply to the rest of the year is just fine. That means one piece bathing suits. That said, not being able to drink water in public means that going to the beach is not advisable, particularly in 2018 as Ramadan falls in the Dubai summer. We recommend sticking near your hotel pool during the day where western style swimwear is usually okay to wear and opt instead for before sunrise and sunset beach walks.

Shopping and Dubai Attractions

dubai mall

Many malls are open late on weekends (until around 2am on weekends, 1am on week days). But that’s not all. Due to the lull in income from food and drink, retailers look to plug the gap with super sales and cut rate prices on cosmetics and fashion. What’s more, there are fewer tourists during this time of the year so queues are noticeably shorter. Tickets to the Burj Khalifa and theme parks like Wild Wadi Waterpark are easier to come by. Note – Za’abeel Hall World Trade Centre’s Ramadan night market will not be held in 2018.

Save Money on a Cheap Holiday to Dubai

Dubai resorts and hotels adopt the same tactic as the malls during their Ramadan low season. It’s a great time for cheap holidays to Dubai, even if you intend on staying in one of the downtown hotels. High end resorts like the Burj Al Arab or Atlantis the Palm are known to offer Dubai holiday packages that often include iftar and suhoor meals as part of the deal. Check out our range of luxury Dubai hotels and see what’s on offer.

Eid al Fitr

Eid feast

On June 14th, the fast will be broken with the festival of Eid. In the build up, people rush to get henna tattoos, stock up the cupboards in preparation for feasts and to buy gifts for friends and family. This is the best time to be in Dubai – the city explodes back into life with live music performances, bars and clubs reopen their doors and a two to three day public holiday ensues.


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