I have lived in Dubai for seven years, and many times I was asked by friends or acquaintances that were planning to come to visit during the holy month questions such as Can I go to a restaurant during Ramadan?, Can I go to the beach? or What should I wear?
Therefore the main reason for writing an article is to spill the beans and explain how Ramadan works in Dubai.
One important detail first: Dubai is located in the Arabian Peninsula, part of the Middle East region, but it’s not really a benchmark if we talk about Ramadan. If you go to most of the other Muslim countries worldwide, the whole environment is much much more conservative during the holy month.
Dubai is the Las Vegas of the Middle East, and even though there are some restrictions in Ramadan, it still stays very open, and there is plenty to do for the non-muslim ex-pats and tourists.
I have never spent Ramadan elsewhere rather than in Dubai. But I know that this city is by far one of the most welcoming and less conservative during this period.
So YES, if you are a tourist and you want to visit Dubai during Ramadan, the restrictions are mild, and there are plenty of activities you and your family or your friends can enjoy from morning until late at night. Therefore, welcome!
Typically Ramadan’s beginning is only confirmed a night or two before the holy month begins because the Islamic or Hijri calendar is based on moon cycles.
So every year the dates are different.
For example, Ramadan in 2021 was from April 12 until May 12, and this year, it will start around April 2 and last until May 2.
8 DO’s And DON’ts When Is Ramadan In Dubai
BEACH & POOL
Going to the beach or the pool is always an option in Dubai (perhaps except January-March), and Ramadan is no exception.
If you leave the beach or the pool and go to the mall or walk in the streets, try not to wear see-through or beach garments and cover a little bit.
All restaurants, coffee shops, bars, lounges, shisha places are all up and running. Same schedule, nothing different.
The food courts, restaurants, and coffee shops entrance in Malls have partitions. But this does not mean you can’t go inside and eat.
Rumors say that this year they will be out.
Muslims fast during the day, and their first meal is at sunset, and this first meal is called Iftar. From the sunset until sunrise, they can eat anytime.
Usually starts late at night and lasts until the sun rises. Basically, this is the last time Muslims can eat.
What makes Iftar and Suhoor very special is that it’s a family and friends gathering. Most restaurants and shisha places in Dubai serve Iftar buffet style and Suhoor a la carte.
Because most of the population is Muslim and fasting during the day, it is forbidden to eat or drink in public. Again, rumors say it will not be forbidden this year anymore, and we shall see.
Note: most Muslims that I know are very permissive of you eating and drinking around them. They always say, it’s our choice, and we have to deal with it.
But generally speaking, we try to avoid doing this until Iftar time.
As I keep mentioning, Dubai is very different and unique in the Muslim world due to its openness. Many pools in hotels serve alcohol, and the music is on.
Every year there are more and more bars and lounges open where they serve alcohol.
So if you want to have a drink and listen to music, no problem here. So many options to choose from.
I can’t find much to say here. Generally speaking, behave and have a decent attitude.
As I am saying in the previous point. Most bars are open, and they serve alcohol. Same as the pools. At the public beach, don’t even think about it. This is never a good idea, regardless of whether it is Ramadan or not. So if you want to drink, better choose a place where they have a license for it.
Ideally, try not to get wasted and go out in public or wherever you are and misbehave. It’s not nice anyway but in Ramadan even more.
LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT
Everything is open. Business as usual. If you come here with your family or with a group of friends, nothing changes. All resorts, parks, cinemas, museums are all open and up for visitors and tourists.
The same rules as above apply. If at a water park or an entertainment resort, try not to eat and drink in public and instead use the restaurants and coffee shops.
WHAT TO WEAR
In Dubai, you can wear whatever you want. Anytime. Even During Ramadan, therefore, don’t stress much about it.
When I say everything, I include the aspect of decency as well. Of course, be a little more covered in a mall or in the streets during the day as a form of respect. But other than this, no panic.
Non-muslim residents like me sometimes wear in Ramadan (and not only) abayas or kaftans, but it is more like a fashion statement and a personal choice. I personally love it.
For the locals and residents of Dubai, during Ramadan, working hours are reduced from 9 am to 3 pm. Muslims will go home to rest until Iftar. But the other ex-pats are going out. So don’t be surprised if you see more people at the mall, for example during the day.
In the evening, everything is vibrant as people are out with their families and friends to eat, drink (non-Mulsim ex-pats), play cards and other games and enjoy shisha.
Therefore If you are planning to visit Dubai during Ramadan, no stress. There is plenty to do.
If you are visiting during Ramadan and have questions or concerns, drop me a comment.