There are some things to know when traveling to Dubai during Ramadan. Do you know which customs you may have to follow?
Ramadan is a time during the year when Muslims fast during daylight hours. In many countries, this does not really change the day to day life of those who are not Muslims, but for those visiting Muslim regions, such as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, life can be pretty different. If you will be travelling to Dubai during Ramadan, it is important to respect the local customs. Chances are, you will be one of the many intrigued and interested by Islam, and the last thing you would want to do is give offense, but unless you are careful, you could accidentally wind up visiting a Dubai police station.
Firstly, be aware that many of the people that you come into contact with in Dubai will be hungry, thirsty, and have low glucose levels. Be patient if they seem stressed, or running a little slower than normal. Do not offer them a drink: this could offend, and will certainly confuse.
Secondly, do not give in to beggars. Although Ramadan is traditionally a time of giving to charity, many ‘professional’ beggars will fly into Dubai to cash in on visitors. If you want to give, then give to a respected charity.
Even if you are not observing the fast of Ramadan, do not eat in public. Although you may not be doing it to upset people, it may cause unnecessary suffering to those that are looking forward to iftar, the evening meal Muslims will share after sunset. Moreover, it is illegal in Dubai to eat in public during daylight hours. If you are a non-Muslim, you will be let off with just a warning the first time. Please respect the culture, and obey the law.
But don’t worry too much, many restaurants remain open but close their shutters, so there are some safe places for non-Muslims to enjoy a day-time meal.
However, you should try to experience the nightlife! You will be able to see a different side to Dubai during Ramadan, because much business and commerce will occur at night, instead of during the day. Many shops will be open for much shorter hours during the day but will re-open during iftar, and that is when the city will really come alive again.