During Ramadan is when Dubai becomes a more peaceful version of itself - more relaxed with less of the hustle and bustle. There's also kind of an after-hours excitement in the air as Dubai tends to get livelier as iftar begins, sometimes with the festivities lasting until the early hours of the morning. This is when friends and family connect and charity initiatives like Ramadan fridges are restocked and food is distributed. The atmosphere is filled with anticipation, gratitude and reflection. Ramadan is here in a few short days so if it’s your first one in the UAE or if you just happen to be visiting over this time, here’s an idea of what you can expect.
It should go without saying that since this is in fact a fast - eating, drinking and smoking in public places is obviously not permitted.
Most restaurants are still open for those who are not fasting although there may be blinds or screens cordoning of the view of eating guests out of consideration for our fasting citizens, residents and visitors. I would however recommend double checking the opening times of eateries as these tend to change to accommodate later hours due to the many delicious iftars on offer. If you're looking for an exact guide of restaurants open for day time trading, check this out.
Tourist attractions continue to operate as per usual although opening hours might also be slightly tweaked to accommodate tourists who prefer to visit after iftar has started so if you have visitors in town, call ahead to confirm timings.
Keep in mind that as the day progresses and fasting is underway, those who are fasting are more likely to experience lower energy levels especially during the first few days of Ramadan. During the day, non-Muslim’s are encouraged to schedule meetings with Muslim colleagues during the morning hours when they are more energized.
You're advised to dress more conservatively during this time. For most people this is done in any case and you won’t really need to change anything but if you usually tend to run around town in shorter skirts or shorts then remember to respect the rule during this time - shoulders and knees should be covered.
The traffic situation especially in the hours leading up to iftar is going to be a bit of a challenge especially if you're ordering in so its best to plan ahead. Traffic between 4 and 6pm is usually busy in any case but if you are an Uber-user or even if you catch regular cabs you should anticipate higher waiting times.
We're pretty lucky to live in a very tolerant society that respects and considers all religion and cultures so this is a great time of the year to give back put our consideration into practise while enjoying the local festivities.
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