My Ultimate Guide to Travelling Solo to Dubai during Ramadan

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When you travel to any country, especially solo travel, you want to make the best of every day you spend there. Dubai, all around the year, is vibrant and full of energy, activities, and events. Many people prefer visiting Dubai during the months of December or January due to the climate.

But, I have come across people who think that a solo trip to Dubai during Ramadan will create obstacles in their travel experience. Umm, I would not agree with this!

Visiting Dubai during Ramadan is not only a beautiful experience, but it is also a culturally enriching one. You need to be appreciative of the local community to understand the country and its people. 

I have visited Dubai a couple of times, and one of them was during Ramadan. Honestly, it was one of the most beautiful solo travel experiences I have had so far!

Today I will take you through everything you need to know before planning a solo trip to Dubai during Ramadan.

What exactly is Ramadan?

dubai during ramadan

Starting with the basics, let me tell you a bit about the holy month of Ramadan. Every year, Muslims around the world celebrate Ramadan as per the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. There is a schedule (changes every year) for this month that specifies the time of morning and evening prayers along with the meals.

There are five pillars of Islam, and one of them is ‘Saum,’ which translates to fasting in the month of Ramadan. 

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from drinking, eating, smoking, among other things from sunrise till sunset. This goes on for a month (30 days) and is done in order to purify oneself from evil/bad practices and influences.

You must be aware that Dubai’s majority religion is Islam. Although it does not mean that there are only Muslims in the country, a major chunk of Dubai’s population comprises Muslims. So, it is likely that you may experience a new Dubai during the month of Ramadan, just as I did. But don’t worry, it’s going to be one of the best experiences of your life!

Participate and get involved in local traditions

Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem is the traditional greetings of the holy month. When you go on exploring the country, you will hear these two phrases quite a lot. And if you wish to get involved with the traditions, these phrases will come in handy.

Is there anything that is prohibited during Ramadan in Dubai?

Umm, well, yes! This is because most Muslims will be fasting during the day till evening. It does not imply that you will have to fast too, but you cannot eat, drink, smoke, or even chew gums in public. As long as you do these things in your hotel or indoors, it’s fine. Otherwise, you can get into trouble or even pay a fine of up to AED 2,000!

These restrictions to food and drink may have you think about whether you can step out of your hotel or not. Over the last few years, Dubai has become a bit lenient, and now it allows several restaurants to serve food and drinks to tourists and people who do not fast. But here is a thing to note, you can only dine inside the restaurant. And you might even notice that in some restaurants, the windows will be covered with a black sheet.

Also, no clicking pictures of people in public!

Also, Dubai has recently relaxed a few of its strict rules against alcohol consumption during Ramadan. Earlier, it was permissible only after sunset. Now, most licensed restaurants and bars serve alcohol throughout the day. But remember, you are allowed to drink alcohol only inside the restaurant, bar, or hotel. If caught drinking in public, you can get into serious trouble!

Are other places and areas open during the fasting hours?

The answer to that is Yes! Most of the shopping malls and stores in Dubai are open at regular opening hours. But during the month of Ramadan, they remain open till midnight. And I think it is a dream come true moment for all the night owls like me out there! However, I would recommend you check the timings before you make a plan of stepping out at night.

Along with malls, beaches, theme parks, water parks, and other tourist attractions remain open throughout the day. Although these places are comparatively empty, it makes the perfect reason for you to visit Dubai during Ramadan. You can peacefully explore every place that you have on your bucket list without having to worry about crowds. 

The crowd may get too overwhelming after sunset when locals open their fast and step out of their houses. If you make plans of having dinner outside, I would recommend you reserve a table well in advance. If you plan on having street food after sunset, there is no way to reserve a spot. So my suggestion would be to be extra careful while stepping out.

Traffic and transportation during Ramadan

Please don’t assume that roads are going to be empty during Ramadan since locals will be inside their homes. That is not right in the case of Dubai! Sure, people do stay inside their homes, but that is only during the fasting hours.

After sunset (and ‘Maghrib’ prayers), muslims open their fasts for the day, and this evening meal is known as Iftar. They gather with their family and friends to enjoy a delicious meal together. Now, most of them do Iftar at home, but there are also others who prefer to go out to eat. This sudden rise in the crowd during Iftar results in excessive traffic. 

Due to high traffic, many accidents happen as well. During my solo trip to Dubai on Ramadan, I witnessed one such accident. I had planned to have a meal at a restaurant near my hotel. Like I mentioned earlier, reservation of a table becomes necessary. And luckily, I got a table for myself. I happened to leave my hotel on time, but the crowd made it impossible for my car to move ahead, and an unfortunate accident happened because of it. Although it was not too serious, being a female solo traveller, I would suggest you avoid travelling too much right after sunset. 

Behaving in public during the fasting hours

Behaving in public does not literally mean displaying the perfect behaviour. It only means that you have to be respectful of the local traditions and rules during Ramadan. You may need to keep in mind a few things to avoid that would offend the locals and their traditions—one of them is playing loud music in public places. Although very rare, I did witness a woman playing music on speaker at a restaurant during fasting hours. It is prohibited! As long as you use earphones, earpods, or any such device, it is perfectly alright!

Another thing to avoid during Ramadan is to dress in a non-conservative manner. It just implies that you dress modestly. Even though Dubai is a lenient country, I would suggest you wear something that does not reveal too much of your body. On a general note, you can wear something that covers your shoulders till your knees. Kaftans, sundresses, jeans, etc., are great choices to wear during Ramadan.

If you need more tips on what to wear in Dubai, you can check out my blog here.

Surprise element: unlimited discounts, deals, and offers

During famous festivals and traditions, many countries offer plenty of discounts on various products. For instance, in India, several brands and businesses offer multiple discounts during the festival of Diwali or Holi.

Similarly, Dubai offers many Ramadan discounts and offers as well. An added advantage to this is the empty shopping malls and stores. Now that’s what I call a match made in heaven! You can explore the shopping malls and stores without worrying about huge crowds or waiting in queues for your turn.

Along with shopping, you will get to experience several Ramadan offers on food. Plenty of restaurants in Dubai have Ramadan deals that you can explore if you are a foodie!

The end of a fast – Iftar

So after almost 12 hours of fasting, Muslims open their fast at sunset. And this is followed by the evening prayers. Like I mentioned earlier, many locals step out of their houses for the evening meal with their friends and family. 

You may also witness restaurants hosting Iftar parties and get-togethers. If you happen to make a few Muslim friends in Dubai, you might get an invite to the Iftar parties. If so, you will have a wonderful time learning more about their local traditions.

The Beautiful Mosques

Now that you know enough about the changes and differences in the country during Ramadan let’s dive into some of Dubai’s beautiful mosques that you can explore during Ramadan.

Being in Dubai and witnessing the holy month of Ramadan, this one goes without saying! I would suggest you definitely check out the famous mosques of Dubai during this holy month. And if you are interested in learning about Dubai’s traditions and cultures, visiting the mosques will be the perfect opportunity!

Here are some popular mosques in the country that you can explore on your solo trip to Dubai during Ramadan.

1. Al Farooq Mosque

Al Farooq Mosque consists of four 65-meters long minarets. These make it easier for tourists to locate the mosque. Built in 1986, Al Farooq Mosque is also called the Blue Mosque. Its construction is inspired by the Turkish mosque with the same name – The Blue Mosque of Istanbul.

The beauty of Al Farooq Mosque lies in its elegant exterior and interior designs. The mosque gets enough amount of natural light, thanks to the number of stained glass used in its construction! The stained glass also adds a unique feature to the mosque, making it supremely attractive.

2. Jumeirah Mosque

Considered one of the most popular mosques in Dubai, Jumeirah Mosque attracts thousands of tourists from all around the world. The motto of the mosque is quite clear and welcoming- “Open Doors, Open Minds.”

Not only is Jumeirah Mosque open for non-Muslims as well, but it is also the place you want to be at to understand Islam better. 

Built in 1979, Jumeirah Mosque has two stunning minarets that attract several visitors. The architecture is absolutely mesmerising, and not visiting the mosque during Ramadan may make your solo trip incomplete!

For more facts and information on this breathtaking mosque, check out this blog on The Guide to Jumeirah Mosque.

3. Grand Mosque

Also called the Grand Bur Dubai Masjid, the Grand Mosque is arguably the most beautiful mosque in Dubai. It is constructed in an Iranian style with beautiful blue mosaic interiors. Initially an Islamic School, the mosque was built in 1900 and rebuilt in 1998 after it was demolished earlier.

Grand Mosque offers plenty of opportunities to its visitors to learn about Islam.

And last but not least – Ramadan Night Markets

Ramadan Night Markets are something that you should not miss on your solo trip to Dubai during the holy month. Every year during Ramadan, Za’abeel Hall World Trade Center Dubai conducts Ramadan Night Markets. 

If you visit the markets in the morning, it will mostly be empty and quiet. In contrast, the nights are completely crowded, noisy and a lot of fun! 

Here, you will get many discounts, offers, and deals on all products. Also, the food at these night markets is extremely delicious and mouthwatering! There are also entertainment shows and events for the visitors. All in all, the Ramadan Night Markets are definitely a must-visit for anyone who visits Dubai during Ramadan.

Enjoy Dubai with extra privileges

Dubai during Ramadan is a beautiful time for both locals and tourists, and it also made my trip worth remembering! If you follow the rules and regulations and be respectful of the country’s traditions, you will have a gala time.

So next time, don’t hesitate to book your tickets to Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan. I’m pretty sure you will get to experience the extra privileges as I did on my solo travel.

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Swagachi

An introverted solo female traveller on an adventure around the world.

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