Travelling during Ramadan

Posted by Sue Anderson, 17th Jul 2012

For those travelling to an Islamic country during July and August the Foreign & Commonwealth Office offers some helpful advice.

The holy month of Ramadan will start on the 20th of July 2012 until the 18th of August. During the 30 days many Muslims fast between dawn and sunset, taking this time for prayer, contemplation and charitable work.

Though non-Muslims aren't under the same obligation in some countries it is illegal to eat and drink in daylight during Ramadan, and penalties may apply. For more information on your holiday destination, check the Foreign Office Travel Advice.

The levels of observance of Ramadan will vary dependent on which country you are visiting, many people will understand you aren't under the same obligation but will appreciate your awareness and sensitivity to the fast:

Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public

In some Muslim countries it's illegal to eat and drink during daylight in the 30 days of Ramadan

Some restaurants will operate restricted opening hours during this time and some may even close for the duration

Restaurants catering particularly to tourists will mostly remain open but hotels may use screens to keep western diners sectioned off from Islamic guests

It's also worth noting that 'Iftar' (breaking the fast) is the time when family and friends get together for a meal, at which time taxis and public transport may be particularly busy and perhaps worth avoiding if possible.

Eid-ul-Fitr signifies the end of Ramadan with a three day festival of celebration taking place in which traditionally families and friends come together marking the end of the fast. This should be taken into consideration if planning on travelling during this period.
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