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Ramadan FAQs

Find out more about Ramadan, including when it is and how it could affect your trip if you travel during Ramadan.
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What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is an Islamic, month-long religious holiday; for many practicing Muslims it’s a time for reflection, prayer, time with family, fasting and doing good deeds. Adults will often fast during daylight hours, abstaining from food and drink as an important self-discipline to show devotion to their faith and become closer to Allah, or god. At the end of Ramadan there is a three-day celebration known as Eid al-Fitr as they break their fast.

When is Ramadan?

In 2020, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start around 24 April and finish on 23 May.

In 2021, the holy month is expected to fall between 12 April – 12 May, with exact dates to be confirmed. The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, therefore, Ramadan dates change each year by approximately 11 days, and can also vary slightly country to country depending on their sighting of the moon.

How will Ramadan affect my trip?

As a visitor, you’ll not be expected to join the fast but we ask our groups travelling during this time to respect the locals by refraining from eating, drinking and smoking in public places as it’s deemed as temptation to those observing Ramadan.

The exact impact of Ramadan can vary by country, by region and even by trip. Explore continues to arrange trips as usual during this holy time - for many travellers it’s an insightful time to travel and learn about the culture of the country you visit and the people you meet along the way! While we do not expect that Ramadan will have a negative impact on your trip, you will notice some differences than if you travelled at another time of year. Most commonly -
  • If your leader and/or driver are practicing Muslims and are fasting, they may not join you for group meals. During Ramadan, a meal known as suhoor is served before dawn and a second meal called iftar is eaten after sunset, and your guides will often eat with fellow Muslims who are also starting and breaking their fast.
  • There will be limited access to alcohol during Ramadan, and possibly fewer restaurants open, depending on your destination. Our local teams always plan ahead for this, changing some dining arrangements so you may not even notice, but some stores and restaurants will close during the day to honour the fasting period; however there are always options available for those who are not observing Ramadan.
  • You must dress respectfully. At any time of year, we advise our customers to dress respectfully in Islamic countries, and wherever they travel. As with many aspects of Ramadan, how strictly this is observed will depend on the country you’re visiting. As long as you pack with consideration and take advice of your tour leader, you won’t experience any problems. 

Why should I travel during Ramadan?

Ramadan is a wonderful time to travel if you wish to immerse yourself in the culture and understand the intricacies of this important Islamic holiday. In most cases all tourist sites are open as usual and in these areas and busier cities, the locals are very used to seeing travellers during this period.  
 
During the holy month Muslims are devoting themselves to god, so while the days can be quieter and slower than usual, the evenings are livelier and longer than usual too! You’ll experience the buzzing evening atmosphere after sunset as people break their fast, meet friends and visit the mosque. And, as it’s a time when many are trying to get closer to God, those following Ramadan tend to be more spiritually minded and make the effort to help those less fortunate than themselves so it’s common to see people sharing food, and holding large gatherings for evening meals outside the Mosques with people making a concerted effort with those around them.  
 
If you’re lucky enough to be there for Eid al-Fitr you will experience a very jovial atmosphere as many break their fast and celebrate with family and friends. Depending on which country you’re in, there may be the chance to try delicious, traditional recipes and see beautiful festivals.
 
Ramadan Kareem (Have a generous Ramadan)

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