Rules of conduct in the UAE during Ramadan 2024

Important facts you need to know as a visitor in the United Arab Emirates during the Holy Month of Ramadan. How should non-Muslims take their meals, visit public places and what other rules should they follow during Ramadan?
Mar 6, 2024

Ramadan is considered to be a difficult season for tourists to visit the UAE because of the many restrictions. But in fact, during this period, the Emirates offer amazing opportunities to get a taste of its rich heritage and traditions. If you follow the principles of behaviour, the trip can become an unforgettable experience.

Taking a meal

During the holy month, which in 2024 will last from March 11 to April 10, is a time filled with prayers and strict fasting that is meticulously observed in the UAE. Within Ramadan, Muslims can drink and eat only until dawn at suhoor and after evening prayer during iftar.

Tourists are not expected to fast, and no restrictions are imposed in hotels, but out of respect for the local traditions, it is advisable not to eat and drink in public during the daytime. Attempts are made not to limit tourist vacations. In previous years, all restaurants were closed during the day throughout Ramadan, however today you can easily find a place in Abu Dhabi for non-Muslims to have lunch without hiding behind a screen. Moreover, some places can even sell alcohol, but if you smoke in public places you can get a fine.

Important! Many restaurants rearrange their menus and change their opening hours to serve iftar in the evening.

For a list of popular F&B facilities that operate in the daytime, as well as schedules of stores and other places of interest, see this article.In the evening a cannon is fired, signalling the end of fasting, and the city revives, as the meal during Ramadan is considered to be a common celebration and an occasion to gather with family and friends around the table. For tourists, it is a truly unique opportunity to try a variety of authentic Middle Eastern dishes and experience the local flavour and atmosphere during this special time, which compensates for all the daytime inconveniences.

Interesting fact! If you are offered to share an iftar together, it is considered disrespectful to refuse the invitation.

Visiting public places

The rules in the UAE during the holy month are becoming more democratic, so tourists and foreign residents do not feel much discomfort during this time. Most attractions and entertainment centers operate as usual, but they also offer visitors special programmes, dedicated offers and events to celebrate Ramadan. By travelling to the Emirates during this period, guests will discover a lot of interesting things to do.

Important! Shopping malls in Abu Dhabi are open late during Ramadan and tourists can benefit from unique offers and discounts of up to 50-70%.

However, it should be kept in mind that for Muslims, Ramadan is a time of devotion accompanied by good deeds and prayers. When visiting public places, it would be wise to adhere certain norms of behaviour, taking into account the cultural values of the country:

  • dress modestly, avoiding tight fitting and transparent clothing
  • be polite and friendly, without aggression or using abusive language
  • try to behave calmly, without flashy displays of emotion and celebration
  • be quiet and do not listen to loud music or dance

The month of Ramadan is the best time to explore the culture, history and traditions of the UAE. Many museums and social centers in Abu Dhabi host Ramadan-themed events and exhibitions, as well as lectures on Islam. You can experience how Ramadan traditions blend with the modern vibrant life of the country.

Tourists can benefit from reduced costs of airline tickets and tours for the Ramadan season. Those who intend to visit the UAE in order to explore the prospects for relocation, there may be a pleasant bonus of promotions from real estate developers.