Travel during Ramadan

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Feb 4th, 2006, 04:36 PM
  #1
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Travel during Ramadan

I have just found out that Ramadan occurs this year from Sept 24th to Oct 24th. We were planning on traveling to Morocco in early October. It seems that many shops & restaurants will be closed and this may not be the best time of year to see Morocco or any other Muslim country. Has anyone traveled to Morocco or Turkey during Ramadan, and do you have any thoughts about whether we should change our travel dates or not?
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Feb 5th, 2006, 01:46 AM
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Ramadan can be a very festive time to visit Morocco. Every day at sundown, the entire village/city comes alive as people race home to break the fast. It is very common for visitors to be invited to break the fast with local families. I have done so many times and it is a lovely experience.

It is true that during the day, restaurants and cafes will be closed (not all of them - I managed a cheeky coffee in a discreet corner of the fes train station cafe last year. I apologised profusely to the server, but he smiled and said, "why? you dont have to fast.") But tourists still come during that time, so businesses, bazaars, etc that cater to tourists will be open and probably even serving food and drink.

From sunset, the streets will be bustling and lively with a party atmosphere.

Some visitors really get into the spirit of things and fast for a day or even the duration of their stay - especially if they're dining in a private home at sunset. You REALLY appreciate harira and dates at that point.

I cant say whether or not you should change your dates, but the country by no means closes down for the month - the hours are simply shifted towards the evening. And September/October is a great time to visit in terms of weather.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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We've been in a number of Muslim countries during Ramadan.

In Turkey, which is actually a secular country, nothing was closed; those who observed, did so... but had no impact on visitors.

In Egypt, a few shops/restaurants were closed, but not those catering to tourists. Life, went on as usual.

In South Africa, our guide was Muslim and while he didn't join us for meals - we did ask that he do so - once he mentioned that it was Ramadan, we understood.

Observers fast during the day and break fast for an evening meal.

As a westerner and knowing you are traveling during Ramadan, it's just a good idea and respectful, not to be walking down the street drinking a soda or eating food of any sort (even an ice cream bar). In restaurants that are open... you'll be fine.
 
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Feb 5th, 2006, 06:39 AM
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Sandi, I believe Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar are primarily Muslim. Is Tanzania considered a Muslim country? Jack
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Feb 7th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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ttt
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Feb 7th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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sandi
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Jack -

The coastal regions of both countries are primarly (95%) Muslim/Swahili culture.

But the mainlands are tribal and Christian (all denominations), though there are large Asian groupings - Indian, Pakastani, mainly. And, a small Jewish population, centered mostly in/around Nairobi.
 
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Feb 18th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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We were in Morocco this past Oct. during Ramadan....we had no problem with restaurants and shops closed...we could always dine...you will just find that you might be alone in the restaurants or with other tourists...since Moroccans would never eat at that time...another benefit...no one can smoke between 4 a.m. and 6 p.m....so you will have a particularly smoke free experienced....that was very very nice...everyone was so cordial and made no issue of the fact that we were eating when they were not...the Moroccans consider it a privilege to be observing the fasting aspect of their religion....I would say it is a a great time to go becaused the weather is perfect and the host country was welcoming and friendly
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Feb 19th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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I was in Turkey last fall during Ramadan. Unless you looked very carefully, you would not find any indication that it was the fast season. One thing I do remember is that as soon as the fast period ends each night, the locally popular restaurants in Istanbul got packed with people and it was difficult to get a table.
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