Things to do in Abu Dhabi during Ramadan

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The best time to explore the local ethos, Ramadan is a festive time in the cities of United Arab Emirates. The festival of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims from all around the globe as a month of worship and fasting. Islam is the official religion of the UAE and hence, this month-long festival is widely-celebrated event in the capital city of UAE, Abu Dhabi. During this holy month, visitors get to experience a quieter and a culturally enriching side of this popular tourist city. With numerous interesting activities and events planned, there are plenty of things to do in Abu Dhabi during Ramadan –

1. Iftar Parties

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The most happening and looked-forward-to part of the Ramadan celebration is the Iftar feast.  Iftar is a delicious feast consumed at sunset to break the fast. Hotels and restaurants across Abu Dhabi host Iftar parties, buffets, and tents where they put up a delectable spread of rich food and drinks including traditional dishes such as harees, baklava and sweet dates. 

2. Family-Friendly Activities

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Numerous family-friendly activities are planned during Ramadan at various places throughout the city, especially at malls and entertainment centres. Activities like kids’ camps, Ramadan-special cooking workshops, craft classes, as well as talks and seminars on diverse topics are hosted at several places. 

3. Suhoors

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Suhoors are pre-dawn meals before the fast begins for the day. Enjoy signature Suhoor dishes consisting of succulent meats and traditional desserts early in the morning before the sun rises and the fast begins. Most restaurants and eateries offering Suhoor feasts open around midnight and are open till the crack of the dawn. Suhoor parties and tents are a common sight in Abu Dhabi during Ramadan and are perfect to enjoy a rich meal fit for the kings! 

4. Shopping

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Ramadan is the perfect time to embark upon a shopping spree in Abu Dhabi. The several shopping centres and entertainment districts house a huge variety of artefacts, Ramadan-special articles and memorabilia on sale. However, all the opening and closing timings of these places may vary during Ramadan so make sure that you check out these timings before you go. 

5. Charity

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Ramadan bequeaths you with plenty of opportunities to indulge in philanthropic activities. A large number of donation drives, campaigns, and camps are conducted throughout the city as a part of the Ramadan celebrations. So, you can donate toys, clothes, food, and even money as a part of the festivities. 

6. Try out non-touristy attractions like beaches

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It is important to keep in mind that the visiting hours of popular tourist attractions change during the month of Ramadan. So, this is a good time to explore the atypical, off-beat tourist destinations like beaches, parks, and theme parks. 

Tips for visiting Abu Dhabi during Ramadan

If you are planning on visiting Abu Dhabi during this holy time, there are some essential Ramadan etiquettes that you need to be aware of. Keep in mind these Ramadan dos and don’ts while planning your trip -  

1. Don’t eat/drink/smoke in public

Eating, drinking, smoking or even chewing gum in public during daylight hours is forbidden during Ramadan. Keep in mind that breaking this rule is legally punishable.

2. Dress appropriately

Abu Dhabi already has a dress code in place, especially in public areas. So, make sure that you keep your knees and shoulders covered at all times and do not wear short or sleeveless clothes. Skin show in frowned upon in Abu Dhabi, more so during the month of Ramadan. 

3. Most restaurants and eateries remain closed during the day, especially afternoons

Quite a few offices in Abu Dhabi work short hours during Ramadan, and this is applicable even to shops and eateries. Restaurants and markets may open in the morning between 10 am to noon and may close during the afternoon. 

4. Most popular attractions cancel their afternoon tours

Majority of the popular tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque cancel their afternoon tours during Ramadan. So, before you plan your visit, check out the tour timings beforehand. 

5. Avoid the roads after sunset because there is a lot of rush and traffic

The city of Abu Dhabi, which is quiet during the day, comes to life with food, entertainment, and festivities after sunset. However, this has a flipside too – the mad rush, chaos, and traffic jams take over the streets with people scrambling around to reach the prayer halls and Iftar parties.  

6. Do not play loud music

Playing loud music anywhere, not just in public places, but even in cars and homes, during Ramadan is forbidden in Abu Dhabi. 

To sum it up, a trip to Abu Dhabi during Ramadan is a unique and a culturally-enriching experience. Book your tickets today! 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Oscillating between reality and day-dreaming, Meghana is a journalist by education and a travel-blogger by profession ...

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