Falling in the ninth month of the Islamic year, the spiritual month of Ramadan serves as a chance for Muslims to purify their souls and improve their relationships with God. And travelling to these places will help you do just that! The rich culture and traditions practised during Ramadan will fully immerse you in the beauty of the blessed month.
If you've never thought of travelling during Ramadan, we're about to change your mind ?
P.S. In some Islamic countries, opening hours for shops and eateries may change dramatically during Ramadan so make sure to do your research and double-check before you go. You can pop by our Facebook community to ask other travellers there if they have any tips about travelling during Ramadan to pass on too!
1. Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi is an incredible city and even more so during the special month of Ramadan. While the typical pace of life slows down and shops may close especially during the heat of the day, there are still tourist amenities as well as events organised to remind the masses on the special meaning of the holy month.
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Visit the Grand Mosque and have iftar with the local community there to soak in the local experience, while experiencing for yourself how other Muslim sisters and brothers celebrate Ramadan and Eid. A must-visit is their majlis-style tents where you will find Arab cuisine and gems such as ornate cushions and Persian carpets. It cannot get any more authentic than this☺️
2. Shiraz, Iran
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One of the most beautiful and historical places in the world, Shiraz, is the former capital of Iran. It is quickly becoming a popular destination where visitors are able to marvel at UNESCO heritage sites and learn about their rich history. A must-visit is the Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque (also known as the Pink Mosque) which is so visually stunning and enchanting. And it can only be better during the fasting month!
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With the treasure trove of Persian culture dating more than 4000 years old, there are endless numbers of things that you can do here during Ramadan. Immerse in the local culture and marvel at the sights and sounds at Vakil Bazaar!
3. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
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One of the most underrated travel destinations in Southeast Asia is the capital of Brunei, and this beautiful country has so much to offer! Take a breather from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the beauty of Tasek Lama Recreational Park. You can also experience a taste of the rainforest in this small sultanate of Borneo.
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For a peek into the local life, visit places such as Kampong Ayer (Ayer Village) and Tamu Kianggeh (Kianggeh market). Drop by their Gerai Ramadan before ending your day with iftar and Tarawih at Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque which overlooks the river?
#HHWT Tip: Currently the best way to travel around is to hire a private car. But don’t forget to try their water taxis too!
4. Cape Town, South Africa
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A magnet for tourists all year round, Cape Town has the largest Muslim community in South Africa! The predominant Muslim community is visible in Bo-Kaap (koekisters are a must) and Athlone, where there are 9 mosques in Bo-Kaap alone, with even more in the central city area. A place of historical importance, Bo-Kaap is a colourful (literally) neighbourhood with many halal eateries - perfect for Muslims!
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You might not know this but many Muslims actually visit Cape Town during Ramadan due to its cooler climate and shorter fasting periods. But if you're still not convinced, here are 13 more reasons why Cape Town is worth the splurge?
5. Istanbul, Turkey
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The ancient city of Istanbul has such a unique identity – it has a rich ancient past intact yet is so modern. Offering one of the world’s most beautiful examples of historic Islamic architecture, it’s no wonder people still flock here throughout the year and that includes during Ramadan. Come dusk time, the city’s public spaces near the Blue Mosque will be filled with vendors selling Turkish cuisine and religious books. There are also public readings of the Quran!
Stroll along Bosphorus before sunset towards the Blue Mosque, and listen to the call for prayer. It truly is a surreal experience? And come night, spend it by praying together with the locals in the mosque to complete that unforgettable Ramadan trip of a lifetime!
6. Marrakesh, Morocco
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Spending Ramadan in Morocco will definitely be a unique experience. You'd be amazed by all the food Morocco has to offer that is only available during the month of Ramadan? The best places to treat yourself to the ever popular Moroccan delicacies are definitely at the souks!
Join the Moroccan community for iftar at their mosques which are peppered all around the country. While the temperature can be rather hot during the fasting month, you will never forget this experience - not when you can hear the sound of cannons which mark the time to break your fast! ?
7. Cairo, Egypt
A tourist hotspot all year round, Cairo is even more enchanting during Ramadan! During the special month, there will be many lanterns and lights decorating the streets and houses. The breaking of fast in their mosques is a great chance to mix with the locals and sample their traditional cuisine, which is unlike any other country.
Your trip to Cairo will not be complete without a visit to their local markets where you can feast on their most delectable cuisine during dusk and get the most unique souvenirs?
8. Bandung, Indonesia
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Nicknamed the ‘Paris of Java’, this splendid city has a cool climate throughout the year. It is 768 metres above sea level, allowing you to experience the coolest of temperatures - making it a great destination to spend your Ramadan. Seek a peaceful retreat at the Cimahi Waterfall, Tangkuban Perahu and Kawah Putih (White Lake) during the day. Then, head to Pasar Baru Trade Center to look for beautiful textiles to tailor make your very own Syawal costume!
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Acts of charity and genuine kindness are all part of the spirit in the holy month, and the friendly folks in Indonesia may also invite you to break fast with them! Evenings are lively with family and friends gathering to eat, pray and shop☺️
9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ramadan is the perfect time to visit Kuala Lumpur! Being a predominantly Muslim country, there are many Islamic activities such as Tarawih and Quran recitals at many of the mosques.
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You cannot miss the night markets which light up the festivity in the air. These bazaars can be found at almost every corner across the country! Don’t miss the ones at Masjid India, Bukit Bintang and Kelana Jaya. Expect to see vendors selling a kaleidoscope of specialty food and items such as attars, prayer mats and Malay traditional costumes. Enjoy the vibes here as you soak in the atmosphere while snacking on Eid goodies!
10. Australia/New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand may not have large Muslim communities, but we think they deserve a mention for how tight-knit and kind-hearted the Muslim communities there can be! You're never too far away from some Muslim-friendly food options no matter what city you're in, and the awe-inspiring majesty of their natural sights will make you feel that sense of humility, gratefulness, and admiration for God's handiwork.
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The closeness of the Muslim communities there only grows during Ramadan, with mosques organizing Tarawih prayers throughout the month and even iftar sessions where possible. Though there may not be Ramadan night markets or bazaars around to satisfy your Iftar cravings, the cool weather and shorter daylight hours of the Southern hemisphere winter (in May and June at least) make up for it.
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Singapore isn't a Muslim-majority country either, but its commitment to religious harmony makes it a destination where Muslims can spend their Ramadan with ease. There's at least one mosque in every neighbourhood, and they hold Tarawih prayers, Islamic classes, or extra prayers throughout the month too.
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One of the beloved seasonal attractions that pop up during this month are the Ramadan bazaars. The bazaar in Geylang Serai is probably the biggest and most famous one, but smaller bazaars in other neighbourhoods bring a festive touch to Singapore throughout the month. You can get every single dish of your dreams here, and even do some last-minute shopping for Eid apparel, furniture, and accessories.
We’re saving the best for last! The most surreal place to go to during Ramadan is none other than the Holy City, Mecca. This is truly the city which never sleeps, and when you're there - we're sure you wouldn't feel like sleeping either? To spend Ramadan in the most pure and holy place on Earth is truly a blessing and one we'd definitely recommend you to experience at least once in your life☺️
On top of the beautiful prayer spaces Mecca offers, it holds Ramadan bazaars and mass break fast in the mosque. Having a simple meal with your brothers and sisters from around the world just might be the dearest feeling you'll hold on to for a long time!
Ultimately, travelling during the blessed month is only good when it does not defeat the true meaning and purpose of the holy month, but enhances it. Wherever your spiritual compass takes you, we hope these destinations give you that amazing and unforgettable Ramadan☺️