As part of our Ramadan Around The World series, we will be sharing heartwarming stories on how Ramadan is celebrated around the world. Based on the story submitted by Supree Yarnkup from Bangkok in Thailand, this interview has been edited for length and clarity by Have Halal, Will Travel's editorial team.
It's impossible to think about Thailand without imagining its delicious street food, bustling street markets and friendly locals. It may be a while before we can travel to Thailand again, but this story of how Supree Yarnkup, a Thai Muslim living in Bangkok, is celebrating Ramadan in the Land of Smiles will relive a rush of memories from your past travels.
There are three things that come to mind when we ask Supree about what Ramadan means to him, and that includes fasting, taraweeh prayers and a yummy feast at the masjid. "During Ramadan, I wake up at 4AM and take sahur for 30 minutes. Then, I perform my morning prayers and get ready for work which starts from 8AM until 5.45PM. Since iftar time is around 6.30AM, I will break my fast either at the office or during my drive back home."
Since last year, Ramadan has been celebrated in a humble affair and same goes to the festive atmosphere in Bangkok. "Due to the COVID-19 situation, taraweeh prayers are not allowed and some masjids are closed. What I miss most about Ramadan is the atmosphere of the night prayer, listening to Qaari and reciting the Quran."
Growing up in Bangkok, there's no shortage of amazing halal food. During Ramadan, he enjoys eating rice with omelette, bread or cereal for sahur and indulge in Thai-style biryani and Thai curries for iftar. He also shared that we can find a variety of biryani or roti with curries during iftar near the masjid.
When it comes to Eid, it is a celebration that Supree looks forward to, especially his must-have food. "My mother's grandparents are Javanese, so every Eid al Fitr, we will cook lontong (Indonesian rice cake wrapped inside a banana leaf)." It is also during this period when he reminisces his favourite Eid moments. "Before the pandemic, we celebrated Eid outside of the masjid for prayer and Khutbah. After finishing the sermon, we usually enjoy some light breakfast and host some activities for the kids. Later on, we will visit our relatives and elders too."
If Bangkok is on your travel bucket list, there are many sights and sounds that await you! For must-see spots in Bangkok, Supree recommends The Grand Palace or Wat Prakeaw situated in the heart of the city. "For hidden gems, there's a unique mosque named Bang Luang Masjid. Established around 200 years ago, the architecture is very unique with Thai Chinese influence, and it truly represents the Muslim community in Bangkok."
To immerse yourself in the local culture, Supree recommends sightseeing along the Chareonkrung Road which happens to be the first road of Bangkok! "You can start from the Grand Palace and along the road, you will find many old buildings, markets, museums, temples, churches and masjids. This road truly defines our multicultural society in Bangkok because you can also spot Chinatown, Little India as well as the Christian and Muslim communities co-existing together."
Consider yourself a foodie? Supree has a couple of halal eateries you should try on your next trip to Bangkok. "I would recommend Sathaneepat 25 located nearby Al-Meroz Hotel and Islamic Centre of Thailand masjid. In this area, you can enjoy a variety of halal food as well as many restaurants specialising in Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Malay and Esaan Thai cuisine. You can even order from different restaurants but sit down at one restaurant, which is not a problem in Bangkok."
Share your Ramadan Around The World stories
The diversity of the ummah truly exemplifies the beauty of Islam, and it's great to read stories from the community! If you want to share how Ramadan is celebrated in your country, fill in the form below and stand a chance to be featured!
P.S. If you can't view the form above, you can submit your story in this form!