The Holy Month of Ramadan is observed by billions of Muslims around the world. Traditionally, most Muslims chose not to travel during Ramadhan unless. However, at present, an increasing number of Muslims around the world are choosing to travel during Ramadan.
To determine the best travel destination for Muslims during the month of Ramadan, CrescentRating and MasterCard have partnered to release the MasterCard-CrescentRating Ramadan Travel Report – which studies the changes in travel trends during the Holy Month of Ramadan, providing vital insights on the best travel destinations during Ramadan for Muslim travelers, for the next 15 years.
Saudi Arabia is the most preferred destination for Muslim travelers. Makkah and Madinah in are the top two destinations for Muslims during Ramadan, regardless of other criteria used in the ranking. As one of the best destinations in the world for Muslims, Saudi Arabia has no shortage of Ramadan facilities. It offers an abundance of Halal food and prayer facilities as well as a wide range of Ramadan bazaars, Iftar buffets, and pretty much everything that is required during Ramadan.
Listed below are more destinations to travel to during the Holy Month and where you can experience how different cultures celebrate Ramadan in their own unique way.
During Ramadan, Muslim tourists will find plenty of places to break fast including iftar buffets being held at restaurants. However, be prepared for heavy crowds and traffic in the evenings. Some of the best experiences of Ramadan in Malayasia include the Ramadan bazaars that can be found almost everywhere during this season, where delicious varieties of Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine can be found.
The mood is both spiritual and festive. Shopping outlets will be decorated and have special Ramadan discounts and bargains. Muslims in Malaysia are fasting for about 13 to 14 hours this year and since Ramadan will be in summer, be prepared to experience warm, humid weather paired with slightly heavy rains and cloudy days.
Muslims in Singapore are also be fasting for about 12 to 13 hours. Be prepared for some high heat and humidity, including the southwest monsoon in Singapore this Ramadan. Mosques will be distributing food packages for Muslim and non-Muslim travelers as well as those who cannot make it in time to break fast; these areas will be very crowded too. In addition to the number of Iftar specials and buffets at many restaurants, there are places offering breakfast buffets as well. Ramadan bazaars selling food and other products with stalls that are open well into the night will be held all over Singapore during the holy month.
Muslims in Turkey are fasting for a little more than 17 hours this Ramadan and as a tradition, drummers will walk around towns waking people up to prepare the Suhur meal. In Turkey there will be food festivals with entertainment and bazaars and restaurants will have special Iftar menus as well. Decorated mosques and buildings bring out a more festive atmosphere too.
Traffic congestion will be experienced on major highways and public transport will be very crowded during this month, as will restaurants and other eating outlets. Ramadan starts almost as soon as the summer does with hot, humid weather and rainfall in the northern areas.
The tradition of Ramadan bazaars with food stalls held at night can be found in Brunei as well, complete with traditional and western food one can find Iftar buffets and specials in almost every restaurant. There is a tradition where a local mosque even prepares an Iftar buffet and where all are welcome to break fast together. The fasting hours in Brunei are about 13 hours this year. This June will be very hot with occasional rain and thunderstorms.
South Africa is one of the destinations with the shortest fasting durations which is around 11-12 hours, with cold weather conditions, especially at night. In areas like Cape Town you will find no shortage of Halal restaurants to break fast, including prayer rooms in almost every shopping mall. Mosques are conveniently located in places like Bo-Kaap and serve meals for Iftar too.
Ramadan will be during the monsoon season with frequent rainfall, cloudy and warm days with cooler nights. The fasting hours in the Maldives will be between 12 to 13 hours this Ramadan. Muslim tourists will get the chance to try out special Ramadan food that will also be served in resorts and hotels, including restaurants serving special meals for Iftar with a homemade flair. There will be several cultural events and entertainment during the Holy of Ramadan and it is considered an ideal time to visit.
In the United Arab Emirates, a tourist will see several beautifully decorated majlis-style tents being set up where authentic Arab food and drinks will be served with games and socializing. Dubai is one the best shopping destinations, so there will be abundant places for shopping promotions, offers, and many more. This Ramadan started in March which is one of the hottest months in the United Arab Emirates where Muslims will be fasting for around 15 hours a day.
Iran usually experiences a very dry, hot climate, and the fasting duration will be for 15 hours this year. Ramadan is considered a festive month where streets and shops are decorated and charitable acts are the main highlights. Most markets and restaurants will be closed and will open late in the evening.
Traveling Muslims will have plenty of eating outlets to break fast in, and go for iftar buffets which be held regularly at hotels and restaurants. There will be several Ramadan promotions and offers to be enjoyed in the major shopping malls which will be very crowded, yet nearly all shops will be open until late at night. Traffic congestion will be higher before sunrise and areas near mosques will be crowded too. In Muscat, hot sunny weather can be expected throughout June, with a fasting duration of 14 to 15 hours.
This Ramadan, Muslims in Jordan are fasting for around 16 hours. June and July are generally months with dry heat with strong sandstorms at times. Restaurants and cafés will be open until late evening and will be festively decorated, and have different types of entertainment and music celebrating the month of Ramadan. Tourists will find Ramadan tents serving snacks and drinks with games and entertainment too.
Morocco is also fasting for 16 hours this year and the weather conditions will be extremely hot during this Ramadan. The sounds of cannons mark the time to break iftar. Tourists will find markets serving special Ramadan food and mosques will be serving meals for iftar as well after prayers. Ramadan in Morocco is a unique experience altogether.
Ramadan will take place during one of the hottest months in Qatar. The fasting duration will be for 15 hours this time around. There will be lighter traffic during the day and heavier traffic at night since people will be shopping and socializing after breaking fast. There is a cannon fired every day to mark the start of iftar which is a popular tradition. In Qatar, you will also find Ramdan Tents and places holding Iftar buffets every day. A unique tradition called Gurangao is celebrated in Qatar where children visit houses and sing songs, where they receive candy and nuts from people.
Australia will experience some of the shortest fasting durations being 11 to 12 hours, with a cold pleasant climate and sunny days throughout the month. There are selections of Halal restaurants and cafés in the major cities of Australia available for Muslims. Being a multi-cultural society there will be food festivals and bazaars held in places like Lakemba in Sydney which has a high Muslim population.
In Thailand places like Pattani and Bangkok, the traditions of Ramadan bazaars with special and local food can be seen. There are Halal-friendly restaurants conveniently situated close to mosques as well and a wide range of shopping complexes with prayer room facilities. Ramadan is taking place during the monsoon season in Thailand with sudden rainfall. Muslims in Thailand will be fasting for around 14 hours this Ramadan.
In Tunisia, special festivities and events are held, usually consisting of cultural events that are enjoyed by many. Muslim tourists can also try out food that is special to the month of Ramadan and visit Ramadan tents for festivities. This year in Tunisia, Muslims will be fasting for around 16 hours and mosques will be filled with believers. The weather conditions in June are generally dry, warm, and sunny.
Muslims in Bahrain are fasting for 15 hours during the Holy Month. Like other Middle Eastern countries, there is a very hot summer to get through. A tourist can enjoy the experience of Iftar buffets in hotels or restaurants taking place in beautifully decorated Ramadan tents with traditional music and games as well.
In Bangladesh, cities will be decorated with lights and unique Ramadan food will be served at Ramadan markets - meals will also be served by mosques for Iftar. Be prepared to deal with large crowds near places of worship. The fasting hours this Ramadan will also be up to 15 hours in Bangladesh. This time Ramadan will take place during the monsoon season, but the climate will be generally cooler.
In Senegal, Ramadan is a festive time where shops will remain open all night after Iftar. There will be plenty of Ramadan events at hotels and restaurants. Halal restaurants can be found for breaking fast. Ramadan is taking place during the warmer, rainy season in June, and the fasting duration will be around 14 hours.
Muslims in Kazakhstan will be fasting for around 17 hours during the Holy Month. There will be a hot summer during this time with a few thunderstorms. The amount of Halal-friendly eating outlets has increased since there is a Muslim majority in Kazakhstan. There are beautiful surroundings and scenic places to enjoy.