The Muslim holy month of Ramadan normally brings questions about your chances of enjoying your holiday, especially if you’re planning to visit a predominantly Muslim country or state. Tales of close-shutter stores and low-blood sugar moods might sway your decision to put off your trip, but hey! There are actually fun things to do and you’ll still get to experience the culture that the promise of travelling brings.
So, come with us and let’s explore the sights, sounds, shopping and spreads from stalls and bazaars that are abound during this season.
United Arab Emirates – Dubai
The enjoyment of breaking of fast with locals.
Must Visit: Dubai World Trade Centre Night Market (1-10 June 2017), Ramadanization Art Bazaar @ DUCTAC; Mall of Emirates; Alserkal Avenue (Nadi Al Quoz), The Ripe Market @ Reform Social & Grill at The Lakes, Emirates Hills.
Must Try/Buy: Konafah (pastry made with phyllo dough and cheese), Harira (lamb, lentil and chickpea soup), Art Pieces, Stained Glass Lamps, Hand-Crafted Jewellery, Henna Hand Art, Ethnic Fashion.
Must Note: The “Old Dubai Iftar Walk” (30 May – 20 June 2017) – for an immersive Ramadan experience.
Crunchy and sweet Konafah.
Cool Henna Art is available on the spot.
What to expect at the Ramadanization Art Bazaar.
India – Kolkata
A vendor selling sweet treats at Zakaria Street
Must Visit: Zakaria Street @ Burrabazaar, Outside Colootola Mosque, Chitpur Road.
Must Try/Buy: Jhal-Muri (puffed rice snack), Rooh Afza Sharbat (a rose flavoured cordial drink), Bhajis (deep fried snacks), Haleem (meat stew), Atar (perfume), Bangles, Traditional Costumes.
Must Note: Ramadan Food Trail with Calcutta Walks – simply scrumptious!
You’ll be spoilt for choice.
Local perfume scents that can surprise and delight.
Quench your thirst with the rose-flavoured Rooh Afza Sharbat.
China – Xinjiang
How gorgeous are these hand-woven Atlas Silks?!
Must Visit: Grand Bazaar of Ürümqi, Old Town Area.
Must Try/Buy: Milk Yoghurt Cookies, Meat Pies, Lengmen (pulled noodles with stir fried vegetables and meat in meat stock), Dapanji (spicy chicken stew), Atlas Silk, Carpets, Handicrafts.
Must Note: Magnificent eagles which are a common sight in the Old Town area. You might get a chance to pet one!
An Uyghur (Xinjiang’s Turkic ethnic group) vendor preparing noodles for his hungry customers.
A common sight in Xinjiang as Eagle hunting is a popular sport.
Istanbul – Turkey
The Grand Bazaar with the wonderful things it has to offer.
Must Visit: The Kapali Carsi Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, Kemeralti Market.
Must Try/Buy: Assorted Nuts, Dried Fruits, Sucuk (spicy sausage), Ramazan Pidesi (a large round loaf of flat pide bread topped with nigella seeds), Assorted Cheeses, Kebabs, Mother-Of-Pearl Mirrors, Antiques, Hand-Painted Ceramics, Copperware.
Must Note: Hamam (Turkish Baths) – to revitalise from all that bazaar hunting.
Intricate hand painted ceramics for your shopping temptation.
It’s obvious how the locals love their cheeses.
Resistance is futile when it comes to this freshly baked bread.
Morocco – Marrakesh
Dusk draw out folks preparing for their breaking of fast (iftar) at food bazaars.
Must Visit: Khartit Mustapha Bazaar, Jemaa El-Fnaa, Souk Cherifia, Souk Smata.
Must Try/Buy: A wide range of kebab choices, Meat Tajine (chicken or lamb slow cooked in an earthenware pot), Grilled Meats, Couscous (steamed semolina with stewed vegetables or meat toppings), Riifa (a local pancake/crepe), Spices, Djellaba (long coat with hood – for men), Leather Water Bags, Babouches (Moroccan slippers), Antique Berber Jewellery, Bespoke Accessories, Beads, Semi-Precious Stones.
Must Note: Slink with snake charmers at Jemaa El-Fnaa.
Babouches – This is definitely a MUST buy!
Freshly prepared meats and vegetables just waiting to be grilled for you.
The wafting scent of exotic spices beckons a courtesy purchase.
One-off unique pieces of accessories … you just have to get one!
Malaysia – Melaka
Ramadan Bazaars in Melaka are ideal to experience everything in one place!
Must Visit: Pantai Klebang Ramadan Bazaar, Mega Ramadan Bazaar @ Jalan Hang Tuah, Bazaar Taman Peringgit, Uptown MiTC Ramadan Bazaar, Dataran Pahlawan Night Market, Bukit Beruang Ramadan Bazaar.
Must Try/Buy: Cendol (shaved-ice dessert with gula melaka, coconut milk and short mung bean noodle), Chicken Rice Balls (rice cooked with chicken stock, rolled into balls and serve with steamed chicken), Nyonya Kuih (Peranakan dessert), Coconut Shake (coconut juice blended with ice cubes and vanilla ice-cream), Otak-Otak (grilled fish paste with spices), Putu Piring (steam rice cake with gula melaka filling), Murtabak (savoury crispy pancake with a meat concoction stuffing) Kebayas, Knick Knacks, Art, Accessories, Local Handicrafts, Pottery.
Must Note: Melaka Heritage Trail – to give a mix to your Ramadan adventure.
Kuih-muih (Light savoury and sweet bites) are buka puasa (iftar) staples in every household.
Have your choice of either Chicken or Beef Murtabak – both are equally delicious.
Wowsome Kebaya options to add to your wardrobe collection.
More vibrant bazaar hues of sugar-induced beverages and desserts.
Ramadan Bazaars are always a hive of activity with locals and visitors alike.
Huge pots of bazaar fare are empty within minutes!
Beads, bracelets and brooches are hot items for the coming Hari Raya (Eid) celebrations – the month after Ramadan.
We know that as long as you do your due diligence on the do’s and don’ts, you’ll have a magical time exploring the other side of Ramadan. Happy trails folks!