Hi there! This is the first post from Petra Nights Tours. Still the site is under construction but I could not wait to write something. As we received in the last days emails from clients wanting to know about the situation for travelers during Ramadan, this is the topic for the first post. Ramadan is the holy month of fasting, in which Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink and smoke from dawn until sunset. The Ramadan date varies according to the Islamic lunar calendar, in 2011 it is expected to be between 1st and 29th August (+/- 1 day according to the actual sight of the moon). Due to fasting people are less active, especially in summer when the days are long and hot.
Offices and shops have shorter opening hours, so many stores, banks and offices close early at 14:00. Tourist places like museums, archaeological sites close about 15:00, except Petra and Wadi Rum, you can visit till sunset. The daily fast-breaking is called Iftar. During Iftar the street are empty and is very quiet, but after this live comes back and many people go out with friends and family as shops open till late in the evening. You can see decorations in streets and houses, mostly lanterns in the shape of a moon.
Non-Muslim tourists are not expected to fast in Jordan, but to be respectful don’t eat, drink and smoke in public during daylights, do it more discreet. In tourist areas and bigger cities you will find some restaurants and shops open during the day, so there will be no problem for a lunch.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated during Eid Al Fitr, when families come together to celebrate the end of the fast. During Eid Al Fitr businesses and government offices are closed for up to 3-4 days. The hotels at popular destinations like Aqaba or Dead Sea are crowded and rates are higher than usual. Like you see there is no real objection to travel during this time, as long you have no problem that every day life is slower, and most of tourist sites are closing earlier.