Ramadan falls in the 9th month of the Islamic calendar which in 2019 begins on the 5th May. Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, smoking and other physical needs during daylight hours. It is not just a time to purify the soul and refocus attention on God. It is a time of reflection and consideration to give thanks for what you have in your life. It is also an important time to think of others and perform good deeds. This observance is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam.
Guests visiting Maldives’ resorts during the holy month are unlikely to be ‘inconvenienced’ by Ramadan, however, for those visiting local islands the following will assist you to make the most of your holiday and plan accordingly.
- Local cafes and restaurants are closed during daylight hours until sunset at approx. 18:15.
- Guesthouses and hotels that have in house restaurants however, offer food and beverages to both in house and non resident guests. In Male , Seahouse, Hotel Jen and at the airport Hulhule Airport Hotel all serve non residents.
- Public bus and ferry services do not operate between 17:30 and 19:00. Some ferry timetables may change to take this into account.
- Public service companies such as banks and the post office open only between 10:00-14:00.
- Shops close at 18:00 for Iftar and evening prayer and re-open between 20:00 and 20:30.
It is also possible that the first day of Ramadan is given a public holiday, so make sure you check the ferry and public speedboat timetable as services may be altered if you are planning to travel on this day.
Whilst there are no rules and regulations for non-Muslims in the Maldives during Ramadan, it is courteous and respectful to refrain from consuming food and drink and smoking in public during the fasting hours of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
In general it a period of time when life on local islands during the day is quieter and the pace of life a lot slower, but isn’t that what holidays are about?
Whilst some may find visiting the Maldives a challenge during this time for others it provides the perfect opportunity to gain a unique insight into the country’s faith and culture.