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5 Tips for Traveling Iran during Ramadan

08 June, 2016 John Flint Iran Travel Advice 2859 Views 30 Shares 3 Comments
5 Tips for Traveling Iran during Ramadan

Travelling Iran during Ramadan is nothing to worry about, well provided you prepare a little. Here are 5 Tips for Travelling Iran during Ramadan, including advice to help you feel more relaxed and less "hangry" on your next Iran trip.

It lasts for around 28 days depending on the moon, so let's get started.

 

But FIRST, let's delve into some insights about Ramadan:

  1. Ramadan is the month the Quran was revealed to prophet Mohammad by God, it is said this happened the night of Qadr. However as the exact time is not certain, Iranians tend to stay awake all night between the 18th and 21th night of Ramadan. This is mainly to reflect upon God and count their blessings.
  2. According to regional traditions and Iranian regulations, eating and drinking in public during Ramadan is discouraged. Especially for locals, where failing to observe Ramadan may attract penalties. However, there are exceptions:
    1. If you have an illness, pregnant or physically weak due to medical reasons; and
    2. If you are a Traveller! In which case, both eating and drinking is allowed.
  3. Ramadan ends with a celebration known as Eid with a special praying called Fetr

 

 

#1  Where to find Meals during Ramadan

Finding public restaurants open during Ramadan is often difficult, this is because Ramadan affects business during daylight hours when locals observe Ramadan in Iran. Sorry to say it but this also includes public restaurants and fast food, however there are exceptions:

Ramadan Tips:

  1. Road stops on the highways are open for travellers during Ramadan;
  2. Restaurants in city centre hotels are open for travellers during Ramadan;
  3. General grocery stores and shops to buy fruits, snacks, drinks or whatever you like throughout the day; or
  4. Don’t be surprised if households serve meals during the day, including those who do not observe Ramadan, host travellers, and all other occasions.

 

Iran hotel restaraunt

 

 

#2  Try to Be Considerate around Ramadan

Just keep in mind, eating while traveling Iran during Ramadan is perfectly okay under Iranian regulations. Because if you're away from home for more than 10 days, or a certain amount of kilometres, then you're allowed to eat. Pretty much anytime you think fasting may affect your health while performing an activity, you can eat, and we know how tiring traveling can be. 

Avoid eating in front of Iranians while fasting over Ramadan, at least where possible, as I’m sure you would agree this can be painful to watch and smell when you're hungry, and even offensive in some regions of Iran.

Ramadan Tip: You're allowed to eat, just eat somewhere quiet, or at least in obvious tourist areas.

 

 

#3  Ramadan Feasts during Sunset to Sunrise

During Ramadan, you can eat your heart out from sunset to sunrise. Pretty much every restaurant, food stand and household will have food ready after dark. But does this defeats the purpose of fasting?

Regardless the Persian tradition is to eat breakfast (break the fast) shortly after sunset, especially with haleem (halim), which is a sort of sweet porridge with wheat and meat. Then have a proper dinner later on. 

To simplify the timing, Iranian tradition celebrates Ramadan with two major meals:

  1. Iftar (break the fast) – This often occurs after sunset, however depending on the family this can be served at any time before sunrise. This meal often includes fresh bread, local haleem (Iranian porridge), and sometimes Āsh; and
  2. Sahari/Sahūr (supper) – During Sahari Iranians eat a full meal, drink lots of water and serve tea. Once again the timing of Sahari varies depending on the family and culture in the area. This may include Iranian kebabs, salads, fresh vegetables, and sweets. However in reality anything can be served during Ramadan depending where you are.

A very nice Iranian tradition during Ramadan is Nazri (votive/offering), where locals prepare food to feed the poor and homeless. This tradition was derived from Muslim’s vow to God to support the poor: so often it’s the community mosque that will arrange haleem to be distributed to the public.

The majority of Iranians can't wait to get home and eat.

Tip for Ramadan: Eat like a bat - wait till the sun goes down, and enjoy the night life treats.

 

Iran: Breaking The Ramadan Fast With Coffee In Tehran

 

 

#4  Plan your Travel Days for Ramadan

Try to plan your travel days around the season. It's often hot and humid during Ramadan so try to see the sites in the morning, and rest in the afternoons.

Travel Tip: Enjoy the season and rotate your day:

  1. Sleep in the AM;
  2. Eat and explore in the PM; and
  3. Eat and transit during the late night.

Or mix it up depending on the local weather and site opening times.

 

night sights iran photography

 

 

#5  Enjoy the Persian Ramadan Street Snacks

Tip for Ramadan: Keep your eye out for Zulbia Bamieh sweets and various chia beverages, such as these awesome Iranian summer drinks from MyPersianCorner. They are especially popular during Ramadan.

 

ZULBIA BAMIEH • زولبیا باميه‎ • 2015 NAW-RÚZ RECIPE

Iranian Summer Drinks

 

 

Did You Know: If you want to try a more exotic meal during the early hours of the morning, ask around for kala boche. This is a sheeps head soaked in a stew, including cheeks, tongue and all - it's popular for friends and family to share after early morning prayers.

kalaboche-iran-dish-sheep-head

 

Need to Know

So what is the Ramadan calendar this year? The dates vary slightly between Islamic countries, but for general up-to-date information about Ramadan in Iran, here's a useful link: 

So what are you worried about? Traveling Iran during Ramadan isn't so bad, well, provided you plan a little. Now you're in the spirit, here's 6 heavenly must-eats of an Iranian Ramadan feast by Travestyle.

 

 

About Author

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John Flint

Tehran Sfiran Writing Editor

I'm John, I'm based in Tehran doing freelance writing, editing and marketing.

Bart Driessen — Jun 03, 2017

I am now traveling in Iran and Ramadan started one week ago. People are allowed to eat and drink while traveling and I see a lot of people eating and drinking in train, bus and plane. In buses snacks and drinks are distributed, in the train a chicken and rice lunch is served. So if you travel around, you won't encounter any problems. All hotels and hostels where I stayed serve breakfast for guests at normal times. And while almost any restaurant is closed during the day, the more upper class business hotels serve food and drinks in their lobbies and restaurants all day. I actually was pleasantly surprised how easy traveling is here in general and also during Ramadan.

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Searching for Iran — Jun 04, 2017

Thanks Bart, it's good to hear you have found tourism orientated businesses have been open. We hope you have enjoyed your experiences so far!

Hosein Farhady — Jun 15, 2017

Hello John Thanks for your nice information about cultural and social codes in Iran. Travelling in Iran during Ramadan now is much more easier than some years ago. You can eat and drink not in public but in hides like restaurants, hotels and etc. According to law, the restaurants which are located inside the hotels and those restaurants out of city centers like on highways are allowed to serve food. Here is a post having more information about the topic at our website: gateofalamut http://gateofalamut.com/en/ramadan-in-iran/ Thanks again! Hosein

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