Ramadan in Langkawi is a sacred month for the local Muslim community, where locals are forbidden from eating, drinking, and partaking in vices from dawn to sunset. Also known as Puasa Month, it takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar as that’s when the holy book al-Quran is believed to have been revealed.
All Muslims (except for children, the sick and elderly, as well as nursing, pregnant and menstruating women) are required to fast between dawn and sunset, followed by a breaking of fast ceremony (iftar), generally from 19:30 onwards. Most importantly, Ramadan is a time of socialising with family, friends, and loved ones, so lively get-togethers during iftar are a common sight not just in Langkawi, but all over Malaysia.
The start of Ramadan is based on the sighting of the new moon and, since the lunar calendar does not perfectly line up with the Gregorian calendar, the exact start and end dates of the holy month change each year. This year’s Ramadan takes place between 6th June and 7th July 2016 and is followed by the three-day celebration of Eid al Fitr or Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Planning your holiday during Ramadan? Here’s a quick guide on what to do and where to eat in Langkawi during the fasting month.
- Grand Island Tour
- Mangrove Forest & Eagle Watching Tour
- Sunset Cocktail Cruise
- Half-Day Island Hopping
- Mangrove Forest & Eagle Watching
- Private Cable Car & Oriental Village Visit
- Private Half-Day Island Hopping Experience
- Helicopter Experience Over Dayang Bunting Lake
- Scenic Cruise with Lunch
- Half-Day Langkawi Island Tour
Business Operating Hours during Ramadan in Langkawi
Most restaurants, bars, and shops in Langkawi operate as usual during Ramadan in Langkawi, though you may find that they are less crowded during the day. However, businesses owned by Muslims are either closed entirely or open from 19:30 onwards as this is when they’ll break their fast. Ferries, day tours, and bus services within the island may also be limited due to the decline in travellers throughout the month.
On the plus side, numerous Langkawi resorts and hotels offer great deals during Ramadan, making it an ideal time for the budget-conscious and those looking to enjoy a quiet tropical holiday. Here’s a helpful guide of the best hotels in Langkawi to help you decide on an accommodation option that suits your style and budget.
Eating Out during Ramadan in Langkawi
Eating out during Ramadan in Langkawi is fairly easy thanks to the island’s numerous seafood, Chinese, Indian, and international restaurants, though alcoholic offerings are limited in certain hotels or inns. Five-star resorts often hold extensive buffet dinners for iftar, so travellers can enjoy a wide range of Malay delicacies such as beef rendang, nasi lemak, murtabak, and satay.
Massive outdoor food markets - also known as Bazaar Ramadan - can also be found all over Langkawi, particularly Kuah, Pantai Cenang, and Padang Matsirat. These night markets are open daily from 16:00 until late, selling over 100 types of freshly-prepared Malay dishes and snacks at very cheap prices.
Etiquette during Ramadan in Langkawi
Out of courtesy for those who are fasting, we highly encourage travellers to avoid eating, drinking, and smoking in public areas during the day. Also, sticking to loose-fitting and conservative clothes when you’re visiting a Malay-owned establishment or Ramadan Bazaars is advised as baring too much skin is considered disrespectful to Muslims, especially during the fasting month.