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Middle East Topics specific to the Middle East countries, from Syria south to Yemen
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  #1  
Old 5 Dec 2010
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Syria/Jordan during Ramadan

Hi all,

Planning for my first visit in 2011. Can only go during school hols as my partner's a teacher.
Any thoughts on being there during Ramadan? I've been advised that everything closes down during the day. I've travelled for years in North Africa - Maroc, Tunisia, Libya and it's not usually a big issue.

Any advice gratefully received.

Happy trails,

Jojo
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Old 5 Dec 2010
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Ramadan

We flew our bikes into Egypt this year right in the middle of Ramadan,
No major issues but seem to wind everything up by about 2pm,
so it would not stop me !!!!!Anyway look on the bright side there are usually lots of free feeds at night (haha)

Safe Trip
Paul
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Old 8 Dec 2010
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Originally Posted by JoJo1 View Post
Any thoughts on being there during Ramadan? I've been advised that everything closes down during the day
I've been to Syria and Jordan countries during Ramadan in August/September 2009. Everything looked like business as usual, shops and souks were open during their normal opening hours.
People bought food, but nobody drank or ate during daytime. Only exception was in the christian quarter of Damascus, but even there it was difficult to find an open bar or cafe. Since some of the locals seemed to be at bit on the edge - patience runs short if you're thirsty and hungry with 35°C outside - we refrained from eating or drinkig in the open.

Regards,
Hans
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Old 9 Dec 2010
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I rode through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Kurdistan during Ramadan this summer. Not a problem at all, most shops are open during the day and some restaurants are as well. Many people do in fact eat/drink during the day, travelers, the sick, children, the elderly etc are exempt. I stopped in roadside restaurants for lunch several times and they were always packed. Observance is definitely lower in Turkey and Kurdistan than in Syria and Jordan but keep in mind Syria has a significant Christian population, not only in Damascus but in the mountains as well. Interesting contrast to visit these areas.

As a westerner and traveler nobody is going to expect you to observe Ramadan, with that said I took care not to eat in public during the day. Drinking water is another thing, if you don't drink while riding in the Middle East in summer you're going to be hurting!

I was frequently invited to tea or offered a drink by people I met along the way - on the way from Palmyra to Damascus I stopped at a gas station and was eating a snack outside to not offend the attendants, they invited me in to the air conditioned building, offered me one of their seats, tea etc. The hospitality is simply incredible, you'll have a great time!
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Old 9 Dec 2010
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Here we go!

Hi all,

Many thanks Paul, Hans and McCole for your most useful and encouraging replies.

We've got the maps, we're looking at the guide books, now starts the fun part in determining a route.

Thanks again.

Happy trails,

Jojo
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Old 9 Dec 2010
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Originally Posted by MCole View Post
Observance is definitely lower in Turkey

That's correct.
Last august I rode Turkey in Ramadan period while coming back from the republics of Caucasus and I saw many people eating and drinking in public places during the day (especially truck drivers).
I was offered tea many times and as soon as I said "I prefer not to drink, because you are observing Ramadan", they always insisted on offering, telling me it was not a problem to them. So, you won't run across any problem in Turkey.

I cannot say anything for Syria and Jordan because I rode them in 2008, but given the fantastic persons I met there, I'd say you will have a good experience there even in Ramadan period.
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