As the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins, Dubai’s non-Muslim residents have found another reason to enjoy the period – by taking advantage of extended shopping hours.
For most of July when the city appears to burst into life during the scarce night-time hours after Muslims break their fast, Dubai’s largest, glitziest retail centers catch up with the spirit of the month by extending their opening hours.
“Being a non-faster I can actually enjoy shopping without the malls being overcrowded,” said Ritu Kochhar Gely, an Indian expat, who added that the general slower pace of life during Ramadan also had its benefits. “Plus the roads are empty except of course the work time traffic.”
The city’s cavernous shopping malls – which are among the largest in the world – are popular destinations for tourists and residents alike, who frequently enjoy shopping, dining and visiting cafes all under one climate-controlled roof.
Some of the emirate’s most popular malls – including the Dubai Mall, situated near the base of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building – Mall of the Emirates, with its famous indoor ski slope, and Deira City Center, situated just across the creek for Dubai’s historical quarter, have stretched their regular timings later into the night.
Instead of usual closing times of around 11 p.m., all three retail behemoths have extended shop timings until 1 a.m. and the food courts and restaurants until 2 a.m.
Dubai Mall’s waterfront restaurants, meanwhile, will remain open until 3 a.m. – only around an hour before the call for morning prayers after which Muslims begin their fast again.
One resident noted that many Dubai residents take advantage of reduced working hours in Ramadan to shop more.
“I think this will affect my shopping habits – People who normally work on reduced Ramadan hours tend to flock malls after shift work. I think this will make me spend more than I used to,” said Filipino expat Adrienne Jesse Maleficio.
“Personally, It will not affect my shopping timings as I do not really go to the shops in [Ramadan],” said Roui Francisco, Filipino expat.
“Although access to food is going to be hard for a non-Muslim like me since I heard Iftar will start around 8:00 p.m.”