Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur is a month-long religious tradition that takes place every year when the local Muslim community practise abstinence of food, drinks, and sexual activity. Celebrated by Muslims worldwide, it takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar when the holy book al-Quran is believed to have been revealed.
Due to the importance of this sacred month, all Muslims apart the sick, children and elderly, as well as nursing, pregnant and menstruating women are required to fast between dawn and sunset, followed by iftar from 19:30 onwards, which is a breaking of fast ceremony.
This year’s Ramadan is expected to start on 27th May until 24th June 2017 (as it is the lunar calendar it changes every year), followed by a three-day celebration of Eid or Hari Raya Aidilfitri. If you’re visiting here for the first time, you’ll find that there isn’t much to worry about in terms of what to do and where to eat in KL during the fasting month.
Etiquette Practices during Ramadan in KL
Aside from abstinence, it’s important for Muslims to be charitable and patient throughout the whole month. Ramadan is also a time of self-reflection and socialising with loved ones, therefore get-togethers during iftar are a common sight here. While eating, drinking, and smoking in public areas during the day aren’t prohibited for non-Muslims in Kuala Lumpur, we highly recommend visitors to partake in those activities within closed areas such as restaurants or hotel rooms out of courtesy for those who are fasting.
Sticking to loose-fitting and conservative clothes is also appropriate during Ramadan as baring too much skin is disrespectful in an Islamic country. For women, it’s best to keep legs and shoulders covered, especially when visiting mosques and Hindu temples.
Eating Out during Ramadan in KL
Although some Malay-owned restaurants may close during the day, travellers can still enjoy a wide range of local Indian, Chinese, and Peranakan cuisine, as well as international delicacies all over the city. If you’re planning on eating out during Ramadan, do note that peak dining hours are between 19:30 and 21:00 as this is when Muslims break their fast.
Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur is also the best time to enjoy authentic and inexpensively-priced Malay cuisine thanks to the abundance of massive street food fiestas, also known as Bazaar Ramadan. Open daily from 16:00 onwards, throngs of Muslims and non-Muslims flock to these bazaars for iftar food, which comprises nasi lemak, ayam percik, murtabak, and laksa utara as well as an array of colourful desserts. We’ve also compiled a helpful guide of 5 Bazaar Ramadan to Visit in KL.