I will be traveling to Malaysia within the next few weeks for the first time. Anyway I was wondering what effect Ramadan may have on travel, if any. Especially the availability of delicious food while the sun is out.
#1 Samiyo has been a member since 22/7/2012. Posts: 1
I've lived in Malaysia and really it's mostly a matter of good manners.Plenty of Indian/Chinese restaurants will be open but eating a Big Mac in the street or even sipping water would be frowned on. There will be no restrictions on travel and everything will go on as usual.You will see a lot of spitting as Muslims are not even allowed to swallow. Just don't eat and drink in front of Muslims.
#2 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
That's pretty much my experience when living in Turkey and visiting southern Thailand during Ramadan too. Not everyone is expected to fast, including people who are travelling, and there will be plenty of people, particularly in Malaysia, who are not Muslim and not observing the fast.
It is kind of a neat time to be in a Muslim area. I hope you enjoy it. As sayadian says, just show good manners and a bit of consideration and awareness of where you are by not eating in public and in front of those fasting. You can always stock up on snacks at night so you've got food when you need it. You could also go nuts and try fasting too (although maybe sneak water during the day if you aren't used to the hot weather so you don't dehydrate). It could be an amazing chance to experience the authentic local culture. Have a good trip.
Don't worry - there will always be somewhere to eat.
Malaysia is a multi-cultural country and it's accepted that not everyone is fasting this month, including Malaysians who are ethnically Chinese, Indian, Eurasian, and even the Orang Asli (indigenous people).
I was in the town of Kahang (population < 2,000) two days ago, and there were multiple Chinese restaurants and coffee shops open in the middle of the day. In big cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Melaka, etc. all the fast food restaurants, international chains, etc. will also be open.
After the sun sets and the fast ends, look for the Ramadan markets where you can buy festive foods and desserts that are hard to find at other times of the year.
In fact Muslims eat more during Ramadan than any other month but it's all done in the hours of darkness.The downside is they get very little sleep and I recall while in Saudi Arabia the road accident toll went up considerably during Ramadan.
It's OK to eat on buses and trains as travellers are exempt from fasting and are expected to make it up later.
#6 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
There's nowhere to eat when trekking in Taman Negara at any time of year; you'll carry food with you and your guide won't expect you to skip meals. I'm sure at least one of the dreadful floating tourist restaurants outside the park entrance will be open for breakfast and lunch, as will the better eating options in the pricier hotels.
Borneo was fine during Ramadan last year; I even flew from KK to JB and crossed the Singapore border on Hari Raya.
Tioman (Air Batang / ABC) was very quiet when I headed there a couple of days after that; it's not like Muslims celebrate by rushing there to binge on duty free alcohol
#7 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84
Ramadan sucks. But I love Eid Al fitr.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Yes, The Eid is great if your into eating huge plates of goat, sheep and camel meat and drinking mint tea but I much prefer a few beers something I won't get during the festival.I doubt the camel is on the menu in Malaysia but it's a big delicacy in the Arab world.
#9 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
One thing to keep in mind is when you're travelling during the day there will be no lunch stops or food available at bus stops so be prepared and bring some snacks with you if doing a long trip. Also, try to be discreet if you need to eat on the bus.
#10 intrepidstace has been a member since 15/6/2012. Posts: 4
'try to be discreet if you need to eat on the bus.'
Actually, travellers are exempt from fasting
#11 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557