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The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin around 6 June 2016, and last until about 5 July. The exact timing of Ramadan depends on the sightings of the moon and this differs from country to country. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from a number of activities, mainly eating, drinking and smoking, between sunrise and sunset.

Australians travelling to countries with significant Muslim communities should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in the presence of people who are fasting.

In some Muslim countries during Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking in public during the day is illegal and may attract the attention of local authorities. You should seek local advice.

Apart from fasting and other abstinence, Australians will notice that each day when the fast is broken families and friends will typically come together for a meal that may run late into the night. This can be a busy period in some locations. During the day, some restaurants and tourist facilities may be closed between sunrise and sunset or may operate with limited staff. The opening times for government agencies, the courts and businesses may be shortened. Different rules and customs apply in different countries. You should seek local advice about closures and busy periods and plan accordingly.

The end of Ramadan is usually a busy period in Muslim countries as people traditionally visit their families to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the three day festival marking the end of the fast. One or more of these days may be a public holiday. You should plan ahead if travelling at this time.

This bulletin should be read in conjunction with our destination-specific travel advisories and our Travel smart tips for Australian travellers.

Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:

For more information, travellers should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of their destination, well in advance of travel.