Next month I'll visit Thailand and (maybe) Malaysia. From 19th july to 20th august muslim countries celebrate the ramadan. When we were in Egypt, we didn't perceive that we were in ramadan, but in Dubai we had a lot of problems to eat or drink. So I would like to know which limitations or how easy-difficult is to eat and drink during ramadan in Thailand and Malaysia.

3 Answers 3


In Thailand, it depends on where you'll be going. Anywhere from Bangkok northwards, you won't notice anything in relation to Ramadan. There's a significant muslim presence in the south of Thailand (the sliver of land that borders Malaysia), but I don't know to what extent Ramadan celebrations there spill over into public life.

Malaysia is religiously tolerant, simply because there are so many different communities in that country. So, in the big cities, you might find areas where Ramadan celebrations are hard to avoid, while there will be others where life will go on as usual. Small towns could be markedly different, but I have no info on that, sadly.

  • The yellow bar of death :( I was about to click "Post" Commented Jun 23, 2012 at 22:14
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    In small Malaysian towns and villages do not think about eating or drinking during the day... Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 0:18
  • Thailand, you won't know it is Ramadan, and most thais won't either. Malaysia, they practice the sharia (islamic law) even when it is not ramadan...skip malaisia altogether. take a flight to Bali for instance, though indonesia is muslim they are more relaxed and even more so in Bali which is technically dominantly hindu. Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 3:39

Having been to both during Ramadan:

In all reasonably touristy areas in Thailand, including the southern resort islands, you basically will not notice Ramadan at all -- pretty much everything is open as usual.

Malaysia, though, is a different story. While you certainly can get drinks and food, most places that stay open do so a little discreetly, with curtains on the windows etc, and you'll want to show respect to people who are fasting by not eating, drinking or smoking in public. The flip side of the coin is that once the time for buka puasa (breaking the fast) rolls around at sunset, many restaurants will be packed with Muslims, so you may actually want to beat the rush and grab your dinner before 6! Out in the nearly 100% Malay countryside, though, virtually everything will shut down during the day.

(Anecdote: I once had the slightly surreal experience of walking into a packed KFC in KL Sentral, getting my dinner and sitting down -- only to realize that nobody in the restaurant was touching their food. So I took the cue, waited for a few minutes until the call to prayer started, and then joined the ravenous horde in tucking into my fried chicken.)

The other travel glitch to beware of is that the end of Ramadan (Eid ul-Fitr, or Hari Raya Puasa in Malay) is the local equivalent of Christmas, when everybody takes time off and goes back to their families. This means most transportation is fully booked for several days and even the traffic jams are legendary. Plan ahead so you can avoid travel at this time.

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    +1. To add to what @jpatokal says, it also depends on what part of town or what the ethnic majority of that town is. Chinatown in KL or towns with higher majority of ethnic Chinese such as Ipoh, you can often find Chinese-owned restaurants that are slightly more lax about Ramadan rules than others. Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 20:34

Thailand is over 80% Theravada Buddhist. I have lived here for years and the average Thai would not even know what Ramadan is - or at least would not think it concerns them in any way. There are pockets of Muslims communities around Thailand.

In CM there is a fair sized community, they will honour Ramadan tradition, but are not at all extreme - so again, even if you stayed in the middle of their community you would not notice much (maybe a lack of food carts that day, but plenty around the corner!)

In the south, especially very far south around Yala, Narathiwat, Songkhla and Satun, the Muslims are known to be more extreme in their views (Malaysian) - but it is very doubtful you will be holidaying anywhere near these areas (if so Ramadan would be the least of your worried - not getting blown to pieces at the local 7-11 would be higher on the list!)

  • What does extremity have to do with anything? Also, are 7-11's being blown up a common occurrence in southern Thailand?
    – Ansari
    Commented Aug 11, 2012 at 0:49
  • Thai Muslims are generally mild and tolerant (I would think this makes sense given the vast majority of Buddhists in this Buddhist country). However, the far south (not just south - but the final few provinces before the Malaysian border) are know to be the opposite. There are bombings, murders and attacks quite frequently - most are not even reported in the national (let alone international) media. Several times a year there seems to be something "news worthy" - this summer it has been a series of bombings (same last summer actually) - we have also had schools and temples bombed/burned...
    – Wolf5370
    Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:43
  • teachers and monks attacked and murdered (coupke of years ag a few monks were beheaded - one was only a child of around 10 if I remember right). Most countries have warnings against travelling to the far south - for good reason. The army is installed there perminantly. It stays south though and there have to date been no troubles further north (a few rumours and fears of course).
    – Wolf5370
    Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:45
  • @Wolf5370 When I went on holiday to Phuket, the majority of Thai people were Muslims. I guessing that this might be true of other Thai islands as well but not the mainland.
    – Simon
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 11:19

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