Ramadan is the time of year when the already strange shopping hours become well… stranger!
Outside of Ramadan, malls will be open in the morning from 9/9:30 until zuhr prayer (midday). The shops will then generally remain closed until after asr prayer (4pm). From 4pm everything will be open until about 11pm although shops and restaurants will close for half and hour for maghrib prayer and half an hour for ‘isha prayer. Supermarkets open all day with half hour breaks for prayer.
During Ramadan only the supermarkets are open in the morning and apart from prayer breaks, they will stay open until shortly before maghrib prayer only to open again at 9pm. The malls will open from 1pm until ‘asr and they won’t open again until after taraweeh prayer; about 9pm and they will stay open until maybe 2am.
So if you want to do some quick, trouble free shopping I highly recommend supermarket shopping in the morning or mall shopping after zuhr… The supermarkets at that time are virtually empty and the malls are ghost towns as all the clothes shops are closed. Even when they do open at 1pm, there are few people around… fab!
That little silhouetted figure is my 22 month old daughter.
Even in the evening after 9pm the malls are fairly quiet and won’t get busy until around 11pm. At the weekend we took the children out and decided to pray in the mall prayer room. My husband was able to join in the taraweeh prayer in the prayer room so he didn’t miss out. Once prayer was over and the shops started to open we took the children to the indoor fun fair at the mall which was devoid of people. At that time of the evening it is usually bustling.
The children shared the icerink with only four other children:
See how empty the place was:
It was only as we were leaving, at 11pm, that the mall was beginning to get busy. The no longer empty carpark was turning into the usual obstacle course of impatient drivers not looking where they’re going etc. It seems that in Saudi Arabia, during the holy month of Ramadan day turns to night and people only venture out to go shopping or to eat in the restaurants after taraweeh prayer. The volume of traffic on the roads at midnight and into the early hours of the morning is quite amazing!