When Ramadan comes around, everything seems to slow down a little, with people moving their focus to strengthening their spirituality and giving to charity.
But while it may be the fasting season, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun until after sundown, especially when you’re traveling, as you have to make the most of your time there.
There are still plenty of things you can get up to during the day – even ones that don’t involve food and drink or lots of physical exertion.
Here are some of our picks of fun yet chill things to do during Ramadan:
1. Spend the afternoon playing board games
Bring a group of friends and head to your nearest boardgame cafe – even though it’s a ‘cafe’, you can just go there to play games and bring out the competitive spirit in one another.
You can choose from a wide selection of games that range from the offbeat, silly to ones that will test your general knowledge or strategic know-how.
Check out: Jelly Jelly Cafe in Tokyo, Japan; Isu Boardgame Cafe in Seoul, South Korea.
2. Browse trinkets for sale at a bustling market
Hip, artsy markets are all the rage these days, and you’ve likely got one near you.
Go ahead and wander the stalls, which sell anything handmade, from jewellery to soap to clothes.
Check out: Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia; Artbox market in Bangkok, Thailand.
3. Visit a quirky museum
When was the last time you went to a museum? They’re more than the boring, musty tombs you may remember from school field trips.
Nowadays, there are many museums dedicated to zany, niche subject matter, such as those filled with artifacts used for espionage, or really bad art.
And hey, they’re air-conditioned and you’ll get to learn some new things – what’s not to like?
Check out: Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju, South Korea; Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan.
4. Peruse the bookshelves of a secondhand bookstore
More of a bookworm? If you’re looking for something different other than the fluorescent-lit labyrinths of book retailers – say, something cozier – then step into the comforting embrace of a secondhand bookstore.
Filled with that heady old book smell, you can take your time rifling through the titles, finding books you’d never heard of before or rediscovering old favorites.
Check out: Sultana Book Store in Singapore; Jimbocho district (also known as Book Town) in Tokyo, Japan.
5. Up your culture game at an art gallery
Anyone can appreciate good art, be it the classical greats or modern interpretations.
Gaze upon the works of artists as they spill their soul into their various works of art, from paintings to sculptures to art installations.
Who knows, you may just wind up walking out of a gallery with a new masterpiece to decorate your home.
Check out: M50 art district in Shanghai, China; Serindia Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand.
6. Chill out at a theme park
I know what you’re thinking: “A theme park? In *this* heat??” But trust me, there are theme parks out there where you won’t spend most of your time under the unrelenting heat of the sun.
If you wish to cool off and splash around in water, a water theme park is just the thing.
And besides, doesn’t the breeze on your face feel good as the roller coaster you’re riding on careens in a sharp drop?
Check out: Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh, Malaysia; Manila Ocean Park in Manila, Philippines.
7. Catch a spellbinding theatre production
Did you know that you can catch a Broadway or West End production without having to go to New York or London?
Or better yet, have you ever watched a local theatre production?
Either way, you can enjoy an afternoon at the theatre when you go for a matinee show, which is often cheaper than the usual evening shows.
Check out: Performing Arts Centre of Penang (PenangPAC) in Penang, Malaysia; Theatres on the Bay at The Esplanade in Singapore.