alcohol in muslim/ middle eastern countries

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East alcohol in muslim/ middle eastern countries

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1. Posted by epiggy (Budding Member 10 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

hey im heading overland from india to uk and was wondering about the situation vis a vis alcohol in countries with strong religious influences - ie india, turkey, syria, jordan, egypt, iran, pakistan, former parts of get the idea!

can you buy alcohol in these countries? are there hotels and bars in which to drink it? can you import alcohol (and should you import alcohol - i am thinking it may be much easier to import alcohol than buy it in-country)

I have been appraised by an india friend (residing there) that only very select parts of india pose a problem in regards to wanting to get drunk......can anyone help me with the other countries involved??


2. Posted by tankut (Budding Member 10 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!


In Turkey, especially in the bigger towns (e.g. Istanbul, Bursa, Ankara, Antalya, Eskisehir...) there usually are more than enough watering holes to drink your fill. You do not need to import anything, the drink of your choice is readily available in bars, hotels, restaurants, night clubs, corner shops, deli's, supermarkets. In the upcoming holy month (Ramadan) they are usually less crowded, but still they are open and very much in business (with the possible exception of a few restaurants, which take the opportunity to have a holiday and bit of renovation, while seeming pious :) ). In the eastern parts of the country, since we do not have the inn/pub tradition, they may be harder to find.

As far as prices go, imported drinks are somewhat more expensive than in Europe because of taxes. Bar prices vary greatly, depending on the kind of place and the kind of crowd it caters to. Hotels are, as anywhere else I've seen, are usually steep in this regard.

If you feel the need for a drinking buddy in Istanbul, feel free to drop me a line


3. Posted by propertrvl (Budding Member 17 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Tankut actually answered very well the need of alcohol matters....
Just to add a little bit of historical information to this matter ; Cappadocia is the first place known where firts wine was produced and happyly consumed so we continue this habit and still apreciate those inventors.....

Happy travelling

4. Posted by epiggy (Budding Member 10 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

hey thankyou for answering my messages so quickly. but what about other muslim countries? anyone know about iran pakistan syria etc ??


5. Posted by SABIR (Budding Member 21 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Dear friend, I am a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore. Although "STRICTLY" forbidden, it is no problem---none whatsoever--to get any brand of whisky etc from five-star hotels for non-muslims. Law permits it. Even ordinary Pakistanis buy it on christian permits from anywhere they like. You need to come here and see that despite we being radically religious---------all forbidden things go on as usual without any problem. However, it is advisable to be careful while carrying a female escort or while being drunk on the road. It is all fun, easy and cheap indoors anywhere. It is a very honest version. We have horse racing clubs etc-elite clubs etc--though no open dancing floors or bars-i have heard of a few dancing halls for public in karachi though. each city has a red light district and what not?
Anything else?
sabir shah

6. Posted by capisco (Budding Member 24 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

In Egypt it depends the City your are in alot of hotels offer alcohol and drinks and in sharm el sheih it's offered every where since it's a bigggest touristic city

7. Posted by Dihiya (Budding Member 6 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!


I've just returned from a holiday in Syrië, Jordan and Libanon. I can tell you that in Jordan and Libanon it's quite easy to buy or drink alcohol. We where with a group of Europeans. In Amman and Aqaba e.g. there are many liquorstores from Christian people (they have the permit to open one) but the Moslims buy this permit from them to open there own liquorstore..... In Syrië, Jordan and Libanon (as in whole of the Middle East) there are good nightclubs (where you can drink alcohol) in preferrably 5star hotels (less is often dubieus). The price is like in European clubs.
In Syrië we didn't found liquorstores.
I hope you'll be visiting things too...

8. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Alcohol is illegal in Iran, I think you can be flogged if you get caught drinking.

Campsites in Syria catering to foreigners tend to have a couple of bottles of the local brew 'Barada' kicking around in a chiller out the back - be warned, though, its pretty noxious stuff.

Turkey, Jordan, Egypt shouldn't pose any problems.

9. Posted by noushin (Budding Member 2 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

alcohol is strictly forbidden in IRAN.

10. Posted by kcmartin (First Time Poster 1 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I just spent 3 months living in Russia -- most of the summer. I do that every summer. During this latest summer in both our Siberian home city and while traveling on a 3,000-mile motor trip across S.W. Siberia, over the Urals into European Russia (to the former Soviet Republics of Bashkhortostan and Tatarstan which are big Muslim enclaves) we frequented probably 20 Azerbaijan, Uzbekh and Kazakh cafes and restaurants -- in other words Muslim establishments. They all serve vodka, beer and wine, and they all served pork shish kebab and other pork dishes. The majority of Muslims apparently eat pork and drink alcohol -- all but the very fundamental religious ones.