Ramadan is early this year and starts around mid August (too early to tell the exat date here in the UAE as it all depends on the moon). August is still a very hot month with temperatures up to 48 and the sun set is later which leaves more hot hours for the fasting people.
The UAE is very much at a stand still during Ramadan, the working hours are shorter, schools also have Ramadan hours so that staff have time to go back home and get ready for Iftar, when you are breaking the fast at sun set. People are in general (and understandably) grumpier than normal due to lack of food and water.
In the UAE, most of the coffee shops and restaurants are closed during daytime. Only a few are open and offer take away and even fewer are open behind dark curtains so as to avoid any temptation to those who are fasting. The shopping malls extend their opening hours until well beyond midnight so that people may enjoy themselves after Iftar and all the cafees and restaurants open up during evening and night time. The dress code, which is quite liberal here in Dubai, is a bit more strict during Ramadan and one should cover shoulders and knees inside the malls and on the streets. Not that you are walking around on the streets in this heat, but still...
In Singapore, life went on pretty much the same during Ramadan despite the significant Muslim population, mostly Malays. Shops were open, so were cafees and restaurants. Here in the UAE it is sligthly different. Eating and drinking in public is strictly prohibited unless you are a child, elderly or pregnant. Even trying to sneak off to the car to get something to eat is forbidden and can cause severe fines.
This year, due to the early start of Ramadan, some schools have decided to start only after Eid, the grand celebration at the end of Ramadan, or just a few days before Eid.
I remember when we first arrived in Dubai, about two years ago in September, smack in the middle of Ramadan, hot weather and closed cafees and restaurants and a country at a minor stand still. Can't really describe the joy I felt when I spotted an open coffee shop after a few weeks of dark curtains and "closed" signs!
Most hotels offer delicious Iftar Buffets and I am very tempted to give it a try this year.