Calling all our Muslim friends: Want to travel, but find it a hassle to forage about for Muslim-friendly options? We’ve got you covered!
Given the rise of Halal tourism – or tourism that’s in accordance with Islamic rules – over the past few years, we’ve come up with a Muslim-friendly travel guide featuring seven countries in Asia and across the world. On top of accommodation, our guide also comes with a list of recommended places to visit – complete with halal food options.
If you’re not looking to travel far – or planning for a short getaway – you may wish to consider visiting Taiwan or Thailand.
Taipei, Taiwan is ideal for those who wish to have a laid-back getaway. With plenty of sightseeing spots and activities, you will never run out of things to do in Taipei! The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has also been placing greater emphasis on Muslim-friendly facilities for travellers recently. Every major city now has a mosque, while visa-free travel privileges have been extended to several Muslim majority nations around the world.
Those who love scenic views may admire the cityscape from Elephant Mountain or – for a breath-taking bird’s eye view – inside Taipei 101’s observatory on the 83rd floor. Meanwhile, shopaholics and tourists who love to take photos for the ‘Gram may nab the hefty bargains at Wufenpu District, and enjoy the quirky attractions at Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
Slurp down a delicious bowl of Chang’s Beef Noodle Soup, located a few doors down Yanping South Road. Every bowl of wheat noodles comes with a generous serving of tender beef chunks soaked in savoury beef broth, and topped with a dash of spring onions.
For a more elaborate array of dishes, dine in at Silks Palace, located on the grounds of the National Palace Museum. Renowned for its impressive food presentation and attentive service, Silks Palace is a great place to refresh and recharge while indulging in their mouth-watering dishes.
The Grand Hotel is a five-star Muslim-friendly hotel at the Zhongshan District that has a halal-certified kitchen and comes with prayer facilities such as prayer rooms and prayer mats in hotel rooms upon request. Alternatively, amba Taipei Ximending, located in the heart of the Ximending district, offers similar Muslim-friendly services as well.
Taipei can be easily accessed via direct flights with Cathay Pacific, Eva Air, Jetstar Asia, Scoot and Singapore Airlines. Visit here for the latest flight deals to Taipei.
Rich culture, friendly locals, bustling markets and good food – the Land of Smiles is a favourite destination among Singaporeans. To enable Muslim tourists to travel around Thailand with ease, the Tourism Authority of Thailand launched a Thailand Muslim-Friendly Destination application, which features an extensive range of Muslim-friendly attractions, eateries and hotels.
Laze the day away or partake in water activities at one of Thailand’s many beaches and small islands – there’s just too many, you will be spoilt for choice! Visit the magnificent Wat Rong Khun – also known as the White Temple – at Chiang Rai, which includes nine buildings, a hall of relics and even an art gallery. For the adventurous souls, try your hands at flyboarding in Kon Samui, or experience the Flight of the Gibbon in Chiang Mai.
Al-Sana restaurant, one of the oldest halal restaurants in Pratunam, is located right beside Baiyoke Sky Hotel. One of the oldest Halal restaurants in the area, Al Sana serves up delectable Pakistani and Malaysian cuisine.
If you are in Bangkok, check out Phetchaburi Soi 7, one of the longest roads in the city. Linked to most of the famous shopping malls in Bangkok, Petchaburi road is home to an assembly of international Halal restaurants.
At Amari Watergate Bangkok, Muslims can enjoy a halal buffet breakfast with the Darul Aman Mosque within the vicinity of the hotel. Banyan Tree Bangkok also provides a scrumptious selection of halal dishes, on top of its popular spa and pool facilities.
If you want to step out of your comfort zone, but not too far, then Japan and South Korea are for you! These two countries are also ideal for teenagers and young adults – the majority of whom are influenced by the Asian countries’ culture.
A mere two and a half hours away from Singapore, Thailand is the ideal destination for a quick getaway. check out the latest flight deals to Thailand here.
A sought-after travel destination by Singaporeans, Japan is known for its rich culture, amazing food, and “Insta-worthy” landscape. In addition, the Government has made efforts to make the Land of the Rising Sun a friendlier destination for Muslim travellers.
There is just so much to do in Japan! Check out Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo Tower, Ginza, Shibuya and Harajuku in Tokyo, or visit Universal Studios Japan (USJ), Osaka Castle, Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi in Osaka.
If you are visiting Shibuya, head on over to Honolu Ebisu to enjoy various types of chicken ramen. Savour your chicken ramen in whatever way you like – be it spicy, with soy sauce or karaage. The thick and rich taste of the chicken broth will leave you wanting more. Besides the ramen, you may also order some appetizers like gyoza and takoyaki.
If you are at Osaka, head down to Matsuri. A relatively new establishment in Osaka, Matsuri invites Muslim visitors to enjoy Japanese cuisine in a friendly environment. You can also make your own takoyaki, which also doubles up as a family activity.
If you are staying in Tokyo, book into Shinjuku Prince Hotel, located in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw away from the hyperconnected Shinjuku Station. Prayer mats and compasses are provided for Muslim guests in the hotel, and Halal food options are also readily available.
Meanwhile, visitors to Osaka may check-in at Hotel Granvia Osaka, located three minutes and five minutes away by foot to Osaka station and Umeda station respectively. On the 19th floor of the hotel, a restaurant called Ukihashi is well-known for the beautiful city view of Tokyo it offers, as well as a Halal menu which is available to Muslim guests upon advance notice. Praying mats and Qiblah sign are also provided upon request.
Book your flights with All Nippon Airways, Delta Airlines, Japan Airlines or Singapore Airlines to save time on your journey to Tokyo. Visit here for some great flight deals to Japan.
Better known as the K-pop and K-dramas by Singaporeans, South Korea is in the bucket list of many Singaporeans. Seoul – the capital of South Korea – is a unique city where the old meets the new. Home to authentic Korean cuisine, several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, spectacular night views and amazing attractions, Seoul has something for everyone to enjoy. With about 100,000 Muslims living in the country, halal food and facilities are easily available everywhere you go.
Visit the Cheonggyecheon Stream to witness the cultural performances and art installations that light up the waterfront, indulge in a Jimjilbang for a Korean-style Spa experience, or shop away at Myeongdong and the numerous shops in the subway stations.
Run by Korean Muslims, the famous Eid Halal Korean Food is the place to go to for authentic Korean food. Alternatively, Muslim travellers may make a pit-stop at Halal Kitchen – if they are at Gyeongbokgung Palace – where they can indulge in tteokbokki, dakgalbi and bulgogi.
Hamilton Hotel is conveniently located near Itaewon Station and is also a short walk away from a mosque and a few halal eateries. Muslim tourists may also opt for Lotte Hotel Seoul, which is located near the Myeongdong shopping district – which has halal-certified restaurants.
For direct flights, check out Asiana Airlines, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines. You may also visit here for some deals that will give you a band for your buck.
If you wish to travel beyond Asia and expand your horizons, we’d suggest that you consider visiting France, South Africa or the United Kingdom.
Visiting France is akin to a dream come true for most travellers, and no trip to France is complete without a visit to Paris – the city of lights and love – as well as the remarkable Eiffel Tower. Visitors will also be spoilt for choice by the myriad of food and attraction options all around the city. With approximately five million Muslims living in France, Paris is also Muslim-friendly in terms of the availability of prayer spaces, halal food and facilities.
For a unique experience, visit the Château de Versailles (Palace of Versailles) – the most famous castle in France – and The Louvre – the most visited art museum in the world, located in the heart of Paris.
Le Confidentie – a halal restaurant located a short walk away from the Paris Golden Triangle of Montaigne, George V and Champs-Elysées Avenues – offers halal French cuisine with accents of the world in a lounge and intimate atmosphere. For a delectable French fine dining experience, visit Le Crystal Restaurant, located a short walk away from the Arc de Triomphe.
Both Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s and Hotel Lancaster are five-star hotels that are well-equipped with well-equipped with prayer mats, Qur‘ans in-room and offer halal food upon request.
Air France and Singapore Airlines provide the quickest routes to Paris. Visit here to enjoy more savings on your flight.
South Africa is best known for its abundance of wildlife and breath-taking scenery. Nestled at the base of the magnificent Table Mountain is the captivating city of Cape Town. This exceptionally scenic city is in a class of its own, boasting rich culture, vibrant nightlife, extraordinary architecture, while others boast and breath-taking landscapes – just to name a few. With its bustling waterfront, world-class beaches, award-winning vineyards, and its mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna, Cape Town consistently captivates all who visit. Cape Town also has a rich Muslim heritage, with Muslims accounting for a quarter of the city’s population and South Africa’s oldest mosque located within the Mother City.
Visit the iconic Table Mountain, Boulders Beach and Robben Island – where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner. Alternatively, embrace the wildlife by embarking on a safari at the Kruger National Park or Sabi Sands Game Reserve, where the lodges – Lukimbi Safari Lodge, Idube Game Lodge and Sabi Sabi Lodges – serve up halal food upon request.
Feast at Bo-Kaap Kombuis, a halal-certified family-run restaurant located in the Malay Quarter of Cape Town. Bo-Kaap Kombuis is known for its amazing Masala Steak sandwiches and spectacular views of Table Mountain. On the other hand, Muslim travellers may opt to wind down at Batavia, a quaint cafe at the city centre that serves up local Malay cuisine and coffee.
Hilton Cape Town City Centre comes with halal food options, prayer spaces and water-friendly washrooms. For those who can splurge a little more, go for The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, which boasts magnificent views of the city.
Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines provide flights to Cape Town. Check out the latest flight deals to Cape Town here.
The United Kingdom (UK) is known for its rich history and unique traditions and customs. A must-visit destination in the European continent, the UK offers an array of activities to partake in, including a visit to Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Big Ben and the London Eye. The UK is also home to a large population of Muslims; hence Muslims can travel with ease without worrying over the availability of prayer facilities and halal food.
For a delicious serving of alcohol-free fish and chips, check out Poppies at Hansbury Street, or visit The Meat Co – a Muslim-friendly steakhouse that comes with separate halal seating and cooking areas to cater for the Muslims.
Muslim visitors may wish to check-in at the Hilton London Metropole – a centrally-located hotel within walking distance from a wide range of halal eateries – or at the Dukes London, located at the heart of Mayfair – and a favourite among Muslim travellers.
British Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines provide a wide range of flight timings to London. You may also visit here for bargains on your flight.
Cover photo courtesy of Joss Woodhead on Unsplash.