[Updated 1 Nov 2019]
When planning a trip, let's be honest - how many of us would think of bringing our parents?
If you're racking your brains and trying to recall the last time you treated your parents to a nice vacation, it's high time that you start planning a trip to repay them for all their years of hard work bringing you up 🤗
And if you're unsure which destination is best for both you and your parents to enjoy, we've specially curated this list because we know how hard it is to choose the ideal vacation spot that'll suit all your needs. Our list has a mix of vibrant cities, nature destinations, cultural gems and relaxing beach vacations - perfect for any occasion.
But first, before you plan your trip, here are some things to take note:
- Manage your expectations - you won't be able to cover everything that you set out to do and that's okay!
- Don't cram your itinerary- take it easy and keep your schedule loose so that you can easily tweak it when needed
- Plan rest times when appropriate
- Be patient - if our parents could be patient with us when we took our very first steps as a toddler, surely we can do the same now that they are older!
- The bottom line is - KEEP IT SIMPLE 😊
With that, here are our top picks for incredible Muslim-friendly destinations to treat your parents!
1. Jeju, South Korea
Unlike South Korea's capital city, Seoul, Jeju is a world away and the perfect place to unwind. Having been to Jeju several times, I can definitely say that a trip here is healing and it rejuvenates your senses. It's a mix of breathtaking mountains, greenery and the sea 😍
One of my favourite sights has got to be Seopjikoji. This picturesque cliff became a popular tourist spot after the hit Korean drama, 'All In' in 2003. Admiring the scenic sea views here and listening to the sound of waves crashing is probably the most therapeutic way to chill out. Jeju's stunning beaches like Woljeong-ri and Hyeopjae are also perfect to soak in the island's laidback vibes.
Jeju is great to visit all year round but we recommend heading in spring or summer to catch its gorgeous canola blooms or hydrangeas. If you're planning some light activities, try strawberry-picking or visit O'Sulloc's tea plantation.
The best way to get around Jeju is by renting a car and
driving. That's great because you are in charge of your own schedule and driving gives you a lot of time in between destinations for your parents to rest and recharge. #HHWT Tip
: Get some inspiration for your next getaway with our 5D4N Muslim-friendly Jeju itinerary
2. Bangkok, Thailand
Yet another bustling city but you have to admit that Bangkok is one of those places you can go over and over again but not get bored of it. With so much shopping and halal food options, there's definitely something for everyone, young and old. I travelled to Bangkok with my mom alone and it was quite an experience ☺️
What's a trip to Bangkok without some shopping? When exploring top street markets in Bangkok
, like Chatuchak Weekend Market, Pratunam Morning Market and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, each has shops catering to different age groups. If you're heading to Chatuchak with your parents, arrive early so you don't have to brave the scorching heat and insane crowd (you can find more shopping tips in our ultimate guide to Chatuchak !). But it might just be hard to drag them away as there's just so much to buy 😅 Even if
you don't head to Chatuchak, the shopping malls in Bangkok
are perfect alternatives too - my mom and I really loved Terminal 21's themed floors.
Bangkok is also great because of its food. Your parents will definitely love the wide variety of halal Thai food in Bangkok
. What's also great is the many options for you to rest between places. Need a break? Just pop into one of the massage parlours and refresh yourself! While my mom and I got around by public transport, at other times, it was more convenient to book a Grab or hail a taxi, so we could conserve our energy for more shopping 😜 And prices were really affordable too.
Explore Bangkok like a local with our ultimate 4D3N Muslim-friendly itinerary
3. Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is one of those places that a lot of people dream of going! And Cape Town is a great place to start because it has a good mix of everything. From breathtaking mountain views and beaches to vibrant local culture, there are many reasons why Cape Town should be your next travel splurge
For a stunning bird's eye view of the city, Table Mountain is the place to
go. Enjoy the scenic panorama and take in the refreshing air here. And don't worry, you don't need to climb all the way up the mountain! The aerial cableway is a great and comfortable way of getting up the mountain 🤗
Did you know that Cape Town is also home to a sizeable population of Cape Malays? This community was formed when South Africa was a Dutch colony and they brought Malays over from Dutch Malacca and Indonesia. Today, you can mingle with this vibrant Muslim community at Bo Kaap, which is also known for its brightly-coloured houses. Treat your parents to a good meal at one of the many halal restaurants here!
For an easier way to travel around Cape Town, we'd recommend renting a car or hiring a driver. Find out more about car rentals and other tips with our ultimate first-timer's guide to South Africa
4. Tokyo & Mt Fuji/Hakone, Japan
Tokyo might not be the first place that comes to mind when bringing your parents on a trip but the city makes for a good base to explore some of Japan's most magnificent nature spots. There are many fuss-free tours which you can take
to the city's outskirts too, so it's ideal for you and your parents.
For starters, you can spend a day or two immersing yourselves in Japanese culture at Tokyo's Asakusa or Meiji Jingu Shrine and visiting top spots like Shibuya Crossing and Tokyo Skytree. Then, wind down at one of its many parks - Shinjuku Gyoen or Yoyogi Park. The many halal Japanese food options in Tokyo
are also bound to surprise you and your parents - from ramen to Japanese curry, yakiniku and more!
One of the day trips we'd recommend is Mt Fuji and Hakone
- which are just 2 hours away from Tokyo. Getting close to Japan's tallest mountain will surely be a wonderful experience for you to enjoy with your parents 😍 With a trip booked on Klook
, you'll not only get an unobstructed view of Mt Fuji at the Subaru 5th station, but you'll also visit Lake Kawaguchi. The tour also brings you to the hot spring resort town of Hakone. Needless to say, your parents will love this short escape from the city!
#HHWT Tip: Just take note that the transit system in Tokyo can be a tad confusing and it might require a
lot of transfers between train lines. Do plan extra time for travelling and download apps like Hyperdia, Google Maps, Navitime and Tokyo Subway Navigation to help you plan your route. [P.S. Planning to explore beyond Tokyo? Check out our 6D5N Muslim-friendly itinerary to explore Tokyo and its surrounds!]
5. Krabi, Thailand
There's nothing more relaxing than the sun, sand and sea. If you're looking for a short but pampering retreat for your parents, then Krabi
is the place to go! With easy access to halal food, amazing beaches and tranquil islands, Krabi ticks all the boxes for an awesome trip with your parents.
Credit: Railay Bay Resort & Spa on Facebook
There are many beautiful Muslim-friendly resorts in Krabi
that will make you feel right at home and some of them are equipped with private pools and relaxing hammocks! Sometimes, quality time with your family just means lazing around in an awesome villa and catching up with each other 😜
But of course, you won't just be lazing around while you're in Krabi. There are many tours which will bring you to other islands around Krabi. One of the must-see islands is Koh Phi Phi
which is known for its gorgeous bays, emerald waters and limestone formations 😍 Many speedboat tours
will give you the option to jump into the clear waters for some swimming or snorkelling, but your parents can stay in the boat if they don't wish to get themselves wet.
Need a ride around Krabi? We'd recommend getting a private driver
for a convenient ride!
6. Melbourne, Australia
Australia is always a good idea for a family vacay! I'm sure we all have that one parent who doesn't mind going to Australia for repeat trips 😂 Melbourne fits the bill because of its charming mix of lush green parks, vintage markets, artsy laneways and more. There's something for everyone here!
Take a stroll along the Yarra River or clear your mind at the Royal Botanic Gardens. And then shop for knick-knacks and unique souvenirs at Queen Victoria Market. Alternatively, you can take Instagrammable pictures of your parents at Melbourne's artsy laneways. Feeling a little weary? Then refuel at one of many quaint and Muslim-friendly cafes in Melbourne
If you still need some convincing, then you must know that Melbourne is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road! Spanning more than 240km, this is known as one of the world's most
scenic drives and an experience not to be missed 😍 Be sure to check out our Muslim-friendly guide to the Great Ocean Road
for the best sights and tips.
Make the most of your trip by visiting these amazing attractions (near halal food) in Melbourne
7. Queenstown, New Zealand
While the whole of New Zealand is worth visiting, head over to Queenstown for its absolutely mesmerising scenery and a range of things to do! The town is mostly known for extreme sports like skydiving and bungee jumping, but it also has more relaxing activities for families and older travellers.
Soak in the beauty of Lake Wakatipu and feast your eyes on its majestic backdrop of mountains called The Remarkables. While you're here, you can choose to simply take a stroll or go on a leisure bike ride. For a 360-degree aerial view of the lake and the Queenstown area, take the Skyline Gondola all the way up to Bob's Peak. The stunning view is definitely one to keep for the books!
About 3 hours away from Queenstown is one of New Zealand's most spectacular natural sights, the Milford Sound ☺️ This beautiful fjord was once carved out by glaciers during the ice ages and
you can now admire it in all its glory! #HHWT Tip:
Heading to other parts of New Zealand too? Then read our 8D7N Muslim-friendly itinerary to conquering NZ's South Island
8. Istanbul, Turkey
Home to a piece of ancient history and architecture, Istanbul is the perfect blend of East and West. This Turkish city located on the crossroads between Europe and Asia also has many important Islamic sights, making it perfect for a trip to treat your parents.
Hagia Sophia is definitely an unmissable landmark when you're in Istanbul. Built in the 6th century, this building was once a church during the Byzantine, Roman and Greek Empires before it was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman rulers. Now a museum, you can spot a mix of Christian and Islamic architecture. It's amazing how these elements have stood the test of time 😍
Just across the Hagia Sophia is the stunning Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque. Stepping into the prayer hall of the mosque, you'd be able to admire its impressive Turkish designs and Quranic inscriptions. Praying here will definitely be an experience unlike any other!
Besides these 2 stunning landmarks, you'll also be able to
go shopping at one of Istanbul's colourful markets, the Grand Bazaar. Experience the hustle and bustle of the market, mingle with some locals or grab a Turkish delight and tea. For first-timers to Istanbul, we've got a complete guide on everything you need to see, eat and do
Saving up on sightseeing spots? There are many free things to check out while you're in Istanbul
9. Langkawi, Malaysia
Powdery white sand, swaying coconut trees and crystal clear waters - it could only be Langkawi! This incredible Malaysian island located in the Andaman Sea has always been a popular retreat destination for locals and your parents will get a well-deserved break here 😉
Credit: The Andaman on Facebook
Book a room at one of Langkawi's exclusive resorts for utmost privacy and quality time with your folks! Some resorts like The Andaman is nestled in the lush greenery of the tropical rainforest and is a perfect respite from your busy schedules. Some also have spa packages so you and your parents can enjoy a pampering session! For more recommendations, check out these breathtaking resorts in Langkawi
that will ensure you have the perfect stay.
Should you want to get out of your
room (it might be hard to 😝) and explore Langkawi, make sure you take a ride on the Langkawi SkyCab (cable car) which will bring you all the way up to the peak of Gunung Machinchang. Here's where you can walk on the iconic Langkawi Sky Bridge and catch awesome views of the mountains and the sea 🙆♂️
10. Hong Kong
Update (Nov 2019): Due to the current situation in Hong Kong, we advise that you check the latest travel advisory from your local embassy.
I know, Hong Kong might sound a little too hectic to navigate with your parents but take it from me, I travelled to Hong Kong with my parents and we really enjoyed ourselves! While we'd normally think that our parents prefer going on tours, a small part of them wants to go through the adventure of exploring a city. After all, they were the ones who instilled that sense of adventure in us, right?
With an efficient public transport system, it's easy to get around whether you're visiting the top sightseeing spots in Hong Kong
, like The Peak, Victoria Harbour and Ngong Ping 360, or planning a shopping spree at Ladies Market
There's also plenty of yummy halal food in Hong Kong
, be it authentic dim sum, Indian cuisine or Indonesian food. One of the things I learnt from the trip is that it helps to pick accommodation near halal food
! My parents and I stayed right in front of the Ammar Mosque which houses the Islamic Centre Canteen. It's just a short walk from Causeway Bay too where you can find Wai Kee's halal roast duck and yummy Indonesian food.
One of the things that I really enjoyed during the trip was capturing loving moments of my parents which is really heartwarming ☺️ If you need some help planning your trip, our 6D5N Muslim-friendly itinerary to Hong Kong
would be just what you need! But of course, to help you better immerse yourselves in the local culture, don't forget to learn some simple and useful Cantonese phrases
11. Bintan, Indonesia
Credit: Banyan Tree Bintan on Facebook If you're living in Singapore or Johor Bahru, you know that Bintan is a beach getaway destination that would be perfect for your parents. Laid-back as it is relaxing, it's a good chance to step away from the city's hustle and bustle. While Bintan may be known for its scenic beaches, there are many
sightseeing spots and hidden gems to enjoy a holiday moment with your parents.
Before that, you need to find spacious accommodation to host your parents and yourself. Since there are many beachfront resorts to choose from, we recommend staying at Angsana Bintan, which is great for bigger families, or Holiday Villa Pantai Indah, which has a two-bedroom villa. Since these resorts are close to the beach, imagine seeing your parents rising early and drawing the curtains to see the beautiful beach right out their window!
Seeing a slice of local life is the best way to enjoy your trip in Bintan. Start your day at the main town of Tanjung Pinang where your Mum can explore Tanjung Pinang market and shop for dried food, local seafood and snacks. Aside from that, there are many delicious halal food to try, ranging from nasi goreng at Pujasera Food Centre to deep-fried chicken at Ayam Presto Bu’de Nino. We're convinced that your parents will enjoy savouring the local food here!
[P.S. Make the most of your trip by checking out our top things to do in Bintan that are perfect for every Muslim traveller!]
12. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
It's true that
Dubai may be known for its massive shopping malls and modern skyscrapers. Beneath the shell of modernity, it’s also a parent-friendly destination thanks to its wealth of things to do, accommodations and halal food.
Start with a laid-back activity like wandering around Old Dubai to appreciate the historic buildings and traditional markets. If it's scorching hot outside, take your mum to shop for abayas at Naif Souk. Otherwise, your family can take shelter from the heat at Grand Souq Deira (also known as Spice Souk), so your dad can pick up chocolate-covered dates.
Make the most of your visit by visiting other Dubai attractions. Your family can immerse themselves in the local history and culture at Dubai Museum, marvel at the aquatic life at Dubai Aquarium and admire the stunning architecture of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It's truly a destination unlike any other. Check out our ultimate first-timer's guide to Dubai
, so you won't miss out on any must-see sightseeing spots!
One of the best things about travelling to Dubai is the abundance of halal food options you'll find! If it's time for lunch or dinner, treat them to authentic local fare at the picturesque Arabia Tea House or
savour xiao long bao (soup dumpling) at the halal-certified Din Tai Fung. There are also many iconic American food chains that are halal in Dubai
[P.S. Inspire your trip planning with our 6D5N itinerary to Dubai for the ultimate Emirati getaway!]
There's nothing more fulfilling and meaningful than going on a spiritual journey with your parents, and doing your Hajj or Umrah with your parents will be an unforgettable experience. Many of you have also told us that someday, you aspire to bring your parents on this once-in-a-lifetime trip too ❤️
Standing shoulder to shoulder in prayer with your mom or dad at the Masjid Al-Haram or being fascinated together as you explore the Prophet's mosque is definitely a different way of spending quality time with your parents. You're bound to learn new things about your parents or even forge closer ties with them - and that's what makes it all worth it 🙂
We hope our list has inspired you to take your parents on a trip they'll cherish forever. It might be tough to plan and coordinate your trip. You will be tested again and again, and you'll be reminded to keep being patient. But trust me, it will all be worth it when you see the smile on your parents' faces. And when they thank you for a trip well planned, there's no greater feeling than that ❤️