As many already know, China has one of the biggest Muslim population in the world. Surprisingly, not many Muslims outside China are willing to travel and explore this beautiful country.
There are many places in China that are exotic and full of nature. If you are looking for an exotic place to go to and still get to enjoy delicious halal delicacies, I suggest you visit one of these places. I guarantee you will have an experience of a lifetime.
Here are 10 gorgeous Muslim–friendly places in China that will blow your mind!
1. Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province
Marco Polo wrote, “It is without a doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world.” The calm and natural scene of West Lake, surrounded by small little mountains, pavilions for moon-viewing, weeping willows and flowers has millions of visitors every year. It looks gorgeous especially during the winter, where you can immerse yourself in the stillness and calmness of the lake.
Credit: @hangzhou_china on Instagram
Halal eateries can be found almost everywhere in Hangzhou, but try the beef noodle soup and kebabs near the mosque - they are one of the best in town! Thereafter, you can take a boat ride, visit the pagodas, smell the tea from the nearest tea village or even go hiking if you like. One of the must-visit places here is the Thousand Island Lake (also known as Qiandao Lake)! This man-made lake really lives up to its name as it has more than 1,000 islands ?
Credit: Bryan Ong on Flickr
Hangzhou is also home to China's version of Paris and the iconic Eiffel Tower! It might be only one-third the size of the original tower, but nonetheless, this place is a sight to behold ?
Credit: @laura.shao on Instagram
We kid you not - this really is in China ?
2. Urumqi, Xinjiang
Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang and one of the biggest cities in China. It is a major hub during the “Silk Road Era”. It also has the biggest Islamic grand bazaar in China, selling almost everything under one roof. They are popular with their big nutty fruitcake too!
Credit: Khawaja Moon on Facebook
Looking for a little more adventure? Then head down to the Heavenly Mountains or the Tianshan mountains, 2 hours east of Urumqi. The mountain spans across the whole of Xinjiang and stretches through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The highlight of this trip will be the heavenly lake, which is located about 110km away from Urumqi. The water of the lake is so crystal clear that you can see the beautiful reflection of the Snow Peaks.
Credit: Caitriana Nicholson on Flickr
3. Karakul Lake, Xinjiang
Located 196km southwest of Kashgar in Xinjiang, Karakul Lake is an exotic destination not to be missed. It will take about a 4-hour drive from Kashgar to reach this beautiful scenic view, but it will all be worth it!
Credit: Dan Lundberg on Flickr
The Muztaghata Mountain stands majestically as the lake's backdrop, a perfect stop to make for photo opportunities or simply to marvel at the beauty surrounding this area.
Credit: @adiemus.87 on Instagram
And if you love your mutton like I do, go to the livestock market and order the freshest mutton dish with hand-pulled noodles on the spot.
Credit: @tonymeetstheworld on Instagram
4. Xining, Qinghai
Here in Xining, you will not want to miss visiting the very popular Dongguan Mosque. One of the famous and largest mosques in China, it was built in 1380 and has both Chinese and Islamic traditional architectural art.
Credit: Kevin Schoenmakers on Flickr
Spend 2-3 hours on a road trip to the magnificent Qinghai Lake and the Sun Moon Mountain when you are in Xining. Summer is the best time to visit these 2 places. From ancient times to the present, whenever people mention Qinghai Lake, they think of 'green lake', 'blue sea' or 'fairyland' because of its marvellous natural beauty. Did you know that it's also the largest inland and saltwater lake in China?
Credit: Rudy R on Flickr
There are many transportation options for you to choose from but the best will be hiring your own private or shared car as you can stop anywhere and at any time, making your day more interesting and worth your money and time.
5. Jiayu Pass, Gansu
Jiayu Pass is known as the 'mouth of China' as it marks the end of the Great Wall of China. As the wall is very long, there are several gates to enter it from and Jiayu Pass is one of them. This pass is very significant as it guarded the western boundary of China during the Ming dynasty.
Credit: Antoine 49 on Flickr
A fort was erected here in 1372 and it's one of the vital areas on the ancient silk road. The site was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1987.
Credit: Dan Lundberg on Flickr
6. Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, Gansu
Definitely one of the wonders of the world, the Zhanye Danxia landforms are also called the Rainbow Mountains China. You can choose various tours to bring you to this magical place or if you like a little adventure, hire a car.
Credit: Yeung Ming on Flickr
A visit to these mountains will be a delight to geography fanatics. The mountains are actually formed by the erosion of sandstone and the folding of oceanic crust, thus giving it a variety of textures and colours. A visit here will definitely take your breath away ?
Credit: themepap on Flickr
7. Yinchuan, Ningxia
If you have not been to the Taj Mahal, then you will be impressed with Yinchuan Hui Culture Park. It is called “Taj Mahal - Made in China”.
Credit: Discover Ningxia on Facebook
Yinchuan also has many other historical sites and parks that are definitely worth a visit. One of them is the China Western Film Studio, where you can experience the lifestyle, ways of entertainment and production modes of the ancient Chinese. The photo opportunities here are aplenty as you immerse yourself in the realm of the past.
Credit: Laksmi Dewanti Haryanto on Facebook
8. Lijiang, Yunnan
Mountains basically surround Lijiang, one of the developing cities in China where you can still see women walking around in their Naxi traditional costumes.
Credit: @tripadvisenet on Instagram
Lijiang has 2 ancient towns, and both have many halal eateries. Its main attraction is the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Credit: Miltos Gikas on Flickr
Stay near the ancient towns and pack some food before you go into the scenic areas, as there might not be many food choices for you there. You can catch one of the longest rivers in the world, the Yangtze River, located in between the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Get ready to be wowed - the view is absolutely magnificent.
Credit: Jeremy Foster on Flickr
There you go! The top 10 amazingly beautiful places to visit in China. But do avoid coming during the Chinese Golden Week and Chinese New Year week, when millions of Chinese are travelling around China at the same time. That can be quite messy!
I would also suggest that you live in an area near the mosque, as there will definitely be a few halal eateries around. Bring along your travel food containers to store some food, just in case you cannot find a suitable place to eat while travelling around the mountains. And lastly, your Google translate app will be your best friend throughout your whole journey. Have a great adventure in China ?