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Top 10 Muslim-Friendly Destinations You Must Visit In 2019


Nasreen Nasir •  Dec 07, 2018


With the brand-new year approaching, we’re sure you’re thinking of renewing your travel bucket list for 2019. Don’t worry, we feel you and that’s why we’re here to help! ? If you still don’t know where to go, here’s 10 destinations that we think should be on your list! Credit: GiphyFor many travellers, the first thing that comes to mind when we travel is getting the perfect internet connection. While we do get to purchase the local sim card or even rent a portable WiFi device, it can get pretty inconvenient sometimes. That’s when you can rely on U Mobile’s latest postpaid plan! The U Mobile Unlimited HERO P139 comes with Roam-Onz Global™ for you to enjoy free data roaming in 36 destinations across 5 continents! Sign up now before 28 February 2019 to enjoy FREE Roam-Onz Global™, or visit their website for more info! [inlinewidget id=56554]
1. Hong Kong
If you’re thinking of Asia, start with Hong Kong! A bustling metropolis that is a melting pot of the East and the West, this destination promises delicious halal local fare, family-friendly attractions, convenient public transportation and shopping opportunities! Oh, and did you know that it’s also HHWT’s preferred destination in 2018? ?
With so many things to offer, it can be pretty tough to know where to start. For a fun-filled day, look out for the dazzling fusion of quirky artistic landmarks from Hollywood Road to the old town of Sheung Wan! You’ll be surprised at the amount of street art you can find around the city. End your day with some halal dim sum at the popular Islamic Centre Canteen.
To elevate your Hong Kong experience, ride the iconic tram to The Peak, hunt for bargains at the Ladies’ Market in Mongkok, and meet Mickey and friends at Disneyland! It’s fair to say that you can’t leave Hong Kong without visiting Disneyland. Of course, the city doesn’t just house one or two attractions - you can find plenty of other awesome attractions to discover!
2. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Credit: @paradisetripindonesia on Instagram Crystal clear water, pristine beaches and picturesque landscapes - who needs Bali when you can count on Raja Ampat? ? Home to over 1,500 islands and islets scattered around West Papua in the northeast of Indonesia, to say that it’s the country’s best-kept secret is an understatement.
Credit: Tony Shih on Flickr If swimming with the fishes has always been a dream of yours, this is the perfect place for you! You also get to meet the wildlife here like the rare hornbills and birds of paradise. Although Raja Ampat is not simply a plane ride away (three, in fact, plus a boat ride), the majestic panorama of the entire place is no doubt worth every effort.
3. Sri Lanka
Would you believe that this is in Sri Lanka? Yes, set out the new year with a chill vibe and travel to this beautiful island! As an island located in the south of India, you’ll be floored by the white sandy beaches that line the coast of Sri Lanka from Arugam Bay to Bentota and Mirissa – three of which are famous beaches that allow you to relax and breathe in whiffs of saltwater from the Indian Ocean.
For a little adventure, take a train ride through the countryside and stumble upon picturesque bridges like the Demodara nine arch bridge close to Ella station. Visitors have the option to either take the train or walk along the bridge in the other direction to catch the sunset. As Sri Lanka offers some of the most scenic train journeys in the world, it’s a must for every traveller to experience it!
Credit: @jaakosf on Instagram With the presence of a bustling Muslim community, especially in Dharga Town near the capital city Colombo, it means that you’ll be able to feast on a variety of halal options. Don't forget to visit the popular red mosque in Colombo too! Located in one of the busier commercial districts of Colombo is the striking red Jami-Ul-Alfar mosque. The locals claim that this building was once used as the landmark of Colombo by sailors approaching the port in the past.
4. Fukuoka, Japan
Credit: xiquinhosilva on Flickr With the recent launch of AirAsia’s direct flights to Fukuoka, time to skip Tokyo or Osaka and head over to this gem instead. Famed for its historic attractions and unique festivals, Fukuoka is fast becoming a popular tourist destination. Start off with immersing yourself in nature at Ohori Park - a scenic spot to escape from the busy city. It was once part of Fukuoka Castle’s moat so try to spot some of the ruins if you can!
Credit: Sung Yong Woo on Flickr If parks aren’t your thing, then a visit to Canal City should do the trick. Fukuoka is known for this multi-storey commercial complex surrounded by a canal where visitors can shop, dine and be entertained all under one roof.
Continue your trip with a visit to Dazaifu Tenmangu – the head Tenmangu shrine in all of Japan and the Yanagawa River District, where you can go on a boating excursion amidst old traditional houses and buildings while feasting your eyes on the ancient Yanagawa Castle in the background.
5. Moscow, Russia
If you’ve watched the recent FIFA World Cup 2018, you probably know a thing or two about the host country - Russia! Believe it or not - behind this underrated destination lies a plethora of exciting things to do so if you’re looking to unlock a place that’s off the beaten path, Moscow is a good start!
Credit: Bernt Rostad on Flickr Known for its beautiful cathedrals, palace-like metro stations, and rich art scene, it’s no wonder this city is an emerging destination for many travellers. If you’re around the city, explore the epicentre of Russia that is the Red Square. This iconic site is linked to all of the historical and political milestones in Russia ever since the 13th century, including the colourful St Basil’s Cathedral. It was even listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO! So if you’ve seen it in films, time to see it up close! ?
Credit: Xabier Eskisabel on Flickr Of course, your trip to Moscow won’t be complete if you don’t visit the Moscow Metro. Often hailed as the world’s beautiful metro, set aside half a day to explore the Brown circle line as you’ll stumble upon marbled walls, high ceilings, chandeliers and mosaics that have been around since Soviet era! Who knew a train station could be so majestic?
Credit: THE21 Food Market on Facebook#HHWT Tip: If you’d like to find halal food in Moscow, a trip to THE21 Food Market In New Arbat will guarantee a feast you’ll never forget as it offers halal Western, Turkish, and Central Asian cuisine at affordable prices!
6. Western Australia
Often overlooked for its prime rival the East Coast, Western Australia is perhaps one of Australia’s underrated places. Located just 5 hours away from Malaysia by flight, this large, strikingly vibrant state guarantees pristine beaches, rolling green hills and native wildlife like the adorable marsupials – the Quokka!
If you love taking photographs and always up for an adventure, you’ll love the magnificent scenery at the mysterious Pinnacles Desert. Step on the yellow sands and it’ll instantly make you feel like you just travelled back to the Stone Age as you gaze upon unusual limestone pillars.
Continue your adventure with a thrilling activity - sandboarding! It’s just like surfing, but instead of facing the deep blue ocean, you sandboard on white sand dunes. This sport is so popular amongst the locals, the tourists are having a go at it too! And with Western Australia’s diverse and dramatic landscapes, we don’t see why you shouldn’t give it a try ? Check out our 5D4n itinerary to Perth! With U Mobile’s latest Unlimited HERO P139 postpaid plan, always stay connected to your loved ones! Getting a SIM card in a foreign country can be confusing and unreliable, so why not enjoy FREE data roaming in 36 destinations (including Indonesia J) across 5 continents, unlimited data & calls locally in Malaysia and also unlimited HD video streaming? Be sure to hurry and sign up for U Mobile Unlimited HERO P139 now before 28 February 2019 to enjoy FREE Roam-Onz Global™, or visit their website for more info! [inlinewidget id=56554]
7. Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is hardly on anyone’s bucket list, but good news though, you can now say goodbye to the complicated visa process as the government has recently opened its doors to tourism. Choosing between cities is a tad bit difficult but we recommend starting with the ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand!
A visit to Samarkand is a must as it's been around for more than 2500 years and became a significant part of Islam in the 14th-15th century when the city was made capital of the Timurid Empire. During this period, the best craftsmen and architects designed magnificent landmarks like the Bibi Khanym Mosque, Registan Square, Gur-e-Amir and Shah-i-Zinda.
Credit: @fore_valley on Instagram While you’re there, be sure to visit Siyob Bazaar, the largest food market in Samarkand. Having been around for centuries, Siyob is always buzzing with the locals selling and buying food and fresh produce.
Credit: Martha de Jong-Lantink on Flickr If you can’t get enough of the incredible Islamic architecture in Samarkand, make your way to the UNESCO-listed Bukhara - another gem that is representative of the rich Islamic history. Bukhara is the birthplace of respected Islamic scholar Imam al-Bukhari. Kickstart your journey at the Mausoleum of Imam al-Bukhari. The complex comprises of his tomb, a museum with rare samples of manuscripts on Islamic theology, an educational centre for hadith study and a mosque.
Credit: Nizomiddin Ashkuvvatov on Facebook With its myriad of intricately designed mosques and madrasas, the city itself truly stands the test of time. No trip is complete without seeing the Po-i Kalyan Complex. With 288 domes in this mosque alone, it’s certain to be one of the most magnificent sights you’ll ever lay your eyes upon!
8. New Zealand
Of course, we’d include New Zealand! Of idyllic cities, heart-thumping adventure and spectacular sceneries, it’s truly a gem of a country - especially the South Island.
Credit: Rob Suisted Something you definitely can’t miss? The Milford Sound Fiordland! Cruise down this dramatic landscape of deep waters, soaring peaks and cascading waterfalls or take a sea kayak for an unforgettable experience!
Credit: AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand If an escape to you means getting an adrenaline rush through your veins, New Zealand definitely doesn’t disappoint. You can skydive, bungee, shoot down rapids and hang glide over mountains - all in a day in Queenstown!
Credit: @vaknis on Instagram Retreat back to the city and enjoy some yummy Turkish Kebabs at Camp St. Who would ever resist a good plate of lamb kebab? ? If kebabs aren’t your thing, check out our list of Muslim-friendly eateries you can find in New Zealand!
9. Meknes, Morocco
Need to choose a city in Morocco? Forget the overcrowded Marrakech and head over to Meknes! Aptly named the Versailles of Morocco, the harmonious blend of Islamic and European styles is still evident today.
Credit: manuel.comis on Flickr Recently named as one of Lonely Planet’s top travel destinations for 2019, we can’t help but agree! After the downfall of Sultan Moulay Ismail who was once the ruler of the Moroccan Alaouite dynasty, the city fell into ruins until the 20th century. It was then restored and rejuvenated into the glorious ancient city that we see today!
Credit: Matteo Martinello on Flickr Considered quieter than its neighbour Fez, Meknes offers just as fun and exciting opportunities like stepping back in time and admire the historical sites like Volubilis or the beautiful monumental gates of Bab Mansour!
Credit: INRA DIST on Flickr And what is a visit to Morocco without spiralling through the endless narrow alleyways and streets? You could spend countless days walking through the souks and still not have seen it all. While the souks in Meknes aren’t as hectic as those in Fez, visitors can still find local souvenirs. Prices are more reasonable here as compared to the other cities but as with most souks in Morocco, haggling is essential so time to sharpen that skill before you visit! ?
10. Lisbon, Portugal
Credit: Deensel on Flickr When you think of Europe, oftentimes you’d think of the UK or at least Spain. But what if we tell you to give those countries a miss this new year and visit Portugal instead? Located at the western end of the Iberian Peninsula and bordering Spain, the capital city Lisbon is vibrant and full of charisma.
From indulging in fresh seafood to participating in a street art tour and getting lost in the neighbourhood of Alfama, Lisbon has something for everyone! While London has its double-decker bus and Madrid has its metro, Lisbon has its trams. Not only does it pass through the city’s prominent neighbourhoods, but it also brings you to popular attractions!
Credit: @arianadnaillustration on Instagram Grab a halal bite from one of the many Turkish or Arab restaurants that fill this city. Restaurant Marrakesh is a traveller favourite! After your stomach is full, make sure to stop by the Palácio da Pena for some awesome sightseeing and walk through the Rua Augusta!
With U Mobile’s latest Unlimited HERO P139 postpaid plan, you don’t have to worry about getting the local sim card or renting a portable WiFi router anymore! You get to enjoy FREE data roaming in 36 destinations (including Indonesia J) across 5 continents, unlimited data & calls locally in Malaysia and also unlimited HD video streaming! So, hurry and sign up for U Mobile Unlimited HERO P139 now before 28 February 2019 to enjoy FREE Roam-Onz Global™, or visit their website for more info! If you’re wondering where else can you travel to with U Mobile’s data plan, here’s the full list:
[inlinewidget id=56556] There’s really no end to the options on a Muslim traveller’s travel bucket list, but we think that these beautiful destinations are a good start to the new year, at least. So, don’t wait any longer and book that ticket right now because your next adventure is waiting! ? This article is brought to you by U Mobile.