Description

Also known as the Blue Mosque, the Sultanahmet Mosque is a historic landmark in Istanbul and was constructed during the years of 1609-1616 by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire - Ahmed I. Its name - Blue Mosque - is derived from the blue tiles in the interior of the mosque which features design elements from the Ottoman Empire. The building structure comprises a main dome, 6 minarets and 8 other smaller domes that were all designed by the architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa with the intention of giving the mosque a grand and majestic appearance. Though it is one of the main tourist attractions in the country, the Sultanahmet Mosque still serves as an active mosque and daily prayers are held five times a day. ...more

Istanbul, Turkey

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Description

Also known as the Blue Mosque, the Sultanahmet Mosque is a historic landmark in Istanbul and was constructed during the years of 1609-1616 by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire - Ahmed I. Its name - Blue Mosque - is derived from the blue tiles in the interior of the mosque which features design elements from the Ottoman Empire. The building structure comprises a main dome, 6 minarets and 8 other smaller domes that were all designed by the architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa with the intention of giving the mosque a grand and majestic appearance. Though it is one of the main tourist attractions in the country, the Sultanahmet Mosque still serves as an active mosque and daily prayers are held five times a day.

Ticket Price

Not applicable

Opening Hour

The mosque is open throughout the day to guests for sight-seeing except during prayer times

Recommended Visit Duration

Around 1 hour

Suitable For

Adults, Families, Senior Guests, Young Adults, Children

Must See

The main dome, minarets and the prayer hall.

Prayer Facilities

Prayers are held at the Sultanahmet Mosque daily, five times a day.

Halal Food

Plenty of Halal food options are available in the vicinity of the Sultanahmet Mosque including a number of Halal restaurants. Visitors may also try out a few of the more prominent Halal restaurants in Istanbul such as the Hayat Cafe, Asitane, Mozaik Café, Hamdi Restaurant, 360Istanbul Restaurant, Bab-i Hayat Restaurant and Istanbul Modern.

  • Why are These 10 Travel Destinations Unusual?

    Everyone wants to go to France, Maldives or the US for a vacation but if you would like to experience something slightly different from touristy destinations, we've collated quite a few amazing places that you could explore! Pristine, secluded beaches, historically rich cities, and a diverse range of terrains in one place – this list has got it all! Keep reading to find out what are the 10 most unusual travel destinations off the beaten path.   1. Red Beach, Panjin, China Credit: Wikipedia Yes, you read that right – Red Beach – also referred to as “ Red Carpet Beach” by locals. The Red Beach national corridor is one part of the Liaodong coastline extending for 118kms. It garners more than 2 million tourists annually, so why not be one of that 2 million and enjoy the absolute splendour of this magical landscape. The vibrant red colour is given by the seep weed which grows from summer to autumn. Panjin is a coastal town with a lot to offer to travellers – beautiful countryside, hot springs and ancient towns offer much for sight seeing and leisure. You can get to this scenic coastal town by a long distance bus. You can even take a train from Beijing to Panjin. There are a few halal restaurants within the province such as Ming Mings Dumplings, Yifeng Moslam park and many more. Check the China foreigners guide for more restaurants.   2. Popeye Village, Malta Credit: @popeyemalta on Facebook This fun, quirky town was originally a film set for the famed “Popey” Musical starring the ever wonderful Robin Williams. So, this should be one of the top destinations to visit on your list! Located next to the turquoise sea, this colourful town is for the young at heart, especially for all you Popeye the Sailor-man fans. The town hosts many events throughout the year and has many guided tours. You can find accommodation at Melliha, there are many hotels and getting from there to Popeye village is very easy, you could just walk the 2Km distance or take a bus from there. The bus routes tend to change in Malta so refer the Malta Transport website for all the information you need. There are many Halal restaurants scattered around the islands and it is very easy travel in Malta, since the islands are small and the distances aren’t that long. There are many Turkish restaurants and a few Indian restaurants which are Halal friendly.   3. Pamukkale, Turkey Credit: @Pamukkale.Hierapolis on Facebook Located in the picturesque southwest of Turkey, this pristine white locale is the stuff of dreams. From the white terraces to the crystalline green pools, Pamukkale, Turkeyis a dreamscape worth experiencing. Pamukkale translates to “Cotton Castle” and rightly so, it is also the home of the well preserved ancient Graeco-Roman city of Hieropolis. An all in one location with its travertine limestone formations, hot springs, ancient temples, bathouses and necropolis all rolled in to one, this is a definite once in a lifetime adventure you should take. Bathe in the beautiful warm pools like the Romans once did, and explore the remains of a once great spa city. The easiest way to get there is to board a flight from Istanbul to Denizli Cardak Airport, Turkish Airlines offers flights to Denizli. Denizli is 65km away from Pamukkale, you can opt for an airport shuttle, or you can get a bus from the Denizli bus station – the ride is 40mins. There are many hotels in the city that suit all budgets, as well as many Halal friendly restaurants in the area, so you can easily find food without having to worry about Halal authenticity. Some of the best restaurants are Mhemet’s Heaven, Cadde Grill House and Yildiz restaurant; you can do a quick Google search and find many Halal friendly restaurants easily.   4. Giethoorn, Netherlands Image by Michel van der Vegt from Pixabay Beautiful, serene, quiet, green, these are a few words that describe Giethoorn, a water village also referred to as ‘Dutch Venice’, however minus the crowds and commercialisation. It is an idyllic village setting, with fewer roads and more canals, most areas are not accessible by car – it is either by foot or by boat. The canals are lined with pretty, traditional Dutch thatched roofed houses and almost each house has their own boat, even the mail man uses a boat! It is best explored by joining a canal cruise or by opting for a guided tour with the help of local skippers. You can get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam in one and half hours if you are going by car, you can opt to hire a cab or rent a car and drive by yourself. There is no direct way you could get to the village by public transport, if you really want to however, you could get the train from Amsterdam to Steenwijk, and then catch a bus from Steenwijck to Giethoorn – this trip will take two hours. Accommodation wise, there are a number of hotels within the village, or you could even opt to stay just outside the village. It may be a little difficult to find Halal friendly places in this area, however, there are a few restaurants scattered around the Overjissel province where Giethoorn is located.   5. Socotra, Yemen Image by danielshimmin0 from Pixabay  An island that is a part of an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, a surreal, alien landscape that is sure to leave you mesmerised. It was recognised by UNESCO as a world heriatage site in 2008, and is referred to as “the most alien looking place on Earth”. It is so isolated that it’s wildlife is unique to the island and have evolved to adapt to its dessert environment, it is home to a very distinct species of tree known as the Dragon’s Blood Tree, aptly named as it oozes blood red sap. The Bottle Tree is a quirky tree that looks like the foot of an elephant with pink flowers on the top, referred to as desert rose. The island has its own version of birds, such as the Socotra Sunbird, Socotra starling and Socotra grosbeak. The only native mammal on the island is the bat. It is best to book a tour to better explore the island and get more insight. You can reach the Island via Sanaa, the capital of Yemen; get a flight to the Sanaa Airport and from there a get flight to Socotra. You could even go for a direct flight to the island through the Arab Emirates, Felix Airways has scheduled flights from Sharjah to Socotra and back. Don’t expect luxurious resorts and hotels here, it is mostly eco-friendly and you will find five hotels, one eco lodge and many eco-camp sites. Since the island belongs to Yemen, their cuisine is mainly Halal, so you don’t have to worry about trying to find authentic Halal fare.   6. Taha’a, French Polynesia Credit: Tahaa Whilst Bora Bora garners most of the crowd, Taha’a is almost overlooked, but that doesn’t mean this flower shaped island has nothing to offer. If you are looking for a romantic escape or just a few days of pampering, Taha’a will definitely fulfil your dreams. A true island paradise with rolling hills, and valleys covered with banana, watermelon and coconut groves. It is the home of the world’s most priced Tahitian Vanilla, making up for 80% of the export from French Polynesia. The whole island is intoxicated by the scent of vanilla and will draw you in with its white sandy beaches, coral reefs, and absolute seclusion. The only way to access Taha’a is by boat from her sister island Raiatea. You will have to take a flight which may have stop overs at Paris, Auckland, or Los Angeles, from where you’ll fly to an airport closest to Taha’a depending on the airlines. There are many resorts and hotels to stay at in Taha’a, the more reputed hotels can be on the pricier end of the spectrum. It may be difficult to find Halal food in Taha’a, however, their cuisine mostly comprises of fruits of the sea and fruits of the land, therefore most of the food are Halal friendly.   7. Isle of Skye, Scotland Credit: @IsleofSkyeScotland on Facebook The mystical Isle of Skye which translates to “Cloud Island” from ancient Norse, it is the second largest of Scotland’s islands and the most beautiful! Magical and mysterious, the island boasts deep lochs, towering cliffs and moors, as well as incredible wildlife – a nature lovers dream! Rich in history and culture Skye is a great place to explore, with places like the Mealt Waterfall and Kilt Rock, the Old Man Storr, the Fairy Pools of Glenbrittle, Dinosaur footprints at Staffin Beach, Dunvegan Castle and many more. The closest airports are the Glasgow Airport and the Inverness Airport, from which you can opt to drive to Isle of Skye or take a bus. There is no railway on the island; instead it offers buses and local coaches. The island is full of quaint little cottages that you can rent out; some offer self catering whilst others offer bed and breakfast. The town of Portree is where most tourists stay at; it is the capital of the island and has many hotels, cafes and supermarkets. If you really want to experience Skye, then opt for camping. It is fairly easy to find Halal food in the Island as there is a population of Indians and Pakistanis who live there. They are quite a few good Indian and Pakistani restaurants, as well as some Bangladeshi ones.   8. Bagan, Myanmar Credit: @WonderBaganMyanmar on Facebook This Buddhist temple city was once the capital of an ancient Kingdom, however, now it is an important archaeological zone. Bagan is often compared to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and may even be a rival to Machu Pichu, however, this ancient city has a charm of its own. Witness the majesty of the golden stupas in the temple plain and catch the sunset over the Irrawaddy River. You can witness the beauty of Bagan by Hot Air ballon, the ancient city is a sight to behold 2000 feet up in the air. You can even get more close and personal by biking it on the ground, exercise and a view! Don’t forget to check a local market as well, and get as many souvenirs as you want, also add local festivals to your itinerary as you will be able to taste the best of Burmese hawker food. Flights arrive at the Nyaung-U Airport and it is a 10min taxi ride to Nyaung-U town centre, whilst it’s a 20 minute ride to Old Bagan or New Bagan. When travelling to Bagan it is advisable to go through a travel agent, as they will make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. However, if you do want to travel independently, do a though search on travel requirements and hotels. The more luxurious hotels and resorts are located in Old Bagan, whilst more mid range and budget hotels are found in Nyaung-U and New Bagan. Nyaung-U is Bagan’s largest town, this is where you will find most of the restaurants and hotels, however, it tends to get quite crowded. There are few high end restaurants that serve Halal food, whilst other restaurants will be willing to serve Halal food on request. Most stalls or small restaurants may not have the regular Arabic Halal sign but instead will indicate the availability of Halal food by the number “786” (this is a substitute used within South Asia), therefore look for this sign when looking for Halal eateries.   9. Lake Baikal, Russia Credit: @baikalia on Facebook Known as the “Pearl of Siberia”, Lake Baikal is a crescent shaped lake which is a whopping 1637 metres deep and contains a fifth of the world’s water! It is the world’s deepest lake, and is bigger than Belgium. Due to these properties it has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Summer is the best time to visit Lake Baikal, you will be able to see its natural beauty in all its glory, with the lake’s clear blue waters, and the mountains. Some areas have remained the same since the ancient times – almost untouched or changed by weather. During the winter the lake turns into an expanse of powder white ice and snow, you can enjoy a fun dog sledge ride over its hard surface. You can get to Lake Baikal by flying to Moscow and then boarding a plane to Irkutsk which is 65km away from Lake Baikal or Ulan-Ude which is 150km away from the lake. If you want to have a more interesting journey, you can use the Trans-Siberian Railway and hop on a train from Moscow to Irkutsk which is 3 days, Beijing to Irkutsk which is 2 days, or the train from Vladivostok which is 2.5 days. After which you will have to board a bus from Irkutsk bus station to Lake Baikal, the journey takes 10mins. The best route to take is Mosco -Slyudyanka, it takes 4 days and you will be dropped off right at the shoreline of Lake Baikal. You can stay at the hotels and hostels located around the shoreline of the lake or even camp out or stay on a boat. Finding Halal food may be difficult especially if you are travelling by train; therefore it is better if you pack your own, like instant noodles and other small snacks. When booking a room make sure they provide a stove or small kitchen as you can prepare your own meals that way. You can get grocery shopping done at nearby cities like Irkutsk, which is just a 10min bus ride away from Lake Baikal.   10. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan Photo by Satoshi Hirayama from Pexels Located in Kyoto, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a must see place before you die, photographed multiple times, but you have to really be there to experience it’s green mystique. The bamboo grove is a great spot for a quiet walk or bike ride, rows of bamboo swaying in the light breeze is not a sight to be missed. Absolutely beautiful and pure, it should be a must visit when in Kyoto. The best way to get to Kyoto is by Kansai Airport, afterwards you can board a train to Arashiyama. You can use the Japan Railways, Keifuku Railways, or Hankyu Railways. There are many hotels and guest houses in Arashiyama, and they are available for every budget. There are quite a few Halal restaurants scattered around Arashiyama, as well as shops. You can find a full Halal menu at the Yoshiya restaurant just 10mins away from the Japan Railway Saga-Arashiyama train station. They introduced this Halal menu in 2018, and have served Japanese Halal food since.   Book your flight and pack your bags, your unusual adventure awaits you!...

  • Every Story Has A Beginning. Here are 7 Historical Places You Should Visit in 2019!

    History surrounds us, whether you're walking down the street, sitting in a cafe or relaxing at home. It can be identified and traced for almost every object. There are many iconic places around the world that are identified by their rich history that still stands amongst us in the present day. This article will explore 7 historical cities you should visit in 2019. Check Out More Halal Travel Blogs 1) Luxor, Egypt We begin with the land of the Pyramids, Om al-dunya (Mother of the world) and the Breadbasket of the Empire. Egypt is generally a treasure cove when it comes to history. From the Pyramids in Giza, to the Hellenistic influences in Alexandria and the Ottoman remnants in the daily lives of their locals. Luxor is often overshadowed by the Capital and Resort towns but for history lovers, Luxor holds an untouched candour. The town's scenery is free of skyscrapers. The Nile and Temple's pillars stand in a way that can transport you away from modern city life. The city is divided by the river, leaving the East side as the lively side and the West side as the dead side. Considered as the oldest city in Egypt, it's no suprise that history surrounds the street. The Luxor Temple and extensions to Karnak Temple are always linked back to the days of Ramsis the 3rd, the Pharoah of Musa (pbuh). Historical Places to Visit: Luxor Temple Valley of the Kings- Tutenkhamun's Tomb Valley of the Queens Karnak Temple Medinet Habu Colossi of Memon 2) Rome, Italy An obvious choice as Rome is an open air museum. When in Rome do as the Romans do. Rome as a city and an expression of life, reminds us how roman lives were like in the early centuries. From the way the roads are structured to the city centre and plazas. A casual bus ride through the city will show you an immense amount of relics, including the Colosseum and fountain of Trevi. The era of Renaissance(rebirth) aimed to link itself back to the prosperity and dominance of the Romans, hence the structures that are in Hellenistic design. It creates a neat circle of history repeating itself. Historical Places to Visit: Castel Sant Angelo Colosseum Trevi Fountain Sistine Chapel The Vatican (though it is technically a separate city) Piazza Novana St Peters Basilica Roman Forum 3) Istanbul, Turkey Where East meets West, Istanbul cannot be compared to any other city in the world. Its unique position globally, historically and socially have made it a beautiful city that's rich in history. Formally known as Constantinople, Istanbul was the capital when the Roman empire split, evolving the city into the Byzantine Empire. After centuries of conflict, the Islamic Caliphate took over and gained access to Eastern Europe. Islamic history is the most prevalent in this destination, with huge, majestic mosques and museums dedicated to sharing Turkey's islamic past. Historical Places to Visit: Topkapi palace Hagia Sophia Sultan Ahmed mosque Grand Bazaar Basilica Cistern Sulemaniye Mosque Dolmabahce palace Galata tower 4) Prague, Czech Republic Prague is a picturesque beautiful city with immense amount of uphills and downhills. This city gives us a cleaner version of what the Bohemian middle ages may have looked like. The cobbled pavements take you back into the past with every step. The sight of houses with wooden panels will make you believe that you're living in a fairytale. Prague was rich in the aspects astrology and religion and the Old Town Square is a reminder of this. An interesting fact about Prague as a city is that is often used to film historical movies and tv shows due to its intact landscape. Historical Places to Visit: Astronomical clock Old town Square Prague Castel St Charles Bridge St Vitus Church Jewish Quarter Wencaslas square 5) Jerusalem - Palestine The holy city is a beautiful culmination of the three monotheistic religion. A truly religious city with Monks, Orthodox Jews and Muslims walking past each other in almost identical modesty and submission to God. This city has undergone immense changes but the old areas will transport you back to the Middle ages. The hilly landscape and forted Walls built by Suleiman the Magnificent shelter a historical haven away from cars and modern buildings. The Al Aqsa complex is not only a place of pilgrimage for Muslims but its serenity and the lack of change show us the steadfastness of Islam throughout the years.  This city is a perfect destination to explore the history of the three religions that majority of the locals practice. Historical Places to Visit:  Ethiopian Church Dome of the Rock Al-Aqsa mosque Old city Western Wall Mount of olives Church of the holy Sepulchre Damuscus Gate 6)Edinburgh, Scotland The capital of Scotland is not only known for the helpful character of the locals but also the history that graces the city. The Edinburgh castle reflects the development of forts and castles as the centuries progressed. With intact architectures displaying the Renaissance and Jacobean eras, Edinburgh is an important state for Scotland because it represents the history of the country's rebellion and cohesion. The rocky roads, gothic buildings and old-fashioned specialist shops truly give a sense of Victorian culture. The city itself holds a historic charm with its bridges, road structures and neoclassical architecture. Hike up Arthur’s seat for a view of the whole city and its sweeping natural scenery. Historical Places to Visit: Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Castle Old Town Holyrood Castle National Museum of Scotland Princes Street 7) Delhi, India India itself is a country drowning in history, so the capital is a good place to start. The Old Delhi holds the beautiful Mughal Red Fort where you can wonder around and imagine being part of the imperial household. Not far from the Red Fort lies Chandni Chowk, a colorful market selling everything from dried fruit to silver jewellery, allowing a historical market experience. This city’s history is heavily intertwined with Hindu and Mughal identities. Visit the intricately lavish Akshardham which shows the artisanal beauty and skillmanship of Hindu artisans. There is an immense list of temples and complexes that are worth a visit because of their unique and beautiful historical influences. A recent culmination of this would be the Lotus Temple which was opened in 1986 and is open to visitors of all religions. Historical Places to Visit: Red Fort Akshardham Qutb Minar complex Laxminarayan Temple Rashtrapati Bhavan Lotus Temple Humayun’s Tomb Get more inspirations for your 2019 trips  ...

  • 2-Day Itinerary: Here’s How You Can Enjoy Busan In 48 Hours During The Blissful Winter

    South Korea is all the rage right now, with the increasing popularity of KPOP and Korean dramas. We had the chance to visit Busan thanks to Korea Tourism Organisation Malaysia. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life in Seoul, Busan is located at the South-eastern tip of the Korean Peninsula. During this trip, we got to feast on an abundance of seafood due to its proximity to the coast. If you’re looking for where to eat, pray and have fun during winter in Busan, look no further. We have put together a 2-day Muslim-friendly itinerary for you! Day 1 If you’re flying to Busan, get an overnight flight so that you can get your beauty sleep before landing at Gimhae International Airport and start exploring the wonders of Busan. We flew with AirAsia X and arrived in Busan around 10 a.m. – perfect timing to start the day! We opted for an in-flight meal for breakfast so that we could get going once we land. Clever huh? 1. Check-in @ Ramada Encore Haeundae You would definitely want to start exploring this amazing city the moment you step out of the airport. However, you wouldn't want to bring your luggage with you throughout this fun-filled experience would you? So do check-in to Ramada Encore Haeundae right after you touch down in Busan. This classy hotel is just a 10 minutes’ walk from the Haeundae Beach. If you’re daring enough to brave the winds, you can have a night stroll down the beach before heading to bed. However, it’d be a better choice to wake up early the next day to catch the sunrise. Address: 9 Gunam-ro, U-dong, Haeundae, Busan, South KoreaWebsite: RamadaEncoreHaeundae 2. Busan Marine Natural History Museum Start your day by visiting the first and largest marine museum in South Korea – the Busan Marine Natural History Museum. Be captivated by the exhibitions consisting of more than 25,000 items, including a wide range of aquatic birds, amphibious reptiles and precious fossils. The museum also houses live snakes, fishes and turtles. It’s a great place to visit with kids as they will get to learn more about marine life. Address: 175 Ujangchun-ro, Oncheon-dong, Dongnae-gu, BusanWebsite: BusanOperating Hours: 9AM-6PM (Tues-Sun)                            *Hours may differ during PH 3. Busan Al-Fattah Mosque After exploring the museum, perform your prayers at the one and only mosque in Busan, which is just a 15-minute drive away. Built-in 1980 with funds donated by a Libyan Muslim benefactor, Busan Al-Fatah Mosque becomes the spiritual home of all the Muslims in the South-eastern part of Korea. The mosque offers religious knowledge classes, Islamic lectures and even English classes for all to attend and learn more about Islam. You can expect huge gatherings during Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr, with Muslims from all over the world including Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Ethiopia, and England. 3. Time For Lunch! For lunch, you can find Halal food at Cappadocia Turkish Kebab House, which is located just beside the mosque. Another option would be going for a wide range of Indian and Middle-eastern cuisines at Hello India Al-Waha, which is a 15-minute drive away from the mosque. We got to try their briyani, tandoori chicken, naan and chicken tikka masala. Out of all those that we tasted, the tikka masala is definite the most outstanding one. It was so good that we had a second serving! Cappadocia Turkish Kebab House Address: 30-1 Namsan-dong, Geumjeong-gu, BusanOperating Hours: 11.30AM - 10PM (Daily) Hello India Al-Waha Address: 23-1 Gunam-ro 41beon-gil, Jung-dong, Haeundae, BusanOperating Hours: 11AM - 11PM (Daily) *Disclaimer: Hello India Al-Waha serves alcohol 4. Goraesa Fish Cake After lunch, take a walk down the street to Goraesa Fish Cake for a fishcake-making experience. Fishcake, also known as eomuk, is a very popular ingredient in Korean cuisines. They are used in soups, gimbap, and various side dishes. During the class, we made our very own eomuk snowman (perfect for winter treat), sushi and gimbap. It was a fun experience and a great place to show off your artsy skills. If you have none(like me), just have fun and eat what you created! Address: 14 Gunam-ro, U-dong, Haeundae, Busan, South KoreaOperating Hours: 9.30AM - 9.30PM (Sun-Thurs)                             9.30AM - 10PM (Fri-Sat)                             *Hours might differ during PH                     5. Shopping! Before exploring the next destination, you can return to your hotel room to wash up or take a quick nap as Ramada Encore Haeundae is located just across Goraesa Fish Cake!Now that you're feeling fresh again, head over to BIFF Square, Gwangbok Fashion Street, Gukje market and Jagalchi market. They’re all clustered together and is the heart of fashion, food, culture, and art. Be sure to give yourself two to three hours to explore this huge area. Try out their local street snacks such as tteokbokki, gimbap, and bungeoppang. We’d highly advise you to ask the stall owners if they use any meat in their fillings or sauce before buying. Address: 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Nampo-dong, Jung-gu, Busan 6. End Your Night With A Feast! To end the day, splurge on snow crabs for dinner as they are in season! Head over to The East in Busan for a crab feast. Choose from a range of starters such as crab soup, sashimi, sushi and salad to coat your belly before you start on the glorious steamed snow crabs. The portions were huge and the service was top-notch too! They had servers cracking open the shells for us and even feeding us. We would highly recommend you giving this restaurant a visit! Address: 266 Gijanghaean-ro, Gijang-eup, Gijang, BusanOperating Hours: 11AM - 9.40PM (Daily)                             *Hours might differ during PH *Disclaimer: This restaurant serves non-Halal meat and alcohol Day 2 1. Gamcheon Culture Village Start your day early and visit the Gamcheon Culture Village which is a popular backdrop in Korean dramas and variety shows. However, behind its colourful houses, there is a sad and painful history of The Korean War. This neighbourhood was restored after the war, with houses built close to each other yet not blocking the front view of the house located behind them. Immerse yourself in their history as you walk through their colourful alleyways filled with cafés, food stalls and souvenir shops. Address: South Korea, Busan, Saha-gu, Gamcheon-dong, 10-13Operating Hours: 9AM - 6PM (Daily)                             *Hours might differ during PH 2. Cable Car Ride @ Busan Air Cruise After a morning walk, take in the views of Songdo through a cable car ride at Busan Air Cruise. If you’re daring, opt for the Crystal cable cars that have transparent floors so that you can watch the waters as you ride across the sea. When you reach the top, you will discover the Songdo sky park and observatory. Spend some time admiring the stunning view from the top before you take a ride back down. You can also explore the Songdo Skywalk, which is located just across the road from the Busan Air Cruise. Address: 124-2 Amnam-dong, Seo-gu, Busan, South KoreaOperating Hours: 9AM - 10PM (Daily)                             *Hours might differ during PH 3. Jjimjilbang When you’re in Korea, Jjimjilbang is a must visit especially during winter! Head over to Spa Land, located in the largest department store in the world – the Shinsegae Centum City Department Store. Korean saunas are also a great place to have light lunch by having their popular roasted eggs and shikhye. Spend at least two hours enjoying their facilities such as massage chairs, saunas, foot bath, ice rooms and many more. It’s a great way to unwind and relax your body after braving the cold winter weather in Korea. The common areas are shared between men and women. Hence, we’d advise the ladies to bring your inner clothing and underscarf so that you can enjoy the jjimjilbang comfortably. Address: 35 Centumnam-daero, U-dong, Haeundae, Busan, South KoreaOperating Hours: 6AM - 12AM (Daily)                             *Hours might differ during PH 4. Namcheon Sutbol Jangeo Gui If you’re a fan of eels, dine at Namcheon Sutbul Jangeo Gui which specialises in charcoal-grilled eel. Don’t be surprised when they bring live eel for you to cook on your own, as that is the usual style of Korean barbeque. While you’re there, don’t forget to try other dishes such as maeuntang – satisfying comfort food in winter. Address: 71-1, Hwangnyeong-daero, 489beon-gil, Suyeong-gu, Busan *Disclaimer: This restaurant serves alcohol There you go! Our suggestion for a Muslim-friendly itinerary if you are planning short getaway to Busan! Before you fly, here are some things you should take note of. Feasting on Halal food in Korea In terms of food, Busan(compared to Seoul) is relatively new in catering to the Muslim market. However, with its proximity to the sea, you can find an abundance of seafood restaurants for you to dine at. Alcohol is however served in nearly all restaurants as soju is a huge part of their eating culture. Refer to the image below for a summary of the restaurant categories in South Korea. Picture: VisitKorea Look out for these labels when you visit any restaurant in Korea. We’d highly suggest you reaffirm the Muslim-friendly status of the restaurant with the owners before dining in. Better yet, make your own research before you fly over to Korea to eat with a peace of mind. KTO has compiled a list of Muslim-friendly restaurants in Busan which you can find here. Where to pray in Korea It might be difficult to find dedicated prayer rooms in Busan. You can perform your prayers at Gimhae International Airport and Busan Al-Fatah Mosque. We’d advise you to bring your prayer garments while you’re out and about. Kindly ask the restaurant owners if they have an empty room for you to perform your prayers. A huge thanks to Korea Tourism Organisation Malaysia for introducing to us the beautiful city of Busan filled with great Muslim-friendly food, beautiful culture and fun attractions. Now it's time for you to experience Busan with your loved ones! Read more about Busan...

  • Be Astounded By 6 Of Turkey's Most Impressive Architectural Beauties

    Turkey is undoubtedly a popular travel destination that ties the ancient world to modern times with a fascinating history. Among the bustling city of Istanbul and other parts of Turkey, you will find that much of the country’s architectural marvels have interesting stories behind them, mostly relating to how past rulers made their mark during their reign. It’s quite intriguing to see the influence of different cultures through the architectural style of a building. Turkey is famous for some of the most beautiful mosques such as the breathtaking Blue Mosque. It is also home to a long list of fascinating buildings so check out these 6 architectural beauties that will blow you away. Read more about Turkey 1. Hagia Sophia The famous Hagia Sophia was constructed in 537AD by Roman Emperor Justinian I and served as the largest cathedral during that bygone era. The Hagia Sophia features the marvelous Byzantine architecture with a beautifully crafted dome and some of the most amazing ancient mosaics you will ever see. The Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque in the 15th century by the Ottomans who conquered Constantinople. The minarets were added to the structure during this period and the panes of Islamic calligraphy are jaw-dropping. Finally, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935 and is now an attraction in Istanbul you simply cannot miss. You can easily travel to the Hagia Sophia by hopping onto the Metro that will take you to Sultanahmet Station which is a short walking distance from the building. Address: Ayasofya Square, Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122, TurkeyWebsite: AyasofyaMuzesiOperating Hours:Summer schedule - 15 April to 25 October9AM to 7PM (Daily)Winter schedule - 25 October to 15 April9AM to 5PM (Daily)Ticket Price: Adult - 60 TL                      Turkish children 18 years and below - Free                      Foreign children 12 years ad below - Free 2. Topkapi Palace You will feel like walking through portal into the Ottoman era when you step through the gold, ornate courtyard entrance at the Topkapi Palace which was once home to the sultans and their families. This magnificent palace was commissioned by Mehmed the Conqueror and was constructed between 1460 and 1478. You can get a glimpse of the past from the intricately painted walls of the Harem section and The Throne Room. The Hagia Irene, a cathedral that became an armoury, is within the premises too. The Tokapi Palace stands as a museum today, which you can explore through guided tours. A simple way to get there is by taking the Metro or Tram to Sultanahmet Station and then take a short walk to the Topkapi Palace. Address: Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, TurkeyWebsite: TopkapiSarayi  Operating Hours: Summer Schedule - 15 April to 31 October9AM - 4PM (Wednesday to Monday)Winter schedule - 30 November to 15 April9AM - 6PM (Wednesday to Monday)Ticket Price: Museum Ticket - 60 TL                      Harem and Halberdiers with Tresses Dormitory Ticket - 35 TL                      Hagia Irene Ticket: 30 TL                      Foreign children 12 years and below - Free                      Foreign children 6 years and below - Free (only for the Harem)                      Turkish children 18 years and below - Free 3. Basilica Cistern The Basilica Cistern was once the largest cistern that supplied water from Belgrade Forest to the entire city. The underground cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I, and is supported by 336 columns which are highlighted with warm lighting today. The most popular attraction at the Basilica Cistern is the Medusa pillars that are carved with the stone heads of the Gorgon, Medusa. The water level is quite low but very fresh. There are still fishes swimming in the waters today. If you want to get to the Basilica Cistern, simply take a Tram or get on the Metro to Sultanahmet Station and walk to the attraction from there. You can even drop by after visiting the Hagia Sophia which is located opposite the Basilica Cistern. Address: Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, TurkeyWebsite: YerebatanSarniciOperating Hours: 9AM to 7PM (Daily)Ticket price: 20 TL 4. Kariye Museum Picture: AyaSofyaMuzesi With Byzantine architecture and shimmering mosaics, the Kariye Museum is located a bit further from the city of Istanbul but is worth visiting if you want to see experience something unique. The museum is still known as the Chora Church by many as it was originally a church before it was converted into a mosque in the 16th century. It only became a museum in 1948. The painted walls and impressive ancient artwork that depicts Biblical stories will make you feel as though you are travelling back in time. Look out for the magnificent domes which are inlaid with artwork and ornate gold touches as well. To get to the Kariye Museum, take a bus from Eminonu and get off at the Edirnekapi stop. You can easily reach the church within a five-minute walk. Address: Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, TurkeyWebsite: KariyeOperating Hours: 9PM - 4:30PM (Thursday to Tuesday)Ticket price: 45TL 5. Dolmabahce Palace This spacious building is located on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait and was built in 1854 by Sultan Abdülmecid. This palace is recognised as one the most opulent buildings in the world with 285 rooms, and features an interesting blend of Ottoman and European architecture. You will be amazed by the decorative marble entrance and the gorgeous garden decorated with ornamental fountains. Don't miss the luxurious interior, highlighted by massive crystal chandeliers in the ceremonial hall, which was said to be a gift from Queen Victoria. To get there, you can take a tram to Kabatas from Sultanahmet Square, and then reach the palace within a ten-minute walk. You can also take a bus from Besiktas or Taksim and get down right in front of the building.Address: Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, TurkeyWebsite: DolmabahcePalaceOperating Hours: 9AM - 4PM (Tuesday to Sunday)Ticket price: Selamlik section - 60 TL                      Harem section - 40TL 6. Beylerbeyi Palace Picture: IstanbulStudioTour The Beylerbeyi Palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz. This palace, which is located on the Bosphorus coast, used to be the lavish summer residence of the Ottoman sultans and consists of 24 rooms and 6 halls which included a hamam. You will first notice the palace’s impressive white marble exterior with lion statues at the entrance. The interior is just as impressive with intricately decorated ceilings, marble columns and Bohemian crystal chandeliers. There is a marble pool and fountain in the reception hall as well. To get to the palace, you can take a bus on the Kadikoy-Beykoz line and get down at the Beylerbeyi bus stop. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Eminou, Besiktas or Karakoy to reach Kadikoy or Usukdar. Address: Beylerbeyi Mahallesi, Abdullahağa Cd., 34676 Üsküdar/İstanbul, TurkeyWebsite: MillisaRaylarOperating Hours: Summer schedule – April to October9:00 am to 4:00 pm (Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Sun)Winter schedule - November to April9:00 am to 4:30 pm (Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Sun)Ticket price: 40TL Read our Halal Travel Blogs...

  • The Year Is Coming To An End! Here are 10 Muslim-friendly Destinations To Visit in 2019!

    2019 is just around the corner! It’s time for you to start planning your upcoming holiday to an exotic country where you and your loved ones can have the time of your lives. With the growth of globalization, it is now easy for Muslims to enjoy a Muslim-friendly vacation almost anywhere in the world. Spoilt for choice and finding it hard to pick your next holiday destination? No worries! Below is a guide to some spots that will aid you in making your decision more smoothly and efficiently. Check out our travel packages and tours 1. Japan Japan being one of the most kid-friendly countries, I wouldn't hesitate to say that parents can worry less about stumbling upon dangers or hardships with the little ones. Not only does Japan provide its tourists with a rich culture and unique experience with its different traditions, but there is also a great number of hot-spots you can list down in your itinerary. These include the natural sightseeing locations like Mount Fuji and the Osaka Aquarium. For nature lovers, the Japanese-style garden, Kenroku-en, is a must visit. Another famous spot to head to would be Tokyo Disneyland, a dream destination for those traveling with the children. 2. Spain You haven’t entirely lived your life if you haven’t paid a visit to Spain. From the vast amount of places to tour, its history and its culture to the Muslim-friendly hotels and restaurants, Spain is an ideal destination for your summer holidays. Even if you are a person with toddlers or just too tired to lag around the little ones, Spain has plenty of parks to pick from for a relaxed picnic under the shade with your loved ones. One such park would be Park Güell due to its distinctive features brimming with unique structural designs and monuments. If you are in Madrid, do not leave without visiting the public square - Puertadel Sol. When in Barcelona, The Magic Fountain Show is proved to be a super hit with the small ones. You might also want to drop by to the La Rambla Street for some scrumptious gelato while you are there. 3. Switzerland What better place to take your family and friends to than a place that lets them build a snowman? If you’re visiting from a country which only revolve around the sun and rain, your group will surely be so elated with this change of ambience. Not only does Switzerland offer the greatest quality of chocolates, but parents can also encourage their children to pick up learning opportunities with regards to the different types of languages spoken or ethnicities present. There are quite a few sightseeing spots that you and your family can visit but some of the top ones would be the Zurich Zoo, the Kapellbrüke (also known as the Chapel Bridge), the Rhine Falls, and let’s not forget the Alps! 4. Australia Ah, the Land Down Under! Australia is a go-to spot for not only adrenaline junkies looking to spend their time doing blood-rushing adventures but it is also one of the best ideal spots for someone who wishes to opt for a more relaxed vacation. It is guaranteed that your itinerary for a place like Aussie will be nothing short of fun and enjoyment. Thanks to the country’s terrific weather, this serves as a plus point for those looking to enjoy strolls or picnics on beaches like Cape Conran in Victoria and Frangipani Beach in Queensland. Sydney should be a definite go-to location on your list. The Royal Botanic Garden by the Sydney Harbor is a beauty you must witness before your very eyes. As a treat for your kids, you can hop onto a ferry from Circular Quay and head towards the Taronga Zoo, Sydney Opera House and the Luna Park. 5. Maldives Generally, when someone says they hope to visit Maldives, people presume that it’s for a honeymoon or for a romantic getaway with their significant other. However, it’s not just for the lovebirds. Maldives is also considered as a great Muslim-friendly vacation spot for trips with family or friends. Unlike what many believe, Maldives does not have to be a destination that creates a dent in your wallet. If pre-planned carefully, you can tour the Maldives as a budget-friendly holiday. The Maldives does not only offer white sand beaches and a whole load of coral reef. The Maldives is best known for their water sports and snorkeling activities. You can even take the kids for dolphin watching and sandbank swimming at Kaashidhoo where the water is so clear you will be left amazed. 6. Singapore Having a proportion of 15% of its population as Muslims, Singapore thrives on Muslim-friendly locations and eateries where a huge number of their cafes and restaurants are HALAL certified. If you wish to cover all famous landmarks in Singapore, make sure you have a few days in hand. Some of the best few to visit with your children would be Sentosa Island, Universal Studios, the Singapore Zoo and Marina Bay. Gardens by the Bay is also recommended as it enables your kids to learn and witness a vast variety of lush greenery and exotic plants in a beautiful and one-of-a-kind setting (let’s not forget the Instagram-worthy photos that you can take). 7. Germany If you wish to go back in time and have major throwbacks of the Islamic heritage and culture back in the day, Berlin and Munich are the places to be when in Germany. The two cities have the highest proportion of the Muslim population so you need not worry when it comes to being on the lookout for Halal restaurants or Muslim-friendly attractions due to the abundance present. If you are looking to visit historical hot-spots, the Berlin Wall, the Berlin Mosque and the Brandenburg Gate can be included into your itinerary. In terms of Halal food, the Baraka for Moroccan food, and the Yarok Fine Syrian Food for Mediterranean food are the places you would love to dine at. 8. Turkey Previously being the home to the Ottoman Caliphate, Turkey is a country constructed of Islamic structures. Turkey brims with Islamic heritage and culture which can be deemed as pleasant for tourists, some of which are showcased in the Topkapi Palace and the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Do drop by Istanbul and visit the blue mosque for a feel of true Islamic architecture. You will also find a large amount of `bazaars` at reasonable prices to shop from. A city to visit in Turkey with your family is Alanya. The Alanya Castle is a great spot which will give you a holistic view of the entire city from the top. One attraction which will be a hit for your children would be the Pirate Ship Cave Tour. After a tiresome day of sightseeing, you can grab some delicious Halal food from Mezze Grill Ocakbasi Restaurant if you are in the mood for some pizza or seafood. Summertime comes off as a busy time for Turkey, so be sure to plan well ahead to avoid disappointment when it comes to hotels and tours. 9. Morocco Distinguished for it’s out-of-the-ordinary culture, Morocco amalgamates influences from Europe and Islam and is overflowing with modern depictions of customary Islam. Karaouine Mosque in Morocco is considered a tourist magnet and it’s the largest mosque in Africa, spacious enough to fit 22,000 people at once. You can choose to wander through the lively blue streets of Chefchaouen and devour delectable Moroccan cuisines from famous restaurants like Restaurant Dar Hatim and Les Saveurs de Riad Fes Maya. Along with over 400 mosques, you and your family can also tour their museums such as Dar Batha and Nejjarine Museum in Fez. PS: While you wander around the streets of Morocco, you can treat yourself to pure leather merchandise and Moroccan slippers at one of the souks in Fez like Souk Serrajine. 10. France France is the ultimate spot to be during summer. You can never get bored rigid in such a place taking into account the large number of attractions and activities that this stunning country has in store for tourists. Disneyland Paris is an obvious choice if you are traveling with your children, along with the countless popular attractions and sightseeing spots like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and Jardin du Luxembourg Garden. You can also visit the Grande Mosquee de Paris, a beautiful mosque in Paris. France also has no shortage of Halal restaurants. You can find various cuisines in multiple eateries, Turkish food at the Sizin Restaurant, Mexican food at Baili and if you desire authentic Halal French cuisine, Les GrandsEnfants should be number one on your list of places to dine at. There are a lot of great muslim-friendly spots that can be recommended for your vacation but it is imperative to take into account the wishes of your children as well if they are tagging along in order to have a successful trip where everyone is satisfied. Check out our Travel Blogs for more travel inspirations...



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