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  • Eid 2020 | 15 Must Have Kuih Raya For Eid

    Are you sure you are ready to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr? The next most important question is, have you listed out your must have Kuih Raya? If you don't have any ideas yet, then you have come to the right place because Hari Raya Eid Al-Fitr will not be complete without Kuih Raya. These sweet or savoury Kuih Raya are a must have for Eid as they will get you into the festive mood. So, let’s rejoice this moment of Ramadan and Eid with sweet delights. Now that you have more time to do some research, maybe you should try those types of Kuih Raya that you have never ever tasted before. During this time, you can even try baking one yourself! Here are 15 must have Kuih Raya for you to note down! via GIPHY  1. Pineapple Tart (Kuih Tart) Image Credit: Tart Nenas by Debbie Teoh on kuali  The classic famous pineapple tart is one of the most favorite kuih to serve for Eid Al-Fitr. This kuih is very common in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is very easy to find pineapple tarts in every houses you visit during Eid Al-Fitr in Southeast Asia. Pineapple tart itself is a bite-size pastry filled with pineapple jam. It has a buttery and crumbly pastry texture on the outside and melts on the inside. Well, sometimes they also put the pineapple jam as a topping instead of a filling. So, which team are you on? Is it pineapple tart with pineapple jam as a topping, or filling? 2. Suji Biscuit (Semolina Cookies) Image Credit: Sugee Cookies by Chef Nermala Dass on kuali Suji biscuits originated from India. It is a cookie made of flour, ghee (clarified butter) and sugar with a pinch of salt. Imagine tasting a balanced flavor of sweet and salty. This biscuit has a soft texture that melts in your mouth. Yum... This is definitely a must have Kuih Raya for Eid. You could get them from online stores or better enough, bake your own! 3. Honey Cornflakes (Cornflakes Madu) Image Credit: Honey Cornflakes Biscuit by Dish by Ili Honey Cornflakes also known as Cornflakes Madu is made of crunchy cornflakes coated with sweet honey and either topped with chopped cherries or colorful sprinkles. It is one of the easiest cookies to make that requires only 4 ingredients. Those ingredients are plain cornflakes, honey, butter, and chopped cherries. Furthermore, it only takes less than 30 minutes to make one. We recommend you to try making one yourself!  4. Almond London   Image Credit: Almond London by Debbie Teoh on kuali Almond London is one of the most favorite kuih for Hari Raya. It could be because of its mouth-watering look or the richness of its taste. Almond London consists of roasted almond inside a milky cookie, coated with delicious dark chocolate with almond nibs as toppings. This sweet but also dark chocolate bittery cookie has a crunchy texture. 5. Rempeyek Image Credit: Rempeyek Kacang - Indonesian Peanut Cracker by dapurmpoknobi on cookpad Rempeyek is a very common kuih in Southeast Asia that originated from Java Island, Indonesia. Like pineapple tarts, most people are familiar with it and it is popular amongst many Southeast Asian countries. Rempeyek itself is a fried peanut cracker. It is relatively easy to make and does not require an oven. It is made from peanuts, lime leaves, white rice flour, egg, tapioca flour, coriander seeds, galangal, garlic, candlenuts, and salt. You can even add anchovies to the mix.  Imagine that rich savory taste coupled with the crunchiness of the nuts. Delicious isn't it? 6. Popia Simpul Image Credit: Resepi Popia Simpul (Simpul Kasih) Terbaik by Iluminasimedia on Iluminasi  Like rempeyek, popia simpul also does not require an oven. Popia simpul which is very famous in Malaysia and Singapore is a fried bite-sized knotted spring rolls filled with chicken floss. The main ingredients are spring roll pastry and chicken floss. It has a crispy texture that will make it hard for you to stop nibbling. Surely you would've come across a bottle of the popia simpul when visiting your relatives during Hari Raya. This kuih is sold in many stores, including online stores. Why not challenge yourself this Eid and make your own popia simpul? 7. Nestum Cookies Image Credit: Nestum cookies by suzilawong on cookpad Nestum cookies are one of the most delicious kuih that is perfect for Hari Raya. Nestum cookies is everyone’s favorite. Nestum itself is a brand of a cereal that is well-known for its taste and aroma. When used as an ingredient, it gives off a crunchy texture with sweet aroma filling in the air. There are varieties of Nestum cookies recipe that you can follow on the internet, from Original Nestum to Almond Nestum cookies. 8. Fried Rose (Kembang Goyang) Image Credit: Achu murukku recipe, Rose cookies recipe without eggs by by Sharmis Passion Fried Rose Cookies could be found in Malaysia and Indonesia (Kembang Goyang). It originated from India. Over there, it is known as Achu Murukku. It is crispy, sweet, and salty at the same time. This kuih is fried with a flower-shaped mold. The ingredients are rice flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, coconut milk, egg, salt, and oil. It is pretty easy to make and only takes less than 30 minutes of your time. Worth it right?  9. Snowball Cookies Image Credit: Snowball Cookies by Brown Eyed Baker Snowball cookies have a smooth yet crunchy texture that easily melts in your mouth. This cookie usually contains nuts like pecan, walnut or almond. It is also a buttery bite-sized round pastry covered in powdered sugar, perfect for those of you with a sweet tooth! After feasting on all that spicy Hari Raya dish, why not eat some snowball cookies? It will be worth it (we promise).   10. Cat’s Tongue (Lidah Kucing) Image Credit: Original Lidah Kucing (dgn oven warisan mertua) by моммү jзи on cookpad Cat’s tongue is a delicate biscuit perfect for Eid celebration or as a tea companion. This biscuit exists throughout the world, including Asia, Europe, Australia and South America. They are made from egg white, wheat flour, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Cat’s tongue could be topped with various toppings like chocolate sprinkles or nuts, or dipped in chocolate melt. 11. Kaastengel (Cheese Stick Shortbread) Image Credit: Kaastengel Indonesian Kue Keju (Cheese Cookies)/Cheese Stick by FOOFARAW on FOOD52 Kaastengel is pretty famous in Indonesia. It was brought in by the Dutch. Kaastengel or cheese stick shortbread is a perfect kuih raya. It looks like a golden bar, buttery and savory, making it difficult for you to stop eating once you start. The main ingredients are Edam or Cheddar cheese, unsalted butter, egg, flour, and milk powder. 12. Chocolate Chip Image Credit: Chocolate Chip Cookie by Resepi Che Nom Chocolate chip cookie is famous all around the world and you could easily find served as a kuih raya in one of your house visits. It is one of the ultimate classic cookies one has to try. It has a smooth yet crunchy texture and is best served with tea. A good chocolate chip cookie has a balanced sweet and salty flavor. Chocolate chip cookie is made from butter, white sugar, brown sugar, flour, salt and chocolate chips. The fragrant smell as soon as it comes out fresh out of the oven is oh-so-delicious!  13. Dahlia Biscuit (Kuih Semperit) Image Credit: Biskut Samperit/Custard Cookies by Lisa's Lemony Kitchen Dahlia Biscuit or also known as kuih semperit in Malaysia, is an old custard butter cookie. It is a small cookie shaped like flower topped with chopped cherries. It is made from butter, icing sugar, egg yolk, cake flour, corn flour and custard powder. Kuih Semperit is another popular kuih raya where once you start eating one, you can never stop. This is a must have kuih raya due to its wonderful taste and we recommend you try baking one yourself!  14. Sarang Semut Image Credit: Ant’s Nest Cookies (Biskut Sarang Semut) on asian inspirations Sarang semut (ant’s nest) is a biscuit that is common in Malaysia, especially during Hari Raya. Its pastry has a crispy texture. Sarang semut is made from butter, caster sugar, plain flour, custard powder, vanilla, chocolate sprinkles. This kuih is a children’s favorite because of its rainbow chocolate sprinkles topping. If you have young children at home, be sure to have this must have kuih on your table during Eid! 15. Checkerboard Image Credit: Checkerboard Cookie by Jo Cooks Checkerboard cookie is a perfect solution for those who can’t decide between vanilla or chocolate cookie. It is made from unsalted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, cocoa powder, and egg. You can also replace the cocoa with green pandanus leaves to create a ketupat-shaped like cookie. It is perfect for Eid - the designs and the taste - it definitely embodies the Raya spirit.  Voila! Now you have a list of must-have kuih raya in your hands for your perfect Eid Al-Fitr. Some of them are pretty easy to make. So, why not try to make some? We hope this can inspire you to make your own kuih raya or at the very least, get them from online stores. In this moment of celebration, we usually gather with our big families. This time round however, we ought to celebrate this special moment while staying at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, in this special moment, let us make this fun by learning new things like baking cookies or kuihs from our list. Do not forget to wash your hand frequently and use a face mask when you go out! Insha Allah this moment will pass and hopefully things will get better. via GIPHY...

  • 10 Islamic Podcasts You Need To Listen To In 2020

    As we juggle between work and family, at times we forget to allocate some quality `me-time.` We may be so used to diverting our entire energy to cater towards a fast-paced life in this era that we tend to forget the plethora of options available that would enhance ourselves as individuals. Thanks to the evolution of technology and facilities, podcasts are now gaining traction amongst individuals from all sorts of age groups. If you are the type of person who gets engrossed in a book as an important exam is coming up, or you find yourself running from pillar to post to attend meetings and conferences, podcasts are ideal as you can listen to them on-the-go. Podcasts not only have the capacity to reach the hearts and minds of listeners with the range of topics and content they cover, but they also allow us listeners to invest some quality energy into thinking and mulling over today's reality.  via GIPHY  Keen to keep up with podcasts but unsure of which is more suited to the topic you have in mind? Fret not! Making your lives simpler, here we have an article that fills in as a guide for those of you who are keen on extending your insights on Islam and be exposed to different themes viewed through the Islamic lens. This article consists of the most well-known digital recordings and podcasts that are catered to Muslims. We hope to be able to get more individuals connected with the latest and significant topics on Islam.  via GIPHY    1. Hijabi Diaries Credit Image: The Hijabi Diaries on Facebook As a radio podcast, the Hijabi Diaries is a platform that welcomes and encourages Muslim ladies to discuss and share insights about their daily lives and their families, their dreams and their aspirations. They even encourage Muslim ladies to share their reasons as to why they opt to don the hijab, as well as sensitive issues like what they go through when it comes to being a Muslim lady in America in this day and age, due to the rapid ascent of Islamophobia in the USA. They release up to 6 podcasts each year. You can listen to the podcast here.   2. What Muslims Look Like Credit Image: What Muslim Look Like on Listen Notes This podcast was initiated with the intention of portraying the Muslim community’s involvement in society and how they are depicted in the public eye. What Muslims Look Like by Ayyan Zubair and Shefa ahsan covers a range of themes and topics; be it media, medication, society, culture, racism, fashion and many more. An interesting aspect of this podcast is that it features Muslims from all sorts of background and discusses some of their aspirations and identity. You can listen to their podcast here.    3. Ilmfeed Podcast Credit Image: IlmFeed Since their release in March 2014, IlmFeed has immediately risen to become one of the most well-known UK-based Islamic sites in the world, and its fame continues to rise.  Situated in East London and one of the most well-known sites when it comes to showcasing the life of a Muslim, Ilmfeed has begun a podcast segment which is facilitated by Shabbir Hassan. Due to its interesting content, the Ilmfeed podcast is showered with attention, with listeners eagerly awaiting the next episode. The IlmFeed Podcast is an Islamic podcast which highlights motivational conversations with Muslims from around the globe, who share their moving stories and anecdotes openly with their listeners. Tune in to their podcast here.   4. Salam Girl! Podcast Credit Image: Salam Girl! Podcast on Facebook If you're looking for a podcast with high spirited, cheerful and bubbly personalities as your hosts – the Salam Girl! Podcast is the one to opt for! The hosts are two American ladies who have chosen to convert to Islam - Monica Traverzo and Nicole Queen. The Salam Girl! Podcast is certainly both a unique and special stage for Muslim ladies to dive deeper into their faith and beliefs. Talking about themes revolving around their podcasts, for instance, they speak about topics circling around converting to Islam, psychological wellness, the hijab as an attire and its significance and so on. Join them on their excursion of self-revelation as they adapt to the way of life as American Muslim Women while they share guidance, personal encounters and interview uplifting guests to help enable and empower Muslim ladies. Tune in to their podcast here.   5. Syukran Talks Islamic podcast Credit Image: Syukran Talks on Chartable This podcast is facilitated by Ustaz Hidayat Ismail, Shahib Amin, Nona Kirana and Hisham Zain. Their main objective is to discuss issues that are close to the hearts of the modern Muslim in this era in a lighthearted but informative manner. Some of the topics that they have touched on include 'How to Pray on A Plane', 'Sharing Food Photos Is Riak?' and 'Can We Eat No Pork No Lard?'.  You can listen to their podcast here.   6. Living the Quran Podcast Credit Image: Living the Quran on PodBean Originating from the Qaim Institute, the Living the Quran podcast is an ideal method to get in your everyday tafseer teachings without the interruptions, buffering and whatever the derailing that may occur with different other podcasts. Due to the enhanced knowledge received and the committed energy towards really understanding the expression of God, the Living the Quran podcast will assist you with improving your relationship with both your confidence and your dedication to Allah. It provides a better understanding and takes you through the Holy Quran to allow you to comprehend the Word of God. They talk about a scope of themes identified with the Qurans stanzas and they give a comprehensive comprehension and grasp. For example, in one podcast, they talk about the fourteenth section of Surat al-Saff and in another they talk about and go through Surat al-Saff - Extinguishing the Light of Allah and the Preeminence of Islam.   Tune in to their podcast here.   7. The Good Life Podcast by Mizi Wahid and Nur Adam Credit Image: The Good Life on Listen Notes To engage their listeners with mechanisms to drive progressive lives with a purpose, The Good Life Podcast with Mizi Wahid and Nur Adam, was introduced to share moving stories from their own encounters and that of the heroes going the extra mile. They have faith and belief in their listeners, and they believe that their listeners have the power to do anything that they divert their positive energy to. Join them in their excursion of hope, love and faith as they talk about burning issues one would face in this society and how best to conquer them. They also bring to light topics like depression to educate individuals and encourage them not to stay silent when facing these issues.    Check out their podcast channel here. 8. The Islamic History Podcast Credit Image: The Islamic History Podcast on Listen Notes  If you are interested to learn more about the history of Islam and significant events which has shaped Islam today, you will get it here – the Islamic History Podcast. The Islamic History Podcast releases one episode every month since their launch in September 2015 to educate and give bits of knowledge to their listeners of the Islamic life a long time ago. The Islamic History Podcast is a podcast that looks to investigate the numerous accounts that make up the values of present-day Islam. They talk about the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic Caliphate, Prophet Noah and much more. Islamic History Podcast accomplishes more than just reiterating old stories. They delve into history to view how and why that specific event occurred according to recorded data. The Islamic History Podcast started as an audio expansion of a mildly well-known blog under the name of Islamic Learning Materials. Since the release of this platform, they have investigated both captivating and shocking features of Islamic history. They have looked at topics such as The Massacre of Karbala, Sunnis and Shiites, The Yemeni Civil War, The Rohingya Crisis and many more. You can listen to this podcast here.   9. Mufti Menk by Muslim Central Credit Image: Mufti Menk by Muslim Central on New Muslim Tube Brought up in Zimbabwe, Dr Mufti Ismail Menk is one of the most renowned worldwide Islamic researchers. He studied Shariah in Madinah which then resulted in him obtaining a Doctorate in Social Guidance awarded by Aldersgate University. Mufti Menk's preachings and teachings have received an increase in overall acknowledgment and he has been named one of "The Top 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World" since 2010. He has a huge following on his social media platforms and his friendly style and practical methodology has made him one of the most leading scholars presently. This has also allowed him to gain more listeners on his podcast channel. He ventures to the far corners of the world spreading a basic but significant message through his podcasts. To top it off, he is also a solid advocate of harmony and equity, opposing all types of terrorism. He releases one episode per week ever since his podcast was launched in July 2006, which covers everything about Islam and its belief system. Check out his podcast channel here.   10. Saad Tasleem by Muslim Central Credit Image: Saad Tasleem by Muslim Central on Apple Podcasts Additionally, Saad Tasleem also releases podcasts via the Muslim Central platform. Saad Tasleem delved into Art History, Modern Art, Graphic Design and Psychology at the University of Maryland. He began his Islamic education at The Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America (IIASA) in Fairfax, Virginia. It was then when he proceeded to study at the Islamic University of Madinah where he devoted himself to the teachings of Islam. Later, he successfully graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Shariah which was awarded by the University of Madinah. He is currently an instructor at AlMaghrib Institute, who speaks about topics related to the benefits of a Muslim via his podcasts. A portion of his renowned podcasts are 'Preparing for Ramadan', 'A Message to the Smokers', 'Missing Fajr in Ramadan,' and so on. You may check out his podcast here.  via GIPHY There you have it, 10 Islamic podcasts you can listen to for some me-time! These recommended podcasts are perfect for those of you who are interested to enrich yourselves further into the study of Islam. It is also suitable for those of you who want to stay updated on the latest news and trends in Islam. Podcasts cater to a wide range of audience, and the best part of it is that you can always listen to it on-the-go whenever you find yourself busy and overwhelmed with work. Whether you're busy studying for exams, bored at home or busy doing your daily household chores, you can always listen to these podcasts while doing all of those. So what are you waiting for? Start tuning in to these 10 Islamic podcasts now! With that, we hope that all of you stay healthy and stay home!  via GIPHY...

  • Let's Take a Look Back: 2019 Travel Trends

    The world in 2019 is not what it used to be and, this year has changed how travel is looked at, as well as how people travel. Travel is almost a must now, and young people are flocking to amazing destinations all over the globe every day! via GIPHY 2019 has made a definite impact on travel, what with many things influencing trends and shifting the industry into places it has not been before. People are more enthusiastic about travel and their views on it are more open. Let’s check out some of the impactful travel trends for the year 2019. 1. ‘Instant Noodle’ trips Image Credit: Francesca Tirico on Unsplash It’s not about the weeklong trips or even month-long Europe tours anymore, the smaller the holiday the better! Mini holidays are trending now, and it is fun, practical, and inexpensive! These weekend trips are going to help local economies and boost the local travel scene. Many young people are opting for this kind of travel - spontaneous weekend gateways with friends to seaside towns or lake districts. 2019 is the best year to get your travel plans in full swing, with better-organized transport options and what with everyone owning a smartphone all you need is a bunch of friends, some cash, luggage and, Google maps! 2. Halal assurance with AR Image Capture: Halal Travel Frontier 2019 Report The world is getting more tech-based by the day, so why not rely on AR (Augmented Reality) to support you in finding Halal certified restaurants and eateries in the area? Due to a lack of Halal certification in Muslim majority and minority countries, travellers may find it difficult to verify if a restaurant is Halal or not. However, AR and AI (Artificial Intelligence) can help integrate information on restaurants in real-time making it easy for the user to easily spot Halal restaurants, food, or even ingredients without much hassle. This will also help vendors and restaurant owners to better communicate the availability of Halal food without the need to display the Halal certificate. Bonus tip: Using social media to ask for recommendations from your social circle is a trend as well, even referring to the CrescentRating rating system which indicates the level of Muslim friendliness of restaurants. 3. An Education Image Credit: Pang Yuhao on Unsplash More and more young people are opting for travelling abroad for higher studies instead of continuing in their homeland. This is because it can teach a person valuable lessons and independence. Some people are even saying that they’ll opt for travelling overspending on an expensive university as they can learn many things hands-on, like dealing with people and managing finances in a real-world setting. Some people may even opt for volunteer work abroad or even international work placements that will take them to different parts of the world. Working or studying abroad doesn’t always have to be all work and no play, you will get to experience different cultures, different cuisine, as well as mingle with the locals. Tip: Foreign exposure looks good on a CV! 4. Sustainable travel Photo Credit: Hamza Javaid on Unsplash Eco-friendly travel is a major trend right now! A lot of travellers are actively making it a point to reduce their carbon footprint and respect the destinations they travel to. It is important to dispose of trash responsibly or even reduce the number of plastics and other non-biodegradable packaging while travelling. A large percentage of people choose destinations which host environmentally focused events, as well as has hotels and resorts which are more eco-friendly.   5. Experience-based travel Photo Credit: Rana Sawalha on Unsplash Travellers are now looking for more curated travel experiences than the same old destination based holidays. People who are looking into comfort and nostalgia rank high on the list, as many travellers love experiences that make them feel like a child again. May it be an adventure, music festivals or even wildlife excursions – experience-oriented travel is a fast-growing trend. 6. Co-living Image Credit: Helena Lopes on Unsplash If you like to travel solo but want a safe living space where you can meet new people, co-living could be the best option for you. Airbnb may be a great option but it can be isolating at times, whereas co-living spaces allow you to rent a room with common social areas where you get live amongst likeminded people. This is a trend amongst young professionals and is a great way to start travelling solo if you are a beginner. Lyf by Ascott, a millennial centred project, will soon open three properties at Cebu City and Shenzen – most probably by the year 2021. Roam has co-living spaces in Bali, Miami, Tokyo, and San Francisco – they will be opening in New York and London soon. 7. Tech-savvy travel Image Credit: Christiann Koepke on Unsplash With everyone going digital, travel is also moving into digital territory. With AR and AI apps specifically designed to help travellers find good places to eat as well as where to stay at payment methods as well as checking in to airports are going to be more AI-based. BitPay is allowing businesses to accept bitcoins as payment instead of traditional money; this will revolutionize travel as we know it. Airports are trying to introduce more versatile, computerised immigration and customs facilities as it will cut down travel time within an airport in half. VR is being used to train Muslims in Umrah and Hajj rituals before leaving for the pilgrimage. VR will allow people to have more thorough training experience as a certain step and rites that are to be observed will be taught as an immersive experience. This will ensure that they will have a fulfilling experience on the trip. 8. A rise in female Muslim travellers Image Capture: Muslim Women in Travel 2019 Report There is a growing trend in female Muslim travellers, women want to go out there and explore and learn about the world around them. Many are highly educated and financially independent, with families that support their decision to travel. The travel market is starting to be more women-centric and therefore things like safety and activities specific to women are beginning to grow. There aren’t as many risks with security and family disapproval for women travellers as there used to be. So venture out and have fun! 9. Dark tourism Image Credit: Yves Alarie on Unsplash A burgeoning market for ‘dark’ tourism is gaining fame, what with Netflix’s series “Dark Tourist” focusing on this aspect of travel. Dark tourism focuses on historically significant places like the Holocaust Museum and Chernobyl (nuclear disaster). People are flocking to these sites to learn about the history and how these errors have affected the world at large. 10. Solo travel Image Credit: Andrew Ly on Unsplash A new trend amongst Millenials and Gen-Z folks, solo travel is starting to be popular, as well as important. Trips aren’t all about fun anymore, it’s about the experience as a whole and what a person can learn and bring back with them. It’s not just memories to last a lifetime it’s also experience!   Travel trends are shifting fast and soon we will even be able to travel to space! The trends are catering to younger generations and now, and everything is not about business trips anymore. Travel is more focused on experience and fun – now that you know the travel trends for 2019 plan your next trip and begin your adventure! via GIPHY...

  • Travel Back In Time To A Macabre Past: A Chernobyl Guide

    Are you someone looking for adventure and rare experiences – a travel experience that will leave you thinking for days or maybe even months? Then Chernobyl is a destination not to be missed. It is a must-visit for any adventure junkie and should be on anyone’s list of places to see before they die. With dark tourism being a new trend in the world of travel, Chernobyl has started garnering much attention – especially with the HBO TV show about the nuclear disaster. So what is Chernobyl and why should you visit it today? Keep reading to find out! A Macabre Past Image Credit: Nikola Markelov on Unsplash Chernobyl was an active Nuclear Power Plant located near the city of Pripyat, USSR – now modern-day Ukraine. The nuclear disaster occurred on the 26th of April 1986 when the No. 4 reactor exploded during a failed safety test. The accident occurred due to a large amount of energy being released which resulted in a steam explosion that caused the reactor core to rupture. This lead to an open-air reactor core fire which released nuclear contaminants into the air, this lasted for 9 days till it was finally contained on the 4th of May 1986. The radiation spread into the 500,000 populous towns of Pripyat, leading to the ultimate evacuation of its residents – they never returned. To limit the radiation from contaminating the air and surroundings further, the site of the explosion was covered with a temporary sarcophagus, which was made permanent in 2017, built to prevent further radiation contamination for the next 100 years. The now-abandoned city of Pripyat and the nuclear power plant look like the setting for a post-apocalyptic movie or book. The revival of its dark past in the famed HBO TV series ‘Chernobyl’ has once again caught the attention of people worldwide, garnering many tourists to the destination –,, especially influencers. However, this led to controversy as influencers posed inappropriately in front of different locations in and around Pripyat just so they can get more engagement on their accounts. This goes to show that as travelers it is extremely important to respect the destination you have traveled to, especially if it has a sad and horrifying past. How To Get To Chernobyl Image Credit: Valik Chernetskyi on Unsplash The main city closest to Chernobyl is Kyiv, it is 100km away – it is a 2 hour journey to Chernobyl if you go by car. The closest airport to Kyiv is the Boryspil International Airport which has direct flights from all over Europe – London, Zurich, Paris, and Vienna to name a few. It is advisable to plan a trip to Chernobyl as a part of a Europe tour as this will help you save up on cash. In case you are already in Ukraine, you can opt for a train ride; the best route is the intercity train from Lviv to Kyiv. Also, keep in mind that there are many budget airlines available in Eastern Europe, you can check websites like Skyscanner for info on cheap flights. Also Read: 8 Tips for Booking the Cheapest Flights for Your Next Trip Chernobyl and The Exclusion Zone Image Credit: G Meyer on Unsplash Visiting Chernobyl doesn’t just mean going to the nuclear reactor itself but the surrounding exclusion zone. It is a vast area that covers a few towns and a forested area along with the Chernobyl reactor. The exclusion zone is an area of 2,600 Km2 (1000 sqm) that goes around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The area is off bounds to the general public as it is extremely hazardous. It is required to go through many checkpoints within the exclusion zone; the checkpoint closest to the reactor has the highest levels of radiation. So, is it safe to visit Chernobyl? Yes, to a certain degree. Radiation is known to remain for a very long period, however, in small doses, it cannot harm i.e. x-rays and, long-haul flights. We are exposed to radiation daily however; its effects are almost non-existent. The day tours at Chernobyl are planned in a way that you are exposed to low levels of radiation as you will only be in the area for a few hours and will only be taken to safe spots. People still live within the exclusion zone and a few thousand people work at the power plant decommissioning the old reactors and building the sarcophagus. Everyone who visits the exclusion zone is required to go through an old soviet radiation checkpoint on the way out – this is to make sure that you are not carrying any radioactive contaminants. Important point! Get travel insurance – it is always better to be on the safe side. The Tour Image Credit: Silver Ringvee on Unsplash There are 3 tour options on offer, if you want a quick but informative trip to Chernobyl the one day tour would be a good choice, but if you want to take things slow and, take pictures of the place you can opt for the more longer tours such as the 2-3 days tours or even go for a private tour which will allow you to observe the place at your own pace. The one day tour would be your best bet as it is more convenient and packed with activities. You can get your money’s worth within a span of 10 -12 hours. It is priced between 100USD to 115USD. Also, do some thorough research into the tour companies available; choose a tour that fits you the best. Small groups are always better and, be sure to check if Geiger counter (an instrument that measures radiation levels – mandatory for all tours) are inclusive with the tour package. Are tour guides a must? Yes, definitely. It is better to join a guided tour as you will be safe and the guides will also help make the experience more immersive as they will show and tell you everything you need to know about the place. Other than the famed Nuclear Reactor No. 4, you will be able to see the abandoned city of Pripyat where the staff that used to work at the power plant used to live, abandoned schools, as well as the Pripyat amusement park that was to be opened on the 1st of May 1986 for the May Day celebrations however, it was never to be due to the Nuclear accident that occurred in late April of the same year. You will also be able to witness unique soviet architecture and interior. However, the main showstopper is how nuclear disasters affect humanity and other life, a great example of how important it is to practice ethical science and how the hunger for power can destroy instead of build. Be Prepared Image Credit: Yves Alarie on Unsplash Be prepared for your Chernobyl tour and, remember that weather will play a big role as well – winters can be especially cold but add to the dystopian surroundings of Chernobyl, whilst fall/ Autumn is known to be beautiful. Wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking most of the time and, carry raincoats or umbrellas as it could rain. If visiting during the winter season wear a warm jacket and keep your head covered – especially ears and, wear a scarf – well covered waterproof shoes are also important. Remember that you should always have a Geiger counter with you if the tour doesn’t include free Geiger counters rent them before leaving on the tour. Where To Stay In Kyiv Image Credit: Kyrylo Kholopkin on Unsplash Kyiv is a beautiful city and a tourist destination in its own right, therefore finding accommodation here will not be a problem. There are many hostels and hotels in the area, as well as AirBnBs which are quite affordable. Opt to find lodging close to the tour meeting point; most tours will depart from the Kyiv Central Station so opt for accommodation close by. If you have chosen a private tour, you will be picked from the hotel. Halal food in Kyiv? Image Credit: S'well on Unsplash Finding Halal food will not be difficult as many restaurants serve Halal food. If you want to cook your food, you can easily find Halal groceries and butchers who supply Halal meats. A Google search can quickly direct you to these places without much hassle. A monument of healing and rebuilding for the modern world, Chernobyl is an intriguing travel destination that must be witnessed by all. Hopefully, this guide helps you to plan out a trip to Chernobyl. Always seek adventure fellow travelers!...

  • 5 Young Muslim Entrepreneurs Who Will Inspire You

    The Muslim population around the world is estimated to be at around 1.8 Billion people. The Halal and Muslim market is a huge game changer. Today, we will be bringing you 5 young entrepreneurs, all unique and powerful in their own ways. All these entrepreneurs have started a business and successfully pushed it to have an inspiring impact on the Halal Market.Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or want to learn something new, this list of people will definitely inspire you!   1) Aida Azlin- Founder of AA Credit: Aida Azlin WebsiteVision: “A writer, entrepreneur and a proud believer fiercely committed to serving you to become the best version of yourself."About the Founder: A Singaporean graduate from Nanyang Technological University’s school of Art, Design and Media. She was known for The Shawl Label which sold ethical shawls to serve women. The brand is currently closed but she is focusing on AA which has a similar purpose of serving the female ummah.Business: An online community for sisters made by sisters, the ethos of this company to offer the 160,000 global community support and inspiration through letter writing every Tuesdays. The love letters are written to empower and connect women. Most of the services are free and there is a promise to keep the female empowerment ad-free and sponsor free.  AA does sell courses and products in the shop part of the business in order to be able to sustain and keep aspects of the community free.How to find her: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YoutubeWebsite: https://www.aidaazlin.com/   2) Mokhtar Alkhanshali- CEO of Port of Mokha Credit: Mokhtar Alkhanshali WebsiteVision: “This is an unlikely tale of survival and revival. Of guardian angels, narrow escapes. This is a story with a happy ending: the moment you get to experience coffee unlike anything you’ve ever had before.”About the Founder: Mokhtar Alkhanshali is a man of Yemeni descendent raised in San Francisco, who decided to introduce the San Franciso to ethical Yemeni coffee. He began his mission to find the intersection point between Yemeni coffee and San Franciscan Cafe’s. In essence coffee has become his life, he became certified Q grader from the Coffee Quality Institute and spent 3 years in Yemen searching for the best coffee farmers.Business: This business aims to revive the rich coffee history of Yemen, it doesn’t just aim to give the drinker amazing revitalizing coffee but it’s hopes that the ripple effects will improve lives (both the workers and consumers), help improve economies and bridge cultures despite distance. This coffee company is an open story book about real humans and culture with a long history and a bright future. It’s optimistic vision is to unite people over a cup of amazing coffee.How to find him: Facebook , TwitterWebsite: https://www.portofmokha.com/story   3) Sonia Trehan- CEO and Co-Founder of RUH  Credit: @SoniRuh on TwitterVision: “The hype of the industry has always been off-putting for me, and I found myself seeking a brand that was grounded, multi-layered, and that I could engage with intellectually.”About the Founder: Sonia Trehan studied religion at Columbia University and she believes that this has heavily impacted her approach to fashion and her RUH collective. Sonia places great importance in letting the products attract the type of people who have the same outlook and approach to sentiments and life as her. She states beautifully, “We don't see community building as a cultivated activity, but as a natural consequence of the kind of brand we want to create.”Business: A women’s ready-to-wear brand that specialises in being unique and stylish. Rather than assimilating into the fast fashion market, RUH attempts to keep nostalgic and stylish aspects of clothing and lifestyle. A huge aspect of RUH is multi-layered privacy, human interactions and experiences. The careful and delicate approach and integrity means it permeates in all aspects of the business, from the design to the marketing.How to find her: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Website   4) Omar Salha - Founder of Ramadhan Tent Project (RTP) Credit: @o_salha on TwitterVision: “Being volunteer-led by people from all backgrounds, Ramadan Tent Project is perfectly positioned to help your organisation or group make the most of the month of Ramadan. We are pleased to introduce a programme of seminars and talks to aid in your knowledge and understanding of the month of fasting, contemplation, revitalisation and prayer.”About the Founder: Omar Salha studied at SOAS University of London in Russel Square, a bustling spot in Central London. He is a MA graduate in ;Internationsal Studies and Diplomacy and also has a PhD in the study of ‘Integration of Muslims in British Society. He taught at SOAS university, Foundation of International Education and is Faculty Member for the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) at the University of California in San Francisco, Berkeley USA.Business: RTP was founded in 2013 as a way to serve the youth in university fasting Ramadan alone. As well as to allow the wider community to gain awareness on Ramadan and Islam. Every night of Ramadan guests are fed free iftar, pray together and contemplate over interesting talks, lectures. Over the years RTP has increased in size and 2019 saw them host Iftars in iconic places around London like Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey in alliance with the House of Lords and many more places. Open Iftar has spread to over 4 continents and continues to be a growing initiative.How to find him: Twitter, Soas University, Website   5) Barjis Chohan - CEO and Founder of BarjisLondon Credit: Barjis Chohan on FacebookVision: “I want to create beautiful, sustainable work of the highest quality – which customers will treasure for life.” About the Founder: A graduate from the College of Fashion and Central St. Martins, Barjis has worked with the big names like Vivienne Westwood and since then has been paving the way and persevering as a public speaker, high-end rug designer, luxury fashion and so much more. Barjis Chohan proves that entrepreneurs do not need to follow the rules set by others. As well as a fashion designer and CEO, she is a Keynote Speaker, and the founder of the Barjis Initiative. This not-profit initiative provides support to the youngsters in London through knowledge, accessible tools and skills. It also creates a community of guidance for creative businesses.Business: This diverse business of high fashion and homeware merges multiculturalism, ethical practice, quality, modesty, integrity and innovation to ensure customers have full confidence in the brand and product. Undoubtedly bringing them back for more each-time. In an unusual but incredible attempt at defining themselves as unique, Barjis sells modest fashion, luxury silk scarves, hand made rugs (added into clients will’s) and cushions. All these pieces fuse the cultural stories of the East and West . Barjis speaks for itself appearing in London Fashion week, international magazines and winning recognisable awards such as (Mail on Sunday Designer in International Trade; Entrepreneur of the Year in London and 1st runner-up as Female Owned Business of the Year) How to find her: Facebook, Twitter, Websitehttp://www.thebarjisinitiative.org.uk...