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  • Can't Wait For Your Graduation Ceremony? Here are 8 Best Places For Your Post-Grad Trip in 2019

    No more rushing for classes or staying up late to complete your assignments before their deadlines. You are finally out of college and it’s time to celebrate with a well-deserved break!  So what could be better than an unforgettable post-graduation trip with your buddies? Maybe you have exhausted your expenses for college fees or student loans and travel is the last thing on your mind. However, we have listed out some fun places to visit that won’t cause much damage to your wallet while still having a good time if you wisely balance out your expenses. 13 New Experiences To Try In 2019! 1. Thailand There are many great reasons to visit Thailand that range from delectable cuisines to fascinating sights and a rich culture - not to mention breathtakingly beautiful islands to explore. Some of the best places to travel to with your friends include the islands of Phi Phi and Krabi, especially for snorkeling in the turquoise waters or catching that gorgeous sunset on a beautiful beach. In Bangkok, you can also visit those famous floating markets and admire the beautiful temples including Wat Arun to take in the city and really explore the local culture. The best part is that you can find reasonably priced accommodation and cheap, delicious places offering a variety of seafood and vegetarian delights if Halal options are not available. When it comes to getting around, it’s better to stick with public transports or travel by train to save your cash for fun activities. 2. Bali Bali is the ideal getaway with its lush tropical greenery and gorgeous beaches where you can take some memorable photos with your friends. Whether you go trekking up Mount Batur, island hopping or enjoy some swimming and snorkeling - there is no doubt you are in for an enjoyable time. Additionally, head down to the famous Waterbom Bali park for a thrilling day out. You can get beautiful accommodation options for great prices when you travel with friends. You can also get your money’s worth by trying out the local cuisines especially if you stick to warungs that provide Halal food options. 3. Malaysia Spectacular sights and delicious street food are just some of the reasons why Malaysia would be among the best places to visit. You can find reasonably cheap accommodation and amazing Halal food options and you can shop for anything! You must climb up Petronas Tower to see Kuala Lumpur in all its glory and take some unforgettable photos. There is something for everyone in Malaysia - if you prefer an exhilarating time, consider an engaging trek up Mount Kinabalu or spend the day at the Sunway Lagoon theme park. However, if your group is looking for a beach getaway, take a trip to Pulau Besar and Pulau Kecil islands and get away from the city bustle. 4. Vietnam Vietnam is known as a budget travelers paradise that is just great for backpackers and those who are looking for excellent destinations at a lower cost. It’s not hard to find cheap accommodation options and it is also affordable to travel around the main towns when you need to go sight-seeing. Unfortunately, there are only a few Halal food options in most areas, but there are plenty of vegetarian and seafood options everywhere. Some fun places to visit include the famous Ha Long Bay which is great for hiking, scuba diving, and even kayaking. Take some awesome photos of their unique limestone cliffs during the sunset while you're there. We would recommend you to explore the fascinating culture of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon as well to have an unforgettable post-grad trip. 5. Costa Rica A trip to Costa Rica would certainly be an unforgettable one! You can swim at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, go zip lining above lush tropical forests and even take a laid-back coffee tour after all the excitement. Do drop by the Arenal National Park which is known for some excellent hiking spots and the Manuel Antonio National Park where tropical rainforests are framed by sandy beaches. Costa Rica is a the top pick among travelers with a budget due to its affordability when it comes to accommodation. Do note that Halal food will be quite hard to find, but you will have plenty of options for seafood and vegetarian meals. 6. Peru Trekking up Machu Picchu to admire the region’s amazing landscape and exploring the ancient Inca trail with a group of buddies sounds pretty appealing doesn’t it? Peru is just perfect for an adventurous post-grad trip that are not hard on your budget, especially when it comes to accommodation options and transportation. You will be pleased to know that their delicious local cuisines are pretty affordable too! You can find plenty of seafood or vegetarian options as well. To get a taste of local life, you can explore Peru’s capital city, Lima, where you will learn a lot about their culture. You can take a stroll through the intriguing city of Cusco and make a detour to the famous Rainbow Mountains as well. For a unique experience, take a trip to the sparkling blue waters of Lake Titicaca where you can step onto the floating islands made entirely of reeds. 7. Bulgaria Bulgaria is a favorite among backpackers navigating through Europe, mainly because of its affordable accommodation and food as well as its wonderful spots that does not require visitors to spend too much. Sofia is a very beautiful city with interesting museums and galleries - some of the main attractions include the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Rotunda of St. George. You can experience Sofia’s landscape by going on a hike at Vitosha Mountain and even enjoy some skiing. You will find a few Halal restaurants in the city centre as well. Bulgaria is also known for its beautiful beaches such as Sunny Beach or Smokinya Beach where you can spend a relaxing day out during your post-graduation trip. Don’t hesitate to visit the old Plodiv Town and take some photos at the famous Plovdiv Roman Theater. 8. New Zealand New Zealand is just a stunning place for a roadtrip or backpackers to enjoy the fresh outdoors and take a break from their busy lives. You can preserve your cash since you will be able to find hostels and budget accommodation. There are Halal restaurants in most of the main towns as well. New Zealand is actually an ideal destination for nature lovers who are looking for a budget getaway. You can take a thrilling adventure to Queenstown to explore its natural beauty and rugged landscapes - there is no shortage of activities here from rafting, hiking to cycling, which will be fun if done with a small group. Do visit Rotorua to take a look at their famous geyser, volcanic craters and the beautiful fjords of Milford Sound with your friends. After all the effort you put in for school, you deserve a huge reward and a time away from everything. There is no better way to do it then going on a trip to celebrate with your fellow schoolmates. It's time to pack your bags and go travel! Get more inspiration for your 2019 trips  ...

  • Top 5 Family-Friendly Activities in New Zealand

    There is no doubt that New Zealand is a must visit country for a family holiday due to its pristine natural beauty and Kiwi ingenuity. Another important aspect is that this 'land of the long white cloud' is listed as one of the safest countries in the annual Global Peace Index. It’s certainly a family-friendly destination filled with loads of fun activities to do, connecting you with nature and has and abuncance of outdoor activities as well as indoor activities. Moderate climate aside, New Zealand serves families with great facilities and amenities. After all, New Zealand is also known, at least among Kiwis, as the ‘best place’ to raise kids. Worth to mention here is that this country is free from dangerous wildlife and reptiles – due to its volcanic soil and remoteness.  Be it visiting with an infant, young toddlers, small kids, or teenagers the list below gather 5 things you can do when visiting New Zealand as a family. Your family holiday can be a self-made itinerary or via a tour operator. It can cover a wide range of budget for your family – budget-friendly or luxurious. The activities can range from very active, medium, to mild adventure or you can simply watch and relax. The 5 must do activities below are curated by a theme of activity which guarantees you a memorable and enjoyable family holiday – other than the usual playground or theme park. Check out the Halal Food Guide launched by Tourism New Zealand   Hiking and Walking The fabulous nature in New Zealand is a playground itself for kids to walk freely and to hike the National Park with clear marking route. The best hiking destination in North Island is Tongariro National Park with many short walking routes around the Whakapapa Village. There are more options for easy hiking in the South Island – one notable walk is around Mount Cook National Park. Also, you can choose to pick any park in the city to enjoy the tranquility and let your small toddlers roam freely – we love Domain and Albert Park when in Auckland. If you prefer city walking, take advantage of many waterfronts, or the seaside walking routes in beautiful cities of Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown. Tongariro National Park Website: http://www.nationalpark.co.nz/Address: Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand Facebook Mount Cook National Park Address: Canterbury 7999, New Zealand   Beach and Water Activities New Zealand pride itself with many beautiful beaches – and they are free with public amenities. Families with babies or young toddlers can simply soak in the sun while having a picnic. One unique beach is Hot Water Beach, Coromandel where you can dig the sand to build your own hot water pool during low tide before a swim in the ocean. Boating (for whale or dolphin watching), cruise and kayaking are enjoyable for young kids. Don’t forget to order the classic Kiwi fish and chips and enjoy them by the beach. If fishing is your hobby, take your family to an ocean deep fishing, or how about learning to fly fishing. Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Website: https://www.thecoromandel.com/activities/must-do/hot-water-beach/Address: Hot Water Beach, 3591, New Zealand   Geothermal activities There’s no place like Rotorua and your kids will certainly be intrigued by the smell of stinky sulfur. Walk around the colourful geothermal park, view the force of geiser, and get dirty in the mud pool. Kids will also be amazed at the Maori performance dance and get them to learn the culture of Maori people. Sulphur Point, Rotorua Address: Hatupatu Dr, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand   Indoor Activities Picture Credit: www.trover.com The Kiwi Birdlife Park, International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch) and Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium (Auckland) are worth visiting so kids can learn about various nature and interesting animals in New Zealand. Every town has its own museum and collection, pick any that suits your kid’s hobby. For example, Puzzling World is one of the best family activities in Wanaka. Kiwi Birdlife Park Website: http://kiwibird.co.nz/kiwi/Address: Upper Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand YouTube International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Website: https://www.iceberg.co.nz/Address: 38 Orchard Rd, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch 8052, New Zealand Twitter Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, Auckland Website: https://www.kellytarltons.co.nz/Address: 23 Tamaki Dr, Orakei, Auckland 1071, New Zealand Facebook | Twitter Puzzling World Opening Hours: Everyday (8.30AM-5PM)                       (except Christmas Day)Contact: +64 3 443 7489Email: info@puzzlingworld.co.nzWebsite: www.puzzlingworld.co.nzAddress: 188 Wanaka-Luggate Hwy, Wanaka 9382, New Zealand Facebook | Instagram | YouTube   Adventure Activities Picture Credit: www.zorb.com Assuming the parent is brave enough to send kids exploring the adventure activities, the opportunities are endless. Horse riding is a great family adventure to explore the beach and countryside. Bungy jumping is permittable for kids 10 and above, and zorbing for lesser age limit requirement. Other family adventures that are less challenging but still high on the fun factors are jetboating, visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, mountain biking, or trying out the luge (part go-cart, part toboggan). You and family can have a go at skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, tobogganing or even play with the snow all year round at Snowplanet in Auckland. Winter activities best enjoyed in Whakapapa, North Island and Queenstown's Coronet Peak and The Remarkables - both in South Island, offering family-friendly ski fields. Waitomo Glowworm Caves Website: http://www.waitomo.com/Waitomo-Glowworm-Caves/Pages/default.aspxAddress: 39 Waitomo Village Rd, Waitomo Caves, Otorohanga 3943, New Zealand Snowplanet, Auckland Website: https://snowplanet.co.nz/Address: 91 Small Rd, Silverdale, Auckland 0992, New Zealand Facebook | Twitter Coronet Peak, Queenstown Address: Coronet Peak 9371, New Zealand The Remarkables Address: The Remarkables Ski Area, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand 10 Hidden Beauties of New Zealand Book a Halal Trip with us!...

  • Halal Food Guide Launched by Tourism New Zealand

    Breath taking landscapes, icy cold mountains, crystal clear waters, greenery as far as the eye can see, all these phrases would never be sufficient to describe the natural beauty New Zealand comprises of. Due to its natural features the country is an iconic location for film makers, to add that beautiful zing to movies. Well if directors all over the world fly thousands of miles due to the indescribable beauty of this country, it is without a doubt that New Zealand is a country that must be visited by any travel junkie. For Muslim travellers however the most tedious task in visiting a country with a Muslim minority in the community would be finding locations to obtain halal food. New Zealand is a country very well known for its tender and juicy roasts, barbeques , pies and mouthwatering desserts. It would be such a pity if any Muslim traveller was to visit this beautiful country and stick to vegan only dishes due to halal concerns specially if you are a person who loves tender and succulent meat. The Tourism New Zealand has decided to assist the huge crowd of Muslim travellers visiting the country each year by providing support to ensure that all Halal travellers are able to locate and find halal food at ease without any disappointments. In order to do so , they have issued a Halal food guide which features the list of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, supermarkets and grocery stores where Muslim travellers would be able to locate halal food in New Zealand and eat to their hearts content without having any concern. Download the New Zealand Halal Food Guide here! Check out our Locals Guide to New Zealand! In 2016, The Halal food guide was previously released, featuring 567 halal listings of restaurants, cafes and supermarkets but the newer version features 289 more options added to the previous listing. The Halal Food Guide of New Zealand was compiled on the initiative of Tourism New Zealand along with the cooperation of "The Kiwi Muslim directory" (which is a portal where halal businesses, organizations, prayer locations and times are listed) and "FIANZ" (The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand).   User-friendly Picture Credit: production-editors.newzealand.com Picture Credit: production-editors.newzealand.com I am sure you have all experienced typing and searching through the internet for halal food options in any country that you may have visited. Reading each and every review, thousands and thousands of clicks and searches can make any trip frustrating. But if New Zealand is your next destination for your trip all you have to do is to download the halal food guide and you are good to go ! The Halal Food guide is designed so that it is user-friendly. The halal guide uses a symbol to categorize the three types of halal-friendly outlets available in the list. The categories included are; Certified by FIANZ: green circular symbol with a capital “F” in the centerMuslim-owned: purple circular symbol with a white tick at its centreVegan-only: green leaf symbol These symbols help any halal traveller to clearly identify and choose an eatery of their choice. Please note that the vegetarian eateries included in the guide are not halal certified or muslim-owned, but are claimed to be purely vegan. Hence, please check with the members of staff regarding any oil or other ingredients that may be impermissible (in Islam) before consuming. The Halal Food Guide of New Zealand covers a range of cities of the beautiful country, and the halal restaurant list is organized in a way which will easily enable Muslim travellers to locate halal food nearby. The guide is mainly divided into two sectors; one which is NORTH ISLAND and the other which is SOUTH ISLAND. In these sectors, you will find a list of the major cities of each island and the restaurants featured along with the addresses, telephone numbers and contact information. Therefore if you have any concern regarding the food served or any menu inquiries you can dial the phone right away. North island is further divided to Auckland (central, north, east, south and west are further divisions), Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Lake Taupao, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki and Whanganui, Wellington and Wairarapa and finally Manawatu . On the other hand, the South Island is further divided into Nelson and Marlborough, Canterbury, West coast, Southern Lakes, Dunedin and Southland. So whether your holiday to New Zealand is among the busy city lights in Auckland, or among the hills of Waikato or even at the Majestic Canterbury or maybe a mixture of all the cities over a couple of weeks. You will be able to locate restaurants, cafes, and even supermarkets out and about New Zealand, thanks to the halal food guide.   North Island Central AucklandIn Central Auckland you would be able to locate an abundant of spots to eat without any hassle what so ever. In this city, you will find a total of 72 spots featured, out of which 18 are vegan-only diners (not halal certified) and the rest of the restaurants are either owned by Muslims or certified by FIANZ. There also 9 bakeries and snack food places available in the halal food guide and five meat and grocery stores which are all certified by FIANZ for selling halal meat. North AucklandAt Northern Auckland you would be able to find some great spots for some Arabian food especially if you are a fan of grilled kebabs and chicken. The halal food guide includes 15 restaurants and 2 grocery stores in which you will be able to locate halal food . East AucklandAt East Auckland there are no halal bakeries and snack food options listed in the halal guide. However, there are 11 restaurants out of which three are beautiful restaurants that serve pizza, and are all halal certified. Southern AucklandIn Southern Auckland , you will have no worries buying yourself a good cut of halal meat to whip up a warm meal at home. The Halal Guide shows 16 meat and grocery stores that are either Muslim-owned or Fianz certified. Apart from the meat shops, the Guide includes a list of 5 bakeries and 34 restaurants which is quite a bigger number compared to East and North Auckland. Out of the 34 spots included in the halal guide, only 3 locations are vegan-only restaurants which serve traditional south Indian food while the rest of the locations are halal certified. West Auckland and WhangareiOptions are rather limited in these two locations. West Auckland is listed to have around 13 restaurants and a couple of meat and grocery stores. Most of the halal certified restaurants weigh towards the Indian and middle eastern cuisine. In Whangerei, there are only 2 locations listed in the halal guide, one being a grocery store and the other being a vegan-only Indian Restaurant. Hamilton, Morrinsville, Te Awamutu, Te Aroha and Te KuitiThese locations which are all situated just below Auckland contain quite a number of halal friendly restaurants but are not very much as concentrated as Auckland. There are a total of 7 restaurants throughout the 5 locations with Hamilton containing the majority. There are also a total of 3 meat and grocery stores throughout the 5 locations. TaurangaIf you are fond of visiting the beautiful volcano of Tauranga, your halal food options will be among the four restaurants included in the guide in which the majority is influenced by the Middle Eastern cuisine. Rotorua and Lake TapuoAdmire the beauty of the volcanic landscapes and geothermal fields of Rotorua and cruise on a beautiful boat ride along the magnificient Taupo lake while dining in one of the seven halal restaurant options available in the area. Majority of these restaurants are influenced by the middle eastern cuisine where you would be able to enjoy a yummy kebab platter and middle eastern flat breads. Unfortunately there are no halal grocery stores or bakery and snack food outlets recommended by the Kiwi Muslim directory. Hawke's BayEnjoy a stroll down beautiful lanscapes of the Hawke’s Bay and enjoy the beautiful climate of the region. While you are at it, you will have 8 options of restaurants to choose from. A highlight restaurant in the region is "Café Anatlia Turkish Cusine" which will serve you some mouth watering food to munch on during your beautiful stay. New Plymouth, Whanganui, Taihape and HaweraHalal food options are rather limited in these areas, with two meat and grocery stores at New Plymounth and Whanganui and all four locations have a total of seven options of restaurants to eat from. Although there are limited options of Halal food options, these areas are incredibly beautiful with their natural landscapes for you to admire. I definitely recommend that you give these places a go, while keeping track of your pit stops for some of the halal restaurants mentioned in the guide. Wellington and MastertonThis little stop before jumping over to South Island offers some great halal eateries for you. Both areas combined have 15 food options to choose from, 4 of them being vegan-only cafes and the rest of the eateries are Muslim owned for you to stock up on the meat.   South Island Nelson, Marlborough and MurchisonSo for our first stop at South Island, I have got to say halal options are rather limited in this area, with only 4 restaurants recommended by the halal guide. ChristchurchEnjoy the beauty of the Garden city of Christchurch which is adorned by beautiful flora as far as the eye can see. While you are at Christchurch make sure to dine at some of the best resturants in the area which are included in the halal guide. Pick your spot from the 10 restaurants and 5 halal-friendly grocery stores as per your preference. Unlike the other regions mentioned earlier, Christchurch has a variety of restaurants with different cuisines to choose from during your halal holiday to New Zealand. DunedinDunedin is a very great stop to all the Wildlife enthusiasts who visits New Zealand. It also has some great spots to grab halal food as seen on the list. With 12 options on the list, 11 are muslim-owned and one is a vegan-only eatery. Unfortunately the halal guide does not recommend any meat or grocery stores in the area. Queenstown and WanakaThe adventure capital of New Zealand which is Queenstown comprises of 2 recommended halal food outlets for Muslims where both are Turkish Restaurants, the same goes with Wanaka which has only one option in the list. From the guide it is clearly visible that halal food options are very much concentrated around North Island of New Zealand in which Central Auckland has an abundance of eateries for you to choose from. There are lesser options in the South Island, but be adventurous and don't miss the chance to go out and about the country while having the nearby halal restaurants in mind. Since there are telephone numbers and addresses included in the guide, planning your holiday to New Zealand is definitely going to be a piece of cake. Get your bags packed and head to the beautiful land of New Zealand where exciting thrills, beautiful landscapes and delicious food awaits you. For further information visit https://www.newzealand.com/int/feature/halal-guide-for-new-zealand/   For more travel guides, check out our Halal travel blog or download the Halaltrip Islamic travel app to help locate Halal restaurants and prayer locations near you....

  • Locals Guide to New Zealand

    New Zealand is well-known for its sheer of pristine beauty from vast landscape consist of mountains, lakes, glaciers, geothermal pools, volcanoes peaks to stunning beaches and islands. It’s the land of indigenous Maori, the first settlers before European arrived. According to the latest 2013 Census, the total population of 4.2m New Zealanders or Kiwis made up of a multicultural society dwelled by the majority of European descent (called Pakeha), and immigrants including Polynesian communities. Topped off by amazingly fresh food, friendly people, and unique culture; there are endless activities to experience from free and independent undertakings to paid tour or package deals. This travel guide will provide tips for planning your trip and prepare you for a Muslim-friendly travel in New Zealand. Credit- Giphy.com   Getting Around New Zealand is comprised of 2 main islands – North Island and South Island. Planning logistic and how to travel will depend on time, budget, and convenience. A good combination of some mode of transportation is recommended to enrich the experience. The most common and popular is self-drive either by car or motorhome/campervan due to its flexibility and independence factor. Stopping whenever you want to snap pictures of beautiful location is the most desirable. Driving in New Zealand is left handed and require a license. Beware you will be driving long hours from the city to city and while traffic may not the issue, you may get fatigued from it. The bus and coach transport is convenient and well-organised. There are a lot of bus coaches serving the main tourist route. Inter-city is the most popular bus network and you can take advantage of the unlimited travel pass. Picture Credit - railnewzealand.com New Zealand’s rail network is not vast due to the challenging landscape. The train may not be the best option for inter-city travel but if you have 12 hours to spare, board the Northern Explorer which links Wellington and Auckland through the volcanic heart of the North Islands (make stops at Tongariro National Park).The South Island’s TranzAlpine is highly recommended for a stunning alpine rail journey. At the main tourist cities like Auckland and Wellington, you can rely on the city loop bus to get around other than walking. Get on the ferry to explore beach suburbs and enjoy the view of harbour city from afar. In Wellington, you must ride the cable to for an amazing view of Wellington harbour. From North Island (Wellington) to South Island (Picton), a huge Interislander ferry can take passengers as well as cars through spectacular Marlborough Sounds. Alternatively, you can take a domestic flight to save some travel time. You can enjoy breathtaking mountains view from the top such as when arriving at Queenstown Airport.   Etiquette and Manner New Zealanders are generally friendly and laidback. The way of life is casual but manners are important. Carry yourself with open-mind, open-heart, and respect others. The general etiquette of treat others like you want to be treated must be held firmly as you encounter new culture or conversing with locals in a remote location. In New Zealand, strangers do talk particularly in rural part. Exchanging a few pleasant greetings is expected. Keep your conversation general such as about weather, what’s plan for the weekend (or how was the weekend), or about a sport (rugby especially). Avoid anything personal such as people’s salary, why they don’t get married or have children. Also, note that you can call a person by their first name and avoid calling with designated ‘uncle’ or ‘auntie’ if no family relation. When visiting Maori village, equip yourself with Maori custom such as do not sit on a table and do not show emotion on the face when witnessing Maori warrior dance (haka). Maori’s relationship with the land is deep, profound and sacred. It’s important to respect the natural environment and its resources when visiting its natural park. While freedom camping is allowed, ensure that it’s not on private property. New Zealand custom is very strict at the airport in protecting its beautiful environment. Do not bring fresh food of any kind. All food items brought into the country must be declared The Maori language is recognized as the official language in New Zealand (although English is commonly used). You will encounter the name of places, street or building in the Maori language widely. Get to know few useful phrases such Kia Ora (Hello) and do pronounce Maori word began with ‘wh’ as ‘f’. Get yourself familiar with Kiwi slang (often spoken very quickly) and local phrases such “sweet as, she’ll be right, see ya later bro, choice bro, how’s it going mate.” Know what is dairy (little corner store), gumboots (rubber boots), EFTPOS (payment accepted by debit or credit card), and entrée (appetizer).   Exploring Nature Be up close to the nature, its flora and fauna through a brisk walk, swim, hiking or ferry cruise. This way the appreciation of nature can be best absorbed. South Island is definitely top of the list to visit for the best of nature New Zealand can offer. Queenstown, Mackenzie and Westland regions are the most stunning with incredible display of nature such glaciers (Franz Josef, Fox and Tasman), fiord (Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound), lakes (Lake Wakatipu, Hayes, Matheson, Wanaka, Tekapo), beaches (Gillespie) and national parks (Mount Cook, Mount Aspiring, Fiordland). Some attractions are within close proximity so you can witness the amazing creation of lake, beach, and mountain in one day. Other parts of South Island worth visiting are Abel Tasman National Park (beautiful seaside best for sea kayaking), Kaikoura (sperm whale watching), Paparoa National Park (Pancake Rocks and Blowholes). In North Island, the most notable natural attractions can be found in Rotorua for geysers (Pohutu Geiser at Te Puia), mud pool, geothermal spring, and colourful pool (Waiotapu). Be amazed at Lake Taupo for its impressive size (about the size of Singapore) that you feel like standing by a seaside. After visiting Huka Falls, make way from Taupo to the oldest national park in New Zealand - Tongariro National Park for mountain and volcanoes view (such as at Mount Ruapehu, Whakapapa Village, and Chateau Tongariro). Most favourite by New Zealanders for its one of a kind landscape and natural wonder. Other natural beauties in North Island are in Northland region (Bay Of Island, Cape Reinga, 99 Miles Beach) and Bay Of Plenty region (Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach, Mount Maunganui ) where islands, rugged cliff, and long beaches are your playground. New Zealand is also famous for unique habitats that can’t be found elsewhere. Other than the shy Kiwi bird which you can view in conservatory or wildlife sanctuary, be amazed at clever kea bird, fur seals, Hector’s dolphins, and native animals such as yellow-eyed penguin, tuatara, pukeko, pukeno, and tui.   Exploring Culture New Zealand culture is essentially a Western culture that shaped by its geographic isolation and at the core, is the result of the influence of Maori culture and British colonisation. The Maori culture can be experienced at Waitangi (the most historic ground in New Zealand where a treaty was signed between the Maori and the Europeans), Rotorua (Tamaki Village, Mitai Maori, Whakarewarewa), Auckland (Auckland Museum) and Wellington ( Te Papa Museum) where you will learn about Maori art, craft, cultural dance, song and hangi (meal cooked in earth-oven). Auckland is the biggest Polynesian city in the world. Take this opportunity to explore Otara market in West Auckland where you can absorb the rich Pacific cultures from islanders of Samoan, Tongan, Niueans, and Cook Islanders. Sporting culture also runs deep in the life of Kiwis where you could be part of it by getting a ticket to rugby or cricket matches. Must-do when in Auckland, the City of Sails is to sail on America’s Cup prestigious yacht around the harbour. The strong sense of Kiwis identity is unique and can be characterised by iconic elements such as L&P drink, paua shell (close relative of abalone), pineapple lumps (chocolate covered sweet with pineapple flavoured in centre), the pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas tree), pavlova (meringue and cream dessert), and jandals (flip-flop or thongs). Café culture is an evolution throughout New Zealand (especially Auckland and Wellington) and you can taste the art of perfecting and experimenting espresso in many cafes in city and countryside where the standards for coffee is high.   Adventure Activities Apart from natural beauty, the country is well-known for its extreme sports, adventure activities, and mountaineering tradition. The adventure hub is in Queenstown where you could challenge adrenalin for bungy jumping (AJ Hackett choices from Kawarau Bridge, Nevis, Ledge/Freestyle), skydiving (NZone Skydive), jet boating, rafting, canyoning, and zip-lining. In North Island, you could perform bungee off Auckland Harbour Bridge or at Lake Taupo. Waitomo Cave is popular with caving, black-water rafting and abseiling. In Rotorua, you could get inside a big plastic ball and roll down a hill – called Zorb or OGO. You could take a guided trek or mountaineering skill course from one of many experienced mountain guiding companies. During the winter season, you could ski or snowboard at Whakapapa in North Island or endless choices in Queenstown (The Remarkable, Coronet Peak, Cardona, Treble Cones). Outside winter season, the indoor ski is possible at Snowplanet in Auckland.   Muslim Friendly According to the latest Census statistic from 2013, the number of Muslim in New Zealand is around 1% showing an increasing trend from 2006 census. There are several mosques and Islamic centres in major cities where Muslims concentrated in New Zealand. You can find the list and salath/prayer time at Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) websites. Major universities provide a prayer room for students, and public place such as Auckland International Airport serves a quiet place to observe prayer. With abundant of fresh ingredients including delicious seafood and influence from diverse ethnics in New Zealand, you won’t experience too much inconvenience in finding Halal eateries. Tourism New Zealand published a New Zealand Halal Food Guide as recommended by FIANZ and Kiwi Muslim Directory which also include plenty of vegetarian outlets. In North Island, you can’t go wrong with Long John Silver outlets for various seafood meals (3 locations in Auckland serve Halal menu). For pies and sausage rolls, you can enjoy Mrs Mac’s Halal-certified range at selected petrol stations and supermarket. If you require self-catering, there are plenty of Halal butcher around major cities given New Zealand export its meat and poultry abroad. Stay in Muslim homestay enables convenient arrangement for Halal food such as Mesra Homestay in Auckland or Rasa Sayang Villa in Rotorua. Other Useful Tips/Places of Interests For the Lord of the Ring fans, while you can book the various location tours, you could plan a trip to Tongariro National Park where you can admire the Middle Earth landscape at your own pace. When in Nelson, South Island don’t miss out to pop by jeweller Jens Hansen who designed and made the famous movie ring. If you are into design and creative art, World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum in Nelson and WETA Workshop in Wellington for filmmaking experience can’t be overlooked. Some of fresh produced and bounty that must be eaten unique to the land are; seafood - crayfish, oyster (from Bluff), green-lipped mussels, pipi, abalone, and fruits - tamarillo, feijoa, and yellow kiwifruit. There are quirkiest and interesting places to visit such as the longest place name in the world with 92 letters (Hawke’s Bay), world’s steepest residential road (Baldwin Street, Dunedin), and the largest wooden building in Southern Hemisphere (Old Government Buildings, Wellington). Picture Credit - www.earthandsky.co.nz New Zealand night sky is perfect to view Southern Cross, Southern Lights and the Milky Ways at the International Dark Sky Reserve (Mt John Observatory, Lake Tekapo). Expect a good standard of service when travelling in New Zealand. That said, tipping is not customary. With proper planning by referring to travel guide above, New Zealand (or Aotearoa in Maori) can be one of the best vacation. This is a destination you must add to your travel bucket list – a once in a lifetime experience to see and undertake in adventure or adrenaline activities. A unique Kiwi experience that is priceless and pure awaits you. More details: Tourism New Zealand: Click here Halal Food Guide by FIANZ: Click Here FIANZ for Islamic Centres, Prayer Times and Halal Directory: Click Here Te Ara for complete guide of New Zealand: Click here For more travel guides, check out our travel blog or download the Halaltrip Islamic travel app to help locate Halal restaurants and prayer locations near you....

  • Where to Get Free bubur in Mosques in Singapore

    Rice porridge is a suhoor and iftar staple all over the world, although each culture and cuisine has its different version and with unique flavors, textures, and aromas.   Picture Credit - www.my.dining.asiatatler.com   Bubur Lambuk, also known as Bubur Masjid, is Singapore’s version of this famous dish. It is a soupy rice porridge that is made using meat (most commonly chicken), vegetables, cashew paste, raisins, spices, olive oil, and of course, rice! It is served all over Singapore during the month, and if you haven't tried bubur from mosques during Ramadan, you have to rectify that immediately!   Lucky for you, most mosques in Singapore distribute free Bubur for iftar every single day. Here’s a list of mosques where you can head to try some of the best bubur from mosques during Ramadan 2017.   1) Masjid Sultan   Location: 3, Muscat Street, Singapore 198833. Contact: 6293 4405   How to Get There: Bus Services: (SBS): 2, 7, 12, 32, 33, 51, 62, 63, 80, 133, 145, 197 (TIBS): 190, 61, 603, 61, 851, 960, 961, 980 Nearest MRT Station: Bugis (EW12)   This magnificent and iconic mosque is not only one of the largest and most popular mosques in Singapore, it is also a national monument. It was built during the colonial times in 1824, and rebuilt later in 1920. Masjid Sultan is one of the best places to get free Bubur during Ramadan, and it serves thousands of people every day!   2) Masjid Al-Mawaddah   Location: 151 Compassvale Bow, Singapore 544997. Contact: +65 6489 0224   How to Get There: Bus Services: Bus No. 109, 156, 159 and 161 (Al-Mawaddah Mosque Bus Stop) Bus No. 27 & 43 (Buangkok Bus Stop) Nearest MRT Stations: Buangkok MRT station (300m away), and Renjong LRT station (400m away).   Masjid Al-Mawaddah is a mosque that preaches a message of “family first”, aiming to bring families and communities together as one under Allah (sub) and to help the Muslim community grow develop in education, society, and more. Bubur Masjid distribution begins after Asr prayers, and if the long queues aren’t an indication for its deliciousness, we don’t know what is!   3) Masjid Ar-Raudhah Picture Credit - www.eglobalpro.net   Location: 30 Bukit Batok East Ave 2, Singapore 659919. Contact: +65 6899 5840   How to Get There: Nearest Bus Stop: Bus 653, 176 and 985 Nearest MRT Station: Bukit Batok MRT (NS2)   Masjid Ar-Raudhah was established in 1993, and is currently is one of the thirteen mosques in the South West Mosque Cluster (SWMC). The mosque is dedicated to serving the community, as well as conducting charity and dawah events. One such event is the distribution of suhoor meals and Bubur for iftar during Ramadan. Volunteers, including many kids, gather together to pack these meals. They even call these volunteers “Buburbots”!   4) Masjid Malabar   Location: 471 Victoria Street, Singapore 198370. Contact: +65 6294 3862   How to Get There: Nearest Bus Stop: Bus 61, NR7, 133, 2, 7, 12, 32, 33, 51, 63, 80, 107M, 107, 145, 175 and bus stop B01211 Nearest MRT Station: Lavender MRT (EW11)   Situated in the corner where Jalan Sultan meets Victoria Street is the only Malabar mosque in Singapore. It was constructed in 1962 and is governed by the Malabar Muslim Jama’th, a community of Muslims originating from the South Indian state Kerala. They also distribute Ramadan Bubur, following the tradition in Singapore and India. The Bubur tastes different from the traditional Singapore one as it is made according to the tastes and techniques of Keralan congee, which is mouthwateringly good and unique (as you won’t get it anywhere else in Singapore).   5) Masjid Hang Jebat Picture Credit - www.thelongnwindingroad.wordpress.com   Location: 100 Jln Hang Jebat, Singapore 139520. Contact: +65 6471 1912   How to Get There: Nearest Bus Stop: Bus 961#, 61, 855, 961, 51, 93, 100, 123, 147, 153, 196 and 198 and bus stop B11031 Nearest MRT Station: Queenstown MRT (EW19)   Constructed and opened in 1963, Masjid Hang Jebat is a mosque that revels in its rustic charm, happy to keep serving the community today as it did all those years ago. It is part of the Queenstown Heritage Trail and as one of the very few old-generation kampung mosques that still remain in Singapore, it is definitely worth a visit. And while you’re there, you can enjoy their awesome free Ramadan Bubur as well!   6) Masjid Al-Mukminin  Picture Credit - www.islamicprojects.wordpress.com Location: 271 Jurong East Street 21, Singapore 609603. Contact: +65 6567 7777   How to Get There: Bus Services: (SBS) 98, 105, 183, 502 (TIBS) 176, 187, 188 Nearest MRT Station: Jurong East MRT (NS1/EW24)   Masjid Al-Mukminin was built in 1987 and is financed by the Mosque Building Fund. Its four-storey building can accommodate up to 4,500 people. Along with regular prayers and Islamic lectures, this mosque also houses many other community service amenities like an auditorium, conference room, madrasah, kindergarten, and more. And let’s not forget their Bubur distribution during the month of Ramadan!   7) Masjid Jamae (Chulia) Picture Credit - www.masjidjamaechulia.sg Location: 218, South Bridge Road, Singapore 058767. Contact: 6221 4165   How to Get There: Bus Services: (SBS): 2, 12, 33, 54, 62, 63, 81, 103, 124, 143, 143M, 147, 147M, 166 (TIBS): 603, 608, 61, 851, 961 Nearest MRT Station: Chinatown (NE4)   Masjid Jamae, built in 1826 was a contribution by the Chulian community in Singapore. Its architecture resembles typical South-Indian style buildings and the mosque has a capacity of 1,500 people. Situated in one of the main parts of the island, the mosque plays host mainly to South Indian workers and families. Religious classes and lectures are conducted in Tamil. The mosque serves iftar including delightful south-Indian Bubur (congee) during Ramadan to over 600 people every day!   8) Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim   Locaion: 30 Telok Blangah Rd, Singapore 098827. Contact: +65 6273 6043   How to Get There: Bus Services: (SBS): 10, 30, 65, 80, 85, 97, 100, 131, 143, 143M, 145, 166, 507 (TIBS): 176, 188, 61, 855, 963 Nearest MRT Station: Harbour Front (NE1)   Built in 1890 and rebuilt in 1993, this mosque is situated in a central part of the island, which makes it easily accessible for many people. Although it might not stand out at first glance, it is always packed during prayers and its various other events like lectures and celebrations. It is also one of the best places to get bubur from mosques during Ramadan. ...



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