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  • 5 Honeymoon Destinations in Malaysia Perfect For Your Getaway!

    Great food, a bustling city, idyllic villages, little island paradises, beautiful beaches, and amazing hilly rainforests, Malaysia has it all! If you are starting to plan for your honeymoon, Malaysia should be number one on your list! There are many ideal honeymoon destinations in Malaysia, and you definitely won’t be disappointed with what the country has to offer. Whether you love adventure or calm peaceful getaways, Malaysia has just the right place for you. via GIPHY Surrounded by luxury resorts, this country houses resorts that offer 5-star quality service right at your doorstep. While these may sound expensive, some high-end hotels and resorts have great honeymoon packages to offer which are affordable and are within anyone’s price range. So put away your travel blues and read our list of 5 must-visit honeymoon destinations in Malaysia! 1. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Where the old meets new — Kota Kinabalu is a mix of modern malls and expensive apartments surrounding old markets selling fresh seafood by the fishermen themselves. It is an exciting culinary scene which spans street stalls to high-end cuisine, along with burgeoning art and music culture! All while fiery sunsets watch over this exciting bustling seaside city. Activities and attractions If you are a couple who’s up for an adventure - exploring new cultures, trying out new things - then Kota Kinabalu will not disappoint! Yes, the beach is great but what if you want to try something different? Visit the Mount Kinabalu, a World UNESCO heritage site valued for its biodiversity. Along the way visit the Mountain Garden to gain insight of its many flora and fauna and then head on to the Canopy Walkway for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding rainforest. You can even enjoy a warm local lunch before taking a dip in the Poring natural hot springs. (Disclaimer: If you're feeling extra pumped up, trek the 13,435 ft Mount Kinabalu. Just note that it is not a few hour's hikes. Most trekkers have been trained beforehand prior to the hike. It definitely takes a lot of mental and physical strength.) Head over to Sepilok to pay a visit to the Wild Man, commonly referred to as the Orangutan, these great reddish-brown haired apes are peaceful and shy, living mostly in the treetops and are sadly critically endangered due to mass deforestation. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre offers a close-up view of the Orangutans in their natural habitat. Credit: Sabah Tourism Interested in exploring new cultures? Mari-Mari Cultural Village is the place to go. Mari Mari showcases the cultures and lifestyles of the various indigenous peoples of the Borneo region – the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus, and Dusun. You will witness their traditional handicrafts such as blowpipe making and tattooing, their different types of homes, and their culture as a tribe. You might even enjoy some tasty local nibbles along the way! Accommodation Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa Credit: Shangri-la's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa What better way to experience Kota Kinabalu than to stay at a nature resort, one of the best in the area is the luxurious Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa. Set amidst a nature reserve and overlooking the South China Sea, the resort offers the best of both sea and rainforest. Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa’s relaxing rooms are furnished with earthy toned elegant furniture inclusive of all the standard amenities such as a flat-screen TV, minibar and tea/coffee making facilities as well as bathroom toiletries and bathrobes. Guests can choose between the rainforest view, garden view or sea view rooms, with private balconies, offering you a private calm and relaxing view to enjoy with your partner. The hotel also offers a secluded beach area as well as an outdoor pool area which offers stunning views of the sea and hotel. With a calm and relaxed atmosphere surrounding the hotel, it is the ideal resort for a couple’s retreat. You can approach their 24-hour front desk to inquire about activities such as horse riding and jungle trekking. Address: Pantai Dalit, PO Box 600, Tuaran, Sabah, 89208 MalaysiaContact No.: (60 88) 797 888 Website | Email | Facebook Borneo Beach Villas Credit: Borneo Beach Villas If you are looking for a budget-friendly vacation, Borneo Beach Villas is definitely a great option. Offering all the basic hotel facilities such as WiFi at the lobby and cafe, pool as well as a beach area with white sands, the hotel is ideal to accommodate you for your honeymoon in Malaysia. Their Spa Suites include a private steam bath and hot tub, whilst the villas include a private lap pool, all guest rooms and villas include satellite TV along with a DVD player, inbuilt bathrooms with toiletries. The room furnishings are minimal and comfy and provide sea views. The hotel gardens are well kept and lead you towards the white beach with lazy waves lapping against the sand. All the suites and villas include a fully equipped kitchen which would be ideal if you're thinking of whipping up a meal with your partner. The hotel is surrounded by seafood restaurants and groceries, this is a great option if you are trying to stick to a budget or you could order a la carte from the hotel cafe. Address: 163, Pool Villa & Locked Bag 100, Karambunai, 88993 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, MalaysiaContact number: +60 16-832 9302 / +60 16 832 9340 Website | Email 2. Penang Penang is where all Eastern cultures converge to create one big melting pot of thrills. A cosmopolitan city dappled with old world charm, Penang is a perfect romantic setting for a couple looking for adventure! Activities and attractions This city has much to offer with a thriving art scene and culinary delights at almost every street corner this island has an adventure at every turn! Make your way to George Town to witness the amazing and interactive murals and wire art. Be sure to find the legendary Bruce Lee mural and snap a few badass pics with your partner! Most of the artworks can be found along Armenian Street and Acheh Street. George Town as a whole is going to be a memorable experience, with colonial buildings and old houses as well as a myriad of hawker stalls. Some of the must-try dishes are Penang Assam Laksa, Nasi Kandar and Penang Teochew Chendul which is a sweet treat! Another popular destination is the Penang Hill which is 2733 feet above sea level, and has the steepest tunnel track in the world! Take the funicular train ride to the top of the hill and enjoy the panoramic view of George Town, the day and evening views are equally stunning, however, when dusk sets in and George Town begins to light up, it adds a sense of romance – enjoy the spectacular view of Penang at night and if you want to stay longer the last train leaves the top of the hill at 11 pm! Also, be sure to explore the 1.6km nature trail of Penang Hill. It features suspended walkways amongst the canopies and, viewing platforms as well as pocket gardens. With its exquisite flora, you and your partner will not get bored. Accommodation Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion Buildings and houses in Penang have uniquely styled architecture, so where can you get the full experience of living in the colonial times? At none other than Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion! Credit: Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion on Facebook A beautiful 1880s mansion known for its iconic blue-hued walls which are a result of an indigo-based limewash was which common in George Town at the time. The boutique hotel has 18 personalized rooms divided into four categories – the Liang Collection, Ming Collection, Tang Suites, and Han Suites. Credit: Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion on Facebook The staff are friendly and will take you through all the amenities included in the rooms, the rooms themselves are beautiful with intricate detailing and colonial era style furniture you can experience the true essence of a time gone by. All the rooms include the basic amenities such as cable TV, attached bathroom with a bathtub, air-conditioning etc. The Tang and Han suites include direct pool access. The hotel has two restaurants, the main restaurant being Indigo, which offers a west meets the east cuisine, while the Courtyard offers anything from Nutella crepes to Nasi Lemak. Spend the day lounging with a cup of coffee at the Courtyard and make a surprise dinner reservation at the Indigo restaurant for a romantic candlelit dinner with your loved one. Address: 14, Leith Street, 10200 Penang, MalaysiaContact number: +604 262 0006 Website | Email | Facebook | Instagram Hotel Jen Credit: Hotel Jen By Shangri-La If you want a more contemporary stay at Penang head over to Hotel Jen, located at the bustling center of George Town, close to the commercial area of the city. Their rooms include all the basic amenities, the hotel also offers a 24-hour gym and a free shuttle service to the beach. The hotel is located close to Penang’s markets and commercial shopping centers. Address: Magazine Road, George Town, Penang, 10300, MalaysiaContact number: (60 4) 262 2622 Website | Facebook | Instagram 3. Langkawi An archipelago of 99 islands, Langkawi is surrounded by turquoise waters with white sandy beaches lined with swaying coconut trees. The inland landscape is made up of picturesque paddy fields and jungle-clad hills. Activities and attractions Have your perfect romantic getaway in one of the three famous beaches in Langkawi – Pantai Cenang, if you are looking to try water sports, Tengah, Tanjung Rhu which is more secluded beach and great to take a walk along with your partner. Looking for something more thrilling? Why not go for a walk on the 124 meters long, 700 m above sea level Sky Bridge? It offers spectacular views of some of Langkawi’s main attractions, the only way to get there is by cable car! A little fun fact: a scene from the 2006 Bollywood movie ‘Don: The Chase Begins Again’ was filmed on this bridge. If you truly want to experience nature, hike Gunung Raya, the highest peak in Langkawi. Standing at 881m the hill offers panoramic views of the island; the legend behind the island is that it is the cursed form of the giant Mat Raya who once inhabited the mountain. The hill forest houses some of Malaysia’s exotic wildlife like the flying foxes, great hornbills, leaf monkey, and macaques as well as other forest dwellers. Once you have covered the land sky why not go for an underwater walk, and no, it does not involve diving. Head over to Underwater World, and take the 15m underwater tunnel where you can get a close-up view of sharks, turtles and other sea life. Why not have a fairytale ending to your stay at Langkawi? Visit Taman Lagenda, a folk-lore themed park which is an open-air garden museum that is sure to whisk you away from reality and would make a perfect setting for a nice romantic walk. Accommodation Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa Credit: Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa To truly experience tropical tranquillity choose to stay at the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa in Langkawi. Their 355 rooms are clustered into wooden chalets all including private balconies which open to stunning views of the property and island. All rooms include the basic amenities that are expected at a five-star hotel. The hotel has two restaurants; Spice Market which is the main restaurant is inspired by the ancient spice route – combining the East with the West. The second restaurant called CBA will offer you the perfect tropical dining experience. The hotel grounds are beautiful and are great for an early morning walk after breakfast, before heading to the secluded beach. Address: Pantai Cenang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman, MalaysiaContact number: +60 4 952 8888 Website | Email  Holiday Villa Beach Resort and Spa Credit: Holiday Villa Beach Resort and Spa  If you are looking for a more pocket-friendly place check in at the four-star Holiday Villa Beach Resort and Spa located only 15mins away from Langkawi international airport. The hotel is a vast property, offering great views of the beach and surrounding islands. All the rooms include the basic hotel room amenities. Be sure to check their romantic getaway offers on their website. Address: Lot 1698, Pantai Tengah, Mukim Kedawang, Daerah Langkawi, 07000 Kedah Darulaman, MalaysiaContact number: +60 4 952 9999  Website | Email 4. Tioman The biggest and most popular island in the Eastern Peninsula of Malaysia, Tioman Island is a thrill seekers paradise! Activities and attractions Famous for Diving and snorkeling, Tioman offers the best underwater experience to tourists. Most resorts on the island have a house reef, where you can snorkel right in front of your cabana, also snorkeling is a great option for non-divers! Tioman Island almost has no roads so you’ll have to do a light trek through the jungle to get from place to another, if you are a nature lover this definitely the right spot for you. The two most popular treks are the Tekek to Juara which is two hours and the trek from Tekek all the way to Monkey Bay. For activities like kayaking, jet skiing and other water sports Tekek beach, slang beach and genting beach are your best options. Tioman also has some beautiful waterfalls and these can be accessed by a light trek or a short boat ride, one the most famous waterfalls is the Mukut Waterfall, the largest waterfall on the Island is the Asah waterfall which is a 45 minute trek away from Mukut village, if trekking isn’t your thing opt for the boat ride. Accommodation Tunamaya Beach Resort and Spa Credit: Tunamaya Beach Resort and Spa on Facebook Make your Tioman Island, Malaysia, dreams come true! Choose to stay at the Tunamaya Beach Resort and Spa for a luxurious tropical island experience. They also promise a great honeymoon experience so do check their honeymoon offers! They have a total of 54 villas which are built to offer the utmost privacy to their guests; you have the choice of choosing between the garden view, rainforest view and the sea view villas. The villas come equipped with all the basic hotel room amenities ensuring that you are comfortable and at home during your stay. Address: Lot 20 & 21, Sarang Burung, Kg. Mukut, 26800 Pulau Tioman, Pahang, MalaysiaContact number: +607-7668886/ 8887/8888 Website | Email | Facebook | Instagram Paya Beach Resort Credit: Paya Beach Spa & Dive Resort on Facebook Looking for a place that offers great service for affordable prices? Opt for the Paya Beach Resort, which also offers a great romantic getaway offer for couples. The resort offers villas and chalets as well as lodges as accommodation for guests, the villas are recommended for a romantic getaway. Address: Kampong Paya, Pulau Tioman, MalaysiaContact number: +65 6733 4333 (Overseas) Website | Email | Facebook | Instagram 5. Pangkor Pangkor translates to ‘beautiful island’ in Thai, and it definitely lives up to its name. The island is mostly mountainous and has rocky history due it being a center for piracy in the past! However, these days it’s just an idyllic tropical island where the main livelihood is fishing. Activities and attractions If you are interested in water sports, head over to Bogak or Nipah beach, you can try out banana-boat rides, and jet skiing. Pangkor town is the place to go if you want to try some authentic Pangkor cuisine as many local restaurants serving the most delectable dishes can be found. Go for a jungle trek to burn off the calories after eating all that food, the best hike is the Pangkor Hill hike. If you want to do something a little more Zen pay visit to Fu Lin Kung, a Taoist temple built at the foot of Pangkor hill. You can also pay a visit to the Kali Amman temple, which is the only Hindu temple on the island. Don’t forget to check out the Dutch Fort as well, built in the 17th century to regulate tin trade form foreign ships. Another interesting historical spot is the Batu Bersurat (Tiger Rock), the large boulder has historical inscriptions referring to a child and tiger with the initials of the Dutch East India Company engraved into it as well. Book a boat ride to Pulau Jarak, a secluded island with great Marine life, and it would be a great activity to experience with your partner. You can even rent a boat for the day and explore the surrounding scenery of the island if you are more adventurous hire a canoe! Accommodation Pangkor Laut Resort Credit: Pangkor Laut Resort One of the most famous resorts in Pangkor and possibly Malaysia is the Pangkor Laut Resort, named after the island itself and ranked number 1 in the World by Condé Nast Traveller and referred to as a paradise by the late Pavarotti! Offering comfort, warmth and contemporary elegance the villas are situated amongst the hills, lush gardens and on wooden stilts over the tropical sea. The villas are fully equipped with the usual amenities found in guest rooms assuring you have all the comforts you need during your stay. They have a great honeymoon offer so be sure to check it out! Address: Pangkor Laut Island, 32200 Lumut, Perak, MalaysiaContact number: +60 3 2783 1000 Website | Email | Facebook | Instagram Sandy Beach Resort Credit: Pangkor Sandy Beach Resort on Facebook If you want to go for a more budget-friendly option the Sandy Beach Resort will be ideal for your stay on Pangkor Island. Nestled on the golden sands of the beach you can choose between rooms or chalets, the chalets are ideal if you are looking for privacy and they face the Pasir Bogak beach, who doesn’t want to wake up to the blue waters of the sea lapping against the sandy beach? Address: 30, Jalan Pasir Bogak, 32300 Pulau Pangkor, Negeri PerakContact number: +605 6853027, +605 6853037 Website | Email | Facebook | Instagram Hopefully, this list gave you some insight for planning your Malaysia honeymoon itinerary. Are you excited for your Malaysia honeymoon?!...

  • 10 Middle Eastern Dishes Everyone Should Try At Least Once

    Traveling to the Middle East can be for one of the two main reasons; to live amongst a forest of skyscrapers in a sea of desert sand or to devour the uncountable delectable local dishes that have made the Middle Eastern cuisine a go-to for comfort meals to be shared with loved ones on any occasion. Locate the best Arabic restaurants during your stay and enjoy the wholesome, rich and freshly prepared meal at a reasonable price. What’s more special about this mouthwatering cuisine is that, by tradition, each portion served is enough for a family to feast on and to have the table decorated wholly with Middle Eastern salads and the obligatory mezze platter that comes with most dishes on their menu. Middle Eastern cuisine is the cherry on top of all Halal cuisines a diner could ask for. The best authentic Arabic and Middle Eastern dishes serve the perfect combination of flavors, colors and beyond a doubt fulfill the living dream of all foodies. Here is a list of the 10 Yummiest Arabic Dishes to fill your belly! (a list which was too difficult to cut short) 1) Hummus A creamy and smooth blend of mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Hummus is served as either a dip with the traditional pita bread and vegetables but also works its wonder when spread in a burger or even with a baked potato. Its flavor is combined with other Arabic dishes as a condiment. Hummus is more of a staple dish; this mouthwatering and healthy appetizer found in nearly all Middle Eastern restaurants is the best pick to start off your foody-ride. We definitely recommend the Abu Shukri restaurant in the Old City of Jerusalem. Foodie Tip! For the diners who are more experienced in attacking Middle Eastern dishes, ask to add in more garlic to get a taste of the true local tang. 2) Shawarma A ridiculously tasty bundle of goodness. The Arabic version of the Greek gyro with the exception of tender meat which is slow cooked on a turning spit preserving the juiciness and incorporating the rustic flavors of smokiness being the highlight in the Middle Eastern variant. This wrap of laffa/hot pita bread filled with smoky meat together with sauces, cream, veggies and the earthy authentic Arabic spices makes every bite of this Middle Eastern dish a delightful pleasure. One place that we've specially handpicked for you to try is the Hashipudia restaurant at 6 Ha-Shikma Street of Jerusalem. Foodie Tip! Shawarma is more commonly found made with either chicken or beef although the traditional option; lamb is a must try specialty. 3) Baba Ghanouj/ Ghanoush Found alongside the famous hummus on a mezze platter, Baba Ghanouj is often described as the best eggplant dish; a succulent eggplant dip and is a vegetarian favorite. Although spelled in countless ways, this dip delivers similar deliciousness all across the Middle East with a combination of flavors from roasted eggplant, garlic, Arabian spices and the famous sesame seed paste - Tahini. Like most dips, Baba Ghanouj is used as a condiment in Middle Eastern cuisine sharing its wholesome flavor with more dishes on the menu. We highly recommend trying out Zest at the One&Only The Palm in Dubai and give this Arabic goodness a shot! Foodie Tip! When ordering Baba Ghanouj, ask for it to be spiced up with chili for the real Arabic zing. 4) Halvah Picture Credit: www.myjewishlearning.com Much like the name suggests, in Arabic, Halvah means a sweet confection and is most likely the most popular Middle Eastern sweet. Halvah is much like a layered cake generally shaped like a cheese wheel. The main component of grain-based halvah is gluten like wheat, or semolina and are spongy in texture, while the main ingredient of nut-based halvah is tahini paste; sesame seeds and sugar. Although the unique flavor of plain halvah tastes just about excellent, it is often flavored with pistachio or chocolate. 5) Tabbouleh Tabbouleh, a cocktail of herbs; parsley, mint, bulgur (cracked wheat) and a handful of vegetables, onions and tomatoes, is the best appetizer not only for vegetarians but also for the health freak foodies who love to chomp but are calorie conscious. This Arabian salad is refreshing and bright, however, will leave some green stuck between your teeth so be cautious! If you happen to be in Jordan, hop by the Cairo Restaurant at the Al-Malek Talal Street in Amman, Jordan to try their Tabbouleh! Foodie Tip! To the meat lovers; this delicious salad has the ability to make you switch teams, so watch out for its yumminess. 6) Baklava Similar to the Greek baklava, this Middle Eastern sweet pronounced as baklawa is made with lots of love and layers of thin sheets of buttery filo dough filled with a mixture of coarsely ground nuts and Arabian spices; unlike the Greek that uses honey, this mixture is bound together with sugar syrup and either rose water or orange blossom. With honey drizzled on top, baklava is made in interesting shapes, for example in the shape of birds’ nests, cylinders and triangular are the more common option. Hop by the the Karakoy Gulluoglu at Rihtim Cad when you're in Istanbul to bring some of the best Baklavas home! Foodie Tip! Pistachio and walnut baklava are easiest to find, however, look out for the fruity version for an alternate experience that you’ll be glad you had. 7) Labneh Picture Credit: www.davidlebovitz.com This low in calories Middle Eastern alternative to traditional cream cheese is not too sour or strong in flavor and is easily made from cow’s milk. Labneh is a creamier, thicker and denser variant of the Greek yogurt and often found alongside hummus and tahini on the mezze platter. A great dip for za’atar pita bread, and even fruits; the versatile Labneh dip is the best to share the flavors of the Middle Eastern cuisine. Foodie Tip! Sprinkle the authentic Arabic spices on labneh to enjoy the more exciting version. 8) Falafel The globally recognized Middle Eastern dish, the falafel sandwich is much beloved and appreciated in the foodie empire. The traditional falafel sandwich is a gigantic pita bread wrapping of the falafel patty along with tangy pickles, fresh vegetables, and tahini spread. To best compliment, a falafel sandwich, order an Israeli salad to go with it. The falafel perfectly fills in for the protein on a vegetarian’s menu and paired with hummus on the obligatory mezze platter. The most interesting aspect of the savory doughnut is that the falafel patty has a crispy exterior when freshly fried contrasting to a soft and fluffy interior composed of ground chickpeas, onions and a decent amount of herbs and spices blended in to enhance the simplicity and flavor of the dish. Make a pit stop at the Books@Cafe located at the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Street #12 First Circle in Amman, Jordan to give their falafel a try! 9) Mansaf Picture Credit: taste.co.za Jordan’s national dish, Mansaf, is culturally meant for feasts and celebratory gatherings. Mansaf in Arabic literally translates to “large tray” and therefore is served as such; enough to cater to a small foodie nation. Chunks of lamb cooked in a broth of Jameed (a variety of cheese made from fermented yogurt), dressed with yummy yogurt and garnished with almond and pine nuts are on display placed on a heap of white rice served on an oversized platter of flatbread. Initially a Jordanian dish, Mansaf migrated to Palestine, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to mark its deliciousness. If you happen to be in Amman, Jordan, we recommend you the Jabri Restaurant at Wasfi Al-Tal Street. 10) Pita with za’atar Picture Credit: ovengoodies.wordpress.com The staple component of Middle Eastern cooking, the warm and versatile pita bread is served with nearly every meal. The specialty of za’atar pita is that the dough is generously sprinkled with a blend of Middle Eastern spices which include thyme, oregano, and marjoram to uplift the sensory experience of the flavorsome bread dipped in any appetizer off the mezze platter. The original za’atar plant that is rather endangered is protected by the government to preserve the rare and authentic Mediterranean flavor, however, the blend of herbs does do justice to za’atar pita. Hence the purchase of a jar of this herb mixture is worth it to try the za’atar pita crisps recipe in the comfort of your home. For the next dish was much spoken about in this list, it felt unfair to leave it out: 11) Tahini Picture Credit: www.seriouseats.com The tahini dip, spread or condiment is made from a base of toasted and ground sesame seeds made to a paste and is essential to, if not all, many Middle Eastern dishes. Tahini collaborates well with sweet as well as savory flavors hence is a highlight on the mezze platter. An uncommon yet palatable combination is tahini and halvah, so be sure to have a go at it when possible. Buckle up for a flavorsome ride on the Middle Eastern cuisine serving wholly satisfying food and leaving you wanting more of the Mediterranean goodness. Amongst the uncountable delectable dishes on their menu, try out the dishes listed above on your next visit to the Middle East!...

  • 10 Must-Try Halal Middle Eastern Dishes

    Traveling to the Middle East can be for one of the two main reasons; to live amongst a forest of skyscrapers in a sea of dessert sand or to devour the uncountable delectable local dishes that have made the Middle Eastern cuisine a go-to for comfort meals to be shared with loved ones on any occasion. Locate the best Arabic restaurants on your stay and enjoy the wholesome, rich and freshly prepared meal at a reasonable price. What’s more special about this mouthwatering cuisine is that, by tradition, each portion ordered is enough for a gathering to feast on with a pile of food being served and the table decorated wholly with Middle Eastern salads and the obligatory mezze platter that comes with most dishes on their menu. Middle Eastern cuisine is the cherry on top of all Halal cuisines a diner could ask for. The best authentic Arabic and Middle Eastern dishes serve the perfect combination of flavors, colors and beyond a doubt fulfill the living dream of all foodies. Here is a list of the ten yummiest hence most popular Arabic dishes (a list which was difficult to cut short)- via GIPHY 1) Hummus A creamy and smooth blend of mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Hummus is served as either a dip with the traditional pita bread and vegetables, but it also works its wonder when spread in a burger, or even with baked potato.  Its flavor is combined with other Arabic dishes when used as a condiment. Hummus is more of a staple dish; this mouthwatering and healthy appetizer found in nearly all Middle Eastern restaurants is the best pick to start off your foody-ride. Foodie Tip! For the diners who are more experienced in attacking Middle Eastern dishes, ask to add in more garlic to get a taste of the true, local tang. Recommended restaurant Picture Credit - facebook.com/AbuShukriRestaurant/ Address: Abu Shukri, Via Dolorosa near Damascus Gate, Jerusalem, IsraelOpening Hours: 8am -4.30pm (sometimes later on Saturdays) Tel.: +972 2 627 1538 Facebook   2) Shawarma Picture Credit - Peteravivangel, commons.wikimedia.org A ridiculously tasty bundle of goodness. The Arabic version of the Greek gyro, with the exception of tender meat, is slow cooked on a turning spit preserving the juiciness and incorporating the rustic flavors of smokiness, the highlight of the Middle Eastern variant. This wrap of laffa / hot pita bread filled with smoky meat together with sauces, cream, veggies and the earthy, authentic Arabic spices, which make every bite of this Middle Eastern dish leave you craving for more. Foodie Tip! Shawarma is more commonly found made with either chicken or beef although the traditional option; lamb is a must-try specialty. via GIPHY Recommended restaurant Photo credit Address: Hashipudia (Yeudit), 6 Ha-Shikma Street, Jerusalem, Israel.Opening Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11am to 11pmContact: +972 2-625-4036Tel: +972 2 625 4036 Facebook   3) Baba Ghanouj/ Ghanoush Found alongside the famous hummus on a mezze platter, Baba Ghanouj is often described as the best eggplant dish - a succulent eggplant dip and a vegetarian favorite. Although spelled in countless ways, this dip delivers similar deliciousness all across the Middle East with a combination of flavors from roasted eggplant, garlic, Arabian spices and the famous sesame seed paste- tahini. Like most dips, Baba Ghanouj is used as a condiment in Middle Eastern cuisine, sharing its wholesome flavor with more dishes on the menu.  Foodie Tip! When ordering Baba Ghanouj, ask for it to be spiced up with chili for the real Arabic zing. Recommended restaurant Address: Zest, One&Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.Opening Hours: Breakfast: 7.00am to 11.00am / Lunch: 12.00pm to 6.00pm / Dinner: 6.00pm to 11.00pm (last order 10.45pm)/ Brunch: Friday & Saturday 12.00pm to 4.30pmTel: +971 4 440 1010Website: https://www.oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-the-palm-dubai/cuisine/zest   4) Halvah Picture Credit - deror_avi, commons.wikimedia.org Much like the name suggests, in Arabic, Halvah means a sweet confection and is most likely the most popular Middle Eastern sweet. Halvah is much like a layer cake generally shaped as a cheese wheel. The main component of grain based halvah is glutens like wheat, or semolina and are spongy in texture, while the main ingredient of nut based halvah is tahini paste; sesame seeds and sugar. Although the unique flavor of plain halvah tastes excellent, it is often flavored with pistachio or chocolate.   5) Tabbouleh Picture Credit - cyclonebill, commons.wikimedia.org Tabbouleh, a cocktail of herbs, parsley, mint, bulgur (cracked wheat) and a handful of vegetables, onions and tomatoes, is the best appetizer for not only the vegetarians out there, but also for the health-freak foodies who love to chomp but are calorie-conscious. This Arabian salad is refreshing and bright, however it'll leave some green stuck between your teeth, so be cautious. Foodie Tip! To the meat lovers; this delicious salad has the ability to make you switch teams, so watch out for it yumminess. Recommended restaurant Picture credit - kitchico.com Address: Cairo Restaurant, Al-Malek Talal Street, Amman, JordanOpening Hours: 8am to 10pmTel: +962 6 462 4527   6) Baklava Similar to the Greek baklava, this Middle Eastern sweet pronounced as baklawa is made with lots of love and layers of thin sheets of buttery filo dough, filled with a mixture of coarsely ground nuts and Arabian spices. Unlike the Greeks who use honey, this mixture is bound together with sugar syrup and either rose water or orange blossom. Drizzled with honey to top off the unique dessert, baklava is made in interesting shapes. For example, the shape of birds’ nests, though cylinders and triangles are more common. via GIPHY Foodie Tip! Pistachio and walnut baklavas are the easiest to find, however, look out for the fruity version for an alternative experience that you’ll be glad you had. Recommended restaurant Address: Karaköy Güllüoğlu, Rihtim Cad, Kati Otopark Alti, 3-4 Karakoy, Istanbul.Opening Hours: Monday - Wednesday: 7am to 12am / Thursday - Saturday: 7am – 1am / Sunday: 8am - 1amTel: +90 212 249 96 80 Website: http://www.karakoygulluoglu.com/    Facebook | Instagram | Twitter   7) Labneh Picture Credit - stu_spivack, flickr.com This low-in-calories Middle Eastern alternative to traditional cream cheese is not too sour or strong in flavor, and is easily made from cow’s milk. Labneh is a creamier, thicker and denser variant of the Greek yoghurt, often found alongside hummus and tahini on the mezze platter. A great dip for za’atar pita bread, your favourite veggies, and even fruits, the versatile Labneh dip is best to share among the flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine. Foodie Tip! Sprinkle authentic Arabic spices on labneh to enjoy the more exciting version.   8) Falafel A globally recognized Middle Eastern dish, the falafel sandwich is much beloved and appreciated in the foodie empire. The traditional falafel sandwich is a gigantic pita bread wrapping of the falafel patty along with tangy pickles, fresh vegetables and tahini spread. To best compliment a falafel sandwich, order a salad to go with it. The most interesting aspect of the savoury doughnut is that the falafel patty has a crispy exterior when freshly fried, contrasting to its soft and fluffy interior composed of ground chickpeas, onions and a decent amount of herbs and spices blended in to enhance the simplicity and flavor of the dish. The falafel perfectly fills in for the protein on a vegetarian’s menu and as with hummus, is a staple on the obligatory mezze platter. Recommended restaurant Picture Credit - instagram.com/booksatcafe_jo/ Address: Books@Cafe, 'Umar Ibn Al Khattab, Amman, JordanOpening Hours: 9am - 2amTel: +962 6 465 0457Website: https://www.booksatcafe.com/ Facebook | Instagram | Twitter   9) Mansaf Picture Credit - Ji-Elle, commons.wikimedia.org Jordan’s national dish, mansaf is culturally meant for feasts and celebratory gatherings. Mansaf in Arabic, literally translates to “large tray” and therefore is served as such, enough to cater to a small foodie nation! This Middle Eastern resemblance of an enormous pizza looks rather intimidating for vegetarians. Chunks of lamb cooked in broth of Jameed (a variety of cheese made from fermented yoghurt), dressed with yummy yoghurt and garnished with almond and pine nuts are on display placed on a heap of white rice served on an oversized platter of flatbread. Initially a Jordanian dish, Mansaf migrated to Palestine, Iraq and the Saudi Arabia to mark its deliciousness.  Recommended restaurant Picture credit - jabri.com.jo Address: Jabri Restaurant, Wasfi Al-Tal Street, Amman, Jordan.Opening Hours: 9am to 11pmTel: +962 6 568 1700Website: http://www.jabri.com.jo/   10) Pita with za’atar Picture Credit - N. Saum, commons.wikimedia.org A staple component of Middle Eastern cooking, the warm and versatile pita bread is served in nearly every meal. Za’atar pita's specialty is that the dough is generously sprinkled with a blend of Middle Eastern spices which include thyme, oregano and marjoram to uplift the sensory experience of the flavorsome bread dipped in any appetizer off the mezze platter. The original za’atar plant, rather endangered, is protected by the government to preserve the rare and authentic Mediterranean flavor, however, the addition of herbs doesn't detract from the original taste of the za’atar pita. Hence the purchase of a jar of this herb mixture is worth it if you want to try the za’atar pita crisps recipe in the comfort of your home. Since the next dish was frequently mentioned on the list of 10 Must-Try Middle Eastern dishes, it felt unfair to leave it out:   11) Tahini Picture Credit - jules, flickr.com The tahini dip, spread or condiment is made from a base of toasted and ground sesame seeds ground to a paste and is essential to, if not all, many Middle Eastern dishes. Tahini collaborates well with sweet as well as savory flavors, and is hence a highlight on the mezze platter. An uncommon, yet palatable combination is tahini and halvah, so be sure to have a go at it when possible. Buckle up for a flavorsome ride on Middle Eastern cuisine, serving wholly satisfying food and leaving you wanting more of the Mediterranean goodness. Amongst the uncountable delectable dishes on their menu, try out the dishes listed above on your next visit to the Middle East! Check out our Travel Blog on the Middle East...

  • Discover the History and Culture of Jordan

    Everyone knows that Jordan is a country that is deeply rooted in its history and culture, but only those who visit it understand the true magnificence of it. Jordan is one of the most fascinating countries n the world, filled with amazing heritage sites, beautiful desert landscapes, ancient ruins, seaside resorts, and so much more. Jordan is also one of the safest countries to visit in the region.   Of course, when travelling through jordan, it'd be hard not to experience the history and culture of Jordan because there are so many historical locations to see, many of them also UNESCO World Heritage sites. The country has a sort of mysticism that makes you feel like you've stepped into another time and place. A trip to Jordan is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories!   Here are some of the must-visit cities, attractions, and heritage sites on your Muslim-friendly tour to Jordan:   Petra   Petra is the most famous historic attraction in Jordan, and one of the most wondrous places to visit in the world. Thousands of years ago, the city of Petra was a thriving civilization that was the capital of the Nabatean kingdom. A cataclysmic earthquake destroyed the city and it lay abandoned for centuries until a Swiss explorer disguised himself as an Arab to infiltrate the city and explore its ruins.   Set inside a deep narrow desert gorge, it is also known as “the pink city” because everywhere you see, there are shades of dusky pink. The walls on both sides measuring about 200m high make for an awe-inspiring sight. Walking amongst and into the buildings, you'll witness archways, rooms, baths, temples, a massive 1st-century monastery, and even a 3000-seat open air theatre. Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   Petra is located centrally, so it's easy to reach. If you are flying in, Aqaba airport is the closest (1.5-hour drive). You will also need to buy tickets before entering Petra at Wadi Musa, the nearest town. Find nearby Halal food places in Petra Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Petra   Amman   Amman is the capital and most populous city in Jordan, as well as being the political, cultural, and economic centre. About half the country's population lives in Amman, and the city seamlessly blends modern architecture and a quiet youthfulness amidst a landscape of the remnants of ancient civilizations.   The city is set on 19 hills or “jebels”, and is situated ideally between the desert and the prosperous Jordan valley. The vibrant population and culture is very prominent here. You can visit sites like the Roman Theater, the Citadel, Rainbow St. and more. You can arrive at Amman by plane at Queen Alia International Airport, from where you can either take a taxi, or a train or bus ride to the city. Find nearby Halal food places in Amman Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Amman   Madaba Best known for its Byzantine-era mosaic map of the city of Jerusalem and parts of the Holy Land known as the “Madaba Map”. This town has a long and deep-rooted history that you can explore on your Muslim tour to Jordan. This market town also has many more mosaic maps depicting villages, valleys, plants, and more, thus earning itself the nickname “the city of mosaic maps”.   In Madaba, you can enjoy the amazing views of Mount Nebo, the field of dolmens at Wadi Jadid, or famous attractions like the Madaba Archaeological Park, or the Madaba Museum. Madaba is situated about a half hour from Amman. You can reach this city by booking a service taxi, or by bus. Find nearby Halal food places in Madaba Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Madaba   Jerash   Second, only to Petra, Jerash is another popular destination to add to the list of places to experience history and culture in Jordan. The history of this city comes from a mix of the Greece-Roman world of the Mediterranean Basin, and the old traditions of the Arab Orient.     The Roman Ruins of Jerash are a must-visit location to add when you're booking your Halal holiday in Jordan. The iconic limestone plaza and columns are sure to impress. Although it was abandoned for quite some time, it now has a population of about 60,000 people and has been the site of many archaeological discoveries dating back to the Neolithic Age. Find nearby Halal food places in Jerash Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Jerash   Aqaba   Aqaba is the only seaside town in Jordan, and definitely the place to go if you're looking to relax. It is the largest and most populous city in the Gulf of Aqaba and has a vibrant culture that draws visitors. It holds a quiet charm and is the ideal place to take a break on the way to fun activities like diving and snorkelling. Enjoy beautiful landscapes, gorgeous sandy beaches, and azure waters of the Red Sea. Relax in spas, take part in sea activities, enjoy delicious food, visit places like the Aqaba Heritage Museum and immerse yourself in the most fun part of Jordanian culture!     You can reach Aqaba by ferry from nearing countries, and you won't even need a visa as the city is a Free Trade Zone. You can fly into The King Hussein International Airport from Amman or other parts of the world. You can also take a car, taxi, or bus ride. Find nearby Halal food places in Aqaba Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Aqaba Click Here for more information on Aqaba   Ajloun Picture Credit - different-doors.com This northern city in Jordan is situated north-west of Amman, a short drive from Jerash. the journey from Jerash takes you through stunning pine forests and olive groves. This historic town has many places where you can discover Jordan and it's past.     Among the sites to see is the 600-year old Great Ajloun Mosque with minaret built of stone, the extraordinary 12th century Muslim Ajloun Castle built on top of Mount Ajlun, the Ajloun Nature Reserve, and more. Find nearby Halal food places in Ajloun Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Ajloun   Um er-Rasas Picture Credit - commons.wikimedia.org   Situated little ways from Madaba, Um er-Rasas is an archaeological site that is home to the ruins of ancient civilizations of Romans, Byzantines, and Muslims who lived in the area. Most of the massive site remains yet to be excavated, but among what has been discovered include a military camp and quite a few churches.   Picture Credit - www.world-discovery.co.uk/   Um er-Rasas is also known for its majestic Byzantine-era mosaics, the most famous of which is the floor of the Church of St. Stephen, the largest to be perfectly preserved in the world to this day. Today, Um er-Rasas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   Pella Picture Cedit - jordantours-travel.com Situated along the Jordan Valley, the ancient city of Pella is one of the ten Roman Decapolis cities founded during the Hellenistic Period. This city is a favourite among archaeologists, thanks to the vast number of opportunities for discovery that it offers. The ruins of Pella tell the story of the civilizations of the past, all the way from the stone age to the medieval Islamic era. Today, it lies a few kilometres away from the modern Arab village of Taqabat Fahl.   Al-Salt Picture Credit - www.jordanandbeyond.com Al-Salt is another great city to visit on your Halal trip to Jordan. The Ottoman-influence on the city is quite apparent from the moment you lay eyes on the city, particularly through the architecture and the colour tones of the buildings. This agricultural town in west-central Jordan thrived in trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before Amman became the capital of Jordan.   There are many things to do in Al-Salt, from visiting the vibrant markets, the historic Abu Jaber Museum, Zayy National Park, and more. You can reach Al-Salt by a mere 30-minute drive from Amman. Find nearby Halal food places in As- Salt, Jordan Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Al- Salt Having trouble deciding where to travel to? Check out Halal Trip's lists of top destinations to travel in 2018. ...

  • A 9D8N South Indian Episode

    Get ready to explore the most interesting South Indian destinations! South India consists of the five main states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala – complete with gorgeous beaches, tropical forests and intriguing historical sites. These are just some of the fascinating South Indian attractions that are perfect for those you wish to get immersed in a true travel experience. Whether it’s sailing through the backwaters of Kerala or ancient archaeological sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Take a good look at this South Indian travel itinerary to find out the best way to spend your holiday. Picture Credit - giphy.com   Day 1 – Day 2: Chennai Picture Credit - imgur.com  Nature and wildlife lovers cannot miss the Guindy National Park or the Arinjar Anna Zoological Park, where you can experience South India’s natural beauty. Don’t forget to drop by the gorgeous beaches either – Marina Beach and Elliot beach especially. For something more cultural, visit the Government Museum and Fort St. George – as well as the famous Kapaleeswar Temple to check out the unique colourful architecture and its significance to the city. Travelers can get around Chennai by buses, train or by metred rickshaws. You will be able to find Halal food in South Indian states quite easily or try the aromatic, delicious vegetarian or vegan food. Notable restaurants include Zaitoon, Palmshore and Aasife Brother’s Biryani Centre. Some hotels to stay at include FEATHERS – A Radha Hotel, Hilton Chennai and Ginger Chennai.   Day 3: Madurai Picture Credit - Imgur.com The next two days of your South Indian travel itinerary will take you to Madurai city which is most famous for its beautiful temples. You can travel to Madurai through domestic flights or by train for the longer, scenic route. Do make a trip to the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple which is one of the top South Indian attractions. You will get to see colourful intricate carvings of deities along with impressive wall paintings – and drop by the Temple Art museum too. This temple is an important historical building in Madurai that is also famous for the Hall of Thousand Pillars. Halal restaurants can be found in Madurai which includes Anjappar Chettinad Restaurant and Royal Park Madurai – or you can enjoy the local cuisine by visiting vegetarian restaurants instead.   Day 4 – Alleppey Your next stop will be Alleppey also known as Alappuzha, and the best way to get here is by bus. The Alleppey regions are where you can take a serene boat cruise in the Kerala backwaters to appreciate the lush greenery and rural scenery. The gorgeous Alleppey beach must be your next stop to catch the gorgeous sunset. There are plenty of vegetarian dining options around and two popular restaurants that serve Halal food include Mushroom and Thaff Restaurant.   Day 5 – Day 6: Wayanad The Wayanad region which is known for it’s gorgeous, unspoiled natural beauty and wildlife is the ideal place for nature lovers to enjoy the South Indian weather. Pay a visit to the famous Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary or the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary to see creatures of the wild in their natural habitat. The Eddkal Caves is another attraction that cannot be missed, and the natural formations are completely covered with stone age carvings. However, there are no direct modes of transport from Alleppey to Wayanad, so hiring a car would be the best option. Accommodation options include Wayanad Gate Hotel, Kallat Hotel and Petal Hotel to name a few. Halal food options will be quite limited in this area, but you will find numerous vegan and vegetarian places to try out. But have a look at the Wilton Restaurant and The Jubilee Restaurant who are known to serve Halal food.   Day 7 – Day 8: Mysore Your next stop will be the city of Mysore, and you can travel from Wayanad by taxi or bus. The fascinating city of Mysore is famous for the Mysuru Palace with its impressive sculptures and architecture. Mysore also has some popular spice bazaars such as the Devaraja Market which is an interesting place to visit and shop too. Those who love being outdoors can pay a visit to the beautiful Brindavan Gardens to enjoy South Indian weather be surrounded by bright flowers and greenery. Do drop by one of the oldest zoos in India, the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens which is one of the top attractions – do take a stroll by the Karanji Lake too that is located on the eastern side of the zoo as well. Some hotels to consider staying at include The Quorum, Ginger Mysore and Fortune JP Palace. You can also find many Halal restaurants serving a variety of cuisines within Mysore as well.   Free Day – Bangalore Picture Credit – www.excitingindia.in Your final day will be spent in Bangalore where you can kick back and relax – and get some shopping done too. You can head over to Brigade Road, MG Road or Collage just to name a few which are some great shopping spots. Muslim-friendly travel to south India will be much easier with this helpful South Indian travel itinerary - and you won’t miss out on the best spots or attractions to visit.   ...



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    Nabilimran

    I found this mosque