We all have the nomad gene - travel is something rooted deep within us. The best way to travel is to travel solo! Most girls are used to travelling in groups, with their friends or family, but travelling alone means a whole lot more – it’s an experience. Exploring another country or city alone may be daunting, however, there’s a whole world of possibilities out there; you will see a whole other side to you! Going solo also means you can have your own personalized adventure! May it be the bustling streets of Melbourne
or the serene beaches of Bali
; your adventure is just around the corner. Here are the best solo travel destinations for 2018!
1. Penang Island, Malaysia
Picture Credit - www.thousandwonders.net
Brimming with colonial charm, you are bound to get lost in its maze of colourful streets. Trishaws, old Chinese shops, a burgeoning art scene and fun-filled carnivals – Penang is the old and the new coexisting in harmony.
is an eclectic mix of modern day high rise buildings and Indian-raj era architecture – a scattering of Chinese temples in Little India and Mosques
in Chinatown. The idea is to get lost in this kaleidoscope of colors and smells and enjoy the abundant Halal eateries which are budget friendly! Make a note to drop by the magnificent Blue Mansion.
Spend a day at Malaysia’s smallest national park – the Penang National Park. You can take part in a multitude of activities
like jungle walks and enjoying the sunny beach. A visit to the majestic Kek Lok Si Temple is a must when in Penang; it’s the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia.
2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is a thrill seekers paradise and will definitely full fill your thirst for adventure. Be it dessert safaris or a wild shopping trip, Dubai is the one stop shop! Dubai is fearless and fast-paced, but sophisticated at the same time.
Dubai offers a variety of activities, be it a Falcons eye view from the Burj Kalifa
, a thrill ride at Ferrari World, or a stroll through the Gold Souq. It is also a foodie’s dream
, every cuisine available and most restaurants are Halal!
Dune bashing in the desert is a must for you adrenaline junkies out there - end the night with a 1001 Arabian Nights style Bedouin dinner by a fire. Don’t forget to visit the Al Fahidi Historic District, its labyrinthine lanes are lined with museums, craft shops, art galleries, and cafes. Make a trip to its many malls and shopping complexes
, especially the Dubai Mall – the world’s largest mall, comprising of 1200 stores, 150 food outlets, ice rink and aquarium, dinosaur skeleton and, indoor theme parks.
Dubai is an Islamic state; therefore there are plenty of Mosques that can be visited. The most photographed Mosque is the Jumeirah Mosque
, it deserves a definite visit.
3. Melbourne, Australia
If you are the artsy type, Melbourne is the city for you! It’s stylish and cosmopolitan and has long since been the epicentre of all things hipster. The best way to experience Melbourne is as a local. Take a walk down its many streets and absorb the multicultural atmosphere as well as its contemporary art scene. Made up of a mix of art-deco and modern architecture, it gives the feel of New York.
Food and coffee are the main part of their bohemian subculture, so make sure to try out trendy eateries in the area. Feeling like Italian – head to Lygon Street, if you are craving Middle-eastern cuisine Brunswick is where you’ll find it, and if it’s good old Chinese you want to head over to Chinatown.
Due to its multi-ethnic community, there’s plenty of Halal friendly restaurants to choose from, as well as a few Mosques and prayer rooms
around the area, namely the City Mosque at Jeffcott Street and the Brunswick Prayer Room at the Islamic Centre of Australia. Also, don’t forget to hug a Koala before leaving!
4. Kyoto, Japan
Mysterious and oh so Zen, Kyoto
is definitely a dream destination. It’s a great place to explore solo, with museums, palaces and Zen gardens. The month of April is the best time to witness the cherry blossoms, an absolute must whilst in Japan. One of the best spots to view the cherry blossoms is at the Philosopher’s Path, it is approximately 2 Km long and is located in the Higashiyama district.
Pay a visit to the historic Kyoto Imperial Palace;
you don’t need to make prior arrangements with a tour guide (Although English language tours are available). You can explore its gardens and outdoor premises and get a glimpse into the lives of ancient Japanese royalty. Head over to Gion during an evening. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a Geisha (Geiko) rushing down an alleyway, and get transported back in time. Gion was the Geisha district of Kyoto, Geisha is a long since misunderstood profession - they are artisans shrouded in mystery. Make Gion a definite visit to learn more about the mysterious Geisha.
Definitely, add Kyoto Railway Museum to your list of places to see in Kyoto. The museum showcases retired locomotives, as well as a restored old Nijo station. The Kyoto Manga Museum is an absolute delight to visit as well, with a collection of over 300,000 comics and manga-related exhibits.
Most travellers may question the availability of Halal restaurants; fear not, your dreams of travelling to Japan are not over! Kyoto has a number of restaurants that serve Halal food
, a quick search on the net and you can easily locate these restaurants. Kyoto also offers prayer facilities at the Masjid Kyoto and Islamic Cultural Center
5. Bali, Indonesia
has it all, relaxation, adventure and spirituality. It’s a magical landscape that boasts of serene beaches and ancient temples, with friendly locals. A must do in Bali is to go for a hike on Mount Batur situated in Kintamani, and be rewarded with a stunning bird’s eye view of the beautiful region.
Another attraction is the famous Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, located on a cliff, overlooking the sea. You will be joined by some sneaky monkeys (Macaques) who dwell in the temple premises. You can find some good Halal food in Bali
, with a range of high-end restaurants to good ol’ street food.
Due to 12% of the population being Muslim, you can easily find a Mosque in Bali. Finish off your trip to Bali with a visit to Jimbaran, a quaint fishing village with a secluded beach, and reflect on your experiences there while enjoying an unforgettable sunset.
6. Istanbul, Turkey
Beautiful and rich with culture, it is where the West meets the East. Istanbul
is a cultural hub as many great civilizations fought for its rule. Being the last stop of the Silk Road the city attracted many merchants from all over Asia in the past, making it rich with culture and heritage. All of this adds to the charm of Istanbul
Istanbul is famous for its architecture, namely mosaics and frescoes as well as the elegant arches that adorn the many palaces, mosques and churches. The Topkapi Palace is a must-see, with its opulent pavilions, bejewelled Treasury and expansive Harem, which gives a glimpse into the lives of the many Sultans that inhabited the Palace.
The Aya Sofya, once a grand church which was converted into a Mosque and now stands as a museum is the best example of Turkish architecture. Make sure to visit the Blue Mosque, known by this unofficial name due to the blue Iznik tiles that adorn its interior. Drop in at the Basilica Cistern which is an underground palace. It is a great spot to hide away from the summer heat.
The famous grand bazaar of Istanbul
will definitely be the highlight of your trip. It’s a mix of sights, sounds, and smells and will entice your senses. Drink lots of tea, learn the art of bargaining and make sure to taste some famous Turkish delicacies!
Because Turkey is a dominantly Muslim country you don’t have to worry about finding Halal friendly restaurants and, Mosques in Istanbul as there’s plenty. Just enjoy your time in this magnificent city.
7. Basque Country, Spain
Picture Credit - www.travelblog.viator.com
Basque country has long been an unexplored travel location; however, things are fast changing. This is a beautiful region located between northern Spain
and southern France; it has a rich cultural history and is made up of different ethnicities. It’s a mix of quaint little villages, cosmopolitan cities and amazing natural landscapes.
Basque country is all about indulging your senses, it boasts a world-class cuisine, but don’t worry there are many Halal options to choose from so you won’t be missing out on any of that good food.
Art and architecture play a key role in Basque country tourism so don’t forget to visit the Museo de Bellas Artes which showcases classical art by Goya as well as contemporary art. The Guggenheim Museum is a must visit more for its stunning architecture than its contents - it is one of modern architecture’s most iconic buildings.
Be sure to visit La Concha Bay in San Sebastian, it is a seaside metropolis. Many festivals and activities take place throughout the year, and the best way to get around is by bicycle. So wear some shades, hop on a bicycle and explore the city and what it has to offer.
Basque country is home to a few Mosques and prayer facilities. One of the most well-known Mosques is the Mezquita Asslam.
Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Basque Country
8. Valetta, Republic of Malta
Picture Credit - www.timesofmalta.com
is part of an archipelago, located in the Mediterranean Sea. An enchanting island with a rich history, otherworldly landscape, and elegant architecture - it is sure to leave you spellbound! Fun fact - the successful HBO TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ was filmed in several locations in Malta!
It’s small but mighty capital - Valletta - was built by the 16th-century Knights of St John, and has been described by Unesco as “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world”. It is also the European Capital of Culture for 2018, so don’t miss out on this great city. Valletta is a must see for the art and history buff.
It may be tiny but it boasts of some amazing tourist attractions. Stepping into the Grand Masters Palace is equivalent to stepping into a time machine and going to the past. Corridors lined with Knight’s armor and weapons, rich interior covers the insides of this majestic establishment. Five rooms of state are open to the public, while the rest are closed off due to the palace being the official residence of the president of Malta.
St John’s Co-Cathedral was built in the 16th century; a baroque style revamp was made in the 17th century. The cathedral contains two paintings by Caravaggio. However, the most treasured work of art is the large scale painting of John the Baptist.
Want to feel like Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider, then paying a visit to the prehistoric Hal Salfieni Hypogeum and Tarxien Temples is a must. It may be eerie but it is definitely worth it! The upper Barrakka Gardens is a great spot to retreat to from the bustle of the city – the balcony offers a stunning view of Malta.
So, is Malta Halal friendly? You are in luck, it is! Malta has a minority of Muslims, and there’s a variety of Halal restaurants
to choose from due to their cuisines being influenced by Moroccan and Turkish cultures to name a few. Malta has one Mosque, the Islamic Centre of Paola. Also, don’t forget to enjoy those warm, crystal clear waters!
9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is a treasure trove of museums, cafes, art and music. Amsterdam may be the best Halal friendly city to visit in Europe
after Turkey, so if you are looking for a chilled atmosphere full of beautiful sights, Amsterdam should take a spot on your 2018 travel list.
is made up of tiny lanes that pass the canal; a leisurely stroll through the city could introduce you to a tiny vintage shop, a cosy café or even a bookstore. You can explore the countless art galleries such as the Van Gogh Gallery, and museums like the Anne Frank house. The Rijksmueum art gallery is a worthy visit as well, housing works by Vermeer and Rembrandts.
You can explore the many restaurants in the city, there’s a wide range of Halal restaurants in the area. Therefore, your options are not limited. You can take a Canal cruise through the city’s waterways or take a bike ride.
There are several Mosques scattered around the city, and it’s not difficult to reach any of them. The most notable being the El-Thaweeb Mosque. The Mosques can easily be located by doing a quick search on the net or asking a local or the front desk of your hotel/hostel.
Last but definitely not least, your bonus destination!
10. Chefchaouen (The Blue City), Morocco
Famously known by its unofficial name - The Blue City – is a city of powder blue and white buildings tucked away in the Rif Mountains. A mesmerizing destination
that’s sure to stick with you for a long time to come. Built in the 15th century as a Moorish Fortress for Spanish Exiles, the city grew through the centuries accepting Jews and Catholics.
The blue walls of the city are due to a religious choice and not a stylistic choice, Jews believed that the color would remind people of the power of God and to this day the tradition of painting the walls blue has remained the same.
Offering picturesque views, a variety of activities are at your disposal - nature treks that pass through lush green forests and streams, you can spend your nights stargazing under the cloudless skies, and you can even explore the mountainous terrain by taking a mule ride.
Chefchaouen is a foodie’s paradise as the Moroccan cuisine is dynamic and full of flavour. The signature dish is the Tagine – popular amongst tourists and locals alike - consisting of meat, vegetables, spices and oil served on couscous, deserves a taste. End your meal with a steaming cup of mint tea, which is a staple of the Moroccan lifestyle. The food served is Halal, so there are no restrictions - enjoy all of it!
Head over to the quaint but colorful Medina where you can buy little trinkets, carpets, shawls and slippers. Haggling is the game here, so make sure you get a good deal on your purchase. The Grand Mosque of Chefchaouen is located within the Medina, however it is only accessible to the male Muslim community.
Travelling solo as a female is a compelling experience and certain factors come into play but these cities are safe and who knows, you may make some great friends along the way! These destinations
will definitely add to the magic of your journey. So pack those bags and book those flights for 2018 and travel!
Find nearby prayer places and Mosques in Amsterdam