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New York, USA



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Halal Assurance

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111-04 Liberty Ave,South Richmond Hill


718- 322-5600

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

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

  • Art Junkies, Boy Do We Have Good News For You!

    Are you a travel junkie with the soul of an art lover? Then this list of top ten art destinations is curated just for you!Fulfill your travel and art dreams by planning a trip to an art destination which can offer the best of both worlds. If you love contemporary art, modern art or a classical art, this list has got you covered so keep reading!   1. Paris, France Credit: Pexels Home to the most famous art museums and galleries like the Louvre Museum, this city is a must-visit for any art enthusiast. The Louvre has been romanticised by the likes of Kanye to Lorde to countless films and documentaries, so why not be a part of its pop culture history? It houses the world famous Mona Lisa by the Master Leonardo Da Vinci as well as other masterpieces. The Louvre was once a royal fortress and was turned into a Museum in the 1700s and now, it displays around 35,000 art pieces. Be sure to drop by the Musée d’Orsay, it has the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-impressionist art in the world. The Museum has been showcasing art since the 1800s and houses works by prominent French artists such as Van Gogh, Cézanne and many more. If you are more of a Contemporary arts patron, check out the Modus Art Gallery, Yvon Lambert, Galerie Xippas, and La Maison Rouge. If you are looking for a more authentic experience, minus the queues and tickets head over to Bellville neighbourhood which is home to a collection of street art and graffiti.   2. Berlin, Germany Credit: Pexels A city with a controversial political history, this city is now one of the most popular art destinations in the world! Home to the longest open-air street art gallery in the world - the Berlin Wall. A part of it can be found in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district. The city is an ever-changing landscape with urban buildings co-existing with Gothic architecture. Berlin is intriguing, unique and will leave you with a sense of giddy wonder and excitement. The city’s busiest spot is the East Side Gallery, which is 1000 metres of kaleidoscopic murals. However, if you want to avoid the more touristy areas, it is not difficult to find world-class street art around the city. Every neighbourhood has its own unique art identity and you can find art adorning every wall, door, and roof, a great place to start would be at Kreuzberg. Street art is a crucial part of its history and a great example of how it is not condemned and has managed to persevere and survive in one of the world’s most famous cities. If you are looking for a more museum or gallery art setting, look no further than Museuminsel or Museum Island – and it lives up to its namesake. A whole island situated in the centre of the city is dedicated to art galleries and museums. It is home to five world-renowned museums. The Alte Nationalgalerie houses works by greats like Monet, Renoir and Manet. The Neues Museum showcases Egyptian art, while the Altes Museum is home to the largest collection of Etruscan art outside of Italy!   3. New York City, USA Credit: @metmuseum on Instagram The city that never sleeps is home to some of the world’s famous Museums: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and MoMA. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was famously referred to as the MET as it hosted one of the fashion world’s most flamboyant events – the Met Gala. Every year, the Costume Institute holds an exhibit at the Met Gala with a huge fundraising event opening the exhibit . Thus, this place is a must-visit for any fashion lover. The Guggenheim Museum has appeared in many postcards and been the backdrop for many TV shows and films throughout the years. This museum houses artwork by Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Kadinsky, as well as paintings by Monet, Van Gogh and Degas and photography by Robert Mapplethorpe. The MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) houses the best Modern art world. It houses works by Andy Warhol, Frida Khalo and Monet to name a few. However, you don’t always have to visit the world best museums to see the best of Contemporary art; you can also visit other numerous art galleries within the state, especially at Chelsea, Tribeca, SoHo and Lower East Side to witness amazing artwork. You can experience a more immersive art scene in Bushwick, Brooklyn, for interesting street art and have one-on-one sessions with the artists themselves.   4. Miami, USA Credit: @wynwoodartsdistrict on Instagram The USA’s second contender on this list - This vibrant seaside city has a lot to offer for everyone, especially art lovers. Miami boasts an energetic art scene that can be best experienced through one of the world’s most prestigious art fairs: Art Basel. The city also has a whole district dedicated to the arts (Wynwood Arts District) and this houses over 30 contemporary art spaces and studios! You can even enjoy a street art tour at the Wynwood Art Walk Block Party. If you want to witness the best Modern and Contemporary art that Miami has to give, head on over to the Perez Art Museum.   5. Tokyo, Japan Credit: @moriartmuseum on InstagramA city where the traditional co-exists with the Modern, it is definitely an exciting place to visit. You will find a myriad of galleries scattered across this fast-paced city, in between its skyscrapers, old houses and back streets. In an old, traditional Japanese neighbourhood lined up with wooden houses and temples, you can find SCAI The Bathhouse, one of Tokyo’s most prestigious contemporary art galleries. As its name suggests this was once a bathhouse and has been standing for 200 years. It has housed works by prominent artists such as Anish Kapoor and Tadanori Yokoo. If you are looking for a little more thrill, head to the skyscraper where Mori Art Museum resides at the 54th storey. The museum once exhibited the world famous polka dot art of Yayoi Kusama.   6. Florence, Italy Credit: Pexels Every Renaissance art fan should definitely visit Florence, home of some of the pioneers of the movement. Florence is home to the famous Uffizi Gallery which houses the vast art collection of the infamous Medici family, along with works by the masters like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Giotto, Botticelli and more. Be sure to pay a visit to the Accademia Gallery to witness Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the world famous David sculpture. If you want a taste of authentic Contemporary Italian art, head over to the Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, which is also known as the “Anti-Uffizi”.   7. Barcelona, Spain Credit: @museupicasso on Instagram Home to the Museu Picasso, which houses the biggest Pablo Picasso collections in the world, it is a must visit for any avid fan of Cubism or art in general. Apart from the Picasso Musuem, Barcelona has a lot more to offer in the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles. You can find them displayed at the Museu Nacional d’Art. Also, don’t forget to check out the fantastical architectural designs of Gaudi, a Master of Catalan Modernism.   8. London, United Kingdom Credit: Pixabay An eclectic mix of art styles and movements, London will keep you enthralled till the very end. You can find the likes of classics such as Van Gogh at the National Gallery, for Modernism head to the Tate Modern, which houses works by Warhol and Picasso. You can find more Contemporary art pieces at the Saatchi Gallery. If you are more of a street art fanatic look no further than Shoreditch, a creative inner city district located at East End. The streets are adorned with some of the most impressive street art in the city, for a more in depth experience take part in the Alternative London Walking Tour, hosted by local street artist and creatives.   9. Beijing, China Credit: Pixabay Beijing may seem like an unlikely place to visit for art but this city actually has a burgeoning art scene. Since the recent contemporary art boom, most of the city’s art scene can be found at 798 Art District. Industrial buildings in the district have been converted into contemporary art spaces and open-air installations. Art forms presented there consist of photos, sculptures and fashion design. If you are an avid lover of traditional Chinese art, then the Poly Art Museum is for you as it features ancient bronze works from the Shang and Zhou dynasties!   10. Singapore Credit: @singaporeartmuseum on Instagram Singapore is well-known as being a financial hub. However, it boasts an impressive art scene. Singapore has two prominent up and coming art museums, namely the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Singapore Art Museum. The National Gallery Singapore houses the world’s largest collection of Singaporean and South Asian art, thus giving the South Asian art world an international platform. Indeed, Singapore is teemed with art, which can be easily found as you take a stroll around the city. Check out Haji Lane for example and witness all kinds of colourful street art which adorn old buildings. You can also witness stunning public sculptures such as Homage to Newton by Salvador Dali at the UOB Plaza and First Generation by Chong Fah Cheong near Cavenagh Bridge.   Undoubtedly, art and travel go hand in hand so what are you waiting for? Add all these art destinations to your bucket list and get inspired to create art of your own!...

  • It's Time To Welcome 2019! Here Are 17 Destinations For Your New Year Celebrations!

    If you haven’t already gotten into planning mode, now is the perfect time. As December dawns, you must be wondering where to spend the New Year’s Eve. We have curated a list of 17 destinations that comprises of the most popular, attractive and liveliest of places around the world for you to welcome 2019! 10 Muslim-friendly destinations to visit in 2019 The U.S.A. When you hear about a New Year celebration in the USA, the first thing that pops up in your mind must be the iconic Miley Cyrus song. Eventhough America is known for their wild parties, we’re giving you a list of places that won’t make you feel terrible the next morning. Here are the best places to go on New Year's Eve in the USA. 1) San Francisco Surprised to see this on the list? Besides the regular fireworks displays, San Francisco is made up of very multi-cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It would be an eye-opening experience when you to wander around the different neighbourhoods and have the option to celebrate New Year's whichever way you like. 2) Chicago Most of their top hotels have special New Year’s Eve packages. You can also opt for a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan. Even though it might be very expensive, it is one of the best ways to watch the firework displays. 3) Orlando If you’re travelling with your family, what better place to spend New Year’s Eve than at the wonderful Disneyland Florida?! They have some of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations with Disney characters that starts at 8pm. You know your kids will love you for giving them the celebration of their lifetime! It is ranges from parades, performances and pageants galore! 4) New York City Well, You knew this would be on the list, didn’t you? Well, how could it not?! Possibly the most vibrant place in the world during New Year's Eve! This is where you can witness the iconic ball drop at the New York Times Square together with thousands of others. Need we say more? Europe Tour Here are the best places to spend New Year’s in Europe! 5) Barcelona, Spain Besides the usual revelry, you can ring in the New Year in a more traditional way – Spanish style, that is. In Plaça d’Espanya, the celebrations are centred around the Magic Fountain that looks incredible on a normal day, let alone when it is dressed up for a special event. Be prepared for a spectacular light show with music and special effects. 6) Rome, Italy First, pinch yourself because the beauty of Italy will make you feel like you're in a fairytale dream. You will find yourself staring at historical monuments that were built thousands of years ago. Second, have a feel of its rich history by having a ‘cenone’, which is a big dinner that you can have at a restaurant or at a friend’s house. That’s how the Italian tradition of ringing in the New Year begins. Then, head to the biggest celebration in town at the Piazza del Popolo. Take your own fireworks if you can get your hands on some and have a blast– it’s all in the experience! Of course, the city does put on its own professional display as well. 7) Venice, Italy What you can’t find in Rome are the plentiful Gondolas floating on the rivers that make Venice what it is. Imagine spending a peaceful night on a gondola by yourself or with a loved one, hidden in the fog, waiting for the light from the fireworks to cut through it. You can also join the huge crowd in Piazza San Marco as you count down the seconds until 2019 arrives. 8) Prague, Czech Republic Prague is a very popular city, to say the least. Imagine starting your New Year in such a magical place. Such a picturesque old town deserves some celebration. There is no specific place where everyone would gather so take a walk around and decide which part you want to revel in. Charles Bridge offers the best vantage point for the firework display set against castles and the river. 9) Paris, France Looking for a more romantic destination to spend your New Year’s Eve? Nothing beats Paris! With the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop, your photos will look as though it was straight out of a movie. If you desire for something even more romantic than watching the fireworks by the Eiffel Tower, you can bring your partner to a luxurious dinner at one of the few high-class muslim-friendly restaurants in town as you welcome the new year. Off the Beaten Path If big celebrations and crowded cities are not what you are looking for, fly off to the less travelled destinations and have a more unconventional New Year’s Eve. These are the more relaxing destinations for New Year's: 10) Iceland You can alway end the year without any fireworks if you want. An alternative would be heading north in Iceland to watch the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis. What's a better light display than a stunning natural one? 11) The Caribbean If just the thought of cold weather makes you shudder, and you can’t quite make up your mind on where you want to go, why not take a cruise to The Caribbean? If money is not a problem, you can go island-hopping and experience different food and cultures. At the end of the night, or should I say the year, you can just chill in the sand while enjoying the breeze. 12) Tasmania Known for their incredible rustic beauty, Tasmania is the perfect place to hike around if you’re an adventure junkie and want to start your New Year fit. If you need a hit of adrenalin as well, you can go white water rafting on the Franklin River. Best Places to Travel in 2019 Want to ring in the New Year right? According to experts, these are some of the top destinations to visit in 2019, so why not get a head start on them? 13) Dubai A whole category in itself, Dubai is iconic in its firework displays. It's New Year’s Eve show has constantly been one the most spectacular ones in the world for a few years now. Crowds gather from many hours ahead to watch the Burj Khalifa light show and fireworks, but if you don’t want to get caught in the stampede, the beach is the best option. Have dinner at any one of the malls or restaurants nearby before heading to the beach, or pack up a little picnic to keep yourselves full. The weather in December can be a bit chilly by the seaside – even though you’re close to the desert – so bundle up a bit. The firework display that is visible from the beach may not be the Burj Khalifa display, but Atlantis and The Palm put up some breath-taking shows as well. 14) Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhagen has always been a tourist spot but the city is constantly developing. 2019 is definitely a great year to travel to this state now that more attractions are available. In addition to the perfect balance between their old and new architecture, the growing food industry gives you a solid reason to visit Copenhagen. 15) Shenzhen, China Picture: The Independent Everyone knows how popular China is as a tourist destination. Shenzhen is said to be the Silicon Valley of this famous country, with its immense new technology. Besides its technological rise, it has also developed its arts scene in line with the likes of London. You might be happy to know that it has a wide range of new cafes and spots to hang out as well. 16) Mexico City, Mexico A country steeped in their history and culture makes for a beautiful city architecturally. Mexico City won the award for The World Design Capital in 2018 – a nod to the way centuries-old buildings worked so well with modern structures. 17) Zadar, Croatia On the coast of Croatia lies a city that has taken its horrific past and used it to turn into the strong cosmopolitan city it is today. The ancient Roman ruins and buildings are reminders of what was, while its biggest attraction – the waterfront promenade – is a representation of what can be. As the locals gather at the promenade, be drawn into the culture of this small city. If you didn’t have any exciting plans for the New Year’s Eve, we hope this list inspired you to get moving now. If you take us up on any of our suggestions, or even if you decide to do something completely different, do tell us about your travel adventures via our HalalTrip App!  HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE! Get inspirations for your 2019 vacations...

  • 5 Halal Restaurants Everyone Ought To Know In Atlanta

    Known as the capital of the South, Atlanta has much to offer to every traveler. A vast region within the state of Georgia, it is a fast-growing city rich in culture and history, with lush nature amongst suburbanization and a touch of Hollywood (hugely famous for film-production), this metroplex should be a must visit! Atlanta may be moving away from the traditional Southern culture, however, Southern hospitality is one thing they still stay true to. The city is a multicultural metroplex with a diverse social scene – boasting world-class museums as well as theatre and arts venues. Food plays a vital part in Atlanta – may it be classic Southern-style cooking, innovative New American restaurants or ethnic joints, it has something for everyone – a true foodie’s paradise! Worried about not being able to find Halal food in Atlanta? Do not fret! The city has a population of 75,000 Muslims, which makes it the 6th largest proportion of Muslims in the US. This means finding Muslim friendly food in Atlanta will be an easy task! There are many great restaurants and eateries in Atlanta which serve Halal-friendly fare, here are 5 Halal restaurants in Atlanta that you must try! 1. Urban Taali Picture Credit: Urban Taali Facebook Starting off with a restaurant that is quintessentially American – both a food truck and a restaurant – Urban Taali is a venture by four friends who began their culinary journey in Eid 2013. Serving up classic American dishes which are Halal friendly, Urban Taali will make sure you don’t miss out on an all-around American experience when in Atlanta. Their Atlanta-inspired dishes will not disappoint, like the 5 point philly cheese steak, piedmont grilled cheese and perimeter veggie wrap. If it’s burgers, wraps or philly steaks, Urban Taali is the place to get it! Opening hours: 11AM to 10PM (Mondays to Fridays)                          12PM to 10PM (Saturdays & Sundays)Address: 3099 Breckinridge Blvd Suite 209B, Duluth, GA 30096, USAContact: 404 940 4034Email: info@urbantaali.comWebsite: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter  2. The Halal Guys Picture Credit: The Halal Guys Facebook This restaurant had humble beginnings as a dog-cart selling chicken and gyro over rice to Muslim cab drivers in New York City - 25 years later it is a world-renowned restaurant chain! The true American Dream! The Halal Guys are the pioneers of American Halal food and therefore a must try. Like any street food joint, they have a simple menu which includes sandwiches or platters - with options like chicken, beef or a combo of gyro meat and chicken served with their signature white and red sauces. They also serve sides such as baba ganouj, hummus, and the American staple – fries. For dessert, they serve everyone’s favourite Middle Eastern dessert – Baklava. The line can be quite long but it is definitely worth the wait! Opening hours: 11AM to 11PM (Sundays to Thursdays)                          11AM to 1AM (Fridays & Saturdays)Address: 4929 Buford Hwy NE, Chamblee, USAContact: 470-268-8481Website: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 3. The Cedar Cafe Cedar’s Cafe specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine. Their dishes are prepared with the best seasonal ingredients to provide you with an authentic and flavourful experience. They also serve American favourites such as burgers and pizza! Don’t forget to try their desserts, they highly recommend their Palestinian kunafah, which is guaranteed to excite your taste buds! With a great ambience and a menu with a wide variety, Cedar’s Cafe will not disappoint. Opening hours: 11AM to 9PM (Mondays to Thursdays)                          11AM to 10PM (Fridays & Saturdays)                          11AM to 8PM (Sundays)Address: 1497 Alpharetta Hwy, Alpharetta GA-30009, USAContact: 678 404 7558Website: Facebook | Instagram  4. Poppin Pita Poppin Pita first opened its doors in 2015 and specializes in Mediterranean fare. Their menu includes classic Mediterranean dishes such as falafel and kebab but also serves some innovative fusion food like shawarma quesadillas and falafel sliders! With its refreshing interior and outdoor dining options, this restaurant will not let you down! Opening hours: 11AM to 12AM (Sundays to Thursdays)                          11AM to 2AM (Fridays & Saturdays)Address: 420 14th St NW #100b, Atlanta, GA 30318Contact:(404) 994-7850Email: abed@poppinpitagrill.comWebsite: Facebook | Twitter 5. Bismillah Cafe Picture Credit: Bismillah Cafe Facebook You can never go wrong with Indian cuisine and Bismillah Cafe serves up some wholesome dishes. Some of the popular items on their Halal menu are chicken shawarma biryani, gyro biryani, and Kebab burgers. You can also “Skip the line, order online”, according to their website and enjoy your food in the comfort of your own room. Opening hours: 11AM to 10.30PM (Mondays to Sundays)Address: 4022, Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30345, USAContact: 404-634-5955Website: Now that you know what restaurants to go to, you may want to know the easiest way to locate them, and that’s with the Halal Trip App! Use the Nearby Halal Food Finder feature to easily locate Muslim friendly restaurants in Atlanta!...

  • 7 Things to Do in Pettah, Sri Lanka

    Pettah is one of the oldest districts in Colombo. A bustling multi-ethnic bazaar, it has many tales to tell. If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka, be sure to add Pettah on your list of places to visit! Sri Lanka may be famous for its beaches, but the commercial capital, Colombo, can be just as exciting. As one of the main attractions in the area, Pettah is a chaotic kaleidoscope of shops, people, and tuk-tuks whizzing about. Religions and cultures live together in peace in this one city - the majority of the population is made up of Muslims, with Sinhalese and Tamils making up the remainder, and all manner of Sri Lankan cuisines served in restaurants and street food stalls. You can purchase just about anything in Pettah, ranging from kitchen appliances, to gold, to fabric! A little fun fact: Pettah was built on a grid system similar to that of New York City.   Check out our Colombo city guide Find a Mosque near you in Colombo   So without further ado, here are the top 7 things to do when in Pettah.   1. Pettah Market (Manning Market) Picture Credit - Bernard Gagnon, Pettah market, also known as Manning market, is the busiest place in Pettah, and the largest market. It is a network of labyrinthine lanes and alleys lined with stalls and stores, selling jewellery, vegetables, meat, clothing and household appliances. Each street is dedicated to different trades; Sea Street is one of the most recognisable – it is the gold souk of Pettah. A predominant population of immigrant Tamil merchants run these shops which specialise in the trade of gold and jewels. All stores have competitive prices; remember to haggle in order to get a good deal. Pettah market is the heart of the district; it is a living, breathing organism, almost like a microcosm of the whole Sri Lanka. It’s a riot of sights and sounds, which can be overwhelming at first, but it leaves you in wonder and excitement.   2. Foodie's Paradise Picture Credit - Ruocaled, Pettah is full of all types of eateries and finding Halal friendly food will not be difficult as most food served in the area is Halal certified due to having a higher population of Muslims. Its streets are full of restaurants serving some good Sri Lankan dishes which are bursting with flavour. A must try in Sri Lanka is its most famous street food - Kotthu – made up of chopped up roti, mixed with meat or vegetables and egg, a little similar to fried rice, except that roti makes up for the carbohydrate component. The dish is prepared in quite a peculiar way – the cook chops the roti using two stainless steel blades to a rhythm – it’s a meal with a show! Other options include string hoppers, a type of steamed rice flour noodle, which can be eaten with a variety of curries rich in spice. You can also find south Indian cuisine, as there are many restaurants scattered throughout the city. You can snack on some Sri Lankan pickle – achcharu – there are many types prepared from a variety of vegetables and fruits. Try local fruits like the woodapple, they can be found in the market area, it is both sweet and sour with a hard shell. Drink a king coconut in the shade to quench your thirst and get some relief from the heat, coconut vendors can be found in every corner of Pettah. You can find numerous shops and restaurants that serve local sweet meats, such as pani walalu.   3. Wolvendaal Church (Christian Reformed Church) Picture Credit - A testament to colonial architecture, the church is one of the oldest functioning Protestant churches in the island, services are held in Tamil and English every Sunday. The church was completed in 1757, the area in which the church was built on was called Wolvendaal due to the colonists mistaking the Jackals for wolves – Wolvendaal means ‘Dale of Wolves’. The architecture of the church follows the Doric style, set in the shape of a Greek cross. The walls are nearly 1.5m thick; it is constructed of large kabok (clay iron stone), coral and lime plaster. The walls are adorned with mural tablets and some tombstones reside within and outside the church. The church can house 1000 people. Address: Wolfendhal Lane, ColomboContact: +94 77 997 6295Open hours: Daylight hoursEntrance fee: FreeWebsite:  Facebook   4. Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque (Red Mosque) Picture Credit - McKay Savage, An iconic landmark, the building is one of Colombo’s oldest Mosques. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, which is a combination of Gothic revival, Neo-Classical and Indo-Islamic design elements. The unique red and white structure stands out from the surrounding offices and shops. Long before other iconic structures were built, the Masjid once served as a landmark for sailors coming into port. The construction of the Mosque was commissioned by the Muslim community of Pettah at the time – the Javanese, Malaysians, Indian and Arab traders. The construction commenced in 1908 and was completed in 1909; the mosque was designed by Habibu Saibu Labbe, who was inspired by Victorian architecture. The Domes were inspired by the pomegranate fruit, thus giving the Mosque its iconic colour – Red. The initial structure was two storeyed with a clock tower accompanying it, it has now been expanded and can house up ro 10, 000 devotees. This magnificent Mosque is a must-visit when in Pettah. Address: No. 228, Second Cross Street, 11, ColomboContact: +94 112 451 975Website: Facebook | Instagram   5. The Khan Clock Tower Picture Credit - Jorge Láscar, The Khan Clock Tower is probably Pettah’s most iconic landmark, built in the 20th century by the Khan family of Bombay. It marks the entrance of the famed Pettah Market. The prestigious Khan family is also famous for owning the Colombo Oil Mills and many other significant businesses in Colombo. The clock tower was commissioned by Bhikhajee and Munchershaw Framjee Khan to honour their father – Framjee Bhikajee Khan. The tower is roughly four storeys high and originally functioned as a water fountain that is no longer present. Today, the Clock Tower stands as a symbol of the nation’s multi-cultural history. Address: 136, Main Street, Colombo   6. The Dutch Period Museum Picture credit - The only other Dutch-era building in Pettah, the museum played host as the official residence of Thomas Van Rhee, the Governor of Dutch Ceylon (Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon in that era) between the years of 1692-1697. The 17th century building later served as an army hospital, a police training center and a post office. It was finally reopened in 1977 as the Dutch Museum by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The museum gives its a visitors a glimpse into the lives of its previous occupants, and houses Dutch artefacts, as well as a beautiful courtyard with a single cinnamon tree standing in the centre, a testament to the reason why the Dutch first arrived in Sri Lanka – the cinnamon trade. Address: Prince Street, Colombo 11Opening hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm Tuesday to Saturday, Closed on Sundays and Mondays. Opening hours might vary during Good Friday.Contact: +94 112 448 466Website:    7. Kayman’s Gate Picture Credit  - Dan Arndt, This free-standing bell tower has many tales behind it. It used to mark the entrance to the Fort located at the foot of Wolvendaal Hill. The Beira lake was home to Mugger crocodiles that would arrive at the moat to eat rubbish that was thrown by people within the fort, hence the name for the bell tower – Kaaiman is the dutch term for crocodile. The bell tower has served many purposes - from being an execution site to the signalling of curfew hours during the Dutch occupation. The bell originally hung in a Portuguese Church dedicated to Saint Francis in Kotte, and was occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century. During Dutch rule, the bell was transferred to Pettah and hung at Kayman’s gate. After the demolition of the Fort's walls, the bell became the property of the Wolvendaal church and was used to summon devotees to prayer. Address: 4th Cross Street, Colombo 11   Pettah is Colombo’s most historically rich area. This was the gateway for most trade in the country, and it still is, to this day. The streets are congested with traffic and people, everyone going about their business in the din of the city but this is what adds to the old world charm of the place. If you are planning on purchasing any items, remember haggling is a language well spoken here! You can get just about anything in Pettah, and for very reasonable prices. Most stores are wholesale, so prices are very cheap – you're sure to find anything you can think of! Being home to all ethnicities in the country, Pettah is rich in culture and will be an exciting experience for any traveller. This city has a lot character and will be sure to make you snap all those moments – your instagram feed will be on fire! Remember not to overlook Colombo on your trip to Sri Lanka and plan a visit to Pettah. This is a place best explored on foot, so pack sunscreen, hats and water – because Pettah is after all, in sunny Sri Lanka! Find things to do in Colombo Check out our Colombo city guide Find a Mosque near you in Colombo Find a Halal Restaurant near you in Colombo Go on a Halal Trip with us!...

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