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  • Travel News Wrap: 26 October Week

    Qantas Plans for ‘Flight to Somewhere’ Image Credit: Fezbot2000 on Unsplash Carrying on with the theme of ‘flights to nowhere’ or ‘cruise to nowhere’ that has been ever so popular these days, Qantas has announced that they will be running a series of Scenic Getaway Flights. The first of these flights will take off from Sydney to Uluru on 5 December with 110 passengers on board. These flights will feature low-level flybys with Qantas even offering overnight stays at some of Australia’s most iconic spots. To make this a reality, Qantas has partnered with tourism operators to offer these flights to destinations that are beyond the domestic borders, making use of the opening of said domestic borders in Australia. Currently, the prices for the first Qantas Scenic Flight Getaway starts at AUD2499 per person and can be booked on   United Airlines Launches Free COVID-19 testing program Image Credit: Tim Gouw on Unsplash Starting from 16 November to 11 December, United Airlines will be offering free COVID-19 tests to its customers on select transatlantic flights. The flights in this program have been reported to be the flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow.  These tests will come in the form of Abbott Laboratories’ rapid molecular ID Now test which is said to take 15-20 minutes. The program is part of the effort of having COVID-19 testing as a replacement for the 14-day quarantines and restrictions that have badly affected the Airline Industry. Passengers from Newark, Liberty International Airport with a negative test result would still be subject to the United Kingdom’s quarantine requirements. This is not the first time United has run a program like this. Two weeks ago, United flights from San Francisco to Hawaii was also introduced with this program. Ever since its implementation, the number of people traveling has been reported to have doubled. For more information on the travel and safety requirements and regulations please refer to the respective authorities.   Singapore keen to setup Air Travel Bubble with Malaysia Image Credit: Muhammad Faiz Zulkeflee on Unsplash Having recently reached an agreement on the establishment of a bilateral Air Travel Bubble with Hong Kong, Singapore now set its sights to have a similar arrangement with its closest neighbor, Malaysia. Having implemented two travel arrangements with the Reciprocal Green Lane and the Periodic Communiting Arrangement, it looks like Singapore is waiting for the situation to improve in Malaysia before proceeding with the intended Air Travel Bubble. Although no timeline or dates have been set, it is nice to know that such an arrangement is currently being thought of. For more information on the travel and safety requirements and regulations please refer to the respective authorities.   Heathrow loses ‘Europe’s busiest Airport Image Credit: Nick Fewings on Unsplash Following recent numbers, Britain’s Heathrow Airport has been knocked off the title of being Europe’s Busiest Airport. With France’s Charles De Gaulle taking over the mantle. Heathrow saw 19 million passengers in the first nine months of 2020 as compared to 19.3 million passengers at Paris Charles De Gaulle. This has influenced a movement towards the intention to introduce COVID-19 testing for passengers from high-risk countries by 1 December 2020. Similar to the other testing regimes which are already operational in France’s Charles De Gaulle, Amsterdam’s Schipol and Frankfurt airports, all closely competing for the title of Europe’s busiest Airport. For more information on the travel and safety requirements and regulations please refer to the respective authorities.   Singapore to allow visitors from Victoria State, Australia Image Credit: Dylan Lu on Unsplash Singapore has lifted its border restrictions for visitors from Victoria state in Australia starting from midnight Friday, 6 November 2020. This will mean that all travelers who are not Singapore Citizens, PRs, and Long-term pass holders will benefit from this arrangement. From 12 PM today, 30 October, visitors can apply for the Air Travel Pass for entry into Singapore on or after 6 November. Applicants to this pass must have remained in Australia in the last 14 consecutive days prior to their entry to Singapore. Travelers will also be required to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival, if found negative, they will not be required to serve a stay-home notice. For more information on the travel and safety requirements and regulations please refer to the respective authorities.   Japan Eases Travel Restrictions to Australia, South Korea, and 7 other countries Image Credit: Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash Earlier today, 30 October, it has been reported that Japan will be easing travel curbs for Australia, South Korea, and seven other countries in the region. This is in line with their efforts to revive its economy in the midst of the global pandemic. Japan has also lowered the infection risk advisory level for Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, New Zealand, Brunei, and Vietnam from level three to level two. This means that Japanese citizens are allowed but are told to avoid non-urgent and non-essential trips to the said countries. As opposed to a total ban on travel to a group of countries. For more information on the travel and safety requirements and regulations please refer to the respective authorities....

  • Things To Do in Tokyo After the Pandemic

    Possibly one of the most fascinating and unique cities in the world, Tokyo is known for several reasons that either make it entirely loveable or slightly strange to the foreign eye. This city has a lot to offer and we have categorized some possible activities for your Tokyo adventure!   Crazy Cute Cafes  Animal cafes are the perfect place for a hot drink and a warm cuddle with pets. Tokyo has an array of choices based on your favourite animals. You can go for the classic cat and endearing dog cafes. These are priced as quality experiences because of the upkeep and care provided to the animals.  Temari no Ouchi, Cat Cafe Image Credit: Temari no Ouchi A unique cat cafe with decor like no other, the fun environment really allows you to watch the cats explore their environments. This place is extremely popular so make sure to reserve your place early! Address: 〒180-0004 Tōkyō, Musashino-shi, 吉祥寺本町Kichijōji Honchō, 2 Chome−13−14 Hours: 10am to 9pm Daily Fee: Y1200/60 min (no drinks) If you find reptiles, tortoises, and hedgehogs cute and prefer these funny friends over furry animals, then Tokyo’s cafe scene will not disappoint. An experience in Tokyo would not be complete without a trip to these utterly fascinating establishments. Tourists who do not consider themselves animal fans might even find themselves surprised by the fun and endearing experience these cafes can create. Harry Cafe, Hedgehog Cafe Image Credit: Harry Cafe  An extremely popular cafe, Harry is the first hedgehog cafe in the world! The staff at Harry encourage visitors to find their perfect hedgehog pair based on personalities and compatibility, making every experience unique. Address: Iwahori Building 2F, 6–7–2 Roppongi, Minato-ward, Tokyo Hours: 12pm to 8pm Daily (Last entry: 7.30pm)  Fee: 1400 yen~/30 min Owl Village Image Credit: Owl Village Harajuku In Japan, the owl has always been viewed as a symbol of good fortune and love. At Owl VIllage, owls are considered to exude healing and stress-relieving energy. This is a highly optimistic cafe to visit and the workers encourage positive experiences through various courses if a simple visit is not enough. Owl Village has branched out to three stores due to popular reaction and interest. Address: 150-0001, 4F HARAJUKU-ATM Building, 21-15, ​Jingumae 1 Chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Hours: 11am to 8pm Daily (Last entry: 7.30pm) Fee: 1500 yen~/60 min (limited time offer)- includes one free drink, one glass craft souvenir, and play with the owls   Restaurants Japan is known for its love story with seafood, this will make any searches for halal food very easy! Seafood and sushi are on offer nearly everywhere and for very affordable prices. But if you're craving some halal meat then Japanese, Korean and Indian food are also available. Halal Wagyu Yakiniku PANGA  Image Credit: Halal Wagyu Yakiniku PANGA As the name suggests, this restaurant is halal and doesn’t let Muslim visitors miss out on eating traditional Japanese and Asian food. The restaurant offers barbeque dishes where you pick the cut and do the grilling. If this isn't your style there are also Korean and national options. Halal Status: Halal Certified Address: 3-27-9 Taito, Taito 110-0016 Tokyo Prefecture Hours: Mon - Sat: 11.30am to 2pm; 5pm to 11pm Ninja Akasaka Photo Credit: Ninja Akasaka Japan is known for its long history of martial arts and stealthy ninjas. Although ninjas only ever wore their iconic outfits in the dark to blend with the night, ninja cafes are now an attraction tourists can enjoy. The cafe incorporates the underground and spying elements of being a ninja in the decor of the cafe to create an immersive experience for guests. This restaurant/cafe is considered one of the best restaurants not only for its food but for the whole experience that is entirely ninja-tastic! The ninja experience begins before you even step foot into the restaurant as the entrance is well-hidden, as all Ninja hiding spots should be. Photo Credit: Ninja Akasaka Website You may struggle to find the place, but once you are in, ninja magicians and ninja chefs will serve you elite dishes. Halal Status: Has halal and vegetarian options, but serves alcoholic beverages. Eat at your own discretion. Address: 2-14-3, Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Tokyu plaza Akasaka 1F Hours: Mon - Sat: 5pm to 1am (Last entry: 10.30pm) Sun & Holiday: 5pm to 11pm (Last entry: 9.45pm) Price: 7,000 yen - 15,000 yen (Dinner) Sakura Tei (Muslim Friendly) Photo Credit: Harajuku.jingumae on Instagram  This place is the definition of a restaurant to explore the senses. The food is paired with a visual experience of art and cool installations. The restaurant seats over 200 people, so the space is grand and the food choice is limitless. There are Muslim-friendly suggestions, vegetarian, vegan, and even gluten-free options. Unsurprisingly, this restaurant has recurrently won Tripadvisor excellence awards. Halal Status: There are muslim-friendly options (seafood and vegetarian), however the place does serve pork and non-halal beef. Eat at your own discretion.  Address: 3-20-1 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001 Tokyo Prefecture Hours: 11am to 1pm Daily (Last order: 10pm) Standing Sushi Bar Photo Credit: Uogashi_nihonichi on Instagram  This may seem strange to people who come from cultures that spend hours at the dinner table, but this dine-and-go experience is affordable, serves fresh sushi, and is available almost everywhere in Tokyo, so why miss out? Halal Status: Not certified halal. Eat at your own discretion. Address: Up to 20 locations Hours: Mon – Fri: 10.30am to 11pm Sat, Sun & Holidays: 10.30am to 9.30pm Price: Eat for less than 1400 yen   Experience Tokyo Step out onto the Shibuya crossing Photo Credit: Koukichi Takahashi on Unsplash Tokyo is the most populous metropolis in the world and the Shibuya crossing is evidence of this. At the axis of many shops, restaurants, cafes, and workplaces, Shibuya crossing is on the way to many pedestrian destinations. Busiest times: 3pm to 6pm Photo Credit: Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash The best bird's eye views include Mag’s park which is on a roof terrace of the building Magnet by Shibuya (there is an admission fee). The highest building around Shibuya is Shibuya Sky and will require some negotiating to get to the top. The easiest and most wallet-friendly location is the Starbucks Shibuya Tsutaya branch – be prepared for large crowds because it is extremely busy.   Nestle with Nature Tokyo’s legacy is a beautiful world of nature, architecture, and infrastructure built around what the natural landscape has to offer. The history of China and Japan is reflected in a lot of these gardens as philosophy, art and academia have all influenced the designs of the architecture. Rikugien Garden Photo Credit: Toshi_Tokyo on Flickr Considered to be Tokyo’s most beautiful landscape garden, this garden preserved the promenade paths of the Edo period. Although a few infrastructural inclusions such as the hills and bridges are man-made, the garden aimed to compliment and preserve nature, in the most sincere form. Address: 6 Chome-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0021, Japan Hours: 9am to 5pm Koishikawa Korakuen Garden Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut on Flickr This historic garden was built for the Tokugawa family, a powerful Japanese ruling family, in commemoration of Japanese poetry and art. The colours of the leaves and nature in this garden are resplendent. Every season offers different natural wonders – cherry blossoms in early Spring, the plum season in late Winter, and the shades of auburn and reds in Autumn. Address: 1 Chome-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004, Japan Hours: 9am to 5pm Mount Takao Photo Credit: Trang Pham on Flickr Mount Takao overlooks Tokyo and is one of the closest mountainous reserves to the city. There are numerous hiking trails surrounded by organic Japanese nature. The mountain is 599 meters high, making it a manageable day trek upwards to enjoy the spectacular views. There is also a cable car lift that takes visitors up halfway.   Heritage and History Hour Imperial Palace Photo Credit: Svetlana Gumerova on Unsplash Walk a mile in royal shoes by visiting the Imperial Palace. The palace is composed of many buildings surrounded by a large park. Although it is not the original, it is an exact copy of the traditional palace. It is recommended to take tours which are held daily and will provide a lot of insider information. Address: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan Hours: Tues – Sat: 9am to 11.15am ; 1.30pm to 2.45pm Sensō-ji in Asakusa Photo Credit: Josh Soto on Unsplash This ancient Buddhist temple built in 645 AD necessitates a visit with its stunning bright red facade and impressive iconic roofing. A 200-meter shopping street is now a place for street food and souvenirs, when it was originally home to a bustling market. Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo Hours: 6am to 5pm (opens at 6.30am from October to March) Ueno Park Photo Credit: Manuel Cosentino on Unsplash Once upon a time, the sacred grounds of the Kaneiji Temple, Ueno Park was believed to protect Tokyo from evil. After centuries of war and disturbances, Ueno Parks stands today as the grounds of heritage and history. Many of Tokyo’s shrines and museums can be found all around Ueno Park including The Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum for Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the National Science Museum, and the Ueno Zoo. Address: Japan, 〒110-0007 Tokyo, Taito City, Uenokoen, 8, 5−20・池之端三丁目 Hours: 5am to 11pm Daily   Appreciate the Arts The arts in Japan are both distinctive and special; you cannot run out of things to enjoy in Tokyo! Studio Ghibli Museum via Giphy Possibly the Disney of Japan, Studio Ghibli creates heartwarming, profound films that have taken the world by storm. A visit to this museum will take you down memory lane and also allow you to experience the behind-the-scenes of creating movies. Enjoy the special exhibitions or, if you have time, sit through one of your favorite films. Photo Source: Studio Ghibli Museum Website Address: 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan Fees: 1,000 yen for adults; 700 yen for 13-16yrs, 400 yen for 7-12 yrs. Kabuki-za Photo Credit: Ton Hooster on Flickr Kabuki is the distinctive traditional dance dramas that rose to popularity in the late Edo period. It was originally acted only by women but a law change made it illegal for women to act. Nowadays it is performed exclusively by men, and visitors can catch shows at theatres. Kabukiza Theatre offers English subtitles and explanations with context. Address: 15 12, 4-chōme, Ginza Chuo City, Tōkyō-to, 104-0061, Japan Akihabara Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Akihabara is a district in Tokyo known for its wild world of anime, manga and collectibles, arcades, and much more. There's something for everyone so don't be deterred by things you are not used to. Japan has always been ahead with electronics and games so make sure to check out the electronics emporium and arcades with original games. If you are an anime and manga fan then Akihabara is the place to go for cheap collectibles and discounted deals. There are also robot cafes for a futuristic experience, cosplay photoshoot studios, and Buddhist cuisine. The quirky and crazy artistic choices are truly endless!   Be Fashion Forward Nakameguro and Daikanyama Photo Credit: Jeanbean30 on Flickr The fashionable districts of Tokyo are where all the young and culturally trendy individuals go to spend their time off. Meguro river has a beautiful natural display of Sakura trees in the winter-spring months, with April being the best month. These neighborhoods merge the traditional, the modern, and the quirky. There are sophisticated upmarket and boutique shops that people have compared to being a ‘little Brooklyn’ alongside preserved shrines and modern glass buildings. Address: Nakameguro and Daikanyama areas ...

  • A Glimpse Of Ancient Korea: 6 Best Things To Do in Bukchon Hanok Village

    When traveling to Seoul, Korea, K-drama lovers wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to live out your K-drama dreams in Bukchon Hanok Village. In fact, different parts of the area become filming locations of many K-drama as well as Sageuk (Korean historical drama TV series) such as Moon Embracing the Sun and Jewel in the Palace. Even if you are not a fan of K-drama, this ancient village will still mesmerize you with its charm and beauty. Bukchon Hanok Village is just the perfect place for you to experience the real Korean village environment in the Korean Dynasty era and discover the traditional house of Korea. Unlike Namsangol Hanok Village which is just a replica of a traditional Korean village, Bukchon Hanok Village is a real residential area with people living in hanoks (Korean traditional house). Many residents here, in fact, still choose to retain their traditional lifestyle. The name “Bukchon” literally translates to “northern village,”. This residential area was established 600 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). Situated in close proximity to Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changgyeonggung Palace, the area was built as the residential quarter of high-ranking government officials and nobility along with their families. Later on, due to societal changes, the place was occupied by commoners and many of the houses were torn down and left to decay. South Korean government fortunately made conservation efforts to preserve this cultural heritage and protect the area’s remaining houses. In recent times, as Hallyu (Korean wave: an increase of global popularity of South Korean culture) spread wider across the world and more people take interests in Korean culture, Bukchon Hanok Village gains more popularity among tourists; hence a number of fine dining restaurants, cafés, tea houses, craft workshops, cozy guesthouses, interesting art galleries, and upscale boutiques were opened throughout the area, many of which are housed in renovated hanoks.   6 Best Things To Do in Bukchon Hanok Village   Stroll around the village (and take lots of pictures), in a Hanbok! Image Credit: Crystal Jo on Unsplash The real charm of the village does not lie only in the architectural design of hanoks, but also in its tiny alleys where you can see locals living out their ordinary lives: housewives hanging their laundry and set out hot peppers to dry in the sun, children playing hide and seek peeking around the corners of the narrow streets while the elderly watching on and conversing among themselves. With such a lively background, it would become such a perfect place to strike poses and snap lots of pictures to be posted on your social media or just for your keepsake. Furthermore, you can do it wearing Bukchon Hanok hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) which you can rent starting from KRW 7,000 per person. FYI: There is no such thing as Bukchon Hanok Village opening hours, but please be mindful of local residents living thereby coming in normal working hours (not before people wake up nor after sleeping hours), not getting inside a house without a clear sign of visitor allowance, and lowering your voices when you stroll around the village. Bukchon Hanok Village entrance fee: FREE (there may be fees for the various experiences in the area).   Try Gold Leaf Printing Image Source: Visit Seoul This would be a unique experience for you while you are in Bukchon Hanok: learning their tradition of printing gold leaf on to silk while sitting in a traditional hanok house. You can choose to apply it on a sash, bag, or bookmark under the guidance of some experts (they are knowledgeable, patient, and can speak English pretty good!). Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00am - 5:00pm; Saturday: 9:00am - 3:00pm   Learn about Korean tea culture Image Credit: Tea Creative │ Soo Chung on Unsplash For those of you who are into tea or curious about how tea gets into Korean culture, you might want to learn it at the Traditional Korean Tea Institute. Here you will learn the traditional tea ceremony (you even can take part in the ceremony!) and about Korean culture in a fun and interesting way. You can also learn the delicate art of tea brewing and take a tea food making course. On top of that, they have green tea hand and foot massage (oh it sounds relaxing already!).   Enjoy tea and footbath at Healing Café Image Credit: Crystal Jo on Unsplash This teahouse named Solgaheon is definitely out of ordinary! You can not only drink delicious herbal teas tailored to specific ailments and order their healthy food options, but you can also at the same time soak your feet in a hot medicinal foot bath. Solgaheon also offers the so-called “moxa cautery treatment”, whereby various herbs and plants are burnt on particular points on the body to improve your overall body health, especially ailments in the lower body.   Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace Image Credit: Konrad Ziemlewski on Unsplash Gyeongbokgung Palace which was built in 1395, is the most beautiful and largest palace within Seoul. You can explore different parts of the palace but you can’t miss the changing of the guards which happens twice a day at the main gate at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The ceremony lasts for around fifteen minutes. Opening Hours: 9AM to 6PM (Closed every Tuesday)Entrance Fee: 3,000 KRW (Free entry if you wear a Hanbok)   Experience a Hanok Homestay Image Credit: Timothy Ries on Unsplash If you want to immerse yourself fully into Korean lives back in the 14th century, probably wearing a hanbok would not be enough. You can experience a homestay in a hanok at Bonum 1957, a boutique hotel with amenities like beautiful bathroom facilities having a bit more high-end touch, Chiwoonjung, the former Korean president’s historic traditional-style villa opened now to the public having jjimjilbang (traditional Korean sauna) for guests to use in the evenings.   Is There Any Halal Food at Bukchon Hanok Village? Image Credit: rawkkim on Unsplash Yes, there is. Alhamdulillah! We have got you covered, so you can have all the energy you need to explore the area with peace of mind! Halal Kitchen is the first Halal Korean restaurant in Buckhon/Insadong area. They serve a vast array of Korean delicacies such as bulgogi, yanggalbi, dakgalbi, japchae, and tteokbokki. They also have prayer spaces for you to pray while stopping by for some meals. If you're looking for other options, there are a number of halal restaurants located around the area, they might not be in the village but closeby. Get the complete list of them here!   How to Go to Bukchon Hanok Village Image Credit: Timothy Ries on Unsplash Bukchon Hanok Village can be reached by subway from any station in Seoul to Anguk Subway Station, exit 3. Walk straight out of the exit and turn left at the first street. Walk a bit up and you’ll find the Bukchon Traditional Culture Center on the left which is a great spot to start any tour in the area. There are also maps there to pick up to follow. You could also go out of Anguk Subway Station, exit 2, and walk straight to find the more popular side of the Hanok Village....

  • Top 7 Things to Do In San Francisco, California

    Small but mighty: San Francisco is a city with a never-ending amount of fun! It may be tiny, only stretching across seven miles, but every square inch of this city sits on a fault line that has some secret delight of its own. In short, there is plenty to see, taste, and explore here. If you are looking to travel to San Francisco in the most halal way possible, you have come to the right place. Although San Francisco hotels with halal food and mosques are hard to come by, we have included an all-rounded selection to ensure that you have nothing to worry about while you indulge in the top attractions of San Francisco. Read on to find out about some of the best things to do in San Francisco.   1. Cross the Epitome of Beauty, the Golden Gate Bridge Image Credit: Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to the mighty Golden Gate Bridge! It is known to be one of the most popular spots in San Francisco for a reason. Once called “The Bridge That Couldn’t Be Built,” today, this iconic mile-long marvel of engineering is considered one of the modern wonders of the world. Dip your toes in the bay’s clear waters, take a sunset cruise, or explore the Golden Gate residential area — there’s more than one way to enjoy your trip to the San Francisco bridge. When you have worked up an appetite, there are tons of great halal food stores nearby; from mouthwatering Indian cuisine at Kinara’s to fresh burritos at Halal carts, you just can’t go wrong with San Francisco restaurants. Amidst all this fun, don’t forget to offer your daily prayers. Although there is no Mosque within walking distance of the bridge, the city center of San Francisco is full of beautiful Mosques. Visit Masjid Al-Tawheed, which is roughly 6 miles from the bridge and takes around 15 minutes of travel by car transport.   2. Press Your Face to the Glass at The Aquarium of the Bay Image Credit: Arushee Agrawal on Unsplash Situated on the Waterfront of the city, discover The Aquarium of the Bay, the city’s largest aquarium. Get up close and personal with some of the resident marine life ranging from vibrantly orange Garibaldi, mesmerizing moon jellies, and even adorable river otters, all under 700,000 gallons of clear water! Outside the premises, you will find hard-to-resist halal Middle Eastern eats at Arabian Nights and scrumptious burgers at Ziggys. Moreover, be sure to drop by the Islamic Society of San Francisco at Darussalam Mosque nearby.   3. Hit the City Center and Wander the Streets Full of Rich Architecture Image Credit: Joshua Sortino on Unsplash Start strolling the streets by making your way through the ever-green Victorian and Edwardian houses in San Francisco. If you are someone that appreciates Architecture, the Painted Ladies will be a spectacle to sightsee. Next, go to Lombard Street, which is one of the city’s marvelous wonders. Lined perfectly with unending greenery, vibrant hydrangeas, and red bricks, this street is an unforgettable picture-perfect moment to add to your list of things to do in San Francisco. Later, head down to the Waterfront at the Fisherman’s Wharf, the most upbeat part of the city center, full of fantastic halal food, music, and art. Choose between endless gourmet restaurants and outdoor stands, both of which sell freshly caught seafood.   4. Enjoy A Moment of Solitude and Serenity Amongst the Redwoods Image Credit: Adam Nemeroff on Unsplash Leave the press of central San Francisco to spend a moment of quiet and tranquility amongst the renowned redwoods at The Muir Woods National Monument. Being one of San Francisco’s hidden treasures, this ancient forest stretches across 240 acres of beautiful land, which is both sanctuary and laboratory, protected federally since 1908. The closest Mosque to the woods is the Islamic Center of Mill Valley. Moreover, the award-winning San Francisco restaurant Achilles has some great halal Mediterranean food for when you feel hungry from all the peace-finding activities for the day.   5. Explore the Diverse Cultural Heritage at the Museum of Modern Arts Image Credit: Georg Eiermann on Unsplash San Francisco’s cultural heritage is one of the richest and most diverse of any U.S city! If you are happy to explore one of the best contemporary art pieces in California, grab some tickets to discover the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts or MOMA’s vast collection of paintings, sculptures, photography, architecture, design, and media arts. You should visit this top spot as soon as you have gotten comfortable in your San Francisco hotel because tickets are notoriously hard to come by. In the near vicinity, you will find Biet Rima for Arabic comfort food and Masjid Al Sabeel to offer your Salath timely.   6. Stop and Smell the Roses at The San Francisco Botanical Garden Image Credit:Alejandro Cartagena on Unsplash The largest of its kind on the West Coast, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is home to more than 7500 exotic varieties of flora from all around the world! A riot of colors like something out of a children’s picture book — this is one of San Francisco’s most beautiful marvels.   7. Don’t Leave Without the Best Thing to Do In San Francisco – Riding the Cable Cars Image Credit: Amogh Manjunath on Unsplash Your trip to the city wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t hop on the cable cars to travel from one end of the city to the other. One-way tickets start as low as USD6, so don’t forget to include this fun ride to your list of things to do in San Francisco. Half silicon-valley of the West Coast and half a child’s picture book dream of a city, there is surely no place to travel to like San Francisco. Add this diverse city to your list of places to visit in 2020 and walk through unending rich architecture, lush-green exotic gardens, and lively markets. For more destination ideas, check out our travel blog to find locations of halal restaurants and mosques near you....

  • South Korea's Seafood Paradise: Things to see and do around Jagalchi Market in Busan

    Approximately 4 hours ride from Seoul, you can reach the city of Busan. Being the second most populous city in Korea, there are so many things to see and do around Busan. Busan may or may not be in your itinerary when you are traveling to Korea. But if you happened to be there or finding a reason to visit Busan, then check out Jagalchi Market. There is more to it than just being a seafood market. And we are here to break it down for you.   Where is the Jagalchi Market? Image Credit: DO KIBOCK on Unsplash As mentioned earlier, Jalgalchi Market is located in Busan. Tucked in between two train stations, Nampo and Jagalchi Stations, it is only 5 minutes walk from either station. Nampo Station is just 2 stations away from Busan Station, thus making it accessible to get from Seoul via the Korea Train Express (KTX).   What is the Jagalchi Market? Image Credit: Daniel Bernard on Unsplash Being accessible to public transports makes Jagalchi Market a recommended place to visit when in Busan. It is the largest and oldest seafood market in South Korea, with huge varieties of fresh edible sea creatures. Apart from living seafood, you can also find dried ones. Jagalchi Market is notable for its five-story building. The outdoor section already gives you a glimpse of seafood available. The ground floor of the building is no different. Most people will purchase their seafood here and head one level up to get them prepared and cooked at any one of the restaurants. As Jagalchi Market is also located just a few walks away from Nampo-Dong Shopping District, your trip here will be worthwhile and fulfilling!   What to do and see around Jagalchi Market? Image Credit: Daniel Bernard on Unsplash Heading down to Jagalchi Market wouldn't limit yourself to only the seafood market itself. Some said that if you happened to visit Jagalchi Market, you would be able to experience what Nampo-Dong has to offer you. 1. (See)Food! Image Credit: Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash It is a waste to leave Jagalchi Market without trying any of the fresh seafood. It is a heaven for all seafood lovers. You can shop for any kind of seafood available at the ground level and bring them up to any restaurants on the second floor. The downside is that there are no Halal eateries available here. Please dine at your own discretion, ensuring that the dishes are not prepared with alcohol despite alcohol being served at premises.If Jagalchi Market happens to be the last location for the day, how about bringing the seafood haul home and savor it in your accommodation? Provided you have proper storage for it, I'm sure you can still enjoy them! Also, a plus point if your accommodation has a basic necessity for cooking your own meal.   2. Enjoy the Panoramic View around Jagalchi Market from the Observatory Deck Who would have thought that a seafood market would have an observatory deck? Located on the rooftop of the Jagalchi Market, the observatory deck, also known as the sky terrace, is free! All you need to do is to take the elevator to the top level and climb up the stairs. Enjoy the panoramic view of Nampo port and also, you can spot Busan Tower from the sky terrace.   3. Get Starstruck at BIFF Square Image Credit: Ryan Bodenstein, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons If you happened to alight at Jagalchi Station and take exit 7, you would be able to see BIFF Square. BIFF is short for Busan International Film Festival and you may have guessed it right. Similar to Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars and Hollywood's Walk of Fame, BIFF Square housed the handprints of famous celebrities. It is also the main venue for the BIFF event. This street has transformed from just 2 movie theaters to a shopping complex and leisure facilities.BIFF Square is also famous for its street food. As there is no known Halal street food available here, we wouldn't leave you starving from all the walking and exploring. There is an Indonesian restaurant called Bakso Bejo, and it is Muslim-Owned! If you have yet to settle your meal throughout the trip, you can savor on their Bakso and Nasi Goreng.Address: 4, Nampo-gil, Jung-gu, Busan   4. Stroll down Yongdusan Park Image Credit: Mobius6, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons "Yongdu" in English means Dragon's head, and Yongdusan mountain is named as such to protect the area from foreign sea invaders. It is one of the three famous mountains in Busan. Every nook of this park is picturesque, not only because of the symbolic Busan Tower. You can also find the statue of the Great Admiral Yi Sun-Sin, Bell of the Citizens, Dragon sculpture, and Flower Clock.Address: 37-55, Yongdusan-gil, Jung-gu, Busan   5. Shop till you drop at Gwangbokro Fashion Street As the name suggested, Gwangbokro Fashion Street is Busan's Myeong-Dong. It is easy to spot Gwangbokro Fashion Street from the entrance of Yongdusan Park. Stroll down its beautifully decorated streets and find clothing items and cosmetics, from bargained products to renowned brands. So, fill up your shopping bag and bring home some momento from Busan!Shops at Gwangbokro Fashion Street close until late at night so you would have the luxury of your time to stroll around and find things that you fancy. And if you happened to get hungry from all the walkings, head down to Warung Jaya Mba Tia, another Indonesian restaurant in the area. You will definitely get energized to continue your day!Address: 72-1, Gwangbok-dong, Jung-gu, Busan   6. All sorts of activities await you in the Lotte Department Store Image Credit: Photo by Walter Cheung on Unsplash You would be familiar with the Lotte Department Store when in Korea. Ranging from local brands to international luxury brands, you can find them all in the Lotte Department Store. But Lotte Department Store is not just limited to shopping. If the Myeong-Dong Branch has Star Avenue, the Gwangbok Branch has plenty to see too! Your trip to the Lotte Department Store wouldn't be a wasted trip!Not only the Gwangbokro Fashion Street caters to youth fashion, but the Gwangbok Branch is also the largest youth-oriented shopping complex. Being the first seaside department store in Korea, the surrounding scenery is stunning. Enjoy the view of the entire city of Busan from the Rooftop garden, which seems to be the largest in Korea too! If you happen to be here at the right time, you may be able to witness the lifting of Yeongdo-daegyo (bridge), allowing ships to pass between the south and north ports. You can also watch the World's largest musical fountain in the mall, as recorded in the Guinness World Records.   7. Explore the winding alleys of Gamcheon Cultural Village Image Credit: Valentin on Unsplash Just about 15 minutes bus ride from Jagalchi Market lies Gamcheon Cultural Village. Known as the Machu Picchu of Busan and the Santorini of South Korea, the Gamcheon Cultural Village is a neighborhood of colorful houses and quirky artworks. Either you are doing it for the 'gram or just appreciating the beauty, you will love every single photo spots in Gamcheon Cultural Village. It is also homed to cafes and small museums. The only thing you might need to brace for is the crowd. Also, as this is a residential area, do be respectful when visiting and exploring the area.Address: 203, Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan   Jagalchi Market is open every day, from 8 am to 5 pm. If you want to experience the daily and local life of the vendors, you can head down by 5 am or 6 am to watch them set up the stalls. Address: 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Nampo-dong, Jung-gu, Busan...

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