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Hishama is a Lankan born, ex-Dubai-an who enjoys all things travel. When she's not at her day job as an Online Marketing Specialist, you will find her hanging out with friends at one of the city's newest cafés, reading a Jodi Picoult novel, Netflix-ing pretty much anything, obsessing over broadway, or just dreaming of her next big adventure abroad that she wishes she could afford.

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  • Top 5 Halal Korean Restaurants In Itaewon You MUST Try

    South Korea’s Capital, Seoul, is a dynamic destination boasting endless things to do and see. The bustling city has become an extremely popular holiday spot and over the past few years has seen a surge in Muslim tourists. Although the city’s Muslim population is relatively small, the Korea Tourism Organization along with the numerous businesses in the city are on a mission to make Muslim visitors feel more welcome and at home. This has resulted in numerous restaurants around the city switching things up and catering to the Halal conscious. With these restaurants, cafés and food joints now accommodating Muslim preferences, Muslim tourists finally have the chance to truly experience Korea and its culinary masterpieces, from bulgogi; Korea’s signature marinated beef dish, to a steaming bowl of samgyetang, or more simply put, ginseng chicken, to even juicy Korean BBQ! Several Halal restaurants can be found around the city of Seoul, especially in the neighbourhood of Itaewon, but many of these focus on Middle Eastern and Indian fare, with only a handful offering authentic Korean dishes, making them harder to find. If you’re like us, and you think the best part about traveling the world is getting the chance to sample the most delicious food, then there is no way you can go to South Korea and not try Korean food! So, here’s our guide to some of the best Halal spots in Itaewon. Eat now, thank us later!  A Quick Guide to Finding Halal Food in Korea 4 Halal Eats at the Beautiful Nami Island in South Korea   1. EID Halal Korean Food Picture Credit: www.facebook.com, EID - 이드 Halal Korean Food The small but homely, EID Halal Korean Food is a Korean Muslim owned restaurant located in the Itaewon area of Seoul, just a short walk away from the Seoul Grand Mosque. This must-visit Halal restaurant in Seoul is known to be the only Korean restaurant in the city certified by the Korea Muslim Federation, or the KMF, thus making it extremely popular amongst Muslim locals as well as tourists looking for an authentic Korean gastronomic experience. While the food options here are limited, don’t let the simple menu fool you! Everything on the menu; from the bulgogi to the samgyetang to the bibimbap, is cooked to perfection and packed with flavour. If we had to however pick one dish that blew us away, it would be the bulgogi - which is not surprisingly one of EID’s most ordered dishes. Completely homemade and free from any artificial flavours, the dish consists of thinly cut Halal Australian beef that is marinated in a flavourful combo of sauces and spices, and then grilled. The dishes served at the restaurant also come with some drool-worthy sides, such as kimchi and fried anchovies. Insider tip: Since the restaurant can only accommodate a small number of people at a time, we highly recommend making a reservation in advance so you won’t have to stand around hungry waiting for a table to open up. Cuisine: KoreanAddress: 67 Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South KoreaOpening Hours: 11.30AM to 9PM (Tuesdays to Sundays)Price: KRW 10,000 to 12,000Reservation: AvailableContact: +82 70 8899 8210 Facebook   2. Makan Halal Restaurant Picture Credit: www.facebook.com, Makan Halal Korean Restaurant Another great restaurant serving some of the best Halal Korean food in Itaewon, Seoul, is Makan. Located just a short distance from EID restaurant and right near the Seoul Central Masjid, Makan Halal Restaurant is also Muslim owned, and like EID, serves a variety of mouth watering local dishes which attract locals and visitors from around the globe throughout the year. Again here, the menu is quite minimal, but no matter what you order, you won’t be disappointed. With menu options such as dakdoritang, bulgogi, samgyetang, bibimbap and mulnaengmyeon, at really affordable prices, Makan Halal Restaurant needs to be one of the places you check out for great Korean food when in Seoul. No matter at what time you’re visiting the restaurant - lunch or dinner - the spicy Korean-style fried chicken is an absolute must have! Cuisine: KoreanAddress: 52, Usadan-ro 10 gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South KoreaOpening Hours: 10.30AM to 10PM (Wednesdays to Mondays)Price: KRW 8,000 upwardsReservation: AvailableContact: +82 2 6012 2231 Facebook   3. Murree Restaurant Picture Credit: www.facebook.com, Murree Halal Korean Food Located in Itaewon, near the Seoul Grand Mosque and just a few minutes away from Makan Halal Restaurant, Murree Restaurant is one of the best places in the city for those looking to try out Halal Korean fare, with the option of also ordering Indian and Pakistani dishes. The cosy restaurant is known for serving authentic local dishes like bulgogi, samgyetang, dakdoritang and bibimbap; which are sure to tantalize your taste buds, and is hence one of the best Halal restaurants in Itaewon for Korean delicacies. While we think you cannot pass up on the local dishes available, the restaurant also cooks up a variety of flavourful, spice packed curries - such as their signature chicken curry – which will definitley make your mouth water. The warm service you receive from the staff at the restaurant, as well as the delicious food served will without a doubt keep you going back! Cuisine: Korean, Indian, PakistaniAddress: 140-6 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South KoreaOpening Hours: 11.30AM to 9.30PM (Everyday)Price: KRW 8,000 upwardsReservation: AvailableContact: +82 2 3785 1436 Facebook   4. Hajj Korea Halal Food Picture Credit: www.facebook.com, Hajj KOREA HALAL FOOD Hajj Korea Halal Food is a Muslim owned fusion Korean restaurant situated in close proximity to the Seoul Central Mosque in Itaewon. Known to be one of the very few Halal Korean restaurants in Seoul, the wonderful menu at Hajj will leave you spoilt for choice, with a plethora of Korean and Malaysian options! You can dine on a wide variety of popular local fare like bulgogi, samgyetang and bibimbap here, or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, the stir-fried octopus is sure to surprise you! Also, a special shout out to their bindaetteok or mung bean pancakes, which will just leave you craving for more! After a delicious meal, we highly recommend washing it all down with a Malaysian speciality - the iconic teh tarik! Cuisine: Korean, MalaysianAddress: 39 Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Itaewon, Seoul, South KoreaOpening Hours: 10AM to 2AM (Everyday)Price: KRW 8,000 upwardsReservation: AvailableContact: +82 2 749 5185 Facebook   5. Yang Good BBQ Yang Good BBQ is probably one of our most favourite restaurants on this list just because we can’t think of a better way to truly experience everything Korea is about, BBQ session and all! Korean BBQ has been taking the world by storm, and while there are plenty of restaurants in Seoul that specialize in this, there aren’t that many that cater to the Halal conscious. Yang Good BBQ is one of the very few Halal Korean BBQ restaurants in the city and is hence not surprisingly extremely popular. Even though the restaurant does serve alcohol, catering to local demands, the meats that are imported from Australia are Halal certified. Here, you not only get to choose the type of meat you prefer, but also get to grill it yourself to the way you like, all the while chatting away with your friends. The juicy and tender meat is coated in a sweet Korean BBQ sauce that you won’t be able to get enough of! Yang Good BBQ is just one of those spots you’ll keep going back to, because it’s THAT good. You have our word!  Cuisine: KoreanAddress: 15 Nonhyeon-ro 95-gil, Yeoksam 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South KoreaOpening Hours: 4PM to 1AM (Mondays to Saturdays)Price: KRW 11,000 upwardsReservation: AvailableContact: +82 2 567 7060 There you go! Our Top 5 Halal Korean Restaurants in Itaewon. Travelling in Seoul will no longer be a problem for Muslims! If you found more Halal Restaurants or food places in South Korea, share with us on the HalalTrip App! 5-Day Itinerary for Solo Travel in Korea 6 South Korean Amusement Parks to Amaze Yourself in...

  • 7 Reasons Why the Limestone Coast in South Australia Should Be Your Next Trip

    If you’re on the lookout for a destination that offers diversity in all aspects, South Australia’s magnificent Limestone Coast is a newly discovered gem. With its pristine beaches and breath-taking coastline, vibrant wetlands, unique ecosystem and variety of wildlife, saltwater lagoons, ancient volcanoes and stunning scenery, labyrinth of World Heritage-listed caves, great seafood, picturesque seaside towns the Limestone Coast is filled to the brim with a wealth of opportunities and experiences you’re sure to remember for a lifetime! Stretching from the beautiful Coorong National Park, along the Southern Ocean to the Victorian border, the undeniably special region also happens to be the ultimate self-drive destination. With so much to do, see and discover on the Limestone Coast, we can’t think of a better way to truly savour all of it, than a road trip! The journey there is sure to be as incredible as the destination itself. With the Limestone Coast located halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide, you can either drive in from either of the destinations, or a great option - one of our personal favourites - is to fly into Mount Gambier on REX. Accommodating around 30 passengers at a time, the small aircraft offers unbeatable birds eye views of the region’s majestic wilderness and glorious landscapes. No matter how long you spend exploring the region, there’s always so much more to see and experience. Prepare yourself for an abundance of natural wonders, adventure and excitement. The Limestone Coast and its treasure trove of unique discoveries await you! Find Halal Restaurants Near You in Australia! Find Mosques and Prayer Places in Australia!   1. Magnificent Tantanoola Caves The Limestone Coast boasts a plethora of beautiful natural attractions guaranteed to be far from anything you’ve ever seen before! Thus, seeing the impressive Tantanoola Caves in person is one of the top things to do on the Limestone Coast. Known to be one of South Australia’s most-visited destinations, the Tantanoola Caves at the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, is the only single-chamber dolomite cave in Australia, and features a spectacular array of lovely pink and brown decorative rock formations which were developed over thousands of years. Your visit will begin with a guided tour of the cave, where you will be introduced to its geology and history. Once you’ve learnt everything there is to know about the attraction, you will be left to discover it at leisure, and to take as many pictures in the cavern as you like! Be sure to make time to explore the park’s cliff top walking trail which offers the most incredible views of the surrounding area, as well as to enjoy a picnic in its picturesque grounds!   2. Visit The Blue Lake Any Limestone Coast visitor guide is sure to note a trip to the spectacular Blue Lake as a must. Located within a crater of the of the extinct volcano which lends its name to the city in which it is found, Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake is one of the region’s most popular spots, and sees thousands of visitors each year. While the breathtaking sight of the lake and its volcanic landscape will leave you speechless, the lake’s changing of colour will make the attraction unforgettable. Each year, in early November through March, for reasons that are still pretty much a mystery, the water in the lake changes to a magnificent cobalt blue colour. From the month of April to November, the water then turns into a shade of dark steel grey! Get up close and personal with the lake by taking the glass panelled lift down to its surface on an Aquifer Tour, or climb to the Centenary Tower for unbeatable views of the lake and the area around it. Surrounding the lake, there is a 3.6 kilometre walking trail that offers numerous viewing points with awe-inspiring views, as well as countless camping spots that are popular amongst visitors eager to experience the magnificence of the lake at night time. If you’re looking to immerse yourself further into everything the Blue Lake has to offer along with the area and its history, there are also several fantastic guided tours available.   3. Uncover a garden sinkhole While no matter where in the Mount Gambier region you go, natural beauty is a plenty, the Umpherston Sinkhole, or the Sunken Garden is an attraction you cannot miss, and a visit here will definitely complete your Limestone Coast tour. Once a regular limestone cave, whose uniqueness was created when its roof collapsed, the Umpherston Sinkhole needs to be seen to be believed. In 1886, the sinkhole was made into a garden by James Umpherston. Today, the breathtaking terraced gardens and its picturesque landscape offer visitors a one-of-a-kind experience. Not only will you be able to admire its beauty from the viewing platforms found at the top of the sinkhole, but you will also be able to venture down into the sinkhole and explore the tranquil garden. The area features beautiful, perfectly manicured flowers and plants, hanging vines and fountains and even some sculptures inspired by the sinkhole and its formation. In our opinion, the best time to visit is at sunset, since this is when the attraction comes to life. At dusk, the floodlights come on, and you will get to see hundreds of adorable possums scamper into the garden to feed!   4. Taste premium grade Halal Wagyu Beef If you’re a foodie, there’s no way you don’t know what wagyu beef is! The generic name for Japanese beef, wagyu is recognized for its high quality, and its exorbitant prices. What makes the meat so expensive is the rearing methods of the cattle as well as the strict guidelines that are followed during feeding. Mayura Station, located on the Limestone Coast, is one of South Australia’s first cattle and sheep stations and is today known to house one of the biggest full-blood wagyu cattle herds. Here, the surrounding are incredibly pristine, the scenery is stunning, the air is as clean as can be, and the cattle are fed Cadbury's chocolate. You read that right! At Mayura Station, the cattle are fed a mix of Cadbury's chocolate and other sweet treats to give their meat a unique flavour profile that is sure to make any beef lover go weak in the knees! Offering a farm to table experience, at Mayura Station, full-blood wagyu cattle are bred to deliver the most luxurious, award-wining beef, which can be sampled at the Tasting Room. And here’s what gets us even more excited - the wagyu beef at Mayura Station is Halal! You can choose to buy meat at the station directly, or savour it at the Tasting Room. While the restaurant itself is not Halal certified, if you decide to dine in, accommodations can be made so you can indulge in a Halal wagyu experience unlike ever before!   5. Drive along the scenic Beachport coast From beautiful sandy beaches to stunning scenery, coastal dunes begging to be explored and spectacular views, to even a few listed heritage sites, Beachport has it all! An isthmus with the sea on both sides, along with Lake George by it, Beachport is definitely worthy of a stop on a Limestone Coast road trip. The township may be small in size, but everything it has to offer is priceless. At the Beachport Conservation Park situated on the shores of Lake George, not only will you be able to get some serious bird watching in, but the park is also a well-known spot to enjoy some excellent windsurfing. The town also boasts one of South Australia’s longest jetties. The second longest in the region, Beachport Jetty is a sight in itself and attracts local and visiting anglers keen to catch some salmon and whiting. One of the best ways to truly appreciate this gorgeous area of South Australia is via the Bowman Scenic Drive. The rugged coastal route will take you past and offer you glimpses at the area’s iconic attractions like the Cape Martin Light House, Penguin Island, and the blowholes at Bartlett Rocks, in addition to stunning scenery. Along the drive you’ll come across numerous lookout spots such as the Wooley Lake Lookout, Down’s Lookout and Backler’s Lookout, that offer breathtaking coastal views, so be sure to make some time to stop at at least a few of them for pictures. You won’t regret it!  Pool of Siloam Another thing you definitely won’t regret is a swim in the Pool of Siloam. Known to be seven times saltier than the sea, the Pool of Siloam is extremely popular amongst those suffering from rheumatism and arthritis due to its high salt concentration. If you decide to take a quick dip, there is a designated swimming area, with changing rooms and showers on site. Once you’ve explored Beachport and its wonderful hidden gems, we recommend grabbing a bite to eat at one of the town’s many great restaurants. By doing so, you’ll get to enjoy some delicious seafood, and have a friendly chat with the locals!   6. Take a coffee pit stop at a local brew We would choose travel over most things on any given day. But if there was one thing we could have during every step of our travels, it would be a great steaming cup of fragrant coffee! And when we discovered Mahalia’s incredible coffee, we had to force ourselves to leave! Mahalia Coffee in the quaint seaside town of Robe has perfected the art of coffee roasting. The multi award winning coffee roasters is a stop you have to make when discovering the Limestone Coast. Living and breathing all things coffee, master roaster, Mahalia Layzell creates unique blends that easily put most other well-known coffee brands to shame. At the Mahalia Coffee HQ, you’ll not only get the chance to learn all about coffee, but also see where the brand’s coffee is expertly roasted, and get your caffeine fix, sampling a variety of coffee blends known to be the region’s best. While here you’re also sure to fall in love with the home ware items, ceramic, souvenirs and art pieces on sale, so be prepared to bring home some goodies!   7. Go on a 4-wheel drive along Coorong Boy did we save the best for last! Nothing completes a road trip to the Limestone Coast more than spending some time exploring the world-famous Coorong National Park. Spread across 130 kilometres, Coorong National Park is a protected area of important historical significance, housing amongst its lakes, lagoons, waterways and sweeping sand dunes a number of endangered flora and fauna and a variety of uncommon bird and fish species. It is also the perfect place for some outdoor activities. You will be able to go kayaking, yachting and boating, fishing, camping on its secluded beaches, and even four-wheel driving on the second longest continuous beach in the country - the Coorong. While you can cruise the park’s dunes and lagoons on your own, we think a guided four wheel drive tour is something that will make your experience even more memorable. There are numerous tours that you could take. Most of these will allow you to see Coorong beach at its best; the guides will point out rare birds or wildlife, and even stop by uncommon flora. They’ll also tell you everything you need to know about the park’s fascinating natural and Aboriginal history, and even give you the opportunity to learn about and experience Ngarrindjeri culture. Many tours also include a stop at a commercial fishery where you’ll be given the chance to try your hand at gahering cockles, or pipis, as they are more affectionately known in Australia. With the wind in your face and the sand at your feet, and you driving along the beautiful Coorong, we can’t think of a more incredible way to end your trip to the Limestone Coast. Can you?! No matter how many times you visit the Limestone Coast, we can bet you that you’ll always have a plethora of new experiences! For Muslims planning to explore the area, the HalalTrip mobile app is sure to come in handy! The app will help you locate Halal food places on the Limestone Coast, as well as mosques and prayer areas, along with numerous other must-sees and must-dos. Time to get road-trip planning! Book a Halal Trip with us!...

  • 7 Reasons to Holiday in Athens

    From its great culture and long fascinating history to ancient monuments and archaeological gems, Athens is a destination of pure magnificence, sure to leave every traveler longing for more. Its fabulous weather and mouthwatering food truly makes this Greek capital worth a visit. Although it is not the largest European capital when visiting Greece and its many islands, a trip to Athens is an absolute must as it offers lots to see and do. Athens and the plethora of things it has to offer is fast-becoming a popular travel destination amongst history buffs, foodies and those looking for a vacation spot sprinkled with some magic. If a little encouragement is what you need to book those tickets to the Greek capital, we’ve got you covered! Be warned, these 7 reasons to visit Athens may just convince you to pick up and move to the city permanently!  Find Halal Restaurants in Athens Find Mosques and Prayer Places in Athens   1. Revisiting the Past Picture Credit: whyathens.com Steeped in history, Athens is a city that will manage to transport you back in time. While there are plenty of other things to do and see in Athens, its historical landmarks, ancient ruins and archaeological sites offer an experience unlike any other. They are in fact so awe-inspiring that you could just end up spending your entire visit exploring these fascinating sites! While in the city, you won’t want to miss seeing the Parthenon and its museum in person. Other must-visits include the Acropolis along with its museum, the Benaki Museum, the Temple of Hephaestus, the Ancient Agora, and the National Archaeological Museum. Known to be Greece’s largest archaeological museum as well as one of Athens’s most visited attractions, the National Archaeological Museum is not just a history buffs haven, but also the perfect place for visitors to get a better understanding of the country’s history and culture. If you want to get the most out of your visit to Athens, we highly recommend taking a guided walking tour of the city’s many renowned attractions. National Archaeological Museum Address: 28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 106 82, GreeceContact: +30 21 3214 4800Website: http://www.namuseum.gr/wellcome-en.html   2. The Best Dining Experience Picture Credit: www.tasteofhome.com If you’ve never tried Greek food, you’ve definitely been missing out! Characterized by varieties of crisp vegetables, and fresh seafood, with additions of sauces and feta cheese, Greek cuisine has remained timeless throughout. Healthy yet absolutely mouth-watering, it is no surprise that Greek food has been gaining popularity worldwide. No matter where you go in Athens, you’ll be able to find delicious eats - from authentic Greek dishes to fusion delicacies - at affordable prices. You’ll also be delighted to know that you won’t have to stick to a strictly vegetarian and seafood diet when in Athens, because there are actually quite a few Halal restaurants in the city! These restaurants may however not be entirely obvious, so inquiring about them at the mosque will be a good idea. Don’t forget that pork is widely used in Greek cuisine, so if you choose to dine at a restaurant that isn’t Muslim owned, remember to check on the ingredients used before chowing down! A few Greek items you cannot leave without trying, include; souvlaki, moussaka, spanakopita, gyro, pastitsio and the delicious mezzes. Sample everything you can, we promise, you and your stomach won’t be disappointed!   3. Experience Athens Rivieria Picture Credit: www.hopin.com Just a short distance from all of the city’s numerous historical and cultural wonders, is the gorgeous Athens Riviera. If you don’t get the chance to escape the bustles of the city, and enjoy Athens’s long, stunning coastline, your trip is definitely not complete! Here you’ll find some incredible five-star resorts, stunning beach stretches, featuring the most beautiful emerald waters, rock coves, walkways lined with palm trees, fun water sports; from sailing to windsurfing, some great restaurants and cafés and more. When you’ve caught some sun and enjoyed a dip in the water, head to the coastline’s south-eastern tip, to Cape Sounion. Located here is one of the most important attractions in Athens, and a Greek monument that needs to be seen to be believed - the Temple of Poseidon. Honouring the God of the Sea, this ancient attraction draws in tourists from across the globe. If you’ve got the time, stick around to admire the breathtaking sunset!   4. Plaka Picture Credit: www.afar.com Athens’s historic heart, Plaka, is known to make tourists fall in love with the city over and over again. The charming neighbourhood is located just under the Acropolis, and boasts winding cobbled streets, tiny alleys, historical architecture and Roman ruins, a selection of little stores and boutiques, and some of the city’s best restaurants. The picturesque area is generally bustling with tourists and locals alike, thus not only making it a great place for a leisurely stroll and to pick up some lovely souvenirs to take home, but also the perfect spot to grab a cup of coffee or a delicious meal, and watch the world go by! While you're here, also visit the iconic Plaka Stairs, as well as the small, yet lovely village of Anafiotika.   5. View from Mount Lycabettus Even if you haven’t got long to spend in Athens, visiting the looming Mount Lycabettus is probably one of the best ways to spend your visit. Standing at a height of 908 feet above sea level, and visible from all over Athens, this is Athens’s best viewpoint, offering sweeping views over the entire city, along with its many note-worthy attractions such as the Acropolis. To get to the top, you can either take the paved walkway, or a more fun option is the funicular railway. We highly recommend walking if the weather isn’t too hot, as you can do so at your own pace, admiring the surroundings and fabulous view all the way to the top. Don’t forget to take along some water, as the climb can get a little tiring, but at the end of the day, it’s definitely worth it. Once you reach the top of the hill, you can enjoy the views while having a snack or drink at the café, and if you’re visiting during sunset hours, make sure you stay back and watch the sun disappear over the city!   6. Modern, yet Ancient! Picture Credit: whyathens.com Athens’s electric vibe is indescribable. The city may seem modern in certain aspects, but its ancient surroundings only contribute more to its charming character and appeal. The city is a mixture of new and old, but its soul has managed to remain the same as it once was. In most major tourist areas, a lot of the buildings and architecture - apart from the ruins and monuments of course - are relatively new, there are however, neighbourhoods in the city that are the perfect examples of the melting pot of architectures that Athens truly is. You’ll find Starbucks’s next to quaint, old coffee shops and hotels next to delightful taverns. One fact that we absolutely loved learning was that, there are still numerous undiscovered historical sites in the city!   7. It won’t break the bank One trip to Athens and you’ll definitely be going back real soon! For the destination not just offers some incredible things to see and do, but is also quite affordable in comparison to some other popular cities in Europe, such as Rome and Paris. A wallet-friendly trip to Athens is most certainly possible, without having to sacrifice much on comfort, thus making it the ideal option for budget travellers. Affordable food options are aplenty, no matter where in the city you are. And remember, just because the food is cheap, doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste great and won’t be satisfying enough! For a small amount, you can eat all the delicious gyros and souvlakis you want! Even more high-end restaurants aren’t as pricey as you would expect, so treat yourself to a posh meal or two while there! Accommodation in Athens is also affordable, especially if you choose a spot that’s a bit away from the touristy areas, and here’s what makes it even more appealing; there are plenty of free and affordable attractions you can explore in the city too. In our opinion, not many other European destinations cater to budget-friendly travel like Athens does! Book a Halal Trip with us!  ...

  • #MyFirstTarawih: Praying in Masjid Al-Haram

    "I had seen my share of incredibly beautiful mosques, but nothing I had ever seen previously even came close to the magnificence of Masjid Al-Haram" Remembering my first Ramadan. The first one that I was old enough to actually fast and follow all the rules with it, takes me back to a time of sweet childhood memories. I was six years old when my parents first spoke to me about me fasting during Ramadan that year. They knew I was still quite young to actually take it seriously, but they also knew that I loved a challenge and would try my hardest to stick to the fast even if it was tough. What they didn’t know was that I would end up fasting every single day of that Ramadan even though they’d only initially wanted me to get used to it by fasting a couple of days here and there or even just a couple of hours per day. I had grown up watching them and my older brother abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan, praying and supplicating more so than usual, and I somewhat knew the reasoning behind it. But what excited me more was that I could finally be like the grownups! My six year old self was so honoured and ecstatic that my parents were finally ready to allow me to participate in something they did too! That Ramadan, it was different. Not only was I going to be able to fast along with them, but I would also be experiencing the Holy Month in the sacred city, Makkah! My dad had decided that we as a family would make the journey from Dubai to Makkah by road, and spend the month of Ramadan there. After weeks of prep, we were off! While fasting, we drove for 12 hours straight to Riyadh, with a couple of our family friends; including kids my age, where we met up with my aunt and uncle and their three children. From Riyadh, we continued our journey to Makkah. Upon reaching Makkah, we checked into our hotel and while we were exhausted, none of us could actually sleep because of our excitement! We headed off to Masjid Al-Haram to perform our Umrah, and I remember just being in pure awe. Having grown up in the Middle East, even by the age of 6, I had seen my share of incredibly beautiful mosques, but nothing I had ever seen previously even came close to the magnificence of Masjid Al-Haram. There’s no point in me trying to explain how incredible the mosque is, because it truly is something that you have to see with your own two eyes to believe. After performing our Umrah, we stayed at the mosque so we could get a good spot to break our fast - while the mosque is always packed throughout the year, during Ramadan the crowd is unreal! - and this is when it hit me. My little self had managed to beat the fatigue and pushed through the long day while fasting. My little stomach was rumbling and boy was I tired, but I was still going! Maghrib Adhan was called, it was Iftar time! We broke our fasts with a date and some water, offered our prayers and then had a bite to eat. After that, we decided to stay on further for Isha prayers, and then for Tarawih. This would not just be my first Tarawih, but also my first Tarawih in this sacred city. I had heard stories, all the recollections my friends and family had, of their previous visits to the Holy Mosque during Ramadan, of not just the prayer being long, but also each Rakaat, each Rukooh and each Sujood being extra long too. I knew the prayer would be lengthy, and my mum had given me a crash course on how to perform Tarawih and the importance of Tarawih prayer in Ramadan as it was my first time, and I was mentally preparing myself. Once the prayer started, I immediately knew that everything I had heard was right - it was long! But the electric atmosphere and the Imam’s beautiful recitation blurred everything out and the time just flew by. I was simply awe-struck by the intensity, by how millions of people, from kids my age and even much younger, to aged adults in wheelchairs, were all lined up, praying their hearts out to The Creator. There was no way I was going to complain, because I knew it was such a blessing to be able to perform my first Tarawih in Masjid Al-Haram. The prayer was beautiful. I remember that when it was over, I just wanted to do it again and again, even though by then I was exhausted! I was addicted. It was a feeling that is absolutely indescribable. A feeling only those who have been there and experienced it for themselves will know. I was lucky. I had the chance to perform Tarawih, right there in that exact mosque for the rest of the month. And I never got tired of it. Yes, I got distracted multiple times throughout the prayer. I would occasionally lose concentration and ended up watching kids near me quietly play with each other while their parents prayed, or just counting the flowers on my prayer mat, or even just thinking random thoughts, and somewhere in the middle, I may have even dozed off for a few seconds! Remembering my first Tarawih isn’t that easy since it has been a long time, but it’s also not something that I will easily forget. Over the next few days my mum gave me a few more pointers, of dua that I could make, and of the supplications that I could recite just to enhance my prayer a little further and of how I could focus more instead of being distracted by what was happening around me; and even though I tried, I may have ended up zoning out into space a couple of times each night anyway. But hey, I was six! Tarawih during the last ten days of Ramadan was incredible. I never thought it could be possible for the atmosphere to be even more ramped up, but it was! I would give anything to be spending this coming Ramadan and to be offering Tarawih in Makkah! Even today, twenty one years later, I keep thinking to myself..my first Tarawih experience was in Makkah! I was so incredibly fortunate, and it truly doesn’t get more special than that! Alhamdulillah!...

  • Top 10 Muslim-friendly OIC Destinations

    The Global Muslim Travel Index for 2018 is out! If you’re wondering what the most Muslim-friendly countries are for the year 2018, getting yourself a copy of the latest index is an absolute must! Covering 130 destinations - both, OIC and non-OIC -, the Global Muslim Travel Index 2018 by Mastercard and CrescentRating rank these countries based on key criteria covering access, communications, environment and services. The OIC destinations that scored the top spots in the index all offer a plethora of facilities and services that Muslims look for when traveling; from Halal food and prayer facilities, to affordability and accessibility. Here’s a look at the top 10 Muslim-friendly OIC destinations in 2018 that are doing all the right things to make Muslim travellers feel right at home!   Malaysia Picture Credit: www.lonelyplanet.com It’s no surprise that once again, for the eighth consecutive year; Malaysia has managed to keep its top position in the global Muslim travel market! One of the most sought after travel destinations for Muslim families, as well as honeymooners and backpackers, Malaysia is a country that does not only offer endless things to do and see; from cultural wonders to spectacular natural sites, but its Muslim-majority status and the countless facilities they offer, attract Muslim tourists from around the world who are looking to have an unforgettable holiday while also staying true to their religious beliefs. Considered as one of the fastest developing countries in the world, Malaysia combines old-world charm and modern city-life effortlessly. Like most Muslim-majority countries, Malaysia is home to plenty of mosques; including some of the most beautiful in the world, and even offer prayer rooms and ablution facilities in most malls and major attractions. In addition to that, Halal food can be found throughout the country, from street-side carts to food courts to renowned, top-notch restaurant, thus the convenience. Along with the amazing tourist experience they offer, they are certainly proving to be unbeatable! Find Halal food places in Malaysia Find Mosques and Prayer places in Malaysia   Indonesia Picture Credit: blog.davestpay.com Next on the list, and tying with the United Arab Emirates in second place, is beautiful Indonesia! A fantastic destination for Muslim travellers, this Muslim-majority country is one of the most perfect spot for that Muslim-friendly holiday you’ve been dreaming of for a while! While this Southeast Asian country remains as a popular destination for both Muslim and non-Muslims, Indonesia truly defines what it means to be Muslim-friendly. Halal food can be found almost anywhere in the country, and mosques and prayer places are available throughout. Indonesia ticks all the right boxes. From offering Muslim travellers all of the Muslim-friendly facilities they require, to its natural beauty, and its cultural diversity and even being a destination for shopaholics and foodies, Indonesia is a destination unlike any other! Find Halal food places in Indonesia Find Mosques and Prayer places in Indonesia   The United Arab Emirates Picture Credit: www.zocalopublicsquare.org The United Arab Emirates, along with Indonesia, took the second spot in the Global Muslim Travel Index 2018. A collection of seven Emirates; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Quwain, the UAE is a Muslim country that has been in the limelight for the past few years, due to its ‘bigger is better’ attitude. From being home to some of the biggest and most well-known attractions in the world, to its incredible world-renowned food scene and its note-worthy infrastructure. Even boasting some of the world’s best Muslim-friendly facilities and its diversity in culture, Dubai is without a doubt one of the most popular tourist destinations across the globe. Finding mosques and prayer places along with Halal food in the country’s major cities, like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, will be incredibly easy, and finding the same, is just as effortless in its lesser known ones as well. Find Halal food places in UAE  Find Mosques and Prayer places in UAE   Turkey Picture Credit: www.worldatlas.com The vibrant country of Turkey has long been a destination attracting tourists from all over the world. Its fascinating history, culture and customs, along with its spectacular attractions and beautiful architecture, stunning natural scenery and its location makes it one of the most popular travel destinations in the world! Long being enchanting visitors, Turkey also has some of the most mouth-watering food! And, all of you out there who travel to taste and discover new exciting dishes; since the country is made up of mostly Muslims, almost all the food found throughout is Halal! Mosques are scattered throughout the country, and that along with all other Muslim-friendly amenities the country offers, make Muslims always feel right at home when visiting. Find Halal food places in Turkey Find Mosques and Prayer places in Turkey   Saudi Arabia Picture Credit: www.kozanbilgi.net Saudi Arabia is one of the top countries in the world for Muslim travel, especially due to it being home to the sacred cities of Makkah and Madinah. Muslims travel across the world to Saudi Arabia at least once in their lifetime to perform the Holy pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah. However, Saudi Arabia’s other cities also offer plenty to do and see; from Islamic heritage sites, to modern attractions, making Saudi Arabia the ultimate Muslim-friendly destination. One thing that Muslims are sure to find exciting, is that only Halal food can be found throughout the country, so eating out can be done without a worry in the world! The country also has countless mosques and prayer rooms, which means no matter where you are; in a mall, or even driving across the dessert, finding prayer facilities can be done so with ease. Find Halal food places in Saudi Arabia Find Mosques and Prayer places in Saudi Arabia   Qatar Picture Credit: www.iloveqatar.net Qatar is the new up-and-coming destination, fast following in the steps of some of the UAE’s major cities, such as Dubai. The Middle Eastern country; known for its futuristic architecture and impressive, modern skyline, is developing rapidly and becoming a must-visit destination for Muslim travelers. It offers a great blend of rich culture and traditions, along with a sophisticated art and food scene, making it an exciting destination for Muslims to discover. As with all of the countries in this list, its majority-Muslim population means that Muslim-friendly facilities like Halal food, as well as mosques and prayer rooms, can be found throughout. Find Halal food places in Qatar Find Mosques and Prayer places in Qatar   Bahrain Picture Credit: itcsecure.com Moving a few spots up in the Global Muslim Travel Index 2018, from the 2017 index, Bahrain may not be as well-known as some other Middle Eastern countries, but the destination is rapidly gaining recognition as a superb destination for Muslim travelers due to a number of factors. The island-nation boasts a laid-back vibe, which attracts those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life while not compromising on their religious values. It is home to numerous historical and cultural sites, offers visitors a fascinating look into wealthy Arab life and culture, and also has a plethora of Muslim-friendly facilities. Halal food and prayer facilities are widely found around the country, thus making it incredibly easy for Muslim visitors to explore it without a worry. Find Halal food places in Bahrain Find Mosques and Prayer places in Bahrain   Oman Picture Credit: www.constructionweekonline.com Next up, is the exotic destination of Oman! The Islamic country offers Muslim travellers an incredible experience, by featuring all of the Muslim-friendly facilities visitors usually look for in a destination; Halal food and prayer facilities, as well as numerous fascinating attractions and sites, making it a gem of a destination that can be discovered with ease, and thus a popular getaway spot for those in neighbouring countries. The country is steeped in history and has managed to keep its roots without letting development take over. From incredible culture immersions, to the friendliest of people, to beach getaways, mountain treks and desert escapades, to breathtaking natural scenery and ancient sites, we truly can’t think of another place that offers everything that the spectacular country of Oman does! Find Halal food places in Oman Find Mosques and Prayer places in Oman   Morocco Picture Credit: www.moroccokeytravel.com This list would definitely be incomplete without the addition of colourful Morocco! A well-known travel destination; the North African country of Morocco is one that will enchant you with its incredible, diverse culture, its natural beauty and spectacular beaches, its fascinating ancient cities and rich deserts, its warm hospitality and its delicious, fragrant food. And it only gets better because of its Muslim-friendliness! With the country being predominantly Muslim, it has all the amenities Muslim travellers look for when planning a getaway. Halal food is widely found across Morocco, and so are mosques and prayer rooms. Find Halal food places in Morocco Find Mosques and Prayer places in Morocco   Kuwait Picture Credit: www.worldtravelguide.net Kuwait takes the Global Muslim Travel Index’s tenth spot for the year 2018, and we think that’s definitely well deserved! While not as loud and luxurious as other well known Middle Eastern countries, Kuwait’s charm is magnetic and undeniable. Ideal for those looking to experience that ‘Arab feel’, Kuwait is home to some wonderful attractions, and its natural beauty is certainly something to write about. The country features some fantastic museums, a lively food scene, some lovely beaches and pretty souqs. Its predominantly Muslim population also means that no matter where in the country you are, prayer facilities are easy to find and Halal restaurants are aplenty! Find Halal food places in Kuwait Find Mosques and Prayer places in Kuwait   Go on a Halal Trip with us!...

  • 7 Reasons Why You Should Book Your Next Holiday to Stockholm

    Stockholm, Sweden’s wonderful capital is one of Northern Europe’s most exciting destinations. Ethnically diverse, modern yet rich in history, dynamic and naturally stunning. Surrounded by a number of islands, Stockholm is a city that needs to be on every travel addict’s bucket list. The city is architecturally stunning. This city is incredibly clean, its public transport is superb, its setting by the water is picturesque, and its people are extremely friendly. Home to incredible attractions for visitors of all ages - UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Michelin starred restaurants, charming streets, scenic spots and everything else one could ask for when picking a holiday spot. Stockholm has definitely become one of the most popular tourist destinations across the globe! If the above reasons haven’t quite convinced you yet, we’ve listed 7 great reasons as to why the Scandinavian city needs to be the destination of your next vacation. By the end of it, we’re pretty sure you’ll be more than ready to pack your bags and head to Stockholm real soon! ;)   1. Gamla stan Picture Credit: www.robertharding.com What better way to understand Stockholm’s fascinating history than to visit the place it all began, back in 1252! One of our top reasons to visit Sweden; the city’s Old Town or Gamla stan houses some of Stockholm’s oldest buildings and streets, and also a number of points of interest that cannot be missed. This small island in the Stockholm Harbour is so incredibly magical, one visit and you’re sure to fall in love! The location of many of the city’s attractions, such as the Royal Palace; which is one of the largest palace’s in the world, Stockholm Cathedral; Sweden’s national cathedral, the Nobel Museum and Stortorget; known to be the oldest square in Stockholm, it is no surprise that this wonderfully preserved medieval city is so famous. The Old Town also has numerous note-worthy restaurants and cafés, and some great places to shop. Its labyrinth of narrow winding cobblestone streets and tiny alleys are meant to be explored, so be prepared to be pleasantly surprised every corner you turn! And when paying the Royal Palace a visit, don't miss the 40 minute long changing of the guard ceremony and parade!   2. Djurgården Picture Credit: www.visitstockholm.com Djurgården Island, in the heart of Stockholm, is unlike any other place in the area and is thus one of the city’s foremost attractions. This tranquil green oasis is a favourite spot amongst locals and tourists alike for all the diverse recreational opportunities it offers, and attracts millions of visitors every year for numerous reasons. Home to some of the city’s most famous museums and galleries, historical buildings and monuments, stunning green spaces and beautiful parks, great waterside walking paths, and even an amusement park. Djurgården is the ideal place to experience endless fun outdoors. The Vasa Museum, the Nordic Museum, the Skansen, Isbladskarret, Gröna Lund, and Junibacken in Djurgården, are just a few of its key attractions that will definitely complete your visit to Stockholm!   3. The Vasa Museum Picture Credit: www.visitstockholm.com Stockholm may be home to a plethora of historic buildings and museums, but one attraction you cannot leave without seeing is the sensational Vasa Museum. One of the most popular locations in Sweden, the Vasa Museum sees over a million visitors each year, and is known to have been visited by over 25 million people since its opening. The maritime museum is dedicated largely to its most prized possession, a national symbol that represents Sweden’s Great Power Period; the Vasa ship. The 17th century Swedish warship was built on the orders of the King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus, and sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. Today, visitors come from across the world to see the impressive salvaged warship, to learn all about its Viking history and to take in the numerous models and exhibits focusing on it. Offering a unique Swedish experience, the Vasa Museum is a must-include in every visitors itinerary. Address: Galärvarvsvägen 14, 115 21 Stockholm, SwedenContact: +46 8-519 548 80Website: www.vasamuseet.se/en   4. Skansen Picture Credit: www.skansen.se Founded in 1891, Stockholm’s Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world. The museum is one of the best ways to learn all about Swedish history and to meet some Nordic wildlife too! Visitors can expect to explore the history of Sweden and discover what the everyday lives of the Swedes was like, before our time. The museum is a miniature version of what Sweden was; with a collection of Scandinavian homes, historical buildings, and farms from all over the country. Visitors will even come across people dressed up in period attire, and numerous informative displays, and don't miss the opportunity to experience famous Swedish traditions, like Midsummer being celebrated here. There are also some great cafés and shops here, along with an aquarium, a zoo and a play area for children. Transporting visitors back to the past, the Skansen is said to attract over 1.3 million visitors each year. Address: Djurgårdsslätten 49-51, 115 21 Stockholm, SwedenContact: +46-8-442 82 00Website: http://www.skansen.se/en/   5. Östermalms Saluhall Picture Credit: whistlerinthetrees.wordpress.com If you’re a foodie, (and really, who isn’t!?) this one just might sell you on Stockholm and its magnificence! Östermalms Saluhall or Östermalm's Market Hall is one of the world’s best food halls and has been a premiere tourist attraction for over 130 years. The famed indoor food market is a great place to experience the best of Swedish cuisine. No matter what the weather is like outside, the market is always warm and cozy, and incredibly aromatic, making it the perfect place to go on a gastronomic adventure in Stockholm. It boasts numerous restaurants, cafés and food stalls, and while none of them are Halal certified, Muslim visitors will be able to find countless seafood and vegetarian dishes, free of alcohol, to sample. There are also a variety of packed Swedish items meant to be taken home, from lingonberry jam, to smoked fish, to a variety of salads and a selection of Swedish delicacies and treats. One of the best ways to really discover a place’s culture is through its food, and what better place to do that in Stockholm than at Östermalms Saluhall! Yum! Note: Although it has been reported to be permanently closed on Google, the Östermalm's Market Hall is still operating at a temporary place while the main building is under renovation. Address: Östermalmstorg, 114 42 Stockholm, SwedenWebsite: http://www.ostermalmshallen.se/en/   6. Fika! Picture Credit: www.thisnewview.com Fika is an important term in Sweden’s culture. With the basic meaning ‘to have coffee’, it is so significant to the Swedes that they choose not translate it. More than just having a cup of coffee, which is often accompanied by a sweet pastry, cake or Swedish treat, fika in Sweden is a way of life. It is a tradition that is enjoyed by its locals no matter at what time of the day, with friends or family, in a cosy café or even at home. Taking a fika break occurs numerous times a day, and it is therefore no surprise that the Swedes are actually some of the biggest coffee drinkers in the world! We don’t know about you, but boy would we like to partake in some fika! ;)   7. It has thousands of islands to discover! Picture Credit: StefanoRomagna, www.flickr.com Stockholm’s 30,000 island archipelago cannot be described. From spectacular islands home to boutique hotels and posh communities to those uninhabited, to islands boasting stunning sandy beaches, and those covered in woodland; that spill into the Baltic Sea, and a variety of activities from kayaking to fishing and biking, the Stockholm archipelago is sure to keep visitors mesmerized for days! Just a 20 minute boat ride from the city, there is a whole new world waiting to be discovered! So what are you waiting for!? *Insider tip: If you’re staying in Stockholm for a few days and plan to explore the best of it, buy a Stockholm Pass. Not only will it give you access to a number of the city’s museums and attractions, but also its public transportation. The pass is also a great way to ensure you don’t spend hours standing in queues outside of the city’s top tourist spots; instead you get to skip the long lines and have longer to spend at the attraction itself! If you’re looking to enjoy a Halal holiday in Stockholm, there are in fact a few Halal restaurants and mosques. Due to the small Muslim community in Stockholm, finding these places won’t be easy, but will be possible. The HalalTrip Mobile app is therefore the best and most convenient way to find mosques and prayer places in Stockholm. Also with the help of the app, you will be able to find Halal food in Stockholm, as well as the city’s other must-visit attractions and more. Download the Halal Trip app to look for more Travel guides and attractions....

  • 7 Best Things to Do in Quebec City

    No matter how many times you’ve been to the spectacular French Canadian city of Quebec, there is always something new and unforgettable to discover. North America’s only walled city, Quebec, is undeniably one of our most favourite cities in the world. Small, but offering so much to see and do. It is one destination rich in history, culture and nature. Cruise your way through Quebec as they boasts their mesmerizing castles, charming streets, chic cafés, evoking the romantic ambience of this city. On the other hand, this city is also a place of wonder for all you adventure seekers, looking for activities that will get you out of your comfort zone! The UNESCO World Heritage site is magical no matter when you visit; summer or winter. This French-speaking city and its unique identity never fails to impress even the most well-seasoned travelers. While the attractions in Quebec City are aplenty, not many stay long enough to experience them all. So if you’re planning a short trip and are wondering what the top places to visit in Quebec City, then we’ve got you covered! Our guide covers things that if missed, in our opinion, will deem your trip incomplete, so be sure to include all of it in your itinerary for the trip of a lifetime!   1. Explore Old Quebec Picture Credit: www.civilized.life No trip to Quebec City is complete without a visit to its famed Old Town; where narrow, winding cobblestone streets meet quaint stone buildings, making it a living museum. The designated UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect example of what living in a fortified city was like centuries ago. The sweeping view of the Saint-Lawrence River from the Upper Town is a must-see for every visitor, and the numerous historic buildings and sites. Places such as the Place Royale and the Plains of Abraham will definitely leave you in awe with their brilliant architecture. While you are here, make sure to take a stroll along the fortified walls surrounding the Old Town, and get yourself a picture with one of the most photographed hotels on the planet - the Château Frontenac! Also filled with countless impressive restaurants and cafés, including some of Canada’s best stores and boutiques. You’ll have plenty to do and see in Old Quebec, so make sure you have your walking shoes on when visiting!   2. Experience Carnaval de Quebec Picture Credit: www.homeaway.ca If you’re visiting Quebec during its coldest months of January and February, then the famous Winter Carnival is one thing you cannot miss! The massive, colourful festival embraces the weather - ice, snow and all - and is one of the city’s most important events, highlighting its history and culture. Locals look forward to it, and tourists from all over the world fly in just to experience it right before their eyes. The magical event spans a couple of weeks, and these activities include live shows, parades, their traditional ice canoe race, sleigh races through the Plains of Abraham, snow sculpting competitions, skating and so much more! Attended by around a million people annually, this event is one of the top things to do in Quebec City during the winter months, so don’t miss out!   3. Snack on Maple Syrup Picture Credit: www.youtube.com Did you know that Quebec is the home of maple syrup? Producing around 77% of the world’s supply of maple syrup, Quebec is the place to go to get your hands on these sweet and sticky Canadian treat. Get your sweet fix at one of the many ‘sugar shacks’ or cabanes à sucre in the province that are open year round. Just a short distance from the Old Town, these sugar shacks will give you the opportunity to learn all about the maple syrup and the whole process on how to produce it. Here you'll experience hands-on activities, taste Canadian delicacies all centered on maple and even experience shows where the syrup takes center stage! Sampling taffy that is poured hot-hot on snow to cool it and then shaped onto a stick before hardening is an absolute experience you won’t forget!   4. Stay at the Ice Hotel Picture Credit: entertainmentdesigner.com Have you ever visited a hotel made entirely of snow and ice? Well then, Quebec City’s incredible Hôtel de Glace will leave you a little cold, and quite a bit speechless. Located just a few minutes away from downtown Quebec City, and offering you a one-of-a-kind experience, Hôtel de Glace attracts thousands of visitors each year during winter. The hotel which has 45 original themed rooms and suites is entirely redesigned and rebuilt each year in winter. If you’re not convinced about spending your night in room made of ice, then just take a tour of the hotel, learn all about its construction and its fascinating architecture. See what it’s like to spend a night in an sleeping on a bed of ice instead of actually doing so. The hotel also has spas and saunas to counter the cold, and they are known for their drinks like apple cream and maple cider served in glasses, again, made of ice! Address: 1860, Valcartier blvd, Valcartier, Quebec, G0A 4S0, CanadaContact: +1 418 844 2200Website: www.hoteldeglace-canada.com   5. Check out Petit Champlain Picture Credit: www.quartierpetitchamplain.com One of the most popular places to visit in Quebec City is the district of Petit Champlain. Located in Old Quebec, Quartier Petit Champlain or the Petit Champlain district is where you need to head for a bit of shopping. But here’s what makes it even more famous; the district is not only the best place to pick up some souvenirs, but also great for those looking to immerse themselves further into city’s fascinating history. Known to be the oldest commercial district in North America, the Petit Champlain district’s cobblestoned streets are lined with historic buildings, great restaurants and cafés, art galleries, and souvenir shops. While in Petit Champlain, also make some time to climb the Escalier Casse-Cou or Breakneck Steps; named after the steep rise of the 59 stairs it is made up of. Built in 1635, this is Quebec City’s oldest stairway.   6. Wander around Montmorency Falls Park Picture Credit: www.sepaq.com Just a short drive from Quebec City, along the St. Lawrence River, Montmorency Falls Park or Parc de la Chute-Montmorency is one of the most scenic sites in the province. A nature lover’s paradise, Montmorency Falls Park is spectacular no matter when you visit, as its natural beauty shines be it summer or winter, day or night. The park is home to numerous hiking trails leading to breathtaking views, playgrounds, and bike paths, but it is most famous for being the location of the thundering 83 meter high Montmorency Falls. 30 meters taller than the Niagara Falls, the Montmorency Falls is the park’s key attraction. While there are numerous ways to appreciate the attraction; from the many lookout points, from a cable car, a scenic stairway and even a suspension bridge, we think the best way to take in the falls, and its magical surroundings is to zip line across the cove of the falls! Starting at the top of a cliff, the zip line takes two people at a time, across 300 metres of the falls and lands at the scenic La Baronne viewpoint. Take in the adrenaline rush and the indescribable view of the amazing Montmorency Falls! Address: 5300 boulevard Sainte-Anne, Quebec City, Quebec G1C 0M3, CanadaOpening Hours: Open throughout the day, year roundTicket Price: Entrance to the Park and Falls: FreeVisit website for seasonal rates for the double zip line and cable carContact: +1 418-663-3330Website: https://www.sepaq.com/ct/pcm/index.dot?language_id=1   7. Stroll down Terrasse Dufferin Picture Credit: www.lonelyplanet.com Offering stunning views of the St. Lawrence River and overlooking Old Quebec, Terrasse Dufferin is a popular spot amongst locals and tourists alike as it is the perfect place to enjoy the city’s rich history along with its natural beauty. Today, one of Quebec City’s most popular walkways is the Terrasse Dufferin which was once a military fortification. While you see the old cannons that once protected the city lining, the walkway has become a lively area packed with street performers and entertainers, artists and sightseers. If you’re visiting during winter, an ice toboggan ride is not to be missed! For history buffs seeking for more information on the attraction and its surroundings, there are guided tours of the area that can be taken at a small fee. If finding Muslim-friendly facilities in Quebec City is what is holding you back from visiting, boy have we got news for you! There is a sizeable percentage of Muslims that call the city their home, so if you’re wondering if you’ll be able to find Halal food in Quebec City, the answer is yes! While there aren’t that many, you might also be able to find prayer places near you in Quebec City. The best way to find these places would be on the HalalTrip Mobile app. All you have to do is download the app, and locating Halal restaurants and mosques in Quebec City will be easy no matter where in the city you are! Download the Halal Trip app to look for more Travel guides and attractions....

  • 7 Reasons Denmark should be on your Bucket List!

    Let’s be honest here, Denmark isn’t really much of a well-known destination, not one that is usually on most travellers' wishlists anyway. And we have absolutely no idea why! Denmark may be small in landmass, but boy does it deserve a lot more attention than it gets! It's so spectacular that we'd move there, if we could! Packed to the brim with things to do and see, this beautiful Scandinavian country truly deserves a spot on your travel bucket list. From old-fashioned charm and dynamic cities, to fascinating history and beautiful medieval castles serving remarkable food. Denmark is where you'll meet friendly people and be greeted by the wonderful weather. Experience picture perfect beaches and natural beauty as far as the eye can see, get ready for some exciting travel adventures in Denmark.   Find Attractions near you in Denmark Find a Halal Restaurant near you in Denmark   Our list of reasons why you should visit Denmark at least once, has something for everyone; whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or have a deep appreciation for art and culture, or just someone looking to find yourself and a deeper meaning to life, Denmark needs to be your next destination of choice!   1. No one does Hygge like the Danes Hygge, probably one of the most difficult things to explain, but a feeling or experience all Danish people understand. Pronounced ‘hue-ga’, and roughly translating to ‘cosiness’, hygge is a term that means different things to different people. It’s a feeling of being content and comfortable, with the simple things in life, your loved ones, your environment, being in your own skin. It is thus not a surprise that Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the top countries with some of the world’s most happiest people! If you’re looking to do a bit of soul searching, then the Danes are the perfect people to use as examples, and truthfully, with the fast-paced lives that most of us live, we could all use a large dose of hygge in our lives!   2. It is oh-so magical Did you know that Hans Christian Andersen, the author of the popular fairy tales most of us read as children, like ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘The Ugly Duckling’ was Danish? You can actually pay a visit to his childhood home here, or stop by the iconic Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen for a bit of a photo session! Denmark also boasts a number of magical castles that look just like the ones you see in movies! You’ll find the magnificent renaissance Castle of Kronborg, which was the setting of Shakespeare's famous play, Hamlet, and now a UNESCO World Heritage listed site.  The Castle dominates the Danish landscape along with Fredensborg Palace, the Queen's summer residence. Utterly enchanting! For a blast from the past, a visit to the Old Town in Aarhus cannot be missed! The open air museum will take you back to the 1900’s. From cobblestoned streets, to town houses from that era, to even people dressed and acting like those from the period, you will find the entire experience fascinating.   3. Stay fit while having fun! What better way to see the best of the country, than zipping around on a bike!? Not only do you get to make use of Denmark’s incredible cycling infrastructure, you also get the chance to enjoy its great weather, take in the sights at your own pace, and get a bit of exercise too! The Danish love their bikes, and there are possibly more bikes in the country than cars! Major cities like Copenhagen have bike paths so that you can ride around and explore safely. Make use of the cycle superhighway here and experience what it’s like to be a Danish commuter.   4. See Two Seas Meet Picture Credit - ettitude, pinterest.co.uk Yup, you read that right! How many people that you know have seen two seas meet with their own eyes? You’re going to have bragging rights for a while after your trip to Denmark! Skagen is probably one of our top reasons to visit Denmark and one of its most popular destinations. In Skagen, the Baltic Sea meets the Northern Sea. How often does anyone get to experience such a unique natural phenomenon of the colliding of seas? It is an experience unlike any other! The city is also known to be one of the sunniest in Denmark, and has plenty of beautiful white sand beaches for you to treat yourself to a bit of R&R.   5. Vikings! Picture Credit - www.visitdenmark.co.uk Delve deeper into Denmark’s fascinating history and experience the best of Viking heritage! The country has a long Viking history as their homeland, and thus boasts numerous ancient Viking attractions. In Lindholm Høje, you’ll be awe-struck by the large Viking burial site, rune stones, houses and monuments, and at the Viking Ship Museum in the historic town of Roskilde, you’ll be taken aback by the numerous detailed exhibits on the Vikings and their ships. And, here’s another thing you can scratch off your bucket list, you’ll even get the chance to sail a Viking ship! If you’re a serious history buff, there’s even a Viking festival in Aarhus that you can attend! It takes place every July, and it’s as medieval as you can imagine!   6. It’s so colourful We can’t think of a better place to really experience Denmark’s colourful architecture than the picturesque waterfront area of Nyhavn. Dating back to the 17th century, this is one iconic spot that Copenhagen is renowned for. Locals and tourists alike flock to this entertainment district for its charming atmosphere and the plethora of attractions housed here. Take a boat tour down the canal, or just relax at one of the many cosy cafés lining the street, people watch and admire the brightly coloured buildings the area is famous for.   7. Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse The famous Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, also known as the ‘Buried Lighthouse’ sees thousands of tourists each year. The now abandoned lighthouse was in operation until 1968, but today it's slowly being buried under the shifting sand surrounding it. Due to erosion, the lighthouse is expected to fall into the sea in the next 10 or so years. So while you can, and before it’s entirely gone, hike up the sand dunes and explore the area and the lighthouse! While Muslims don’t make up a large percentage of Denmark’s population, a, Muslim-friendly trip to Denmark is certainly possible. A few Muslim-friendly facilities can be found in major cities like Copenhagen and Aarhus thanks to the Muslims that reside there. Although finding Halal food in Denmark won’t be easy, it is not entirely impossible. The HalalTrip Mobile App is a fantastic app to have on your phone while exploring the country, as it will not only help you find mosques and prayer places in Denmark, but also Halal restaurants, must-visit attractions and more, making sure your Halal trip to Denmark is an unforgettable one!   Go on a Halaltrip with us!...

  • 7 Halal Hotels in Istanbul

    Istanbul is a mesmerizing city, exuding charm unlike any other. With its breathtaking natural beauty, beautiful traditional architecture and diverse and vibrant culture, there is no doubt that the city is one of the greatest in the world. Housing some of the world’s best must-see attractions, it is also an incredibly popular travel destination, attracting millions of tourists from across the globe each year. As a city split between two continents - Europe and Asia - Istanbul offers visitors a unique twist, with its old world charm and modern lifestyle. Its rich past and Ottoman sights will inspire you, its stunning natural spots will astound you and its delicious food will keep you coming back for more! If you’re planning a Muslim-friendly tour to Istanbul, then after figuring out things like flight and duration of the trip, you’re going to have to decide on where to stay in Istanbul - and you’re in luck! Did you know that you can actually find Halal hotels in Istanbul? We were amazed to find out that numerous hotels and resorts in Istanbul are now making changes to the services and facilities they offer, so that they can be more appealing to Muslim tourists visiting the city. So we decided that a detailed round-up of the Halal hotels near you in Istanbul was an absolute must! What better way to make your Halal trip to Istanbul a little more comfortable, than to stay at a hotel that is Muslim-friendly!   Find a Mosque near you in Istanbul Find a Halal Restaurant near you in Istanbul From serving only Halal food and beverages, to offering separate recreational facilities for men and women, these 7 hotels are really upping the Halal travel game!   1. Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet Picture Credit - www.ajwa.com.tr The Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet is not just one of the most Muslim-friendly hotels in Istanbul, but also probably in the world. Located in the heart of Sultanahmet in Fatih, Istanbul, close to numerous renowned attractions, the exquisite hotel not only boasts stunning Ottoman-style architecture and oozes luxury, but does it all with a Halal approach. All of the food served at the hotel is a 100% Halal, as all of it is prepared in a Halal certified kitchen. Zeferan Restaurant, located on the top floor of the hotel, is a must-visit for its delicious Azerbaijani dishes, as well as for the spectacular views it offers of the Blue Mosque and the Sea of Marmara. Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet also has a Turkish hammam or traditional bath, a pool, gym, sauna, spa and numerous other facilities, all of which have separate hours for women and men. Muslims staying at the hotel can also request for prayer mats, and a prayer timetable as well as prayer attire. All of the rooms in the hotel have the Qibla direction marked. Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet was also awarded the highest rating of 7 based on the level of Muslim-friendly facilities it offers, by the world’s leading authority on halal-friendly travel, CrescentRating. Address: Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet, Emin Sinan Mahallesi, Piyerloti Caddesi No: 30, 34126, Sultanahmet / Istanbul, TurkeyTel.: +90 212 638 22 00Website:www.ajwa.com.tr Facebook | Instagram | YouTube   2. Golden Tulip Istanbul Bayrampasa Hotel Picture Credit - booking.com The 5 star Golden Tulip Istanbul Bayrampasa is a popular hotel in Istanbul among both business and leisure travellers. It is also another well-known Muslim-friendly hotel in Istanbul. With 169 luxurious rooms overlooking the breathtaking Marmara Sea, not to mention the equally spectacular city, its convenient location, and all of the Halal amenities and services it provides, the Golden Tulip Istanbul Bayrampasa will definitely complete your Halal trip to Istanbul! The mouthwatering Turkish and other international dishes served at the hotel’s Montana Restaurant are all Halal, so you can eat to your heart's content without a worry, and then take a quick dip or a leisurely swim in the hotel’s indoor pool, which is another great feature of the hotel, because it has specific hours reserved for men and for women. Address: Yenidogan Mah Cicoz Yolu Cad No13 Bayrampasa, 34030, ISTANBULTel.: +90 212 647 00 00 / +90 800 358 0846Website: www.goldentulip.com/en/hotels/golden-tulip-istanbul-bayrampasa Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn   3. Damatris Palace Hotel Picture Credit - damatrispalacehotel.com The modern Damatris Palace Hotel, located in Samandira, Istanbul is another well known Halal hotel in the city. The hotel is frequented by visiting couples and families due to the numerous facilities it offers. In addition to only Halal food being served in the hotel, Muslim guests, especially women will be delighted to know that the Damatris Palace Hotel has a wellness and spa centre that can offer separate hours upon request, just for them to get into a bit of relaxation and pampering. The Damatris Palace Hotel is sure to cater to any of your requirements, and will truly allow you to have the Halal holiday of your dreams! Address: Eyüp Sultan Mah, Kızılay Cd. No:25/A, 34885 Sancaktepe / İstanbul TürkiyeTel.: 0 (216) 311 8888Website: http://damatrispalacehotel.com/ Facebook | Instagram   4. ByOtell Hotel Istanbul Picture Credit - facebook.com/ByOtell The 5-star ByOtell Hotel Istanbul is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, making it closely situated to numerous places of interest, but away from the city’s main tourist-crowded areas. The hotel features numerous chic rooms, all of which offer incredible views of the city, as well as four dining areas, namely, Bistro Gülizar, Kehribar, Lavazza and Edwards, all known to be Halal. Yes, you read that right! You’ve got not one, but four restaurants to choose from! Alcohol is also not served anywhere within the hotel’s premises. The ByOtell Hotel Istanbul is also another great hotel for Muslim women, as it houses a wellness center and spa that offers a variety of fantastic services just for ladies, from aerobics, pilates and spinning classes to massage and relaxation rooms, and even a Turkish Hammam. This hotel may just end up being one of your favourite parts of your holiday in Istanbul! Address: Saniye Ermutlu Sokak No:3 Kozyatağı, İstanbulTel.: 0 216 571 61 00Website: www.byotell.com Facebook | Instagram | Google+   5. Bof Hotels Ataşehir Picture Credit - www.bofhotels.com Located in the heart of Istanbul’s tourism and finance district, Bof Hotels Atasehir is another Halal hotel in the city’s Asian side. The hotel’s award-winning chef not only prepares Turkish and International dishes that are utterly sensational, but also entirely Halal. In addition to that, the hotel does not serve alcohol within its premises and has separate spa and sauna facilities for men and women. We think Bof Hotels Atasehir makes for a memorable Muslim-friendly stay in Istanbul! Don’t you? Address: Tatlısu Mah. Haliç Sokak No:10 Ataşehir İSTANBUL - TÜRKİYETel.: +90 216 266 50 50Website: www.bofhotels.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram   6. Sokullu Paşa Hotel Picture credit - www.sokullupasahotel.com If hotel location is as important to you as the Muslim-friendly facilities it offers, then the Sokullu Paşa Hotel is the absolute perfect choice! Located just minutes away from world renowned attractions like the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, in the historic district of Istanbul, Sokullu Paşa Hotel’s traditional Turkish hospitality and traditional style attracts visitors from all around the world, whether they are travelling for business or leisure. The hotel serves Halal food, and Muslim guests can request for their rooms to be free of any alcoholic beverages. Although Sokullu Paşa Hotel only has 24 rooms, and may not be as large as some of the ones mentioned above, nor does it house a wellness center or the likes of it, it makes up for all that with its great location and exceptional service. Address: Kucuk Ayasofya Mah. Şehit Mehmet Paşa, SK. No:3/ 3440, Sultanahmet - Istanbul/TurkeTel.: +90 212 5181790-91-92Website: www.sokullupasahotel.com   7. Deluxe Golden Horn Hotel Picture Credit - www.deluxegoldenhornhotel.com Deluxe Golden Horn Hotel is located in the historic Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, and is therefore just a short walk away from numerous must-see sites of the city, such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. The rooms within the hotel offer fantastic views of these attractions, as well as the rest of the city, new and old. The Deluxe Golden Horn Hotel has two restaurants, namely, the Terrace Restaurant, and the Lobby Café, both of which serve food that's completely Halal. The hotel also does not serve alcohol within its premises. Address: Binbirdirek Mah. Binbirdirek Meydanı Sok. No:1 34400, Sultanahmet / İstanbul TürkiyeTel.: +90(212) 518 17 17Website: www.deluxegoldenhornhotel.com Find things to do in Istanbul Check out our city guide to Istanbul Follow our Istanbul airport guides Find Attractions near you in Istanbul Book a Halal Hotel Find a Mosque near you in Istanbul Find a Halal Restaurant near you in Istanbul Go on a Halal Trip with us! For those hoping to plan the most perfect trip to Istanbul, the HalalTrip Mobile App is a must-have! It will help you find nearby Halal restaurants, as well as mosques, and attractions that cannot be missed. With a plethora of guides and must-know articles on the city, the app is all you need for your best trip, yet! Happy planning!  ...

  • A Guide to Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul

    Perched upon the third of İstanbul's seven hills, contributing to its skyline, and overlooking the sea is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks, the stunning Süleymaniye Mosque, or the mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent. While there are countless beautiful mosques in Turkey such as the renowned Blue Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque is one of its most impressive. It is one of the grandest of mosques in Istanbul, making it an attraction visited by millions. Apart from its beauty, a noteworthy fact about the Ottoman imperial mosque, which was built between 1550 and 1557, is that it also witnessed numerous significant historical events, thus making it a bucket list spot for history buffs from around the world. A trip to Istanbul is most definitely incomplete without a visit to the iconic Süleymaniye Mosque. There is a reason that this is one of the top attractions in Istanbul, so it has to be experienced in person! If you’re tight on time and wondering which mosques to visit and where to pray in Istanbul, we highly recommend the Süleymaniye Mosque, for its remarkable Ottoman features and fascinating story are sure to capture your heart and make your holiday memorable.   Read our Istanbul city guide   From facts about the Süleymaniye Mosque, to its history, as well as what makes it one of the most popular sights in Turkey today, here’s what you can expect when visiting the masjid and its complex.   The Mosque In the 16th century, Sultan Suleiman, also known as Suleiman the Magnificent, commissioned the building of the mosque. Designed by the talented Mimar Sinan, a famous imperial architect, the mosque, like most others of its kind in the city, was not solely a place of worship, but was built as a complex of several charitable public institutions. The mosque took seven years to be built and in 1660 was subsequently ravaged by a fire, and restored by Sultan Mehmed IV. In 1766, an earthquake caused part of the dome to collapse, and its repair caused Sinan’s original design to be completely altered. The mosque’s courtyards were used to store large quantities of weapons during World War I. During this time, some of the ammunition held caught fire. The total restoration of the mosque did not happen until the year 1956. Today, the Süleymaniye Mosque features grand courtyards with large marble and granite columns, with the inner courtyard even home to a fountain which was once used for ablution, along with four minarets which house ten beautiful balconies, that are known to symbolize the fact that Suleyman, after the Conquest of Constantinople, was the fourth Sultan to rule the city, the tenth Sultan since the Ottoman Empire was established. The mosque is also home to a wonderful garden, which is visited by countless tourists due to the spectacular views that it offers of the Bosphorous and Golden Horn. The exterior of the Süleymaniye Mosque itself, with Islamic and Byzantine architectural elements, makes it reason enough for it to be an iconic attraction in the city. The mosque is intimidating in sight and exudes grandeur. The interior of the mosque is simplistic in design and less ornate than most others of its period, but its size will leave you awestruck. With lush carpets covering the floor, simple woodwork, a fine İznik tile covering the mihrab indicating the direction of the Qibla, the minbar (or pulpit), large chandeliers, pretty stained-glass windows, fine Qur’anic calligraphy and geometrical patterns, and other Ottoman inspired architecture, the inside of the masjid is equally spectacular as its exterior. The Great Dome above you, with a diameter of 27 meters and a height of 53 meters, is another prominent feature of the mosque that is marveled at by pretty much anyone paying a visit. Mausoleums with the octagonal tomb of Suleyman, along and his wife Haseki Hürrem Sultan’s tomb, as well as that of the architect Sinan, and a number of other royalty can be found in a cemetery within the compound's garden.   The Complex Suleyman ordered that the mosque be designed as a kulliye, or complex, the religious and cultural services of which would be used to serve the public. Thus the complex housed a hospital, a public kitchen where food was served to the poor, madrasahs, public baths or hammams, cafés, shops and even a primary school and college. Today, many of these buildings have been preserved and can be explored by the public. You will find that the soup kitchen has been transformed into the Dârüzziyafe Café, and the buildings that once housed the madrasahs and primary school have been converted into the Süleymaniye Library, which holds around 110,000 manuscripts, and a number of restaurants. The complex’s hospital is now owned by the Turkish Army and used as a printing factory. To the east of the mosque, there is a traditional Turkish bathhouse still functioning. The Süleymaniye Hammam, nowadays caters mainly to tourists, and is the ideal example of how bathhouses of its time used to look. The Süleymaniye Mosque regularly undergoes restorations, so be prepared to be met with the news that certain parts of the mosque and complex cannot be accessed by public. The mosque is open throughout the day and can also be accessed by non-Muslims wishing to take a tour with the exception of during prayer times. Cameras are permitted inside the Masjid. Address: Süleymaniye Mah., Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar cad. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, TurkeyTel: +90 212 524 64 10   Book a Halal Hotel in Istanbul Go on a Halal Trip with us!...

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