Save our top 10 picks best suited for the Muslim traveller. (Photo: iStock)
Looking for a halaal or halaal-friendly destination for your next vacay?
Coming fresh off of the heels of Africa Halal Week held in Cape Town last week, here are 10 ideal destinations best equipped for the Muslim traveller.
According to the presentation given by Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille, there are several things the Muslim traveller seeks out when choosing a travel destination.
These Muslim Traveller drawcards include:
- Halaal or Halaal-friendly food options
- Prayer facilities
- Ramadaan services
- Modest fashion stores and designers
- The availability of Halaal medication and cosmetics
- Muslim-friendly entertainment
- Halaal finance (interest-free finance - more in relation to business travel)
This means that there are a range of things to consider when it comes to ensuring a destination is well suited to accommodate the Muslim tourist - which is what makes these 10 destinations ideal as they cater for several, if not most or all, of these factors.
ICYMI: Cape Town's 300-year history of halaal living to add spice to inaugural Africa Halal Week
Whether you're looking for a tropical escape or a cultural city hub to host your next holiday escape - there is something to fill every Muslim traveller's cup of tea.
Whether you're seeking out the teal waters or the supple sands of the Maldives islands, the rugged mountain outcrops of Thailand or feel like going temple hopping in Sri Lanka - there is so much to do and see at any of these magical locations.
From the familiar coastline of our Saffa shores to the vibrant streets of Morocco - these destinations offer unique and diverse experiences for the Muslim traveller.
SEE: New app calculates prayer times, mosque and halal food locations for Muslim travellers
Check out our top 10 bucket list destinations suited for the Muslim traveller below:
(Map: Saara Mowlana / Traveller24 - view the high res version here)
The pins showcase just one of the many highlights you can experience and encounter at these 10 destinations. Read more information about each below:
South Africa - Suggestion: Cape Town
SA is rich in diversity when it comes to culture, race, gender, sexuality and religion, which makes it no surprise that it is ranked as a popular Muslim-friendly travel destination for 2018.
According to the annual Mastercard-Crescent Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI), SA has been ranked as one of the ten most Muslim-friendly travel hot spots for 2018 among non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) - aka among countries that are not predominantly Muslim countries.
READ: Halaal Tourism 101: Learning the ways of the Muslim traveller
Cape Town is the ideal city escape destination for Muslim travellers looking to visit SA as it hosts a wide range of halaal and halaal-friendly food options - with most international chains also being Halaal-certified.
It also has a deep and lengthy history with the faith as seen in the vibrant and thriving Bo Kaap cultural hub which sits in the heart of the city - in fact, SA's first mosque, The Auwal Mosque, sits in this area!
CHECK OUT: Halaal & Halaal-friendly foodie activities around the Cape
Morocco - Suggestion: Fez / Marrakech
Morocco too is home to a population which consists mostly of Muslims, but the country has plenty to offer in terms of tourism to visitors of any faith.
The streets bustle with vibrant colours, flavours and encounters as you weave through the market-flanked roads and mingle with the locals. The intricate architecture and design of the buildings are a must-see (and snap) if you find yourself trekking through a Moroccan escape.
The country is also rich in Halaal cuisine, breathtaking mosques as well as many historical and cultural Islamic attractions - making it an ideal destination for Muslim travellers.
WATCH: Meander through the magic of Marrakesh
Why not treat yourself to a luxury bungalow island escape? The Maldives is perfect for those seeking a Halaal- and Muslim-friendly tropical vacation.
With Islam being the dominant religion of the country, it ceases to run dry of Halaal food locations and prayer facilities.
And while many associate this slice of tropical heaven with honeymooners - it is actually a great destination for the entire family and hosts a range of fun water activities for you to explore as you go island hopping around.
CHECK OUT THIS Quick guide to the Maldives: Visa-free travel for South Africans
While the predominant faith of the Sri Lankan region is Buddhism, Islam is the largest of the other more minor religions practiced in the country. This has birthed a wide range of Muslim-friendly facilities - from several mosques speckled across the destination as well as easily available Halaal food - with most international chains also being Halaal-certified.
The tiny island nation that sits just off of the south coast of India has been dubbed as 'the pearl of the Indian Ocean' and it's no wonder why. The locals are known to be pleasant, friendly and accommodating to tourists and its thriving wilderness and coffee plantations are simply breathtaking to behold.
ALSO SEE: South African's guide to Sri Lanka: Things to do (besides talking about cricket)
Why not bookmark the destination known for its iconic tropical beaches? Thailand is not only rich in coastal gems, but it is also rich in diversity - allowing a space for a range of Muslim-friendly facilities - like Halaal foodie spots and mosques - to thrive.
There is even a Thailand Muslim Friendly Destination app available to assist you as you navigate your way from bustling city street to the rugged adventure-soaked coast.
P.S. You should note that the popular Maya Beach has been closed indefinitely for reparations from the effects of overtourism.
SEE THIS Quick guide to Thailand: Visa free travel for South Africans
Spice up your travels by visiting one of Europe's most Muslim-friendly countries. Once conquered by the Arabs, Spain has kept many Islamic elements in its art and culture which has been embedded in the contemporary Spanish tradition.
While the population of Muslims in the country is not dominant, you'll find mosques dotted around the region along with several Halaal and Halaal-friendly restaurants. In fact, the healthy Mediterranean diet of Spain includes loads of recipes based around vegetables and fish as well as recipes based on Arab cuisine. Certain products and services, mostly food at present, can also be spotted donning a Halaal certificate awarded by the Halaal Institute.
ALSO WATCH: Whet your appetite in Madrid - Spain's culinary capital
Some sights worth a visit include:
- The Alhambra Palace,
- The Great Mosque of Cordoba and
- Alcazar Royal Palace for architectural grandeur
In Madrid, you're likely to find a concentration of halaal restaurants, Central Mosque (also known as the Abu-Bakr Mosque) and the Islamic Cultural Centre of Madrid - one of the largest mosques in Europe.
BE SURE TO WATCH: Sun, sea land and people - the best of a road trip in Andalusia, Spain
This multi-cultural country is home to a large number of Muslim locals - just a little more than half of the population.
You'll find one of the most versatile Halaal food scenes in the world - from street food to high-end restaurants of varying cuisines. There are also numerous mosques, and exciting and historical attractions and sights to visit and tick off on your trip.
ALSO READ: Quick Guide: Make memories in Malaysia
For the Muslim traveller seeking a shopping spree escape or a visit to a luxury business hub - the UAE is the destination to choose.
It holds one of the world's strongest economies and also houses the world's tallest skyscraper - the Burj Khalifa. The UAE also features a large Muslim population - making it an easy visit for the Halaal traveller.
Some of the iconic cities you might want to pop over to include the beloved hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi - the latter of which houses the glittering white and gold gem of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
The UAE is also a great destination for family travels as it also boast a large range of amusement and theme parks sure to keep the kids entertained.
ALSO WATCH: UAE now home to the world's longest zipline
Indonesia - Suggestion: Bali
Calling all Muslim island lovers - Indonesia is here to deliver! The country, which is comprised of a collection of (mostly volcanic) islands, has a majority Muslim populations. This means you can expect plenty of Halaal foodie spots and restaurants as well as kitted out prayer facilities and mosques - including the largest mosque in south-east Asia, the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta.
Indonesia is perfect for the Muslim traveller seeking out a tropical escape without the worry of searching for Halaal facilities as it offers aesthetic coastlines and beach resorts along with incredible wild and plant life.
It also boasts affordable shopping experiences - making it ideal for those looking to travel on a budget.
PREP WITH THIS Quick guide to Indonesia: Visa-free travel for South Africans
Turkey - Suggestion: Istanbul
Who hasn't felt the pang of fomo looking at aesthetic shots of Turkey glossing our social feeds? Well, Muslim travellers needn't fret as this country boasts a population which is nearly 98% Muslim.
This means the country is bursting with a plethora of Muslim-friendly facilities, decadent Halaal food options as well as prayer facilities - like the iconic Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, which has more than likely graced your social timelines courtesy of travelling peers.
Istanbul offers another layer to its already Muslim-friendly travel aura by providing tourists with a wide range of sights that run thick with Turkish history - from the Hippodrome of Constantinople to the Hagia Sofia and, of course, the chance to experience a relaxing Turkish bath.
ALSO CHECK OUT THIS Quick guide to Turkey: Easy eVisa travel for South Africans
Other destinations you might wish to consider include:
- SAUDI ARABIA
- SOUTH KOREA - SUGGESTION: JEJU
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