Given that Asia is full of countries where the majority of citizens are Muslim, it's not particularly difficult to find somewhere to visit that is Muslim-friendly. If you're interested in travelling elsewhere, check out our articles about African and European holidays.
Most Islamic Country Hotels should provide the following:
1. A halal menu
What this means is that the food being served in the hotel is halal, and does not serve any non-halal or haram meat, or pork. This will be flagged on HalalGuide’s database as a green flag – see below for how HalalGuide App can help this search. Whilst most Islamic countries will not have pork, be aware that popular destinations like Dubai do sometimes have pork on the menu, though it will be clearly labelled.
2. No bar – or alcohol serving bar
Similar to the menu, if there is a bar present in the hotel, it shouldn’t be serving alcohol. Not just because alcohol is haram, but because the glasses, spoons, mixers and utensils used in preparing alcoholic drinks will be the same as those in dining, and can be contaminated.
For the most part, alcohol is usually found everywhere so it is not necessary that just because you are visiting a halal country, there won’t be alcohol. However, the presence of a bar does not mean that the hotel is not Muslim friendly because some bars serve non-alcoholic beverages.
- 3. Prayer Mat
In each hotel room, there should be the presence of a prayer mat, because even though you are on holiday, the Fard of Salaah is still applicable.
- 4. Prayer Room
If the hotel you are staying is not within an Islamic country, mosques may not be easily found or difficult to travel to. Therefore, Muslim friendly hotels will provide a prayer room, sometimes only for Jummah, but there will be a presence of a Prayer Room to perform your prayers.
- 5. Compass to find Qibla
Finding the direction of the Qibla can be difficult, although now the HalalGuide App, amongst others, can help you locate this direction on a mobile phone. Halal hotels will provide the direction of the Qibla, although sometimes not on a compass; for example there are some hotels that have an arrow on the ceiling pointing the direction instead.
6. Segregated Pools/Beaches
This is also another factor which depends on the country. There are countries where pools and beaches are segregated, or the modesty is kept up strictly, but not all Islamic countries practise this – simply to be attractive for holiday makers. However, there are some hotels and resorts (that will be mentioned below) which provide for this, and so if this is a criteria you are looking for then it can be achieved.
- 7. Qur’an in the room
Finally, a classic item in most hotels around the world is having a Bible in the room. However, for Muslim friendly hotels there should be a Qur’an instead.
Where to stay?
Self Catering Apartments:
In a conscious effort to help people maintain a halal lifestyle whilst on holiday, there are a huge number of self catered apartments and villas available. This is so that you can have a private pool and beach.
There are all inclusive resorts where you can stay, although many of these will not have segregated pools and beaches. However, here you can get local tourist packages to check out the area, go on boat trips, have spa treatments and enjoy buffet after buffet of delicious halal food.
Of course, you can also stay in a hotel. There are just so many to choose from, and the bigger brand the hotel, the more likley it is that there will be alcohol on the menu for other holiday makers. Therefore, using HalalGuide to scope these out may be a vital step in your research.
Some of the best Muslim friendly holiday destinations within Asia include the following:
In Asia, Malaysia is one of the top destinations to go for Muslims because it is an Islamic country. Visiting such a country has its benefits because it means that the food and drink are halal, although you do have to keep a check on ingredients in branded places and hotels for alcohol.
Malaysia offers something for everyone: a city, shopping and lights, but also beaches, mountains and adventure, so it really depends on what you are looking for. What’s more is that the cost of tickets between the islands is cheap, so you don’t have to stay in one spot.
The Travellers Choice award for Top Hotel Deal include:
The Westin Langkawi Resort and Spa
Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Singapore is another jewel country to go visit. There are just so many cultures here, all mashed together and living in harmony. Singapore may not be an Islamic country, but because of the amount of Muslims here, more than most of the food is halal here.
What’s great is that you can use HalalGuide to find the local halal cuisine there easily. There are lots of things to do in Singapore including visiting the beautiful gardens, the night life, even a night zoo, as well as their Universal Studios.
The top places to stay include:
Marina Bay Sands
Oman is often a forgotten destination to most travellers but it is a fantastic place for a holiday, especially for Muslims. As it is a Muslim country, there is no issue with food and drink, although as always popular places may serve alcohol.
In Oman you can see various places such as Muscat and its Sultan Qaboos Mosque, Salalah and its Arabian beaches and Khasab or Sur for finding dolphins, turtles and other wildlife. What’s great about Oman is that there are mosques everywhere, and so running in to one at Salaah time is no hassle.
Best places to stay:
Second Home Muscat
As Dubai and Turkey are popular go-to places, they have been left off this list. However, for those of you out there, looking for a Dubai-esque holiday, you should try Qatar. Unlike Dubai which does not claim Islamic status, Qatar is an Islamic country and has a lot of things to see.
Doha in particular makes its mark as a beautiful city, with ample nightlife and shopping, but it also has the Museum of Islamic Art and traditional market places or souks to shop from. As for wildlife, you can ride camels, have a go at falconry and even watch sports played ontop of camels.
You won’t have an issue with finding food, mosques and other things to maintain your halal lifestyle at all.
- A couple of beautiful places to stay include:
Four Seasons Doha
St Regis Doha
How HalalGuide Can Help:
When you have decided the next place you want to take your holiday, HalalGuide App can help you research hotels, restaurants and Islamic businesses in that area with the red, orange and green flags. This means that depending on what level of certification you want, you can find it.
The app allows you to search a huge directory for halal food places, supermarkets, clothes shops, mosques and more. It also highlights local events that may be taking place, updates Salaah times depending on your location, and has a built in Qibla finder. Overall, travelling has never been easier, and maintaining your halal routine is becoming easier as time goes on and awareness rises.
Maya Mirza-Gill 17th January 2017
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