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Muslim-friendly destinations in Southeast Asia

Intan Tanjung
Intan Tanjung

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, June 11, 2016  /  09:01 am
Muslim-friendly destinations in Southeast Asia

Famous for its combination of Malay-Singapore culture, the Kampong Glam district boasts an eclectic history, culture and glamorous lifestyle. (Shutterstock/-)

Are you a fasting traveler who wants to visit cities in Southeast Asia this Ramadhan? Check out our recommended Muslim-friendly districts in Bangkok, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City where you can find halal food for iftar, or mosques to perform your praying rituals.

Singapore

Famous for its combination of Malay-Singapore culture, Kampong Glam district has a proud and eclectic history, culture and glamorous lifestyle. To learn more about its unique cultural blends and history, one can visit the Malay Heritage Center Museum that opens every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Sunday. 

Strolling around the area, there are two mosques nearby, the Sultan Mosque on 3 Muscat Street and Burhani Mosque on 39 Hill Street; both are just two minutes’ walk from Kampong Glam. Visitors hunting for fabrics or unique merchandise can explore shops in the surrounding district, while those who are more interested in vintage art for home decoration can go to the Heritage Shop, which opens from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. For iftar, head to Bussorah Street where Kampong Glam Cafe serves Malay and Indonesian halal foods.

(Read also: Indonesia declares Ramadhan begins Monday)

Those already familiar with Kampong Glam could consider exploring Katong district, which features Singapore’s vibrant peranakan (straits Chinese) culture and unique architecture, food as well as crafts. Expect to enter a traditional house and marvel at interesting antique collections and a small gallery that displays traditional heritage such as a Malay wedding dress and kasut manek or sequined sandals made by using traditional techniques, as part of your itinerary. 

At dusk, fasting travelers can taste the country's legendary laksa at 328 Katong Laksa or local and international halal foods from Macau and China in a restaurant adorned with distinct peranakan decorations at Katong Kitchen. The nearest mosque to visit is Khalid mosque at 130 Joo Chiat Road.

(Read also: Singapore introduces book vending machines)

Bangkok, Thailand

Sukhumvit is perhaps the longest and most vibrant street in Thailand where malls, office buildings, restaurants, bars and hawker food stalls predominate. While it may not be a particularly Muslim area, the street is still a congenial destination for those traveling during Ramadan. 

Consider savoring authentic Middle Eastern, Arabic and Indian foods at Sukhumvit Road Soi 3/1, also known as Soi Arab, while enjoying the energetic atmosphere of the diverse crowd. The nearest mosque in the neighborhood is Baan Don Mosque.

(Read also: Break the fast in style at these hotels in Jakarta)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

While exploring this city, head to District 8 to visit the home of the Champa, a small Muslim community, which is a hangover from the ancient Champ Kingdom, according to Republika

You can find Islamic schools and Malay halal food in the neighborhood, and visit the Jamia Al-Anwar mosque on 157B/09 Duong Ba Trac to perform prayers. For halal food options, head to Kedai Makanan Halal Idriss for halal Vietnamese cuisine with an authentic Vietnamese atmosphere. (kes)

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