Halal holidays travel guide

Getting your head around a halal holiday isn't quite as tricky as you might think. Basically, it's a tailor made trip to a country or region that has a mainly Muslim population Sri Lanka, Morocco or Yao Noi island in Thailand, for example. Travellers have access to halal dining, prayer facilities and, in some locally owned hotels, gender segregated swimming pools and spas. There won't be a big party scene or casinos next to halal-friendly accommodation, and the ambience is family-focused.
Non-Muslims are welcome to go on a halal holiday, especially if they're interested in becoming immersed in a country's cultural customs where the teachings of Islam are simply part of everyday life.
Aside from practising the teachings of Islam so praying five times a day, dressing modestly and not drinking alcohol these trips also encourage travellers to discover aspects of the local culture. For instance, you can find out more about Tamil, Malay and Dutch heritage with a local guide in Sri Lanka or go on a tour of Morocco, Jordan and Turkey to compare and contrast cultural customs across the continents. A halal holiday allows Muslims to be themselves, and non-Muslims to understand Islam from the inside.

What does a halal holiday entail?

A halal holiday focuses on families and allows Muslims to practise their faith without feeling like they're asking for the earth. Muslim travellers will also get to experience local cultures and find out more about people practising other religions, but without compromising their own faith requirements.
Trips are tailor made, so you can choose your own adventure and feature as many or as few cultural excursions and outdoor activities as you wish. A balance between beach or pool days and visits to national parks or local landmarks often works well for families.
English-speaking guides ensure that travellers can discover local sites and hear about a region's cultural heritage in the company of someone who may have lived in the area their whole life. Locations visited will mainly have majority Muslim communities and the chance to pray at a local mosque or find out more about local lifestyles. This allows for an authentic cultural exchange rather than the slightly voyeuristic alternative.

Where will I stay?

Accommodation is very family-friendly and conscious of all considerations regarding the Muslim faith. For instance, there will be lots of privacy in guest bedrooms and locally run hotels will be picked for their peaceful and quiet environment without guests having to worry about noisy nightclubs or casinos right next door. Accessible praying facilities, halal food at meal times and, in some hotels, swimming pool and spa areas that are gender segregated will also feature.

What will I eat?

The dietary guidelines for halal prepared meat will be followed at all times. This doesn't mean that you have to eat halal meat pescatarians, vegans and vegetarians are more than welcome it just means that the halal food will not come into contact with non-halal food during preparation and serving. Alcohol is not served at any halal-friendly hotels, as its deemed haram (forbidden). Although many Muslims around the world may turn a blind eye where alcohol is concerned, its worth mentioning that halal holidays arent going to encourage its consumption.

Are there times set aside for prayer?

As per the teachings of the Quran, Muslims are required to pray five times a day. Making the most of a local mosque is encouraged on a halal holiday, although locating the Qibla (direction to Mecca) and placing your prayer mat on the ground is possible anywhere from a Thai island beach to a tropical forest in Sri Lanka.
The five Islamic prayers:

Fajr performed at dawn, before sunrise Zuhr performed midday, after the sun passes its highest Asr performed in the late part of the afternoon Maghrib performed just after sunset Isha performed between sunset and midnight

Are halal holidays only for people of Muslim faith?

Non-Muslims can also come on this type of tour and experience Islamic culture alongside practising Muslims. This is a great way to become immersed in a majority Muslim region and find out what's important to local people without feeling like you're only looking in from the outside.

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If you'd like to chat about Halal or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to go on a halal holiday

There's no special time of year for Muslims to go travelling, although Eid al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan, can be an incredibly authentic opportunity to celebrate with local people.
As our halal holidays are tailor made, you can head off on your travels at any time of year you wish. Just bear in mind the monsoon months if you're travelling to Thailand and Sri Lanka. May to August can get a tad soggy, although afternoon showers often disperse no sooner than they've started, leaving a cooler, fresher feel to accompany Asr (afternoon prayers). Eid al-Fitr is one of the best times to take a halal holiday in Jordan and Morocco, as everyone is celebrating the end of Ramadan. You get to join in at a genuinely joyous time of year for Muslims. Ramadan is, of course, a lean time for travelling due to the spiritual focus; however, non-Muslims will find plenty of availability at halal-friendly accommodation.

Halal holidays, month by month

Ramadan is calculated from the lunar calendar, so it shifts by 10 days every year. Its generally considered not the best month for Muslims to take a halal holiday due to the spiritual significance of the season. Non-Muslims, however, may find a lot more availability in halal-friendly accommodation than at other times of the year. Many tourist sites will still be open during Ramadan although a few businesses, including hotels, in majority Muslim faith countries like Morocco, Jordan and Turkey, might have limited opening hours. Eid al-Fitr, to celebrate the end of the fasting period, is a great time to take a halal holiday, particularly in Morocco, Jordan and Turkey. Winters are not the best time to visit Jordan, Turkey and Morocco, as cultural sites may be closed and conditions can be wet and chilly, especially if visiting the mosque for Maghrib and Isha evening prayers. Sri Lanka and Thailand are totally tropical but can get busy during December and January. However, February in Thailand is particularly lovely. The best time to visit Jordan, Turkey and Morocco is March, April and May, as temperatures are in the high teens and much more comfortable than in the following summer months of June, July and August. Sri Lanka and Thailand get very busy in the school summer holidays during July and August. September and October in Thailand, and into November in Sri Lanka, tend to be the wettest times of year.
Read more about the best time to go to Thailand, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and Sri Lanka.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: rawpixel] [Halal guide icon: Ariff Ahmad Tajuddin] [What does it entail?: Maks Karochkin] [Time for prayer: Rajarshi MITRA] [Best time to go: Hamzaelbaciri]