Still looking for the perfect destination to visit for Chinese New Year holiday 2018?
Chinese New Year 2018 falls on February 16th (Friday) and 17th (Saturday), and with a few extra annual leave days you can net yourself a 5 to 7 days holiday trip.
Ready to choose your next adventure?
1. Tasmania, Australia
Tasmania is an island filled with picturesque sceneries, friendly and affable locals, delicious delicacies, and is also Australia’s smallest state. From an array of food and music festivals to wildlife parks and heritage sites, there are lots of attraction sites you should not miss during your visit to the Land Down Under!
February is perfect for traveling as it’s a shoulder season in Tasmania, meaning smaller crowds. The chances are you will find resorts offering special discount packages to attract travelers! And not to mention the beginning of the summer season brings in warm (not too hot) weather and best opportunities to enjoy a wide array of outdoor activities and summer festivals.
Stop by a lavender farm for your own bag heavenly-smelling fresh blooms (think of Provence) – you’re just in time for the end of blooming season! And if adventure and new experiences are your thing, check out 13 things to do in Tasmania, Australia for Muslim travellers and list down the places you’re keen to visit.
Foodies, take note! Don’t miss out on one of the best fish and chips meal in Hobart at Marko Seafood, as recommended by Travel Chameleon. For more exquisite taste, dine in at The Saffron Waterfront Indian Restaurant: it’s where you can order tantalising meat dishes, as well as fresh seafood and vegetables. Those missing home food should drop by Malaysian Sawak restaurant.
2. El Nido, Philippines
A single trip to the Philippines is hardly enough but do make the most of your trip and explore the best of beautiful beaches and islands. Our top pick to visit would be Palawan island where we loved island hopping and snorkelling off the coast of El Nido.
To make your trip planning easier, we have prepared an itinerary you can follow as a guide if you want to explore Palawan island like a PRO. And definitely check out the Kite Surfing event on February 3rd if you would like to take kitesurfing lessons suitable for all ages and experience levels!
A wide selection of halal eateries can be found throughout Palawan island. Visit El Nido’s Cadlao Resort and Restaurant, known for their seafood curry, stuffed squid and seafood pasta, and Last Frontier (seafood paella, anyone?). If you’re stopping over at Puerto Princesa, stuff yourself with fresh local seafood at Kalui Restaurant.
3. Lofoten, Norway
Looking for a winter getaway? There is no better place than Lofoten, Norway. Experience the best of Norwegian winter weather in February as the cold temperature starts to shift slowly towards the warmer side and the holiday crowds have returned home.
Plus, February is one of the best months to enjoy the best sighting of the Northern Lights (auroras) as there are barely any clouds on the sky. If you’ve set your eyes on Norway, do make a point to see this breathtaking natural phenomenon. And read up about 7 mistakes you should avoid when seeing the Northern Lights, before you go to avoid any disappointment!
While Norway may not be known for its food culture, be ready for a hearty filling meal! Our favourite halal-friendly restaurant is Asia Mat Lofoten that serves great grills. Seafood and vegetarian restaurants are accessible around the town: look out for restaurants such as Maren Anna, Lofotmat and Miyako AS.
4. Hokkaido, Japan
Some travellers may think that visiting Hokkaido in February, the coldest month of the year, is ill-advised. On the contrary, that’s when some of their best winter events are held.
Catch Japan’s largest winter event, the 69th Sapporo Snow Festival (February 5th until February 12th) where over 300 impressive snow sculptures convert Sapporo into a city wonder of ice and snow! There’s also other winter events like the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival (February 9th until February 18th) and Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival (26th January until February 18th) where the entire town is decorated with lights and snow sculptures.
If you enjoy skiing, head up to Mt. Niseko Annupuri where you can enjoy a variety of winter sports, shopping, and sightseeing. Due to high demand of ski activities many resorts are offering visitors the opportunity to find their own off-trail ski paths – a gold for those bored of the usual ski resorts.
As for halal food recommendations, check out Halal in Japan list of Vegetarian and halal restaurants in Hokkaido Prefecture. P.S. Ramen lovers must check out Ramen Sapporo Ichiryuan and fusion food addicts – dine in at Farm to Table Terra located at the Hotel Mystays Premier Sapporo Park.
5. Zanzibar, Tanzania
If you list the best Muslim-friendly destinations in Africa, you’ll be surprised to find Zanzibar, Tanzania in it. Known for its soft-sand, white beaches and shimmering waters, Zanzibar Island is one of the perfect tropical destinations with blissful coastline and mesmerizing sunsets. It is also one of the most enchanting islands ingrained with diverse history and Islamic heritage.
Take a stroll around the Stone Town of Zanzibar. You’ll be in awe of the historical landmarks around the town such as the well preserved Omani Fort which offers a glimpse of the wealthy Arabian culture. Continue exploring the House of Wonders, Palace Museum, Malindi mosque and Anglican cathedral. Too beautiful to miss!
There are wide varieties of bazaars located around the narrow roads of Stone Town where you can find shops and bargain to get a good price. Here you can find local crafts such as masks, batik and various souvenir items.
February is also a good season to visit the mainland Tanzania for some wildlife viewing safaris: Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park or Lake Manyara National Park, especially since it’s calving season.
Muslim travelers will be positively surprised about a wide array of halal restaurants in Unguja, Zanzibar. If you are looking to try out the local foods, definitely check out Lukmann Restaurant or the Keki House, centrally located in the Stone Town.
6. Pokhara, Nepal
Known for its beautiful lakes and exotic natural landscapes, Pokhara has become one of the major tourist hot spots in Nepal. Take a trip to the scenic and tranquil Phewa Tal (Fewa Lake) as well as the Begnas Lake. Hike up to Annapurna, the world’s tallest peak or trek through the trail at Poon Hill and get rewarded with a breath-taking panoramic view of the Annapurna Massif. If you are tourist who seeks adventurous activities, definitely don’t miss out on popular sports activities such as paragliding, ultra light and zip flying at the unofficial capital of Nepal.
Weather conditions is expected to be pretty cold during the winters, but if you are into trekking up the hills for some spectacular snowy mountain views, it is the perfect time to trek in Pokhara. The cold won’t really bother as you’ll warm up quickly as you start to hike. There is hardly any rain and the humidity is at its lowest, what means your pictures will crystal clear!
As for nosh, Pokhara Halal Food Land is the only halal restaurant in Pokhara, so you’ll need to be ready to queue up for your meal. Good news is, the restaurant boasts great reviews for their food quality and service on TripAdvisor so your wait will not go in vain. Also try vegetarian momos at Mo2’s Delights, and other local vegetarian dishes at Tara’s Restaurant and Asian Tea House.
7. Rajasthan, India
The Indian state of Rajasthan has long been revered for its vibrant folk dance and music, towering forts, palaces, spicy food, and golden sand desert. It’s a great destination for Chinese New Year travel as February is the perfect time to visit the country especially when the pleasantly cool remnants of winter season are still lingering. Travelling in India during this season is so much more pleasant comparing to the hot summer days. It is also THE month to experience the famous Jaisalmer Desert Festival where the locals display their traditional culture such as the traditional Rajasthani folk music and dances.
Among the historical places of Rajasthan, the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur should be added into your bucket list. It’s really pretty and it is regarded as one of the most beautiful city in India. It is one of the known places that even after all the modernisation, the cultural heritage is still deeply rooted
Also, don’t miss out on some of the best halal Indian food in Jaipur: drop by Abu Safari Restaurant where you get to enjoy both food and amazing views of Jaisalmer Fort and the city landscape. Also check out Restaurant Romany as well for a scenic dining experience as the sun sets.
Located on the east side of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is known for its historic castles, wadis (valleys), and thermal springs. Get ready to be mesmerised by the desert landscapes, incredible mountain ranges, historic forts and its capital Muscat. In February, locals are celebrating the Muscat Festival where culture and heritage are expressed through music and theatre performances, art exhibitions and sporting events.
After a couple days in the capital, make your way to Musandam, one of Oman’s most scenic areas is known for its spectacular jaded creeks. It’s one-of-a-kind geological features prove to be a visual spectacle comprising of the rich aquatic life to the top of the mountain vantage point.
Last but not least, take a day trip to Nizwa to explore the historic architecture and amazing natural landscapes such as Nizwa Fort. Don’t miss out on visiting Jebal Akhdar, Jebel Shams, or Bahla Fort when you get to the town.
Local delicacies in Oman has an interesting blend of Arabian and Indian influences. Check out Kargeen Restaurant for its top notch local food while immerse yourself into the ethnic settings. Moreover, since Oman is a Muslim country, you won’t have to second-guess any yummy-looking streetfood you’ll come by.
9. San Jose, Costa Rica
Regardless if you are adventurous or not, this is best month to visit one of the most delightful country in the world. The weather is dry and sunny throughout the month.
Festivities are aplenty throughout February. Join the locals for the CENAC Summer Festival in San Jose downtown on February 12th and experience Costa Rican live music, dancing, drama shows, storytelling and moving screenings. And you definitely should not miss out the Carnaval de Puntarenas where firework displays, concerts, masquerades, food and music come rocking at Puntarenas City on 8th to 18th of February.
Be brave and explore the grand river of the Pacuare by going on a rafting adventure. Dive in and explore the marine life at the Sunset Catamaran and Snorkel Sail as well as enjoy the winds if you set sail at the central or northwestern Pacific Coast. Among all the spectacular Costa Rica beaches, our personal pick would be the Manzanillo beach as the best place to chill and wind down.
And don’t miss Mercado Central market and the open-air market at the Plaza de la Democracia for some local shopping!
Finding halal food in San Jose can be tricky but you can still opt for some vegetarian food which is more accessible throughout the country. Vegan lovers and meat eaters alike, dine in at Sisso Taste of Jerusalem where you find the best salads, kebabs in the town! For amazing vegetarian food-art, go to praised El Buho, Arbol de Seda and Mantras Veggie Café and Tea House. And try the typical Costa Rican breakfast Gallo Pinto which consists of rice mixed with black beans, served with sour cream, scrambled eggs and fried plantain at Tortilleria y Cafe.
10. Kerala, India
These serene landscapes are waiting to enchant you, with lush forests and spice plantations. If you are looking for a quiet retreat away from the usual bustle of Chinese New Year, definitely get on a trip to Kerala and take advantage of the pleasantly balanced climate of February.
You will fall in love with great historical wonders such as the Ananthapura Lake Temple or the Maipady Palace. Nature and wildlife bum must add Ranipuram hills and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary into their itinerary. You can even challenge yourself and take on some of the most popular trekking expeditions to the Chembra Peak, Dhoni Hills or the Silent Valley National Park.
Unlike any other states in India, Kerala is blessed with Western and Middle East influences on its cuisine. Our best pick for halal restaurant is upscale Kochi Kitchen, serving cuisines from Arabic, Asian and Western regions. Authentic Indian cuisines are widely available throughout the city, our top pick will be Paragon restaurant and Ceylon Bake House: from mouth watering fish curries to veggie dishes, you will yourself totally satisfied with the meals offered there.
Ready for Chinese New Year 2018?
And there they are – 10 ideal destinations for CNY 2018 Malaysia holidays! And what are your Chinese New Year travel ideas?
Did we miss something ‘happening’ during CNY dates in 2018? Let us know in the comments!
About the author
This article was written by Ng You Jing, a writer at Jobstore.com, a job portal in Malaysia, and edited by Natalija.