2017 is here and while the world is thinking about their resolutions, all my thoughts of next year are on travel! Last year I was able to add two new Muslim majority countries (Tunisia and The Maldives) to my list of countries visited. I also visited Kenya and Sri Lanka, both who have large Muslim populations. I truly believe that people have a very negative feeling about travel in these regions of the world. I also recognize that there are conflicts happening in many Muslim majority countries. With that being the case I challenge everyone to consider visiting a Muslim majority country this year.
I asked 16 other travel bloggers to share their experiences in Muslim countries to give you a wide range of opinions. Here are there 17 suggestions to get you started on your travel planning journey!
Don’t want to scroll? No problem! Click the country name below to find out more.
- United Arab Emirates
Pick one of these 17 Muslim countries for your 2017 travels! Click To Tweet
To be honest, Azerbaijan is not an ordinary holiday destination. But those who nevertheless travel to the country in the South Caucasus region can expect some truly amazing travel experiences. Baku for example is a vibrant capital city that comes up with a UNESCO protected old city, but also with the most modern architecture like the iconic Flame towers or Heydar Aliyev Centre that was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. Further west, one can find the most remote mountain villages in the wild Caucasus. Azerbaijan is a country that is torn between the East and the West and thereby between modernity and tradition.
Clemens of Anekdotique
I want to see Azerbaijan in 2017! @AzerbaijanTour #travel Click To Tweet
A month travelling independently through Bangladesh left a lasting impression on us and ranks as one of our all time travel experiences. Initially, we struggled to pinpoint what it was that we enjoyed so much about the country. In truth, Bangladesh doesn’t have the multitude of historical sites or the awe-inspiring scenery that neighbouring countries do. But we soon realised that one of Bangladesh’s biggest stars is its people. It’s always a bit of a cliche when visitors rave on about a nation’s people, but in Bangladesh is truly is the case.
Everywhere we travelled, people approached us with smiles and questions. People bought us tea and snacks on the trains, helped us with public transport and invited us to their homes. The number of people who wanted their photograph taken was incredible and we came away with some of our best ever portrait photos and hundreds of selfies!
Our visit even inspired us to write one post entitled ‘Are the People of Bangladesh the Friendliest in the World?’ and another on our crazy experiences of the Bangladeshi selfie!
Kirsty of Katmandu and BeyondI want to visit #Bangladesh in 2017! #travel #asiaClick To Tweet
Despite recent civil unrest Egypt remains an amazing travel destination and is very easy and cheap to travel even in major cities. We felt completely safe travelling in Egypt and used the local trains and buses to travel between cities. The easiest and most efficient way to get around is using Uber as it is cheaper than taxis and there are no language issues as you input your pick up and drop off locations.
We absolutely loved exploring the ancient history and enjoyed seeing many of the sights without other tourists about, including the Pyramids of Giza! Most Egyptians were friendly and helpful, especially in the South such as Aswan. We were there during Ramadan which made for an interesting eating experience (Muslims eat and drink nothing during daylight hours). But after nightfall there were plenty of new and delicious foods to try.
Rohan of Travels of a BookpackerI want to walk like an Egyptian in Egypt this year! #VisitEgypt #travelClick To Tweet
Indonesia is probably our favorite country in Southeast Asia. This vast country of over 13,000 islands hosts unimaginable biodiversity and cultural variety. Indonesia is also famous for being the land of active volcanoes, which shape the landscape day by day.
It would be hard to decide which island to pick from those we visited. In Bali we were amazed by lush green rice fields, countless beautiful Hindu temples, and the fascinating culture we experienced. We had some of our most relaxing moments on the Gili Islands near Lombok enjoying our time on white sand beaches and snorkeling with huge marine turtles. In Java we were charmed by ancient architecture in Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, and we felt fragile looking into the crater of an active volcano in Mount Bromo. In Sumatra, probably our favorite island, we had the pleasure to get deep into the jungle to see wild orangutans in their natural habitat.
Gabor and Rachele from Surfing the PlanetI want to see #wonderfulindonesia in 2017! @indtravel #asiaClick To Tweet
Whenever people ask me what was the most hospitable country I’ve visited, my answer is always Iran. We spent 2 weeks in the country in early 2015, and every day we received at least 2 dinner invitations and we were offered countless cups of tea. And no, this wasn’t a ploy to get us into a carpet shop. Iranian hospitality comes from the bottom of locals’ hearts. They want you to feel safe and welcomed, and have a good time in their home country. The country is so large and varied I have no doubt I will be back. There are so many things to do in Tehran you can spend 2 weeks in and around the city alone – but I would also recommend to visit Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd, and the desert just outside Yazd. I’m already planning my second Iran trip!
Margherita of The Crowded Planet
Take me to Iran in 2017! @visitIran #visitIran #travel Click To Tweet
We visited Jordan this past year and our only regret was not having enough time there. Jordan has so much to see and the local people were so welcoming. Petra was everything we dreamed of but we were amazed by Petra by night when it’s lit up by thousands of candles, it’s even more magical. We spent our nights at a Bedouin camp getting to know the local people and eating some of the most amazing food. A jeep tour or scenic flight out in the Wadi Rum is a must, this place is hard to describe it looks out of this world. If you have time don’t over look Jerash there are some gorgeous temples. We was just really blown away by Jordan, and can’t wait to get back.
Hannah and Adam of Getting StampedI would love to @VisitJordan in 2017! #travel #middleeastClick To Tweet
Want to know more? Is Jordan safe?
Known to most as the home of Borat, Kazakhstan is a massive country in Central Asia. Due to its Muslim majority and its name ending with “-stan”, many think Kazakhstan is a dangerous destination.
Far from! Kazakhstan is incredibly safe, and its people are possibly the friendliest of all Central Asian countries. No need to fret about offending religious customs: Kazakhstan is a secular country, and Kazakhs practice a very relaxed, moderate form of Islam. Drinking is commonplace, as are short sleeves and skirts.
As for sightseeing, Kazakhstan has something for every kind of traveler. Astana and Almaty, its two biggest cities, are incredibly cosmopolitan; Astana is set to host the World Expo in 2017. For adventure travelers, Kazakhstan’s vast wilderness has rolling steppe, towering mountains, and golden plains for those willing to venture into its depths.
Convinced yet? Visit Kazakhstan in 2017!
Sebastiaan of Lost with Purpose
Find me in @Kazakhstan in 2017! #travel #centralasiaClick To Tweet
Before my trip to Lebanon everyone around told me I’m crazy or stupid to go there, after all we see the country in the news only in the bad light. I must admit this played tricks with my mind a little bit but I still decided to go. Very quickly it turned out there was nothing to worry about! Sure, there are areas of Lebanon that should be avoided but if you follow locals’ advice on safety you will be just fine! I’ve spent a week in Lebanon and never felt in danger. The country is amazing to visit, with old monuments, beautiful landscape, friendly people, vibrant capital and food to die for! Don’t listen to all the prejudices about Lebanon and just plan your trip there – I bet you will enjoy the country as much as I did!
Kami of My WanderlustI would love to visit Lebanon in 2017! @LiveLoveLeb #middleeast #visitlebanon Click To Tweet
I couldn’t make this list without including my beloved Morocco. A country that straddles the cultures of Africa, the Middle East and Europe it is truly unique. Unlike many of its neighbors Morocco has had no serious security concerns and is more developed than many other North African countries. You can see varied landscapes; from moon like desert scenes to towering snow-topped mountains, and surfers hitting the Atlantic waves. With so much variety you won’t get easily bored. It’s also incredibly easy to reach from Europe with dozens of low-cost flights flying to Morocco every day.
Amanda of MarocMama (that’s me!)I want to see magical Morocco in 2017! @moroccotourism1 #visitmoroccoClick To Tweet
Malaysia is one country that I would visit time and time again. It is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. Being a solo traveler, this is one of the countries that I feel safe and confident. Boating it’s beautiful beaches, spectacular rainforests, Malaysia stands out with respect to its tourism and has a lot to offer. It has a mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultures. It is also famous for its skyscrapers and busy shopping districts. I would definitely recommend Malaysia as part of every traveler’s country to visit.
Raksha of Solo PassportI'll be making memories in Malaysia in 2017! @TourismMalaysia #travel Click To Tweet
Located South of the Arabian Peninsula, the Sultanate of Oman is a world of raw nature, stunning modern architecture and long history. From the immaculate white of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque to the old mud brick houses up in the Jebel Akhdar Mountains, there is much too see in Oman. Do not miss the orange sand dunes of Wahiba Sands, the fjord-like area of Musandam, the Unesco site of Al-Ayn and the turtles nesting on the beaches near Sur!
What I felt when traveling in Oman was peace and connection to Earth. People kept stopping to help us, it was very sweet; and, the landscapes being so harsh, they are preserved in their natural beauty. This is all you need for a wonderful trip in 2017.
Claire of ZigZag on EarthOman is where I'd love to be in 2017! @OmanTourism #VisitOman #MiddleEastClick To Tweet
Saint-Louis, an island in Senegal’s northwestern corner, has had many incarnations. Until the early 19th century it was a major slave trading center, and before Senegal – then known as French West Africa – became independent, it was the country’s capital. Once the capital moved to Dakar, Saint-Louis went into genteel decline, revived when its Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city has kept much of its French colonial atmosphere: wooden shutters, pastel-colored buildings and wrought iron balconies are reminders of France’s former glory. Wedged between the Senegal River and the Atlantic Ocean, Saint-Louis is home to a large contingent of fishermen, whose 4000 brightly decorated boats head out to sea at dawn each day.
What was a dilapidated town is now reviving, with old buildings being restored and music festivals attracting visitors and bringing energy to the city.
Leila of Women on the RoadSenegal is the place for me in 2017! #VisitSenegal #laafrique #AfricaClick To Tweet
Although being a regular guest on travel security warning lists of dangerous countries, Sudan is totally safe to travel with exception to Darfur region. Until the separation of South Sudan in 2011, Sudan was the largest country in Africa, covering 8% of the African continent. Despite the size of the country, tourism is still developing and Sudan seems like a sleeping beauty, awaiting to be yet discovered by the rest of the world. Little known to most travelers as a destination, this Muslim county has something for everyone to enjoy – especially intrepid travelers and history lovers. Desert, river Nile, archeological gems dotted all over the country, ancient pyramids dating back to 700 BC, coral reefs in Red Sea, mountains and coffee in Kassala, and of course humongous capital Khartoum. Nevertheless, the main reason to come and visit Sudan is people. Sudanese hospitality already has a reputation among travelers that have been there. And one can only understand true meaning of Sudanese hospitality once experiencing it.
On general for now Sudan remains “popularity” with independent travellers and overlanders crossing Africa from Cairo to Cape Town. This shouldn’t be a reason not to visit as there are plenty specialized tour operators offering group tours with private transport visiting all major sites that shouldn’t be missed on a trip to Sudan.
Nina of Safari Junkie
Sudan is calling me to visit in 2017! #VisitSudan #AfricaClick To Tweet
I visited Tunisia for the first time in May 2016 with close to zero expectations about it, and I was swept away by it. I found the country to be incredibly welcoming, and totally safe to visit. I spent most of my time in Djerba, exploring the beautiful souq, tasting the delicious food, enjoying the street art of Djerbahood, learning about its history and culture and marveling at the beauty of its beaches. I appreciated the cultural mix it offers: there is a strong Jewish minority on the island, one of the largest and best established in Africa, and it was nice to learn that Tunisia is striving to protect their culture and identity although the majority of its people is Muslim. It is an example of integration, coexistence and respect which is hard to find anywhere in the world.
United Arab Emirates
If you’ve never seen an image of the Burj Al Arab or the Burj Khalifa you’re living under a rock! Dubai, where both are located, is just 1 Emirate out of 7 that constitute the UAE – United Arab Emirates. While Dubai is the most famous of the lot, Abu Dhabi also has a lot to offer as do the other Emirates.
There’s desert, sea and souks, food that caters to almost every palate, structures defying gravity, glorious sunny days and some of the most liberal and lavish folks, to be found in the UAE. There’s no dearth of adventurous activities too!
The country is also one of the best when it comes to looking for opportunities to taste global work culture as expats all over the world flock to Dubai! What more can you expect from a holiday or an extended stay?
Lavina of A Capricious CompassI want to visit the UAE in 2017! @VisitDubai @VisitAbuDhabi @RAKtourism #VisitUAE #MiddleEastClick To Tweet
Where will you go?
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