HalalBooking guide for halal-friendly holidays in Thailand
Thailand is not called "the land of smiles" for no reason: bright, warm and welcoming, it is a perfect destination for a halal-friendly holiday! It is known for an abundance of treasures of Thai origin: intricate cuisine, healing massages, friendly people, value for money and endless adventures. And finally, it is available to all types of travellers: solo and backpackers, groups of friends, families, honeymooners and business trips. Thailand is also accepting of all types of personalities: witty, adventurous, foodie, culture vultures and laid-back travellers.
Most Malay Muslims, Rohingya and Thai Muslims, are located in southern Thailand, which shares a border with Malaysia. Central Thailand, home to Bangkok, is also referred to as "the gateway of north and south" and is renowned for its ethnic and Islamic blend, which generates a transformed and vibrant Islamic identity.
Thailand's main attractions
Bangkok is a city brimming with magical markets. After getting your fix of the multiple flower, food, street-food, nightlife, vintage clothing (Warehouse 30) and yet-to-be-discovered markets, unwind with a Chao Phraya river cruise (the “Venice of the East”), or hop on the Skytrain for stunning views. Discover the ethereal temples of Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and Wat Phra Chetuphon (Temple of the Reclining Buddha).
Bang Rak District
Bang Rak, the Muslim quarter in Bangkok, is home to a good number of elaborate mosques with special stories. Bangkok's halal life is not hidden, halal signs can be seen on restaurant windows in Patpong, ethnic Thai Muslims will warmly welcome you to their restaurants, and Islam is respected as an equal.
Institute of Islamic Art
This small gallery is tucked away in an alley near the Eastern Pier in Charoenkrung. Exposing Thai-Islamic artistic traditions, it is a creation of ethnic Thai Muslims perfecting the 20th century. You can also participate in workshops and activities.
The architectural complex will take your breath away with a mixture of gold and vivid and soulful colors. The palace was not only the main house of the King of Siam, but also the political center of administration. The Kingdom of Siam was known for its religious tolerance and so Muslims worked in privileged positions at the royal court, particularly as eunuchs.
This amusement park is centered around Asia's first suspended roller-coaster and replicas of Disneyland USA attractions. In the park you will find a halal KFC and a prayer room for Muslims.
Chiang Mai is the largest city in the north of Thailand with a sumptuously green territory and a protected and proud culture. It is home to up to 300 temples called Wats in Thai. The most popular temple is that of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a golden temple that shines in the sunlight, located at a height of 1,073 m. Doi Inthanon National Park, located at the highest point in Thailand (2,565 m), looks like a small exotic and floristic paradise. You can also attend immersive and traditional experiences: watch a performance of Thai dance and music while you eat an authentic meal including seven small dishes served with "sticky rice", or visit the Chiang Dao caveto meet the Long Neck Ethnic Hill-tribe, an ethnic tribe whose women wear brass rings to lengthen their necks.
Halal Street Hilal Town is a renowned and bustling place where, as the name suggests, all the stalls and restaurants are halal. The Ban Ho Mosque is located at the end of the small halal “town”.
At the Chiang Mai Women's Correctional Institution Vocational Training Centre minor offense prisoners in training offer massage to women at low prices, halal fun and beneficiary. This training helps prisoners accumulate experience and money in preparation for their release from prison.
Phuket is an exotic paradise for travellers looking for an adventurous and unique holiday. Enjoy island hopping and discover the natural beauty of turquoise waters and exotic greenery on Phang Nga Bay Island, Phi Phi Island, Similan Islands and James Bond Island, famous for the film "The Man with the golden gun". The beaches with white sands are bright and lively. Embark in water activities that encourage modest dress; risk-takers can try scuba diving and wakeboarding; the calmer ones can go snorkelling and fishing. As Thailand is known for its respect for elephants, you will have a moving and ethical experience at the Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket.
The unique island of Koh Panyee is home to a small Muslim community. This “Muslim village” is self maintained with an ethical conscience, just 20 minutes from Surakul Pier in Phang Nga Phuket Province.
Krabi is a province in southern Thailand, rich in natural landscapes and stunningly beautiful islands - you might recognize the island of Koh Lanta from the French TF1 TV series. Krabi Town is an animated city and travellers looking for halal flavoured experiences will find a mix of South Indian and Thai cuisine here.
The Ban Na Teen Cultural Centre in Klong Haeng village sells authentic Krabi products, including Batik cloth, which is of Indonesian Muslim origin. You can buy handmade batiks or keep a free sample.
Ayutthaya is a nostalgic and deeply spiritual city with its ruins and temples still standing. This UNESCO heritage site is for culture vultures, as Ayutthaya tells the story of the ancient Kingdom of Siam, Thailand's official name until 1939.
The city of Chiang Rai shares its borders and its culture with the countries of Myanmar and Laos. This intersection is also known as the Golden Triangle. This oft-forgotten region of Thailand offers a distinguished character. Visit the temple of Wat Rong Khun, all white and dazzling; the black house Baan Dam and the temple of Wat Rong Seua Ten, modern in the vibrant blue color. If you are interested in the tragic history of opium, visit the Opium Museum.
Koh Chang, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are islands of natural wonders and offer unforgettable experiences in a realm of nature: golden beaches, gushing waterfalls, jungles, yoga retreats, ethical workshops and more!
Mosques and prayer facilities in Thailand
It is estimated that there are almost 4,000 mosques in Thailand, including 170 in the capital city of Bangkok, which will lighten up your halal holiday. Here are a few :
For your relief, Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok has a prayer room.
Ton Son Mosque is a Sunni mosque considered to be the oldest Islamic place of worship in Thailand. It dates from 1610 and demonstrates the Islamic influence in the history of Thailand. In an effort to retain its Thai-Islamic style, the mosque was generously renewed in 1954.
Haroon Mosque is an important mosque located opposite the French Embassy. It is a symbol of the migration and trade of Muslims in the 18th century. It is one of the first mosques that give sermons in Thai and English.
Grand Mosque of Bangkok, Modern Mosque of Indonesia and Dar-ul-Aman Mosque are also worth a mention.
Krue Se Mosque in Pattani province tells us the history of Eastern, European and Thai exchanges.
Takia Yokin Mosque in Ayutthaya is an example of peaceful coexistence between Buddhists and Muslims. It was named after a Buddhist monk who converted to Islam after witnessing miracles. Today the mosque is open to Sunni, Shia Muslims and even Buddhist pilgrims.
Chiang Mai is home to several mosques welcoming worshipers of all origins: Ban Ho Mosque, Chang Khlan Mosque and Hedaytul Islam Mosque are among the most important .
You can also find beautiful mosques in southern cities, including Krabi, Phuket, Hat Yai, and Ao Nang.
Halal food and restaurants in Thailand
Awaken your taste buds to endless culinary specialties: Thai cuisine is varied, delicious and above all, halal!
Thai cuisine is influenced by its cultural boundaries. The north shares their cuisine with Laos, China and Myanmar. The centre's cuisine is an amalgamation of all corners of the country and migratory influences. Southern cuisine incorporates more fish, is spicier, and is known for its coconut and herb flavoured curries.
Restaurants, food products and street-food stalls display the "Halal" sign and McDonald's are halal.
Specialties like Yam Pla Dook Foo (Catfish Salad), Tom Yum (Thai Shrimp Soup) and Yam Talay (Seafood Salad) feature fish and seafood.
Vegetarian specialties include Som Tam (papaya salad), Pad Phuk Tong (stir-fried pumpkin dish), Khao Pad (Thai fried rice) and Pad Phak (stir-fried vegetables).
Pad Thai and Pad See Eiw are noodle dishes with fish, halal meat or vegetables.
Don't forget to enjoy local exotic fruits like durian, papaya, mango, dragon fruit, pineapple and guava. The city of Rayong is known for its exotic fruit farms and orchards.
You will also find Oriental, Indian, Malaysian and Turkish cuisine in the cosmopolitan city centres. Bangkok is home to the Little Arabia and Little India markets, which are full of halal restaurants. In Phuket there are a multitude of Malaysian restaurants and in northern Thailand there are more halal Chinese restaurants.
You can also participate in cooking classes in all regions of the country!