The good thing about holidays is that every day is the ideal time to go on one! But choosing a holiday destination in today’s times is not as instantaneous as it used to be. Especially now, after the US imposed travel restrictions on passengers from certain Muslim countries, travel plans of travellers from the region were thrown into a tailspin.
MENA travellers planning to holiday in the US were forced to cancel and look for other options. Luckily, the world map is dotted with a multitude of other beautiful and scenic destinations which qualify as ideal holiday hotspots for MENA jetsetters.
Below are the top 10 holiday destinations for MENA travellers.
1. Jordan: It has been ranked as the safest holiday destination in the Middle East region. Ironic, of course, as the country has sensitive nations like Syria and Iraq as neighbours. Still, Jordan boasts top-class security. For travellers, the country has an attractive itinerary to offer. It is home of the Petra ruins, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Spend some quality time floating in the Dead Sea, or take a dive into the warm waters of Aqaba. Jordan is full of excitement and enthralling sights.
2. Malaysia: With a population that is predominantly Muslim (60 per cent), Malaysia remains a tourist-favorite for numerous reasons. The country is a cultural melting pot, lined with energetic cities, historic architecture, scenic islands and beautiful tea plantations. The country has options galore for travellers of all varieties and wants; whether you’re seeking an adventure or chasing tranquility, Malaysia has both in abundance.
3. Singapore: This Southeast Asian holiday gem has, in the recent past, continually scored highly as a holidaying paradise. It’s a diverse mix of awe-inspiring modernity and enchanting history. Singapore has reinvented itself as a country that welcomes travellers to experience its long list of high points, which include sightseeing, shopping and just being yourself. If you’re looking for a unique holiday escapade, Singapore should be on your mind.
4. United Arab Emirates: Now, this is a country that is no stranger to being among the top in various categories – especially travel. The UAE is touted as a tourism hub both regionally and internationally. Dubai is the jewel in the country’s crown. Jet across to the emirate for a holiday and be blown away by the grandeur of the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building and a slew of other architectural and shopping wonders. There are also six other emirates for you to explore, all within driving distance of one another.
5. Morocco: This North African country has the ability to surprise travellers with its ‘contrasting elements’ – so to speak. Embellished with Central European influences, there is a lot for travellers to explore and devour in Morocco in terms of culture and food. Among the many exciting things to do, don’t forget to stroll across the lively blue streets of Chefchaouen, also take a tour of the Hassan II Mosque.
6. Egypt: For tourists who absolutely love to walk down memory lane, Egypt’s historic depths are endlessly exciting and enticing. Be it the Pyramids of Giza, the verdant Nile Valley, or the Valley of the Kings, Egypt is a land with treasures and surprises galore, and all of them collectively provide for a perfectly memorable holiday.
7. Qatar: A country that’s poised to host the FIFA 2022 must be a great holiday venue too, right? Although small in size, Qatar has been gradually making the right noises and getting noticed for its progress and development. Doha, the capital city, is gearing up to becoming a world-class metropolis. If at all you should decide to vacation in Qatar, make sure to make the most of cultural and culinary treasures.
8. Maldives: Contrary to popular perception that Maldives is an ideal honeymooners-only nest, the country is quite a famous family holiday option actually. Even for just a backpacking break, Maldives is a perfect getaway. The tropical nation has a line-up of luxurious beach resorts and activities to help you unwind and relax. Moreover, if a budget vacation is what you’re aiming for, then Maldives definitely does not disappoint.
9. Kyrgyzstan: Located in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is a traveller’s delight. Due to heavy Soviet influences in its history, it is difficult to believe that Kyrgyzstan is in fact an Islamic country. But that confusion hardly matters because Kyrgyzstan is a hidden gem – possessing great natural sights, including the renowned Lake Issyk Kul. It is the world’s second-largest alpine lake, and as backdrop, there are the snowy Ala-Too Mountains.
10. Kazakhstan: This one is yet another ‘stan’ that oozes ample touristic appeal and yet remains underrated. The country is predominantly Muslim and has a variety of scenic sights to leave you awestruck. Notably, the Kok-Tobe Hill begs for a visit as it prides itself on featuring the finest view of Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan. Also, the Big Almaty Lake is incredible to behold.