The best way to learn about something unfamiliar is to experience it firsthand. If you've never been to a country with a sizable Muslim population, consider booking a trip. Here are 12 destinations that will give you a better perspective on Islam and will just generally make for an awesome trip.
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world — about 87% of the country is Muslim. Besides surfing in Bali, which is just one of Indonesia's more than 13,000 islands, you can explore one of its eight World Heritage Sites, hike in the rainforest, visit active volcanoes, see ancient human fossils and snorkel in the coral reefs. In addition to the Great Mosque of Demak, one of the oldest in Indonesia, you can also see Hindu and Buddhist temples and remnants of the Dutch colonial history.
Although only about 14% of the country is Muslim, India has the second-largest Muslim population in the world. The Taj Mahal is a world-renowned example of Islamic art built during the Mughal Empire and just one of the hundreds of tourist sites in the country. Charminar in Hyderabad is a mosque believed to have one minaret, or tower, for each of the four earliest caliphs, or leaders, of Islam. Pilgrims often travel to visit some of the many Islamic holy sites in India, as well as the Hindu temples.
About 60% of the population in Malaysia is Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad's birthday is a national holiday, along with the Chinese New Year, Deepavali (the Hindu festival of lights, also called Diwali) and Christmas. In addition to the twin Petronas towers, you can visit the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia, many mosques, caves, beaches and nature reserves, including an elephant orphanage.
Morocco's population is considered 99% Muslim and has the 11th largest Muslim population in the world. From buying all kinds of crafts in the souk, or market, in Marrakesh, to camping with Berbers in the desert, to enjoying the coastal views in Rabat and ancient architecture in the Atlas Mountains, as well as sampling traditional food cooked in a tagine (clay pot), Morocco is enchanting.
Oman is 88% Muslim. Check out the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Royal Opera House and enjoy one of the most diverse environments in the Middle East. Oman has beaches, caves and even mountains. The capital, Muscat, was named one of the best cities in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, as well as the capital of Arab tourism in 2012.
Turkey has the seventh-largest Muslim population in the world. While the U.S. State Department has a travel warning issued for Turkey, Istanbul is at the crux of where East meets West. Turkey is home to breathtaking landscapes, such as the World Heritage Site of the fairy-like caves of Cappadocia, and the stunning architecture of the Hagia Sophia and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Cruise down the Bosphorus between two continents, eat delicious Mediterranean food and try the national liquor Raki, made from grapes and aniseed.
Algeria has the ninth-largest Muslim population in the world — 98% of the population is Muslim. The Grand Mosque is one of North Africa's most significant Islamic landmarks. You can also see many sites of well-preserved Roman, Byzantine and Phoenician ruins such as Timgad, Djemilia, Tiddis, and Tipasa. Constantine, the "city of bridges," was named the Capital of Arab Culture in 2015. Explore the camel market, sand dunes and ancient Saharan towns historically closed to foreigners. Best Muslim Countries for Holidays
The land of the Sphinx, the Pyramids and the Nile, Egypt is 90% Muslim. It's also home to Mount Sinai, Al-Azhar University, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As and the mausoleum of Imam Shafi, along with many more historical sites.