A city known for its breathtaking scenery with some Islamic elements on sight, join our writer Shafiqah as she gives you the rundown on this wonderful city called ‘Heaven on Earth’ as a Muslim traveller.
Words by: Shafiqah Shafie
Ahlan wa Sahlan! When my colleague first wrote about Hangzhou & Shanghai in 2012, I knew that I had to pay this wonderful city full of rich history and spectacular landscapes a visit. Of course, being a Muslim traveller may not be easy at times, but I was absolutely delighted to learn that Hangzhou has an abundant array of Halal delicacies and places for prayers. Now it’s my turn to discover the wonderful city and provide my fellow Muslim sisters and brothers with a simple guide to travelling in Hangzhou – Muslim style!
First up, here are some quick facts about this beautiful town:
- It’s the capital and largest city in Zhejiang Province (East China)
- In 1848, Hangzhou was described as the “stronghold” of Islam in China
- Arab traders began residing in this city since the Song Dynasty
- Hangzhou Phoenix Mosque is one of the greatest mosques in Southeast China
Muslim Community Street
Located around the Phoenix Mosque (also known as Feng Huang Mosque) in Zhong Shan Road, there are over a thousand Muslim citizens living in this area.
A community was formed when the majestic mosque was built. The 2600 square metres of Muslim architecture consists an entrance hall, an auditorium and a prayer hall.
You can also find some Halal restaurants around the area:
- Mutton Soup Restaurant @ 64, Zhong Shan Zhong Lu, Shangcheng District
- Xin Xibei Renjia @ 217, Zhong Shan Zhong Lu, Shangcheng District
A 10-minute walk from the Phoenix Mosque away, you will find yourself lost in this city’s famous historical shopping street. This very well-preserved street boasts many restaurants, teahouses and stores which still maintain their centuries-old look and feel.
Located just behind the famous old Zhang Xiaoquan Scissors shop, you can enjoy a Halal meal at Dong Yi Shun restaurant, where they serve the best Zhejiang and Arab dishes at reasonable prices.
- Dong Yi Shun @ 99-101 Gao Yin Jie, Shangcheng District
No one should ever leave this city without visiting the legendary West Lake. Easily reachable by car (5 minutes) or on foot (20 minutes) from Qinghe Lane, the Chinese gazebos and pagodas adorning the beautiful lake have inspired countless Chinese poets carving stories of love and beauty from over centuries old.
There are a number of ancient Islamic tombs and Arabic calligraphies located around the area–one in particular is the tomb of great Chinese Muslim poet and writer Ding Henian that can be found near Nanshan Road.
National Silk Museum
Located at Yuhuangshan Road, just a 5-minute drive from West Lake, is the perfect spot for Muslim women to look for silk hijabs and other silk wares! This world’s largest silk museum showcases the best well-kept secrets of delicate silk-making.
As you walk through the museum’s many exhibition halls, you will learn more about silk’s evolution throughout the past 5,000 years as well as getting a first look at the advanced technology used in silk-making today.
- Admission fee: Free
- Things to buy: Silk scarves, ties, blankets and more at very decent prices
Tea culture in China is getting popular amongst the Chinese Muslim community today. So what better way than to start your morning with a good Chinese cuppa? Don’t miss a visit to Longjing Tea Plantation at Fenghuang Hill, where you can have your very own tea-picking experience and bring home some of their amazing teas.
Muslim tourists do not have to worry about the quality of teas produced here in Hangzhou, as there are a few tea companies that are specially catered for the Muslim market.
- Company (Certified Halal): Hangzhou Mingbao Food Co. @Xianxing Road, Yuhang District
- Products : Instant tea powder (Oolong, jasmine, green tea, black tea), tea extract and more
As a Muslim travel enthusiast, there are so many things to discover here in Hangzhou that I would have to dedicate an entire book on this magical city! So what else are you waiting for, my fellow akhis and ukthis? It’s time to pack your bags and maps, and bring along your praying mats for your great escape to Hangzhou!
What are your favourite Muslim-friendly destinations across Asia & Australia? Share with us in the comment box below!
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