Here are some of the most interesting mosques in Southeast Asia that you can visit.
1. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Bandar Seri Begawan
This majestic mosque is the pride of Brunei, an oil-rich country that adheres to strict Islamic principles. Constructed in 1958, the mosque was made with the finest materials from all over the world, including marble from Italy, granite from China, chandeliers from England, as well as carpets from Saudi Arabia. It is beautiful to visit during day or night, complemented by an artificial lagoon and a replica of a royal barge.
2. 300 Years Mosque, Narathiwat
Also known as Al-Hussein Mosque or Taloh Manoh Mosque, this humble and ruggedly alluring mosque was built in 1634. Incorporating traditional Thai architecture with Chinese and Malay elements thrown in, it was made entirely with wood from the hummingbird tree and ironwood tree. Hundreds of years later, it still stands proud in the town of Narathiwat in southern Thailand.
3. Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, Banda Aceh
A symbol of Acehnese strength and resilience, having survived the 2004 tsunami that devastated some parts of Sumatra’s west coast area as well as Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand. Visitors to Banda Aceh, one of the most Islamic cities in Indonesia, often make this a stop in their tour to marvel at the beauty of the pristine white walls and black domes, inspired by Mogul Indian and Dutch colonial influences.
4. Kampung Kling Mosque, Melaka
In the middle of Malaysia’s heritage city of Melaka, sits one of the oldest mosques in the country. Built in 1748, the Kampung Kling Mosque is devoid of Middle Eastern elements that have become more popular in the last couple of hundred years, instead featuring a more Oriental design such as triple-tiered green roof as well as a pagoda-style minaret. It is located on Jalan Tukang Emas, fondly known as Harmony Street by the locals as it also houses other places of worship including the Cheng Hoon Teng Chinese Temple and the Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple.
5. Abdul Gafoor Mosque, Singapore
You must not miss out this pretty mosque when visiting Little India in Singapore. Whilst the soft tones of mustard yellow and army green make the building a standout, it is the attention to detailing that makes it a real winner, including verandas with balustrades and cinquefoil arches, Corinthian columns, as well as mini minarets crowned with a crescent moon and a star on an onion-shaped dome each. Originally built for the Muslim Indian settlers in 1846, it was demolished and then rebuilt in 1927, and gazetted as a national monument in 1979.
6. Crystal Mosque, Kuala Terengganu
A real stunner by day, the Crystal Mosque is even more dazzling at night, when illuminated by multi-coloured lights. Set on the banks of the tranquil Terengganu River, it was made from steel and glass, which explains its crystal-like appearance. Located inside the Islamic Heritage Park on the man-made island named Pulau Wan Man, the mosque can accommodate up to 1,500 worshippers at a time. It is also the country’s first intelligent mosque, connected with Wi-Fi to accommodate people reading the electronic Quran.
7. Masjid Agung Demak, Central Java
As a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia certainly has an array of interesting mosques to visit. The Demak Grand Mosque in Central Java is one of the more prominent ones, being one of the oldest mosques in the country and a great place to admire traditional Javanese architecture and heritage as the same time. The exact date of construction was not known, but it is believed to be built during the 15th century when Islam started to flourish within the region.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies to Bandar Seri Begawan and other destinations from Kuala Lumpur. For flight info and lowest fares visit AirAsia.com.