It is not easy holidaying alone as a Muslim woman but help is at hand. I decided to join members of the 'Girls Group Holiday' as they headed off to Thailand.

'Send me some more songs'. That was one of the first things our tour guide, Sophia from Belfast said to me when we finally met at Manchester Airport.

All thirteen of us had never met before, but we had all spoken on a group chat about how excited we were to be going to Thailand together.

What we didn’t know, was that although we left as strangers, we would return as a sisterhood with an unshakable bond.

Holidaying as a young woman is hard enough, many feel like they never had the chance before to go on a solo trip or part of a group where you won’t have to worry about being the odd one out that needs to find halal food.

Sophia took the stress out of everything and got to know everyone in the group well.

Usually I don’t like following rigid plans on holiday, but Sophia gave us ample time to do whatever we liked, and there is a lot less to pay for on the holiday too, which means not having to carry around so much money.

Going on a trip with Sophia is more like a holiday with friends, and she plans everything for you, including any domestic flights, travel for excursions, and other activities.

She said, “I started Girls Group Holiday because I’m passionate about travelling and I’m evidence of the life changing power travel has.

“I want other females to, like me, feel empowered by travel. I wouldn’t call it a tour group and I wouldn’t call myself a tour guide."

Venturing through the night markets of Bangkok carries a stench you want to get away from quickly, after-all they are cooking meat on the street.

But, Aisha Mahmood, an aspiring photojournalist, captured every moment on her DSLR, and as we talked about our passion for photography, I realised that travelling with so many Asian women was inspiring.

Asian Image:

Despite the 35-degree heat, we immersed ourselves in the history of the reclining buddha, built in 1848 and the biggest buddha in Thailand. 

On the second day, after watching men dressed in glittering garbs performing dances from around the world, I met budding mum blogger and MUA Heera Muslam from Bolton, who was keen to share her experiences as a mum working and raising her son.

She said: “It’s refreshing meeting like minded women, it’s less pressured and you can follow the itinerary or do your own thing.

“For Muslim girls they can be themselves with Sophia, and it doesn’t have to be just Muslim girls, but girls in general because you meet so many different people.”

But, it was when we got to Phuket that we were all brought even closer together.

Asian Image:

Sitting on Patong beach, listening to Sophia tell us how she met her husband, it felt like we were a family.

At the lack of karaoke booths open in Phuket at 11pm, we decided to create our own while sitting on a sandy log, eating fries and drinking tropical fruity drinks.

Generational gaps did not matter either, as I shared a sincere life talk with beauty therapist Kalsoom who treated me like her own daughter.

Oversized shades and with a backpack on backwards, Rafia Mohammed from Blackburn looked like the trendy tourist.

She is the head of operations of a property management company in Burnley called Find UK Property.

Rafia is 31 and far from the traditional Asian woman, as she said in her own words: “I run my own business and travel all over the world, I’m a single woman who lives independently.

“I love girl groups because all I need to do is pack my clothes and bring my passport and I know I’m in for a fantastic adventure.

“Sophia does a lot, she books the flights and looks after us quite a bit compared to other groups out there.
“I know a lot of young people like drinking alcohol and go crazy on holiday, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t around that.”

Asian Image:

I also met avid reader Meenaz as we spoke about our love for literature, laughed as Nelofar put on her best desi accent to haggle at the market stalls in Phuket, secretly took pictures of Shamshad enjoying Thai cuisine, and was in awe of application engineer Saima.

We had many laughs, and my own mum, who is the financial director for a rehabilitation centre and two sisters joined me on this seven-day adventure with inspiring women.

The friendships that were born during my trip to Thailand will now see us all through to a reunion in a few weeks, as we eat pizza and give ourselves the holiday blues.

Sophia said, “It’s a completely unique experience, it’s strangers coming together and fast becoming friends, it’s females supporting other females. I describe it as girl power.”

“Thailand was incredible, I can laugh out loud thinking about some of the crazy and beautiful times we spent together.

“For Muslim girls who want to travel – you have to find a way.”

To join Sophia on her next trip, visit