Tourist’s diary: what you should know about unspoken rules of different nations

9 strange rules of behavior in other countries that are difficult for Russians to understand

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Every country has its own rules of etiquette, and if tourists do not comply with them, they find themselves in an awkward situation and acquire the title of a standard of ignorance. To your travels abroad nothing marred, Novate.ru advises to get acquainted with the main nuances of behavior, typical for the inhabitants of a particular country.

1. Afghanistan

Bread is treated with great respect in Afghanistan. / Photo: fishki.net

If during a lunch with Afghans a piece of bread fell on the floor, do not throw it away and do not put it aside. The fact is that the Afghans always pick up the bread, kiss it, and only then continue the meal. But it is not customary here to be afraid of germs that come into contact with the floor or the ground on the food. So if you do not want to follow the local tradition, be careful and do not drop anything.

2. Japan

In Japan, there is a whole set of rules about chopsticks. / Photo: travel-dom.ru

For the Russian person chopsticks are a great way to taste Asian cuisine in an original way, and that’s all. But the Japanese have a lot of customs and rules associated with it. So, if you are sitting at the same table with the inhabitants of Japan, do not do the following things:

– do not put chopsticks vertically in the rice or other dishes – it is accepted to do so only at funerals; – do not point with chopsticks to something and do not lick them – it is considered improper; – do not pass food from your chopsticks to another’s, as Japanese people associate it with a funeral custom, when bones of cremated solemnly passed to the urn. You can only put food with your chopsticks on the other person’s plate; – Do not hold your chopsticks for a long time without food, and also do not cross them with each other. If you want to take a break from eating, put your chopsticks in a holder and make sure they lie parallel to each other.

3. Austria

In Austria you can leave a cafe without paying

This country has one curious tradition related to paying the bill in a restaurant. As you probably know in many countries tips are automatically included in the bill. Usually they are 10-15% of the total amount. Austria, however, is not one of these countries. Here, as in Russia, it is customary to tip the waiter only in case he does a good job. And there is also an unspoken rule: if a visitor has asked for the bill three times and has not waited for it, he may get up and leave the restaurant without paying.

Interesting fact: In America, on the other hand, you have to leave a tip, whether you want it or not. If you don’t, the waiter will follow you out of the restaurant and ask if you liked the service. You will have to go back to the restaurant and leave a tip for the staff.

4. Thailand

Thais do not allow you to touch your top. / Photo: pinterest.ru

This country is one of the most popular with tourists, so it is very important to know what is accepted by the locals and what is not, so as not to inadvertently offend them. Thais – very smiling and hospitable people. But if you touch their head, they can be offended and angry. The fact is that in this country it is forbidden to touch someone’s head. And it has nothing to do with the fear of ruining someone else’s hair. The Thais simply believe that the soul of man resides in the head, and no one else has the right to touch it.

5. Germany

In Germany most stores are closed on Sundays. / Photo: travelify.ru

When going on vacation to Germany, take into account that it will not be possible to go to the store on the weekend or on a holiday. The fact that the Sunday at the locals is the family day, when you can rest from work, shopping, and communicating with friends and relatives. Of course, if you need products very urgently, you can find them at the central station of a major city or in stores that are called “Sätis” (from the word “sät” – “late”). But the range in them is not the best, as well as the quality of goods.

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There are also certain rules concerning boutiques. If you go shopping, never rummage through the goods in search of what you need – such actions are perceived as disrespect for the staff. When you need something, take a sample of the thing you like and wait until a consultant comes to you. He will help you find the right size, color, and model.

6. Hungary

In Hungary a beautiful girl is called a cabbage

Addressing a person is an amazing and inscrutable part of etiquette in any country. For example, if you travel in Hungary, do not be offended if someone addresses you as a cabbage or a small insect. The locals do not want to insult you or make fun of you – on the contrary, these words are considered a compliment here.

By the way, in terms of nice words “distinguished” not only Hungarians. For example, in China, the expression “diving fish, flying goose” is used only when they want to call someone beautiful and beautiful. The phrase originated from ancient tales in which fish were fascinated by the flight of birds. And the Japanese can safely call a girl a “chicken egg with eyes” – this is how they notice the beautiful oval of the face, that is, they pay a compliment.

7. China

In China a gift is always accepted with two hands. / Photo: sirabee.com

This country has a special relationship with gifts. First of all, the Chinese refuse three times before they receive one. This is not because they don’t want to accept it, but rather as a way of showing their modesty and showing good manners. You can give anything in China, except for sharp objects like knives, which are a symbol of relationship breakdown, and watches, because here it is believed that they bring the end of life.

If you receive a gift, be sure to hold it with both hands. This gesture shows that you are grateful to the giver, and gladly accept the thing, which he chose for you. But it is not a good idea to do it with one hand, as the Chinese consider it an insult.

8. Singapore

Singapore bans chewing gum and drinking water on the bus

In this city-state very strict rules. For example, for Russian tourists will be a real shock that Singapore bans chewing gum. It is not sold in stores, and if you bring it with you, you can be fined up to 100,000 Singapore dollars. This is the maximum bar – the final verdict will be announced by the judge. It’s also better not to come here for tourists who smoke. The local police can arrest you for smoking in the wrong place and fine you for 200-1000 Singapore dollars – the sum in rubles equals 9373-46 865.

There are also nuances related to the rules of conduct in public transport. For example, you can’t drink water from a bottle on the bus or subway to avoid accidentally spilling it on the seat or passengers sitting/standing nearby. If caught, you will be fined 500 Singapore Dollars (23,400 rubles).

9. Switzerland

In Switzerland it is forbidden to dry hair or start the washing machine after 10 p.m. / Photo: express-novosti.ru

In Switzerland, after 22:00 is not allowed to dry hair and run the washing machine. / Photo: express-novosti.ru

In this country there is a taboo on noise and harsh sounds. After 22:00 you have no right to make noise, sing songs loudly, click your heels, or turn on a hair dryer, vacuum cleaner or washing machine. If you break the rules several times, there is a risk that you will be visited first by your neighbors and then by the police with a demand to change your place of residence. Interestingly, this practice works even if you live in your own apartment and not rent it.

Also, the Swiss are very appreciative of order. If you put your garbage bag out on the street at 6:45 a.m. instead of 7:00, as is the custom, there will be “well-wishers” who will notice this omission and report it to the appropriate authorities.

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Continuing the theme of strange customs, we suggest you watch a video, which tells why Japan has transparent public toilets

Moral code for tourists, or manners and customs of peoples in different countries

Among the countries, characterized by special standards of morality, there are third world countries. Very popular among tourists now enjoys the Singapore, India and the UAE. But not everyone knows that these countries have some of the most severe penalties for breaking the law.

For the title of “clean and safe city” Singapore has to be harsh. Thus, coming to this country, it is worth remembering that there are fines for throwing out any garbage in places not intended for this purpose. For smoking in public places chewing gum, not to mention throwing garbage on the ground, the offenders have to pay insane amounts of money.

But the worst punishment, the death penalty, awaits offenders for drug use and importation.

The administration of one of the Indian states has recently drawn up a 20-page code of conduct for foreign tourists, according to which men are not allowed to touch members of the fair sex in public. The only exceptions are elderly and sickly women.

Moreover, such a way of expressing feelings as hugging and kissing young people in public is generally regarded as an absolutely unacceptable way of action.

Strict rules establishing a dress code for the appearance of women have been published by the Iranian police. According to Muslim traditions, women are not allowed to wear open or close-fitting clothes and be in the street without a headdress. It is also forbidden to wear short coats and tight pants.

But women are not the only ones who are punished. Restrictions in Iran also apply to men with unusual styles of hair, as well as people walking dogs, which are considered “unclean” animals.

A similar situation is observed in the UAE, where radical measures are applied to the violators of the tranquility in order to protect the moral foundations of the country.

For example, three years ago, the court considered the case of a young foreign couple – an Australian citizen and a German citizen, who were arrested for kissing in a public place. The court sentenced them to six months in prison and fined them $570.

Vatican officials had to take forced measures in order to protect the walls of the temple from visitors, whose appearance is inappropriate for such an institution. Because of the unusually high temperatures tourists come in shorts and short skirts. The only way for them to get inside is to buy paper skirts and pants. The cost of one piece of “proper” clothing is one euro. According to eyewitnesses, the area in front of the basilica turned into a giant changing room.

More recently, the Chinese authorities called on residents to abandon the ingrained tradition of spitting in the street.

As for the behavior of Chinese citizens abroad, the government has developed a program called “tourists are people’s messengers” to teach their fellow countrymen to respect the rules and customs of other countries, to behave politely, culturally, not to litter, not to make noise, to dress neatly and cleanly, etc.

The example of China is not an isolated case, many countries of the world develop memos on how to behave in another country. And these measures are justified: after all, the behavior of tourists often speaks about the country they represent.

Rules of conduct in Egypt. Egypt is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Giant pyramids, ancient temples, palaces, tombs – all this beckons with irresistible force.

Women of Egypt, until the arrival of the Arabs in this country, were considered not only full members of society, but also the embodiment of all the beautiful and high. Their outfits and wigs are still a source of inspiration for modern fashion designers.

Times are changing. The position of the Egyptian woman and her role in society have undergone significant changes over the past few centuries. This was due to the spread of Islam, a religion that made women subordinate to men. Of course, this could not but affect the attitude toward women in general. Young women in Egypt wear the burqa.

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There are a number of unspoken rules, the implementation of which will help the foreign tourist not to get into an unpleasant situation.

For example, even when buying tickets for women is often organized a separate queue, “ladies’. Traveling by bus, do not be surprised if the driver will ask you to take a special seat for women. In the Egyptian subway a separate car for women.

Traveling around the country is quite safe, but never forget that you should not talk to strange men, go at a late hour in an unknown place in the proud solitude, defiantly dressed, thinking that your charms “unguarded” will arouse awe instead of lust. Do not agree to “see something”, especially if you do not really understand what it is (Egyptians peculiarly pronounce English words, it is difficult to get used to their accent).

If you, fascinated by the beauty of the Arabs, decided to find a life partner among the Egyptians, keep in mind that in most cases, the children of marriages to foreigners are not considered Egyptians.

There are also rules of conduct for men who come to Egypt. You can not talk to a strange Egyptian woman, it violates the rules of etiquette. In some cases, it can be costly – many Egyptian families still zealously observe the ancient traditions.

Rules of conduct in Turkey. Many traditional forms of communication between people are rooted in Islam. Religious formulas of greeting, good wishes, and other expressions of politeness still play a large role, even in cities. Turks are noted for their courtesy, helpfulness, and honesty. However, when conversing with them, one should not be hasty and impatient. Any business conversation should begin with a few general phrases, such as where you came from and where you are going. Etiquette is of great importance.

A few words in Turkish often open any door for a foreigner. Restraint and respect are imperative when visiting a mosque, and it is best to look around when there is no worship service. At the entrance to the mosque, house or apartment of a Turk is supposed to remove shoes. When shopping, keep in mind that in most stores there are fixed prices. In the bazaar you can haggle over the price of a carpet or copperware: it’s part of the shopping ritual.

The rules of behavior in the UAE. It is not accepted to eat standing or on the move, and look in the face of someone busy eating. Bread is usually broken by hand. One should take food, money and things with the right hand. The soles of the feet should not be pointed in someone’s direction. When shaking hands one should not look into the eyes of the interlocutor, nor should one keep the other hand in his pocket or wave it vigorously in the air (especially with a cigarette). It is considered rude to refuse offered coffee. To refuse more coffee, one should shake the empty cup or say “shukran”. It is forbidden to bypass those praying at the front. Shoes should be removed when entering mosques and houses.

The Koran forbids the consumption of alcohol, but there are relaxations for foreigners in the UAE. The only emirate in which alcohol is completely banned is Sharjah. Being in a public place under the influence of alcohol is strictly punishable, which can lead to a large fine or arrest and deportation. In all emirates there are only a few stores where foreigners can buy alcohol. Taking alcohol on the street can be considered by the police as the sale of alcohol and severely punished.

Alcohol can be purchased in a hotel restaurant or bar, but only for residents of the hotel, as well as visitors. No take-away is allowed. Drunk driving is considered a serious offense and is punishable by a large fine up to imprisonment.

The fine for garbage thrown in the street is AED 500 even if you just miss the garbage can. Excessive attention to a woman (as well as actions that could be considered as such) could lead to imprisonment or a fine of up to AED 60,000. Using foul language in a public place or threatening someone (even rhetorically!) can result in up to 7 years in prison. Drug use is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and their importation and sale is punishable by death.

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It is strictly forbidden to photograph government institutions, palaces of sheikhs, military facilities and buildings. It is forbidden to photograph local women, and men must be asked permission to take pictures. Clothing must be modest. Women should not wear provocative clothing. In accordance with the law in the Emirate of Sharjah, women must wear clothes that cover their arms, neck and knees. Appearing in public in sportswear or beachwear is considered extremely indecent. Even on the beach, it is illegal to be nude or topless. In Sharjah, women are not permitted on municipal beaches in their bathing suits.

You’d better keep your documents (or preferably photocopies) with you – most police officers are out of uniform and are very particular about enforcing traditional rules. The concept of “presumption of innocence” is not considered fundamental to local law. Document checks in public places and provocative actions of plainclothes agents are not uncommon. You should not get in the car to the guardians of order at their first demand and without specific charges.

Especially to help tourists, the official monthly magazine of the UAE Ministry of Interior “999 Magazine” recently issued a memo on the code of conduct to help foreign visitors to avoid possible trouble.

It is considered a violation of public morals in the UAE:

– any displays of affection in a public place, including kissing, hugging, stroking and cuddling; – insulting another person by word or gesture (showing a hand with an outstretched middle finger, sticking out your tongue and sometimes even excessive waving of hands is considered indecent); – photographing people without permission, especially women and families; – showing disrespect for any religion; – using personal space by persons of the opposite sex not bound by family ties (home, room, hotel room and even car

Violators of public morals face fines, imprisonment, and deportation.

Rules of Conduct in Thailand. When visitors try to behave properly, they can easily forgive ignorance of national traditions.

Residents of Thailand are ardent monarchists, so it is forbidden to ask questions about the royal family. If you ask a local guide what the king eats for breakfast, he will politely remain silent, but will consider a curious foreigner a disgustingly well-mannered man. The Thais readily rise in the morning and evening when the anthem is played, thus demonstrating respect and loyalty to their lord. The tourist in this situation should do the same (even in the middle of the street) and pay his respects to the monarch.

In Thailand it is customary to bargain and, as a rule, in English. English is also spoken in most hotels, stores and restaurants.

Thais have a saying: a man’s feet are always dirty and his head is always clean, so you should not touch or stroke anyone’s head, even small children.

When putting one’s foot down, one must make sure that one’s feet are not facing people, statues of Buddha and the royal house – this is regarded as an insult.

A man who speaks quietly is held in high esteem by Thais.

Outward expressions of anger or loud speech are considered rude and bad manners, so any disputes should be resolved calmly and without shouting.

The people of Thailand are neat in their clothing. Ripped jeans and shabby T-shirts disgust them. Shorts (this, by the way, applies to both men and women) can be worn only on the beach and at the hotel. However, women in miniskirts are perceived normally.

In Thailand, such a concept as all inclusive is not widespread. Typically, the price includes only breakfast, and for an additional fee you can order lunches and dinners, although outside the hotel it will cost you 2-3 times cheaper;

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The country has a lot of peculiar dogmas and traditions, so you have to be extremely circumspect in their actions, and even better – carefully monitor the behavior of Thais and repeat their actions when in doubt about the correctness of theirs.

The traditional greeting in Thailand is “wai” – folded “boat-shaped” palms placed on the head or chest. It is not just a greeting gesture, but more of a status action with a certain etiquette. The order of wai is very strict and follows the whole code – the position of the hands and the duration of the gesture depend on the social status of the person being greeted – the more important the person is, the higher the palms are raised and the longer the wai lasts. Children and service personnel are not allowed to return “wai”, so tourists better not blindly adopt this custom, without first studying in detail all the subtleties of its application. In everyday life Thais make do with a friendly nod and a universal “hello”, it is not customary to shake hands. Don’t touch a Thai’s head (including small children) – you will cause a terrible insult. A person sitting, especially if he/she has put his/her foot on the leg, should never turn his/her feet towards people, statues of Buddha and the king.

A particular problem in recent times has been the rather “loose” morals at some of the country’s popular resorts. Practically round-the-clock dance parties with the obligatory use of light drugs, fryers with dubious content right at the edge of the beach, the ubiquitous prostitutes and pseudo-beggars, as well as dubious “massage parlors” flooded the resort towns of the west coast. Therefore, before choosing a hotel should be carefully consulted about the order of the particular place.

It is not recommended to drink tap water. You should always buy bottled water (it is often given in the hotels for free).

Since 2007 a new anti-smoking law came into force in Thailand. The ban applies to smoking in exhibition halls, museums, shopping centers, playgrounds, the lobbies of hotels and apartment buildings, restaurants, bars, as well as at public transport stops. Violators face a fine of 2,000 to 20 thousand baht ($55 to $550).

Rules of Conduct in India. In Indian temples can not enter in the shoes, so be sure to have clean socks, which, after visiting a few temples can be thrown out.

Do not kiss or hug on the street. It is not customary for Indians. The local people say hello by joining their fingers at the forehead level. Never hold out your hand for a handshake unless you are offered one.

The next rule may seem ridiculous, but it is strictly enforced: the temples and churches can be bypassed only on the left side. The locals, by habit, bypass any building on the left.

Do not be timid in the market, haggle. Traditionally, sellers raise the price almost twice. So do not rush to buy, persuade the seller to give up a little and, if you are lucky, get half the price.

In hot weather you can see ice salesmen in all the streets. Don’t rush to buy it if you don’t want to get poisoned. This ice, in most cases, is made from river water.

As for water in general, buy it only in the factory plastic bottle. Otherwise you risk getting poisoned. The same applies to all kinds of national dishes sold right on the street.

A woman entering a Sikh temple must cover not only her head but also her shoulders. When leaving the temple, leave some money, it is the custom.

Not everywhere you can take pictures. Be sure to check this with your guide. And you will have to pay for taking pictures in the reserve.

When communicating do not wave your hands and do not raise your voice, otherwise they simply do not want to deal with you.

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