Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Useful experiences for Middle East travel

Packed with a myriad of fascinating experiences, a trip to the Middle East can also cause culture shock for foreign visitors. These countries promote traditions, customs and laws, so visitors need to keep the following useful experiences in mind.

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What not to do when traveling to the Middle East

One of the actions that can get travelers in trouble in the Middle East is showing affection in public. Although it is normal in many countries to embrace or touch others, this behavior is not accepted in Middle Eastern countries. It can even get you in trouble with the law in some destinations, such as Dubai in the UAE.

Islam values ​​humility, so it is against social norms when you get angry in public. Any public outbursts such as arguments, swearing, or insults will make you “stand out” and may even attract unwanted attention from the authorities. A helpful experience for travelers is to be polite and civilized at all times, even when others do not deserve to be treated like that.

Taking pictures without permission is taboo in the Middle East. Before you take pictures of any buildings or people, always ask for permission. In many cases, locals want a tip before they agree to take a photo. Also, it is illegal to take pictures of some government buildings and areas, so you should ask for permission in advance.

You also need to be careful when praising others; because while it is considered polite in many countries, it is not something that can be done comfortably in the Middle East. Humility is valued, so praising people excessively can make them feel uncomfortable.

In some areas of the Middle East, street children may approach visitors for food or money. Sharing is good, but it encourages begging and locals won't thank you for it. Instead, donate to a charity to help improve the lives of children in the country you're visiting.

Notes on clothing, eating

One of the most important things to remember when traveling to the Middle East is that you will have to dress modestly. Even when the weather is suitable for wearing shorts and halter tops, respect local traditions and dress modestly. For women, it's not necessary to wear a headscarf if you're not entering a mosque, but make sure your clothing covers the shoulders down. There are some areas where you can dress more comfortably, such as the hotel pool.

Dining etiquette in the Middle East is quite different from other regions. Your meal is served in a shared bowl for many people instead of in separate dishes. In this case, remember to only eat your portion of the bowl and it is important that you only eat with your right hand.

In particular, when traveling to Middle Eastern countries, pay special attention to religious sites because they are central to the daily lives of the people here. You may not be allowed to enter some religious buildings if you are not Muslim; Don't even take pictures inside these places even if you stand outside. Experience for visitors is always to be quiet and polite, especially when people are praying.

Inside mosques, even non-Muslim women are encouraged to wear a headscarf in prayer rooms. Both women and men should wear modest clothing that is not tight to the body.

Special time: Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. If you happen to be traveling the Middle East during this time, it should be noted that Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. Muslims do not eat between sunrise and sunset.

Visitors should show respect for the local culture during this time. You do not need to fast, but it is bad practice to eat and drink in public during the day during Ramadan. Please only eat and drink on the premises of your hotel.

In some countries, smoking and chewing gum when out during the day can also be seen as a sign of disrespect. Therefore, you should learn local laws and customs before traveling in Middle Eastern countries.

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