Travel News » March 2011 » When in Rome... Local customs to look out for

When in Rome... Local customs to look out for


Whether you're exploring the world, or relaxing on the beach it's important to research local customs, so as not to inadvertently offend and make sure you enjoy your holiday to the full.

It's not just far flung countries that need research to make your holiday go smoother. For instance, in France and Spain the shops often close for around 3 hours for lunch or Siesta, if you don't eat lunch during this time, you could find yourself going hungry.

Here's some local customs to look out for:

In Brazil: Avoid giving anything purple or black as these are mourning colours.

In the Netherlands: People greet one another by kissing on the cheek three times.

In Italy: Avoid arriving early for a dinner party as this is considered rude.

In China: The Chinese believe that statues in the temples are ‘allergic' to camera flashes and their images are not supposed to be captured.

In the Middle East: generally in Muslim countries it is best to dress modestly and avoid consuming alcohol outside in public places.

In mosques: Remove your shoes and perform ablutions by washing hands, face and neck. Women should cover their head.

In Japan: Never stick chopsticks into a bowl of rice, as it is a symbol of death

In India: Always eat food with your right hand, never your left.

In Quatar: Homosexual behaviour is illegal. The import of religious books and pork into Quatar is illegal, as is drinking alcohol or being drunk in public.

In Thailand: Never touch another person's head and never point your feet at anyone. Also, the king is highly respected, so never joke about the monarchy as we may do in the UK.

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