Did you know?

Often, many travellers are not necessarily aware of the different cultures and habits of the country they are visiting. Below are a few simple tips from destinations across the world which may be very helpful to know when arriving in a strange place for the first time.

Remember to do your own in-depth research about the country you’re visiting to make sure you’re fully prepared.

Australia

Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia is still sacred to the Aborigines and they do not like tourists to climb it. 

You should always ask permission to take a photo of the Aborigine people. Some of them believe a photo takes away their soul.

You must wear a helmet if riding a bike in Australia. 

Swearing is a serious offence in the Solomon Islands (and they speak English). 

In both Australia and America, you have to carry your driving licence on you at all times when driving a vehicle.

America

It is illegal to drink under the age of 21. You WILL be arrested if caught doing so. If you are convicted of drink driving under the age of 21, the fine can be $5000 and you will be arrested. 

Drinking alcohol in public is illegal in America.

South East Asia 

In Thailand, if you are offered food which is intended to be eaten with your fingers you should always use your right hand only. The left hand is considered dirty. Never pass or accept anything with your left hand when you are in Indonesia for the same reason. 

Raising your feet to head height, putting them on furniture or pointing with them is taken as a deliberate insult or sign of barbarism in Asian lands.

When climbing into a hammock in Thailand, remember that it is considered rude to show the soles of your feet. 

When hanging out washing, clothes from the upper body should be hung on a line above clothes from the lower body. 

Never touch someone’s head in Laos; this could get you in trouble. Public displays of affection are taboo in Lao society, so it is advisable not to kiss or cuddle in front of people. 

In Thailand, it is very important to respect the King. Coins, flags and anything with the King's face on should be respected at all times. It is considered a great insult to the country and people not to honour him.

China 

You should not tap your bowl with chopsticks in China; only beggars do this. 

Never leave your chopsticks sticking out of a bowl of rice in Eastern countries; they should always be returned to the chopstick rest after or between bites and when you drink or stop eating to speak. Leaving them in the bowl implies you are wishing the person dead as food is placed in front of the coffin as an offering to the deceased. 

Do not be offended if a Chinese person makes slurping or belching sounds; it merely indicates that they are enjoying their food. 

Mandarin is spoken by about 870 million people as a first language. An additional 180 million or so people speak Mandarin as a second language. The total number of speakers is over 1 billion. 

The magpie is a symbol of happiness in Chinese culture. If the magpie sings, it foretells happiness and good luck.

Japan and Singapore

You should remove your shoes before entering a local residence out of politeness to the mother of the house. 

It is offensive to blow your nose in public in Japan. 

In Singapore, it is offensive to chew gum, drop litter, spit or fail to flush the toilet.

Barbados

Leave any trendy camouflage clothing at home. It is an offence to wear it here.

Brazil

When you have a drink in a bar, you are expected to use a glass. Do not drink out of the bottle or can. 

Mexico

You can take canned goods into Mexico as long as they do not contain pork.  

To help reduce pollution in Mexico City, cars can only be driven in restricted areas. The last digit of the car number plate indicates this, so check it out if you rent a car. 

Eastern Europe

Shaking your head means 'Yes' and nodding it means 'No' in Bulgaria. 

It is advisable not to eat mushrooms in Belarus, as they can carry high levels of radiation.

Africa 

It is considered rude to use your hand to shade your eyes from the sun in Swaziland. 

Tipping is insulting in Senegal.