Taxi drivers at Tunis airport try to rip off first time visitors to Tunis. As soon as we left the terminal we were approached by a driver who followed us around and kept trying to get us to travel into the city with him. There is a bus service from the airport though we couldn't find where it left from so we decided to take a taxi. However, I would advise against getting in with anyone who approaches you and tries to offer a fee.
His first offer was 15D each. This quickly became 15 for two, in the end we got it down to 10 for two. This was still way over the odds as we discovered later when taking a taxi back to the airport from Tunis - it cost only 5 on that occasion. Our taxi driver also tried to recommend us a hotel but we were having none of that and we asked him to leave us on Avenue Bourguiba, the main street in the Ville Nouvelle.
If your a female be very careful.
The men there all seem to have a problem. They basically think that all western women are cheap and up for it.
It's the type of thing you get in Turkey and some arab countries. You should not go out alone and avoid any clubs, where you WILL be starred at like your naked.
I'm a guy and this is what i have observed!!!
Some of the ruins and antiquities one can visit are over 2000 years old and are not in the best of conditions anymore, since neither Phoenicians nor Romans can come back to fix them anymore. Hence it is a silly idea to climb onto the ruins and destroy them for others to see, or to get injured in the course of it.
everybody told me to take care of the food and water. I did, but at the end I had bacterias on my stomach. drink water in botles only, use it for wash your teeth too. the problem is the food, you never know how clean it was made, so good look. the rest of my frends doesn?t have any problem because they are stronger than me.
It is pretty easy to travel around the city by your own, but if you have to cover a long way, then caught a taxi, which is the most developped transportation.
You must take care and make then put on the money counter, otherwise they will simply ask for an ammount which will be 5 times higher then the real one!
Take care within the Medina by the souvenir shops as they can be quite intimidating and get out into the less busy alleyways and witness the daily life that goes on. Also make sure you have a map with you as you will get lost! Most of the alleys and passageways have their names in both Arabic and French so it shouldn't be hard to find where you are and where you want to go but if you do get lost then simply ask someone or try and head back to the Zaytuna Mosque and get your bearings there.
Haggling for goods in the medina is fun.....for a while!
However, for those not accustomed to bargaining, it can become a bit tiresome after a while.
Furthermore, EVERY shopkeeper will beckon you into his (they are almost exclusively male) shop, and will be extremely friendly when he believes you are interested in buying something.
However, failure to purchase anything tends to bring about a complete mood change.
In fairness, if you go into the medina then you should expect to play by the locals' rules - and that means haggling. Also, the chances of being physically threatened are remote.
The best advice seems to be to firmly, but politely, tell shopkeepers that you are not interested and not to show any interest unless you're considering buying.
In Tunis there are places where you are not allowed to take photos. For example, in Independence Square, near the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tunisia and the embassy of France.
Near Carthage the residence of the President is situated, and the windows of it face the remnants of the Roman baths. If you want to take the picture of the baths, try not to get the president's palace in the focus of your still.
Due to the time of year that I was travelling in Northern Africa the days were extremely hot.I found that it was imperative to have with me at all times plenty of fresh drinking water.
While out and about , walking is mainly how I get around and with the extreme heat, it is so easy to get quickly dehydrated. ALWAYS check the cap to make sure that the seal is unboken and its NOT a refill. I have been caught this way.
A good wide brimmed hat and sunglasses is also a good idea to wear..Put a tube of sunscreen in your pocket also if you are heading for the beach or the water..
The most relevant and popular advice given to us, by everyone from fellow tourists, tour guides, even the locals, was: "Carry your bag on you stomach!". It's the only way to make sure no-one helps themselves to your belongings, especially when you're in the Medina of any of the cities.
Whilst having a quiet cup of coffee at the Cafe de Paris one evening, I was approched by 2 guys sitting at separate tables who started talking to me which the conversation then led to them wanting me to either buy them a coffee or a beer! The cheek! I told them that they would have to be my friends before they'll get anything out of me! Another guy walked with me back towards my hotel after I had eaten and again talked to me at great length and we had a good conversation but that again led to him wanting me to buy him a coffee. I'm sorry but where I'm from we simply just don't buy anybody a drink just like that and just because they ask for one!
Be sure to lock all your luggage. It is hard to replace large items of importance like a camera on a short trip. Be sure you are allowed to go to remote areas of the country to stay. Check your embassy or a Tunisian consulate at home. Don't drink the water from the taps or eat food that hasn't been cooked well. If you are near the desert or staying somewhere that critters can crawl in. Knock your shoes out in the morning before you put them on. Scorpions like to hide in them. Knock hard! They hang on well.
Watch the street kids on the Metro. We got complacent after watching them for a couple of days play around in the doorways of the metro cars. They like to jump in and out at the stops and hand outside of the door while you roll down the tracks. We donated a $300 Canon camera to them one night on the way back to Tunis from Sidi Bou Said. Kim did not have the strap around her wrist and some 14 yr old kid grabbed it out of her hands at one of the stops. I chased after them thinking they got her wallet and passport but about halfway down the tracks at night they turned down a dark alley and I had to throw in the towel. The locals on the metro were great. they stopped the Metro and 5 of them stayed with Kim - one actually came to help me. In the end they walked us to the police station in town to file a report and then two of them (one of them was a Federal Police officer) escorted us all the way back to our hotel.
Even though we lost our camera with half of our honeymoon pics. The kindness of the locals went beyond description (I've experienced this many times before) but Kim was not ready for it and in the end was a positive experience for her.
It is usual for older western females to be involved with younger men in return for gifts and presents. Be very wary as the young man will just be after your money and tell you lies to get you to part with most of your belongings. Forget about love some men make it a full time business. Do not fall for the little boy lost approach. i lost £500 plus an expensive watch to a man i had seen over four months in Hammamet.
Tunisia is an extremely safe country to visit, its people are nice, friendly and kind and it's unlike you face any harassment (except maybe from very tourist areas by the coast)
Our only problem was some (not all) taxi drivers (mainly outside airport and Medina) that they were asking almost double prices to drive to/from airport. But you can handle this easily. Ask a local the price or insist the driver to use the taxi meter. In any case taxis are plentiful and there's no need to take the one who's trying to make money out of you.
In other cities almost all taxi drivers had their taximeter on and we paid that fare