Tourist Attractions in Tunisia

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Most Viewed Tourist Traps in Tunisia

  • stewarth99's Profile Photo

    Shopping in the souk

    by stewarth99 Written Aug 25, 2010

    This site may help you with some basic phrases and give you some ideas.
    http://www.nomarmiteintunisia.co.uk/tunisianphrases.htm
    Gesture is an important part of language. LA SHOKRAN (no thanks) followed by IMSHEE (go) accompanied with a flicking of the fingers for the more persistent has usually worked for me in Egypt and Morocco.
    I've heard that some tours, that are all inclusive, effectively brand you with a wristband - presumably to show you are entitled to the all inclusive part. That also marks you out for ALL the shopkeepers in town. The usual ploy is for someone to approach you, having spotted your wristband, saying "don't you remember me I work in your hotel, come into my brothers shop." Ask him which hotel he works in, because he probably won't know yours and you are way too polite to tell him that you haven't the foggiest idea who he is. Then go back to the second paragraph of this article.

    Unique Suggestions: Cover you wristband. It'll make you less of a target.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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    Dinars

    by leics Written Aug 7, 2010

    You can't take any dinars out of Tunisia.

    At Monastir airport there is a customs man (after passport control) who asks if you have any dinars left. I did have a 10-dinar note...he was happy for me to spend it on a beer/coffee.but I don't know what he'd have said if I had more.

    The duty-free shop only accepts euro.

    If you end up with lots of dinar, and have to change them at the airport, you'll pay for the privilege. And there's a limit to how much you can change anyway; only up to a third of what you have exchanged during your visit (keep all your receipts to prove this).

    It's much better to just change a bit at a time as you go along. The rate is fixed, so it doesn't much matter where you do it.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Singles
    • Seniors

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  • idahogirl's Profile Photo

    Bargain hard

    by idahogirl Updated May 23, 2010

    We were warned that the vendors would ask high prices for everything. You should pay much less. Do not be intimidated by their hard sell. I walked away when they told me they could not sell me a painted plate for my offer. The vendor chased me down the street and sold it for my price.

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  • Fake love - falling in love with a Tunisian man

    by Sophie1966 Written May 5, 2010

    Falling in love with a Tunisian man... Fake love? (also called Bezness)

    "Bezness” is a term used for describing “local men having relationships with tourists to get money out of them.”

    Tunisian men have developped a business consisting of seducing Western women to get money and gifts from them and sometimes to get a visa out the country. They often have several relationships at the same time and get regular visits from their various "girlfriends" at different times of the year to keep a flux of money coming in.

    When before they would only try to get a visa, now they want to take all they can from you beforehand. They flatter you, seduce you, they pretend you are the one and that they love you. As soon as you are in love, they start asking for money “because they are so pooooor” and you are too involved to say no!

    Strangely (!), they usually target the fat, old or ugly!

    Obviously, it’s because older women are more likely to have assets such as a house and that they are more likely to succumb to the attention.

    I came across that practice during my stay at the Caribbean World Hammamet and wanted to warn others. It can be seen all over Tunisia, as well as many countries such as Dominican Republic, Turkey, Egypt.

    You will find more information on the net, for example on tunisianloverats.com.

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  • Bezness - Ladies beware!

    by Sophie1966 Written May 5, 2010

    "Bezness” is a term used for describing “local men having relationships with tourists to get money out of them.”

    Tunisian men have developped a business consisting of seducing Western women to get money and gifts from them and sometimes to get a visa out the country. They often have several relationships at the same time and get regular visits from their various "girlfriends" at different times of the year to keep a flux of money coming in.

    When before they would only try to get a visa, now they want to take all they can from you beforehand. They flatter you, seduce you, they pretend you are the one and that they love you. As soon as you are in love, they start asking for money “because they are so pooooor” and you are too involved to say no!

    Strangely (!), they usually target the fat, old or ugly!

    Obviously, it’s because older women are more likely to have assets such as a house and that they are more likely to succumb to the attention.

    I came across that practice during my stay at the Caribbean World Hammamet and wanted to warn others. It can be seen all over Tunisia, as well as many countries such as Dominican Republic, Turkey, Egypt.

    You will find more information on the net, for example on tunisianloverats.com.

    Unique Suggestions: Don't believe everything you are told.

    Fun Alternatives: Keep your distance.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Singles
    • Seniors

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  • Sweensie's Profile Photo

    All inclusive wristbands issue outside of hotel

    by Sweensie Written Jun 15, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We stayed all inclusive, and were given a wristband that we had to wear all of our stay.It was a plastic one that needed to be cut to be taken off, so no way of undoing it and taking it off and putting it back on again. The wristband showed we stayed at the hotel and were all inclusive.
    We went down to Sousse town one of the days and came across no fewer than 4 "chefs who worked in our hotel". and one guy who said he worked in our hotel shop. The first one came up to us all smiles saying he recognised us and that he worked in our hotel restuarant and was on a day off. All he wanted to do was direct us towards a "government shop" that had reduced prices that day, he was basically giving us the heads up. After we had walked away (and not towards the gov shop either) and another guy approached us, we realised that they recognised our wristbands and were using that to come up to us. Looking around at other tourists in the area, they all had different coloured wristbands on. Apparently, after talking to our rep about it, the men get a commission if they successfully direct someone to the gov shop and they buy something.

    Unique Suggestions: Bring something that will cover your wristband! I had left my watch in the hotel, otherwise it would have covered it over, but even a fabric wrap around your wrist, or long sleeves, would help.

    Fun Alternatives: Find a way of opening the wristband without breaking it! Hard to do, we had to bite it off at the end of our stay as we couldnt access a scissors.

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  • smithy65's Profile Photo

    hi i work at your hotel...

    by smithy65 Written Aug 2, 2008

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    hi i reconise you from the hotel i work there.
    il show you the best shops to go in, just come here to my brothers/fathers/mothers/daughters/2nd cousins 5 times removed etc..
    they chat for 10 mins and then demand money for their time.
    they dont work at the hotel they just check out the all inclusive armbands.

    Unique Suggestions: say well its nice to see you maybe il catch up with you in the hotel, sorry i havent got time to chat now.

    Fun Alternatives: another good way is to say ehhh sorry im a bit deaf, wave your arms about abit and pretend to not have a clue what they are saying, frustration on their part usually works.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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  • marie_benette's Profile Photo

    Ancient Roman coins - NOT!

    by marie_benette Updated May 8, 2008

    My first stop at Carthage is the Roman Amphitheatre, where gladiator fights of a smaller scale than probably those at Rome, were held. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and I was loving the clean air, the clear blue skies, the crisp chill in the air and the fact that I was alone at a major tourist destination. Suddenly, an old man steps out of the trees and shadows, heads towards me and proceeds to speak in Arabic, or was it french? He holds out a few "Roman coins" on the palm of his hand, supposedly dug up from the site. I couldn't quite understand what he was saying and sensed something fish. Unfortunately, I could not find it in my heart to be rude to the man who seemed to me almost as ancient as Carthage itself. My ever helpful taxi driver, on the other hand, had appointed himself my personal bodyguard and proceeds to drive him away. Apparently, the old man was trying to sell me "Roman" coins that weren't so ancient after all. This tip may be about a tourist trap but for some reason, I couldn't be very pissed at the old man. I took his photo; he blended so well with the ruins you'd think you had run into one of them Phoenicians. Because he made such a beautiful picture, I have pardoned him and will never post his photo here.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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  • pooliegirl's Profile Photo

    BEWARE OF MEN OFFERING FREE TRIPS

    by pooliegirl Written Mar 27, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We were approached in our hotel and informed that there was a trip that was included in the price of our holiday to go to a mosque, a visit to a market and then on to see the local women making carpets.
    The mosque was near the market and the "guide" pointed at it and said "see the mosque" then we where marched round a food market where there was only food stuff for sale and the meat stalls had sheeps heads and cows heads staring at us, scary for small children.
    Then on to see the locals at work, to be precise, a rug factory, where you are encouraged to buy a rug, if you dont want to buy one then you are left sitting in the entrance hall for as long as it takes them to sell to others on your trip, in the heat with no offer of a drink or any sign of friendliness.

    Unique Suggestions: Dont go unless you are intending to buy a rug it is a waste of half a day

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  • Port el Kantauoi

    by Mike_Hobbs Written Nov 20, 2007

    Haggle hard with some shop keepers and don't let them bully you into buying anything. If you feel threatened, leave the shop. They won't force you to make a purchase but may make you feel awkward to leave.

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  • emmajocole's Profile Photo

    The waiter from your hotel

    by emmajocole Written Aug 16, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On two occasions during our trip we were approached by 'the waiter from our hotel' who offered to show us round free of charge. This is a trick! Luckily we were pre-warned by our tour operator, but should you go on such a tour they will expect a heavy tip and not leave you alone until they receive it.

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  • kat-m's Profile Photo

    Cheap cigs

    by kat-m Written May 8, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    DO NOT buy "cheap cigarettes", why? because they are fake. My husband is the smoker and could not resist the chance to buy 200 for about £10. when he opened a pack of course they were fake. There is a bright side to this (being scots) he took them out to the street outside our hotel and came back with a kaftan. I then sent him back out to ask if they needed any sand!

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    Nabeul street market

    by kat-m Written May 8, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I thought we would do this trip as the big shop for presents to take home. It was not worth the visit, they are ten times worse here than in any medina and they are not even polite. It was very busy and repetative. Rows and rows of the same junk with price variations you would not believe, I actually did not buy anything at all. Believe me it is nicer to go shopping in your resort than to a large weekly market.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

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  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    The Lezard Rouge

    by barryg23 Updated Apr 11, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I know the Lezard Rouge is, for many people, one of the highlights of Tunisia, but I was a little disappointed with the trip. The scenery is very impressive but it's very difficult to enjoy it when you're packed like sardines on a train with hundreds of other tourists, many of whom were of the package-holiday day-trip variety who roll up in their tour buses 20 minutes late delaying the train. Moreover, we had seen equally good scenery exploring by car on our own around the mountain oasis and Sidi Bou Halel.

    At 20 Dinar for a return ticket the journey is relatively expensive and it seemed to me they were far more interested in packing as many people as possible on to the train rather than actually making it an enjoyable experience.

    Perhaps I had been expecting too much from the Lezard Rouge, but we chose this over a visit to Nefta, and I think we made the wrong choice!

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    Dealing with hassle in souks

    by maykal Written Apr 8, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the main complaints from foreign visitors to Tunisia is about being hassled by shopkeepers in the souks. I've heard things like "Tunisians are horrible people", opinions based on nasty experiences while out shopping. What can I say....um, well it probably is true of some shopkeepers in touristy markets. They drag you unwillingly into their shop, try to sell you something, anything, then shout at you for insulting their customs if you refuse to buy. They've taken the traditional art of bartering and intensified it, and added to it various phoney traditions like "you must buy, it is an insult to my family if you don't".

    Don't forget that these people, however pushy, have to make a living somehow, and they happen to earn theirs by selling all manner of trash to unsuspecting foreign tourists who are, for the most part, happy to lap it up. When tourists walk past with their mantra of "la shukran" and nobody has bought a stuffed camel all day long, then sales technicques become fiercer and more desperate. Don't base your opinions about Tunisians on these few shopkeepers...head to a souk aimed at locals, and you'll see how bargaining is meant to be carried out...a slow process of banter, sometimes accompanied with tea, and no pressure on the customer to buy...he or she can walk away emptyhanded.

    Unique Suggestions: Read the clothing tip above...shopkeepers tend to like pretty women in skimpy outfits, so if you cover up a bit, you can walk through the market with a bit more peace. Don't look at anything in a shop unless you really are willing to buy...a sales assistant will pounce immediately. Use your first trip to find out what is on offer, looking from the corner of your eye, then once you've decided what you want, go back later. There's nothing worse than having an idea what you want, and going into a shop not being able to find it...you know you're going to struggle to come out empty-handed, and before you know it, you've bought a hideous painting of a smiling camel.

    My guidebook recommended going to the special handicraft shops owned by the ONAT (Office National de l'Artisanat Tunisien or something), which have fixed prices on all goods and the shopkeepers don't hassle you. Souvenirs here are more expensive than in the souks, but it will give you an idea what is available and how much is too much.

    Dealing with the hassle...you can try various techniques, but none work very well. Ignoring is probably the best. It might seem rude, but I am now deaf to words like "Welcome in my shop" "Kommen sie hier" and "Venez monsieur, vous voulez acheter quelquechose pour madame?". If i find myself in a tourist market, I never make eye contact with the shopkeepers unless I am on the hunt for souvenirs. I also don't speak English, French, German or Italian, only some bizarre dialect from a country they've never heard of. "La shukran" meaning "no thanks" doesn't really have much effect, as you've already formed a bond between you and the shopkeeper by speaking, and he will jump on it. Some offer their hands as you walk past, but only the foolish shake them. Don't be taken in by any openers such as "Hey I know you, my friend, we met before, you remember?"...99% of the time, you've never crossed paths before.

    Fun Alternatives: Don't limit your wanderings to souks in tourist resorts. They are geared up for tourists and tourists alone. Make a trip to another town to find out what a real souk is. Tunis has many touristy souks, but dive into a backstreet leading off these, and you'll be in another world completely...ok, you might not want to buy anything on offer, but you will meet Tunisians who won't drag you into their shop. Sfax is another great place for hassle-free souks, just two hours south of Mahdia. There are also one or two souvenir shops in Sfax, but because of the complete lack of tourists, the shopkeepers are yet to learn the forceful sales techniques of their cousins further up the coast. Souvenirs sold here are usually made in Sfax, rather than imported from Morocco, Egypt or China.

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