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.
Whilst having a quiet cup of coffee at the Cafe de Paris in Tunis 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!
I was surfing on the net when I found this site, I am Mehdy 26 y.o from Tunisia. I saw that many don't know many things about tunisia and they will be here soon.. first don't worry I am sure you will spend nice time here and you will notice that there is a diffenrence between tunisian people and the other arabic ones especially in mentality , we are very near from europe then any other country and I am sure you will not feel strange here but you will think about coming agian here again and again .. have nice time between us and don't hesitate to contact me on msn for any question or help when you will be here . see you bye .... email@example.com
You can only have tunisian dinars in Tunisia and as you may know its forbidden to take tunisian money outside the country.
I should use the credit card as much as i can (hotels and only some restaurants) and change some money for the rest of the things.
Its very important to keep your receipts because otherwise they won't change you back dinars into euros (tunisians like a lot receiving euros but they don't like a lot giving euros). When you leave the country you will be able to change back only the 30% of what you changed at the arrival.
There are exchange offices in the city center and in the airport. You can only change dinars into euros at the airport, before leaving.
we were advised on our trip not to leave the complex at night on our own. we were told if we do go out at night go in a group of four or more.
tunisian men are very flirty at best and the ones in our hotel were always trying to get my daughter and her freind to go off with them, after work in the early hours of the morning.. i would not allow it but be vigillant if taking teenagers or yourselves even as you may be vunerable if you leave the complex.
I've been to Tunisia more than a dozen times. All in all I’ve been to more than 20 Muslim countries and about half of those have been Arab countries. So what I can tell you is this; of all the Arab countries I’ve been to I definitely, absolutely, undoubtedly feel safest in Tunisia.
Tunisians are not aggressive people. They are (for the most part), intelligent and tolerant. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation simply give an exasperated smile and turn to the nearest adult male (preferably older) and seek his assistance. But I doubt very much you’ll need to unless you’re one of those TV soap opera addicts who tend to over-dramatize everything.
If you like Tunisia half as much as I then you’ll be back again first chance you get!
Using anything scented, even soap can attract mosquitoes, Citronella usually deters the blighters, but if you get bitten try using Tiger balm to stop the itch, as scratching only makes it worse. Also avoid exposing your ankles in the evening. you can also light some citronella incense in your room to deter them.
I have been to Morocco but nothing compares to Tunisia. I fell for the trick of a thief who claimed to be the "waiter" of my hotel on Djerba. (A very common trick.) Simply ask the person who claims it for the name of the hotel. – They won't be able to name it and get mad at you...Once in the bazaar, I tried to buy ceramics for 5 times the price it would have cost. But their greed for money and lack of respect would not stop, they cheated me with the exchange rate (Dinar-Euro) and sold me the things for 10 times its original value!! Only with the help of a local Tunisian refunds are possible and indeed, I could get my money back.
Not every piece of jewelry you can buy in Tunisia (or elsewhere) is made of sterling silver. Lots and lots of pieces are just coated with a thin micron of silver over cheaper metal, such as copper, so be careful and do not buy such valuable things at Medinas. Whatever trustworthy a merchand may seem to you, be sure not everything he said is true. So trust only the ones who were recommended by someone you know well. Better safe than sorry.
please be aware some of the horses used should only be ridden by experienced riders. it doesn't matter if you tell them you don't ride, they'll still put you on the nearest horse. a friend of mine had a nasty injury when she was thrown off a half wild horse. Opt for the carriage ride first, and ask other tourists who rides, and get them to point out the nice quiet horses for you to have a go on
I don't think that there are any Taliban members in Tunisian prisons now. It wouldn't make any sense because there've never been Talibans in Tunisia, not even on the same continent.
I'm just thinking it could be a little bit overstated to compare Tunisia with a conflict zone now because of this one single event.
It's not really clear yet how this kidnapping happend. I think there is a large area in the Tunisian desert, which is normaly forbidden to visit for tourists (maybe because the government can't control this area). Maybe this two Austrians just went into that area without a permission or like other sources tell, went from southern Tunisia even into Algeria. That would be careless acting.
Anyway thank you for the informations. I will keep an eye on that story now, because I would like to visit Tunisia again any time soon.
Bye the way a friend of mine is now on her own in a conflict zone in Nepal. I hope she is gonna be alright.
To check the website of the Department for Foreign Affairs is a good tip.
For clarifications purposes on the Austrian Couple kidnapped by the Maghrebian sect of Al Qaida, as I am an American living in Tozeur, Tunisia and there hasn't been any other updates in newspapers and television:
The Austrian couple entered Tunisia by boat with their own 4x4 vehicle. They were last seen in Matmata, from where they ventured into the Saharan dunes. They went alone in one car and entered Algerian territory on their own because they were very low on gas and food. Once in Algeria they called a friend in Austria to let them know where they were, and that they should be back "in town in Tunisia" on February 24th. The friend then called the consulate in Tunis to warn them of the couple's whereabouts.
Tunisian authorities immediately started a search, heightening road security and border control--but could not find them. In fact ABSOLUTELY NO HOTEL has any record of them staying overnight from arrival in Tunis until Matmata.(At check-in every single guest in Tunisia must fill out a ID-card, which police routinely pick up every day.)
If you are planning on traveling to Tunisia, and feel worried you really should feel more worried about driving conditions, as that is more unsafe. The Austrian couple made several mistakes: Any traveler entering the Sahara without an experienced Tunisian driver must have a permit, must register with the local police, and must have at least 2 vehicles.
Algeria is much different than Tunisia, so if you keep yourself within the Tunisian borders you'll be fine.
Also, there is no growing resentment to westerners in Tunisia. This is a misconception due to awful situations like this kidnapping. If extremists are found within Tunsia, the government finds them immediately and inprisons them. Tunisia is very progressive and open to Western tourists.
If anyone has absolutely any questions on the state of Tunisia for the near future, or before arrival in Tunisia, please do not hesitate to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
As soon as a guy comes up to you and determines what language you speak and tells you he has a cousin living in your country, you've already begun tumbling into the clutches of the unwanted guide. Some of them claim they saw you at your hotel or some such.
As soon as a person starts walking beside you and telling you about whatever is around you, or what you need to go see in the area ("hurry, it closes soon!" "follow me, I'll show you..."), unless you want them to stick to you like glue and later insist on a ridiculous amount of money for the (unwanted) service they provided you, stop walking and tell them you do not want a guide. They'll say "have you seen this?" and they rattle off places they can take you to. Or they just start right in on a local history lesson. It can be difficult to shake them off, but just be firm, make it clear you know what they're up to and that you have no intention of paying them a cent, and you don't want them with you. If they continue to harass you, just walk away and completely ignore them as if you didn't even know they existed. Eventually they will leave you alone. In major tourist places like the Medina in Tunis, you generally have to go through this several times a day.
It is ABSOLUTELY forbidden to take pictures of the Presidential Palace in Tunis, somewhere near Sidi Bou Said by the way, or any state/military institution or a police officer. So be serious. Don't do that!
Off-road desert adventures are an activity that is popular among visitors to the Sahara Desert in southern Tunisia. Because of the dangers of desert travel, anyone wishing to participate in an off-road trip should go with an experienced guide. Otherwise, getting stranded in the desert can be fatal. It is easy to lose a sense of direction, especially because in the deep desert, all sand dunes look alike. It is very easy to become hopelessly bogged down in the sand and very difficult to get out. And the intense heat, especially in the summer, can impair the judgment of almost anyone.
For those who choose to go into the desert alone, there are certain precautions that should be taken to ensure a safe trip. First of all, a plentiful supply of water must be taken. In hot weather, a person needs about four pints (two liters) of water per day. Also, a medical kit is a must.
For driving in the sand dunes, it is necessary to slightly deflate tires so they will have adequate traction in the sand. An air pump will be needed to re-inflate the tires after leaving the sands. And drivers should proceed at a slow, steady speed. Accelerating and then quickly braking can cause a vehicle to become stuck in sand. A shovel for digging out, and planks of wood or mats to be placed under the tires can be helpful in getting out of the sand
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