Respecting local customs in Sharm el Sheikh

Sharm el Sheikh is very popular amongst foreign tourists and so, with one in seven Egyptians reliant on the tourist trade, they are generally very warm and welcoming to their guests. Just as they are accepting of the customs tourists bring to Sharm el Sheikh, there are a number of etiquette tips visitors too should respect of the locals. By holidaying in Sharm el Sheikh you are effectively visiting their home, so remember the following.

First and foremost remember that Sharm el Sheikh and most of Egypt is Muslim. Therefore you must try not to insult their Islam religion. Public displays of affection such as kissing and petting should be avoided in public. Whilst it is not illegal like some parts of the Middle East, it is frowned upon.

Women, too, must not go topless at any point and in public areas should wear moderately covered up clothes. If you are going to be visiting the resort during Ramadan, then remember not to eat, drink or smoke in public as this would be highly disrespectful to the local Muslims.

Shopping abroad can bring many people out in a cold sweat, but Sharm el Sheikh is very laid back. If a shop-keeper calls out to you in the street, a simple ‘no thanks’ does the trick if you are not interested. However, try not to enter a shop if you know you won’t be buying anything. It is common custom to haggle in Sharm el Sheikh so if you can’t get something lowered in price, it’s worth trying somewhere else before committing to a purchase.

Also note that Egyptians do not exactly have the same concept of personal space as us Europeans. When talking to a local, do not be alarmed if you find them standing and talking rather close; they may even grab your shoulder or arm mid-conversation. And finally, if you do get invited in the home of a local, remember to dress conservatively, remove your shoes, remember your host’s names and compliment them on their home.

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