In Dubai, travellers can be jailed for public displays of affections. Picture: Pexels.

Gustave Flaubert once said “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” And he was right. Travel does open one's eyes to the culture and traditions of a place. However, some travellers’ habits at home may rub locals in another country the wrong way. What is acceptable to you may not be acceptable to someone else, especially when you are in a foreign country.

Here are  5 travel faux pas not to make when you are in these countries:


Malaysia: Do not point

South Africans use our forefinger quite a lot, especially when directing someone to the nearest local attraction. But, locals in Malaysia consider finger pointing rude.Try not to use your forefingers (use your thumb instead) when ordering off a menu or getting directions. Also, avoid touching people on their head as the top part is considered sacred in their culture.

Thailand: Do not insult the royal family

It is illegal to insult the royal family in Thailand according to the country's lese majeste law. Those who do will be served a lengthy prison sentence. Thai locals look up to the royal family. and speaking ill of them is considered insensitive.

Spain: It’s Barcelona

Never say Barca when describing Barcelona. The term is normally used to reference the city’s football. Locals are not very thrilled when they hear tourists calling the city Barca.

Dubai: No PDA’s

Dubai is one of the top destinations of the world, boasting many landmarks and luxury. However, travellers should be mindful of displaying any public displays of affections (PDA’s) as it could result in an arrest. Public drinking and drunkenness are also punishable.

Showing skin

Places like Saudi Arabia, Dubai and some parts of Africa have strict dress codes. Wearing revealing clothes is considered punishable in some countries. According to the World Economic Forum, women in Sudan can be arrested for wearing short skirts and dancing with men. It stated that in 2010 seven male models were convicted of indecency and fined for wearing make-up.