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Safety for Women in Tunisia

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  • edited 6:03PM
    hi me and my partner will be staying at imperial mahaba el port kantaoui (for our honeymoon :D ) iv been looking around the internet for trips but cant seem to find anything and also whats the weather usually like in july im sooo looking forward to it tunisia looks beautiful
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hello Sapphire - mabrouk and I hope that you will have a wonderful honeymoon here. In July the weather is hot but you will wake every day to blue sky and sunshine....marvellous. It can range from low to high 30c and on some days can be a little higher. Hotels in PEK can usually arrange day trips and there are many travel agencies there also. If you want to know about the area there are some fantastic sites about tunisia. Try www.tunisia.com = they have some very good travel guides and things to do. Tunisia is beautiful, and once you have been here you will want to return.............enjoy
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley

    My sister and I are thinking of booking Tunisia for 2 weeks holiday in Sept this year. We have never been before, only to Spain, France and Greece. I went to Mexico last year and loved it as it was something diff from what we were used to so thought Tunisia would be the same.

    I have been reading up on it however dont have a clue where to go. Port El Kar, Soouse, and Hammammet seemed the best but I'm not sure. We are 24 and 26 looking for somewhere lively.....in between not totally dead but also not jumping. One of the main things we were looking forward to was the food.....love cous cous....fish....seadfood....etc......are we better to eat out in the towns or do the hotels do this? Also which hotel is best or what is some of the top 5 recommened?

    Do they towns have bars/clubs in Tunisia? I know obv the country and culture is diff from back home and my boyfr is arab and one of my best friends is Algerian so I am aware of all the culture/respect/clothing issues, that wont be a problem. Just didnt know if it was the kind of holiday we are looking for or what.

    Any comments would be great, thanks, Lorraine.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lorraine,

    Oh now you have me in a spin - I'm not one for the bars/clubs etc but I do know that Hammamet does have a lively night scene. There are many, many tourist hotels in Hammamet and it will depend on your budget as to which one you choose. So, it's not totally dead/or jumping!! I would recommend that you eat out at every possible opportunity - you say you like couscous, well Tunisia is the place for you. The fish is wonderful and many of the restaurants specialise in sea food. Try the couscous with fish - miam miam! For the best eating often it's not the tourist places, ask any of the locals where they eat or better yet see where the locals are eating and then jump in.

    September is a great time to visit - it's still warm but not over hot so it's easy to walk around, take a swim if you want and enjoy the sun. Just as an aside you may want to arrive after Ramadan. We are not sure of the dates yet but it starts around 12 August so will finish around 12 September.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley,

    I need to travel to Tunisia for 3 days training from Dubai. I am pregnant and I would like to know if it will be safe for me to travel to Tunic (I mean that can I be exposed to viral and parasite infections for which I am probably not immunized for?) Training will be in the hotel.
    Thank you
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley,

    Myself and my friend (both of us female) are going to stay in Port El Kat at the very beginning of April and are really excited. Neither of us have been before but we read that in some hotels, the staff ask for a tip everytime they serve you a drink etc. Can you give us some advice about the tipping culture in Tunisia and when we should tip and when not to?

    Also, neither of us are very good at haggling but may want to buy a few things. Could you recommend an area or shops where we should start off?

    Also, what would the weather be like at the beginning of April?

    Thanks,
    Jem
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley,
    I don't know how you became the official replier, but I think we all appreciate it! Very kind of you. My new husband and I are off to Tunisia in May. We are hoping the weather will be nice??

    We'd like to stay in Hammamet, based mostly on the pictures I saw of it--looks gorgeous. I just had a few questions to add. I had several of Jem's questions too--about tipping. But I was wondering how far the drive will be from Tunis airport to Hammamet? I am assuming that is the closest airport to Hammamet? Also, is it safe to get a cab from the airport to the hotel? Do we barter over the cost? What should we expect to pay for that ride? We really want to get up to Carthage to see the ruins. Should I just arrange that at our hotel? Do you guys arrange that sort of thing?

    Thanks SO much for your kindness answering all these questions. Also, where in Oz are you from? I'm a big Australia fan. :)
  • edited 6:03PM
    Ksu - You can travel safely to Tunis. We don't have any parasitic infections nor anything apart from the flu and cold - normal like anywhere else. Only drink the bottled water though as the water from the tap tastes bad. Enjoy your training course and I wish you mabrouk on the birth of your baby.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Jem, PEK is really lovely and has been purpose built for tourists. It is in a lovely situation right on the Mediterannean sea. We rarely tip in Tunisia, it is not our way of life. If someone in the hotel asks you for a tip they are bad! Here normally we would round up a taxi bill (say if it is TD3.200 then round up to 3.500) You can tip for excellent service and that is all - unfortunately some hotel staff do now expect tips because foreigners do that in their own country. You won't need to haggle too much in PEK because most of everything is fixed (tourist) prices. If you want to try your hand at negotiation then head for the old medina and souq, you will have the chance to bargain a little there. but I am sure you will enjoy yourselves, the cafes and restaurants around the marina are really lovel
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hello Lesley
    This is a great forum with lots of useful information for which I thank you. I am totally exhausted and need a warm place to read, eat and relax and I have chosen Skanes. Before I book it I just wanted to ask if a single white female of middle years can safely enjoy peace and tranquility?
    Thank you for your advice.
    Vivacety
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Jamie - well I think I became the official replier because I love this country and I want to let everyone know as much about it as possible. It really is a privelege for me to be able to answer you all.

    The weather is wonderful in May, not too hot so you can still get around and enjoy everything without getting too tired.

    Tunis to Hammamet is a long, long way. If you can get a flight into Monastir that is much closer and will not take so long. However, if Tunis is the only airport you can fly into then please don't take a taxi - it will cost far too much. There are commuter buses and many of the larger resort hotels will pick you up on arrival. There is one company I have heard of who are extremely good - I just can't remember the name. Let me go and try to find it and I will post again for you.

    Carthage is a totally full day!! I would suggest that it would be cheaper for you to organise a day tour with one of the many companies operating in Hammamet. They will arrange everything for you, pick you up, have a qualified guide and drop you back again............and yes, it is definitely worth seeing. perhaps you would also like to consider a day in the capital, Tunis. the old city is lovely and a walk around the centuries old souq is a wonderful adventure.

    Even though I now call Tunisia home, my other home is in Melbourne in Australia although I have lived in Adelaide, Sydney etc. etc. I guess I'm a nomad but I think I have finally found where I belong.

    Have fun and I'll get back to you with the transport company details
  • edited 6:03PM
    Vivacety,

    Well you have picked the best country for warm weather, sun and relaxation! Why not take a look at Yasmine Hammamet as well. Skanes is quiet as is Yasmine with purpose built tourist resorts. You will be safe and secure I promise you. the only word of warning is to watch out for the animators (entertainers) at the hotels. All men gigolos, we call them Love Rats whose business is to relieve single foregin women of their money and heart. As long as you treat them as amusement you will be fine. You can walk around by yourself, go out and eat or just have a lie on the beach and you will be absolutely safe.

    I hope you enjoy your relaxing time here in Tunisia
  • edited 6:03PM
    Thanks, Leslie. I really appreciate it and am soooo excited to get to Tunisia. Thanks for your help--very reassuring and again, I really appreciate your enthusiasm for your new home as well as your tips for all of us. We are excited.
    Thanks!
    Jamie
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hey Jamie, it's my pleasure and I know that you will enjoy your holiday here.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley,

    My friend and I are looking to go to tunisa at the end of may but after hours of research im still clueless as to where exactly in tunisa to go! At the moment I'm inbetween Hammamet, Sousse and D'jerba. Which one would you recommend above the others? We're both 23 year old females and we're looking for somewhere we can be right on the beach but also see a lot of culture and experience the real Tunisa as opposed to somewhere uber-touristy. Any help would be much appreciated! :)
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Nessy, well all of these are great places to base yourself for a holiday here. Hammamet is probably more what you are after - clubs, good restaurants, lots of interesting things to see and the beach. Sousse is a bigger city but still good value and well, Djerba is one of my favourite places, it's an island off the east coast and is the renowned 'land of the lotus eaters'. Lots of historic sites. However, all these areas are tourist areas. I do not recommend that you stay outside a tourist area to be quite honest with you. the standard of accommodation etc will definitely not be to your liking.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi again Leslie,
    We originally tried to arrange airport shuttle with our hotel, but we can't get anyone to reply to us. Did you happen to think of the name of that company by any chance?
    Thanks!
    Jamie
  • edited 6:03PM
    Jamie - I'll try to get it for you. I'm out of my beloved Tunisia right now but I have a contact I can email for you.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley

    Thanks for getting back to me. I havnt been on in so long as have been in and out of travel agents looking at booking our holiday. You said Hamm...for the tourist bars etc however travel agents reccomend Port El Ka...? Will this still be to our liking do you think? We are going to book this week I think so if you can get back to me as may change to Hamm if that is better. Also the hotel we were going to stay in was the Marhaba Palace....do you kno anything about this? Yes we has thought about ramadan, my sister had said around the 12th aswell......unfort we only have those 2 weeks booked off from our work so have to go sept 5th......if it was around ramadan time woudl the resturant and bars still be open just now during certian time? or no alcohol being served? Thanks!
  • edited 6:03PM
    Lorraine - from memory you and your sister are in your 20's correct? I think you will prefer Hammamet, but why not take a week there and a week in PEK. PEK is a little quieter and very purpose built for tourists. It is very clean though but perhaps a little more sterile than Hammamet. But PEK does have a wonderful beach, groomed and cleaned, and the area around the marina is fabulous with lots of restaurants, cafes etc. AAAhhhh - you shouldn't ask me to choose, not fair!! You can get to either place quite easily. I know the Marhaba Palace and it gets pretty good reviews. Tourists are able to eat normally during Ramadan and I'm sure the bars will still be open. Just be aware that most of us are fasting between sun-up and sun-down and tend to get very tired/grumpy/irritable (lol) during the day. But once the sun goes down, and we can take some water and food, then let the party begin!! Of course you should understand that perhaps drinking alcohol during the day is not very respectful, but after sunset if you wish would be fine.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi I am going to PLK in just over a week. What are the general rules regarding alcohol? Do they have any bars or similar and is it acceptable for women to go into them?
  • edited 6:03PM
    Guest - I think you mean PEK (Port el Kantaoui??). This is purpose built for tourists so there are bars, alcohol and pubs and yes it acceptable for you to go in there.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Thanks, Leslie. If you could email your contact that would be great. We arrive on May 3 at 8:45 pm. We would probably need a similar return shuttle to the airport in Tunis as our flight leaves at 3 am the morning of May 12th. We plan to just hang out in the airport for several hours and head over in the evening on May 11th. Any info you could help us get for a reliable transport would be great.
    Jamie
  • edited 6:03PM
    Dear Lesley, i am very apprepriate your advice when i read the past post.
    I will go to tunisia at the end of march to early April with my female friend. we would stay there about five days. at the begining, we want to search some local tour to get around, but , the result is that the cost is very expensive. we decide to go there by ourselve. But we still have some hesitation on the safety and we consider that the transportation time of each site in between is quite much, is it? may i get around --Tunis --Sidi Bou Said-Carthage----Sousse---El-jem--Douz--Tozeur--Chott el-Jerid within 5 days??? is it enough??
  • edited 6:03PM
    One more thing, i find some of hotels recommended by Lonely planet do not have website that I cant reserve my room in advance, is it difficult if i find it when i arrive there???
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Winnie - you will not be able to do very much in 5 days I'm sorry. Whilst we are only a small country, we do not have many freeways and the traffic can be bad and at times very slow. If you are arriving into Tunis then I suggest that you concentrate on the areas around the capital. You can easily go from Tunis to Sidi Bou Said for the day, also Carthage will also take a day. It takes more than 3 hours to get to Sousse but it can be done. Forget Douz, Tozeur etc - these trips can take more than 5 - 6 hours. There is a very nice beach area in the most beautiful Nabeul. You can get there easily from Tunis (about 2 - 3 hours) with some resorts on the beach so you could spend a day or so there. If you use the louages to get around they are cheap. They take a maximum of 9 people and will only leave when the car is full, however, this doesn't take long and you are on your way.

    In regard to the hotels, even if you email they may not reply - Tunisia is not a high tech country (yet), however, you could try calling some of the hotels and make a reservation that way. You may even get it cheaper. We are coming into high season so don't risk not having a hotel at least for the first night of your arrival. There are a number of websites that provide hotels/bookings so maybe you can try these.

    I hope you will enjoy your stay and perhaps come back to see more of this wonderful country
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley!
    My name is Ana and my boyfriend, tunisian, and I are going to Tunisia the end of May. I heard that once we get to Tunisia, we can not even hold our hands on the street, is this true?
    please, can you let me know? my questions sounds silly but I dont know the culture in that country as I come from Central America and for me will be a new experience to travel to another continent. Also, please, would you mind advicing me what kind of clothes should I wear there?
    thank you in advance! :)
  • edited 6:03PM
    hi lesley

    i am planning to go on holiday to tunisia for easter holidays with my sister.

    We have no idea which is the best place to go!!

    can u help advise please?
    we'd like somewhere with plenty of sights to see, fun things to do, bustlings shops and cultural sites tov iew....and a nightlife but we arent heavy drinkers are party goers...just a bit of life would be nice!

    we are both later 20's and hope to get guaranteed sun, will easter be warm enough to go on the beaches??

    any advice on the best resorts to go to would be very much appreciated thank you

    Lisa
  • edited 6:03PM
    I just found this forum, and I'm hoping that I can get answers to some of the questions I have. I am a 50ish woman planning a solo visit to Tunisia in April. I already have the airline reservations and reservations for three nights in Tunis, but after that I'm at a loss.

    I would like to travel to the south and see the desert and some of the Star Wars locations, but I'm just not sure about how to go about the transportation and tours to those areas. How safe is it to travel by bus? What about louage? If I'm not sure of my itinerary, is it possible to get a hotel room without advance reservations?

    I am trying to learn some French and I have an Arabic phrasebook, but I'm afraid that I will not be able to communicate very well. Will I be able to travel independently like I hope to do?

    Thank you in advance for any advice or information you can give me.

    Robin
  • edited March 2010
    Salem Ana - so welcome to both of you in wonderful Tunisia. Firstly, I just want you to know that very few hotels will allow you to stay in the same room unless you produce a marriage licence. If you were both foreigners it would not be so much of a problem. But your boyfriend should know this already. As for touching/holding hands in public, well it just respectful of the culture not to do this in public. My husband and I do not touch outside our home, he may take my arm or my hand to cross the road or if the street is bumpy etc, but apart from that nothing. Even at the airport when I leave for a trip we just kiss each other on the cheek. As for clothing - I advise that you go for more modest clothing than you perhaps would normally wear. I have gone for the boho look for this summer as it is easy to wear and very cool. Buy some of those floaty cotton tops from India and wear with loose long skirts, jeans or long pants. It looks lovely and you will feel very comfortable (and so will your b/f). Make sure that nothing is see through though!! If you want any more help then I am happy to give you more information.

    I do hope you will both enjoy your time in Tune..........
  • edited March 2010
    Hi Lisa, these questions are so hard to answer LOL!!! You don't say how long you are coming for, but I can suggest Hammamet or Sousse. These are reasonabley large cities with lots of sights within easy reach and the best part is that most of the resorts are right on the beach. You can take a day trip to the capital Tunis and look around the old city, perhaps take a louage to Nabeul, a beautiful seaside village, why not take a couple of days to explore the desert and stay one night at a Berbere camp. The hotels can provide 1/2 or full board and always come with 'animation' but beware of the mostly male staff........they are over the top!! I actually don't know when Easter is this year, end of March?? The weather in March is quite warm but the water has yet to warm up. I hope you will enjoy your time here.
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Robin,

    Welcome to Tunisia. There is really so much to see and do here and I would very much like to suggest that you organise a tour company to assist you. I would not really advise you travelling by yourself and to be honest, hotels will see you coming and charge you double what they charge locals. Unfortunately, a fact of life here. Really, I want to give you the best advice I can and in regard to language - we don't speak formal/standard Arabic, although many people will understand you. We speak a dialect which is interspersed with French and it varies from region to region - extremely confusing. Most people (apart from the olders) speak French so that is probably your best bet. The transport system is good and cheap. Louages are fantastic but not really comfortable for long distance travel (ask my bottom)!!! and for the most part they do not have any air-con. I don't want to put you off, but if you will email me I will give you some more direct information and some advice as to how to do this on your own.
  • CJWCJW
    edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley,

    My girlfriend and I ( aged 20, 21) will be travelling to Tunisia - Port el Kantaoui - at the start of August for 2 weeks. I've read your other comments and i feel much better about foreigner/local interaction, general etiquette, money etc, but i've some other queries i hope you can assist with. I'm aware that the locals will be celebrating Ramadan for the majority of our stay, and was just wondering how exactly this will effect our holiday. We were looking to spend a few days on the beach, and at the hotel resort, but wanted to venture further afield to get a feel for the culture, food, and the country in general. Would Ramadan affect this at all? Also, you mentioned that trips/tours to Tunis, the caves, Matmata, Sahara etc were a must, and this is definately something we are intereted in...a day/night or 2 in/around the sahara especially...could you reccomend an itinerary for this perhaps? Also, with regards to transport, is car hire a feasible option...or would it be better to depend on other transport for our stay? Thanks in advance, you seem to know your stuff and would loveto hear your opinion.

    Regards,
    Chris
  • edited 6:03PM
    Salem CJW - ok so let me explain about Ramadan. It sounds like you know a little but just beware that all of us do not eat/drink/smoke etc from around 4.00 a.m. until the sun goes down and because it is very very hot in August we all get very tired and sometimes bad tempered lol!!! So, as long as you can please be patient with all the locals you will be fine. I usually tell everyone to be a little more respectful during this period - if you smoke try to do it privately and don't walk around drinking from a bottle of water. It doesn't really offend too much but it makes us a little testy if you know what I mean. The food at this time of the year is so fantastic - it's actually a good time to be in Tune as we cook and eat dishes that are special and that we don't eat any other time. You will see the locals going out to have dinner, meet friends, sit and chat for most of the night until it's time to start the fast so it will be quite lively after dark and you will very much enjoy it. I'm not sure how many drivers/tours are on at this time of the year but if you can send me your email I can put something together for you with an itinerary. Definitely you should get to Matmata which is wonderful and the people even nicer..........Sahara is a must and yes at least a day in Tunis to explore the old city. Oh I'm very excited for you. Just be aware that it can be very, very hot at this time of the year 40c++ so come prepared

    You certainly could hire a car but be warned, we drive like maniacs, you must have eyes in the back of your head and also you must be cautious of wayward pedestrians (we all walk on the road), donkeys, sheep, goats and sometimes camels and cows. If that's not enough for you, the roads are terrible and you must look out for big holes in the road. However, all that said, it's a good idea if you feel confident to get around by yourself. And even better, we have just started to have that satellite thing in the car so you can get around.

    I hope I can help you.........let me know and I'll get back to you asap
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley

    Thanks for gettin back to me again. Well my sister and I booked last week and we decided to go for PEK....booked ther Marhaba Palace so fingers xd. Perhaps will do as you mentioned and visit Hammamet for the day. We were told Soouse might be more lively and could go there if we wanted a diff club or pub but I think PEK will be good as from the sounds of it with the marina etc. Cant wait now......sept seems so long away tho haha. Do you recommend anything we shud do while there? Have you heard much about the 2 day trip into the saraha? Also....what is the currency and how much would u say for 2 weeks.....we were thinking around £500 each?

    Any other tips/advice would be greatly appreciated. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks!
  • edited 6:03PM
    hi lesley

    im going to skanes the start of june , but i have only just sent away for my and my daughters passport to be renewed will i still be able to travell , also will it be very hot as me and my daughter are very fair skin, we are going to houda golf beach club do u know how far it it to the best shopping areas , is there pleanty to do for my dughter there she is 9 yrs

    thank you
  • edited 6:03PM
    Lorraine - great news. You will like PEK, it is very, very nice and the marina area is really beautiful with outdoor cafes etc. Very nice on a warm evening to walk there. Sousse is a large city and very lively - and yes there are clubs etc there. There is so much to see in Tunisia and you have a good amount of time so you should be able to see quite a lot. I always suggest going to the capital Tunis for at least one day, walk around the old city and wander into the souq. Also Nabeul is a very beautiful old city and quite cheap. It depends who is doing the 2 day trip to Sahara but I can definitely recommend that you go there. It is a beautiful experience and you can ride camels and listen to the stories of the Berber. Being in Tuninisia is cheap for foreigners. Everything is cheap but it depends what you want to do and how you want to live as to how much you take with you. If you drink alcohol then be prepared to have a deep pocket - it's expensive in our country!!
  • edited 6:03PM
    Lindsey - how long will it take for the passport to come back? You cannot enter Tunisia (or any other country) without a passport so you need to make sure you have that back before you travel. It starts to get very hot in June so I suggest that you all have hats and long sleeves and use plenty of sunblock. Our sun is fierce!! There are many shopping areas around and although Skanes is quiet, you can take taxis (which are cheap) or the louages to many areas nearby. As it's hot my guess is that your daughter will want to spend lots of time in the water and most of the hotels also have animation (entertainment) especially for children. They organise lots of things for the children to do and it will give you some 'down time' so to speak. Try taking her to Tunis for a day's outing. As I tell everyone, the old city is lovely and she will see and hear lots of things that she can remember. Also perhaps organise a trip to Tataouine where Star Wars has been filmed. I am sure that she will love exploring the Berber cave houses and perhaps take a camel ride.

    I hope you enjoy your holiday
  • edited 6:03PM
    Hi Lesley,

    I'm 23 and I've just returned from Tunisia, Sousse and I loved it, what a fantastic place. However I am planning to go back there alone at the beginning of May. Is it safe to go out at night alone whilst I am there? before I was in a big group and had no problems gong out on a night.
    Thanks
  • edited 6:03PM
    hi Lesley,

    i have sorted out our passports now , and my daughter would love to see where star wars was filmed so i will try get there if she will get out off the pools long enough to go , she has already said she wants a camel ride so that 1 is sorted , it's just the waiting now to go i cant wait ,

    thank you

    Lindsey
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