Whether it’s Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, or the United Arab Emirates – there’s a few things you need to know before you travel. It’s more conservative than what you’re used to back home so don’t get caught out. Here are some things you should know before you pack your bags.

Dress modestly

In some countries, particularly in Islam countries, women must cover their hair with a headscarf, wear trousers or a floor length skirt, and a long tunic or jacket around mid-length. Men should also wear trousers and long shirts when it comes to dressing conservatively. While it may seem a little strict, it shows respect for the country you’re visiting and will mean less hassle and unwanted attention.

Public display of affection

For most couples, kissing and hugging is not allowed in many conservative countries. Most Arab countries take it pretty seriously. In some cases, tourists have been asked to pack their bags, or even worse, have ended up behind bars with a criminal record. So ladies and gents, save it for closed doors otherwise it may cut your holiday short.

Approaching the opposite gender

Generally, there are strict rules around social interaction. Only men can talk to men, and same with women. It’s only after the ice has broken and people have been introduced, that you can start chatting away with the opposite sex.

Expect attention

This is true for both men and women, particularly if you’re a Westerner. You’re going to attract attention – whether it be good or bad. Women are often subject to intimidating stares and comments, and the best thing to do is just brush it off. It’s recommended to travel with a male or in a group, as women are not allowed to travel alone in strict Islamic countries.

Drinking alcohol

While Islamic law prohibits alcohol, Muslim countries are fairly accepting of tourists who wish to drink. It’s just a matter of working out which country is safe to do this in.  Drinking in public and getting drunk is frowned upon, so we recommend just a glass or two.

Avoid politics

When making a conversation, it’s best to avoid politics as it could turn a little nasty. Stick to lighter topics like sport or music to avoid the awkwardness, especially if you don’t know them well. There are many different views on Islamic and Sharia law, and whether you believe in it or not, it’s best to keep your views to yourself.

No pork

Muslims are not allowed to eat pork so you won’t be able to find any on the street. Save yourself a wild goose chase and opt for things like Halal sausages – they won’t taste the same but are an alternate option for you.


In some countries, you’ll notice that women are allowed to flaunt their bikini body on the beach.  While in stricter countries, women are expected to cover up their arms and legs as a sign of respect. There are also female-only pools so pay close attention. If in doubt, just follow the crowd.

Travelling in Islamic countries is generally a safe, enjoyable and welcoming experience. As long as you obey the local laws and are respectful, you really have nothing to worry about. Local customs do vary, so always read up on the specific country you’re visiting beforehand. Otherwise, just observe what the locals are doing.  The people are incredibly hospitable, the sights are magnificent and the food is insanely good. So what are you waiting for? Just book a flight and see for yourself.