Every place has its own culture and tradition, as well as laws that every traveler should know and respect when visiting a specific destination. Although it is not always required, it is always good for a traveler to know the culture and some laws of the place that he/she will visit. Here are 7 strange laws every traveler should know.
Since 2002, it has been illegal to import chewing gum in Singapore because of the damages it had caused to the public transit system. Prior to the ban, the government of Singapore has reportedly spent $106,000 (US) every year to clean the gum litter and damages. Gum (nicotine gum and sugar-free gum) is only allowed for therapeutic purposes.
Wearing high heels is not allowed when visiting Grecian monuments. This laws is meant to protect the ancient monuments from being damaged by the shoes worn by visitors during tours (this could also prevent injuries, especially when visiting locations with uneven elevation).
Using sinus and allergy inhalers containing pseudoephedrine like Vicks and Sudafed is illegal in Japan. These medications are banned under the country’s strict anti-stimulant drug laws. Additionally, medications containing codeine are also banned should not be brought into the country.
Public observance of religions other than Islam is not allowed in Maldives and importing religious icons and any pornographic material into the country is considered to be offensive. It would be better to leave pornographic materials and alcohol at home when traveling to Maldives to avoid upsetting the locals or unintentionally breaking the law.
Feeding the pigeons in Piazza San Marco in Venice was once the square’s trademark, but the practice has been banned because the pigeons damage the statues in the square and requires cleanup. There are still a few who throw birdseed at the pigeons but doing this is punishable by fine. Instead of paying for the fine for breaking the law, spend wisely by going to a nearby patio or restaurant for a nice meal and wine while watching the birds milling the square.
Southeast Asian countries such as Bali, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore have strict and harsh drug laws. This is due to the increase of drug trafficking problems in these destinations. Tourists intentionally or accidentally carrying drugs could be arrested or worse executed for breaking this law.
Wearing camouflage is banned in Barbados, and only the members of the military are allowed to wear such clothing. Enacted in the 1980’s, the ban was meant to stop gang members from impersonating soldiers to rob people. Although incidents like this are rare, those who do not follow this law can be fined.
Exploring the world and experiencing the cultures of place can help us learn more about the world and understand our purpose in life, but there are some things that we have to consider when visiting certain destinations. Knowing the law, culture, and tradition of the place we are visiting is not required but is very helpful, especially in getting in trouble with the country’s locals and authorities. Before going to a certain places, make sure to do a little research, especially about the things that could get you in trouble. As they say, ignorance of the law excuses no one.