In any country there are some important rules of behavior. Also I would like to warn you of helpers that try to scam tourists in Morocco. Let’s go further without any meaningless words.
8 don’ts or don’t try to do this in Morocco
- To take a picture of a woman without asking permission.
- To take a picture of any present King’s palaces.
- To kiss or to hug in public.
- To preach any religion.
- To go outside being drunk during Ramadan.
- To visit any mosque if you are Non-Muslim (except the official guided tour to Hassan II mosque in Casablanca).
- To speak about the King, politics or religion.
- To mention your sexual orientation (though usually there’s no problem when 2 people of the same gender stay in a double room).
7 do’s in Morocco
- Remember to bargain in Morocco. If you want to get close to real prices – just check them in a shop of any supermarket chain upon your arrival to Morocco. It may happen that the quality in a souk (market) may be better despite of lower price.
- If you are a woman and you want to walk, it would be better to be accompanied by a man. You should avoid eye-contacts with local men and you should avoid walking in the night. If a passerby tries to start a talk with you – just continue walking, don’t stop.
- Do contact a policeman if someone annoys you. There are police patrols in touristic places for such occasions.
- Be careful with banknotes – there’s a portrait of the present King.
- If you eat with hands, you should use the right hand (the left hand is considered to be “unclean”).
- Be polite while choosing what to dress. Shorts may be okay for touristic Agadir, but in other places one should dress with a respect to local customs.
- Moroccans are very passionate about football (soccer), so when they start to talk about football with you and start to mention the names of your native football players, they will highly appreciate if you mention a Moroccan player. As for me I’ m not into football at all but for Russian version of this article I offer to mention Mbark Boussoufa (he was playing in Russian teams for 6 years).
The holy month of Ramadan means a fast – one can’t eat, drink and smoke in daytime. For tourists – read: in public places. Though Moroccan McDonalds is open in daytime during Ramadan. Tourists don’t need to keep the fast but they should not put Muslims into temptation. Also there are strict rules about kissing in public (up to 6 month in jail).
Helpers are present in any place, where a tourist might be. The best advice is to avoid them. It can be a person, who offers a guided tour (most of them just approach you and start their guided tour). You should interrupt a helper and ask about the price. It can be a child or a teenager offering his help in showing you the way (get rid of them immediately). Or even a person in the airport who suggests his help in filling the arrival card.
The main trait of any helper is that most of them just stick to you – they start to follow you. And in the end they will demand enormous amount of money for their “service”.
If a local starts to talk to you in English – you should start to worry. Usually it means that a person sees a victim (and not a friend as you may suppose) in you. This person in 99% is a helper, a beggar or a dealer.
By the way, beggars collect not only money, but cigarettes too. It’s kind of currency – many times I’ve seen how they sell them one by one to tobacco shops.
If you want to give some money to a beggar – never take the money out of your purse. It’s a high risk that your purse (or something else) would be stolen immediately or later. So if you have no coins in your pocket, just pass by as there are also many fake beggars.
The next trick is common not only in Morocco, I’ve seen it for more than 100 times in Thailand: you may ask a local if you go the right direction to visit a sight/a souk/whatever (or he will be the first to ask where you are heading). After this he will tell you that the sight is closed (today/for restoration/for prayer etc) and he will offer a service (f.e. to drive you or to guide you somewhere) or to go to the very shop. The scam is that the sight is operational. So just follow your plans and do not listen to anyone.