The land of the pharaohs is the perfect place to go on your future holiday. A Middle Eastern country, Arabic is the predominant language, and Religion is a part of daily life; around 94% are Muslim and practice Islam.
Going somewhere different for the first time can be daunting if you don’t know the culture. Luckily we’ve got you covered, with everything you need to know about how to fit in whilst in the Valley of the Kings.
Greetings and Personal space
During an initial meeting you can simply nod a hello to the person or extend to a handshake. Personal space should be kept to an arm’s length at least when meeting someone for the first time, and you should not touch them in public. You should also avoid eye contact with members of the opposite sex as Egyptian women may interpret this as intimidating. If you are unsure in any situation it is best to follow the lead of the Egyptian you are meeting.
If you are going out to a public place, women should avoid sleeveless tops and short skirts out of respect. At the very least cover the upper arms and legs past the knee. It is also impolite to point the toe or heel of your shoe at someone, or show the sole of your shoe. These points can be reserved for public places, whereas if you are on your resort, you’re free to dress and act as you wish.
Egyptians are very emotive and use a lot of hand gestures for different things. Shouting or banging would be taken as anger in western society, but most use it merely to enforce a point they feel strongly about. Instead of the usual ‘excuse me’ you’d hear from someone calling you from a distance, you should listen out for whistling, clapping or a ‘pssst’ sound. It could be to warn you of an oncoming car, and many use it to call a waiter when in a restaurant.
Alcohol and Eating out
Devout Muslims do not drink alcohol, eat pork or use drugs; but when eating out, it’s not forbidden to drink alcohol. Dining etiquette can be good knowledge to have, if you are on a resort it would be different to if you were invited to someone’s house. If you are eating out you should tip the staff well as you would on any other holiday. You should also avoid eating with your left hand as it is used for personal hygiene; Egyptians use the right hand for eating and greeting.
A few tips
Buy bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth; never drink the tap water. Make friends with other travellers in the place you’re staying, as they can give you advice on excursions and restaurants.
Egyptians are some of the warmest and accommodating people; nothing is too much for them. So enjoy the culture, and be considerate of this wonderful country and its hosts.