Top 10 Weird Laws That Might Get You in Trouble

Tags: #Travel ,   #traveltips ,   #traveltheworld ,   #TravelJapan ,   #travelmore

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2022-12-30 09:40:25

Exploring faraway countries and getting to know new cultures is always a memorable experience. However, before heading on to a new adventure, you need to comprehend some things. While we don't even notice some little things we do, they could be offensive or even forbidden by law in some countries. So, our top ten list of weird laws is here to prevent unpleasant surprises on your trip. Additionally, do check our tips and tricks for smooth traveling.

10. Put Your Shirt On

Shirtless boys playing basketball
Shirts are obligatory outside the beach and pool area in Barcelona (photo: Tim Mossholder /unsplash.com)

People are going on vacation to rest from everyday responsibilities and to enjoy casual dressing. Therefore, feeling relaxed and loose while strolling from the beach to the hotel in your swimsuit is the way to go. Yet in Barcelona, these are only acceptable on the beach or swimming pool.  

Law forbids walking around in swimsuits, and you might pay a fine if caught. This rule applies to Mallorca as well. Moreover, when in Rome, keep your shirt on in public, as walking around bare-chested is punishable.

9. Chopsticks in Japan

Chopsticks on the bowl
Chopsticks are used for eating, not playing (photo: Juan Encalada /unsplash.com)

Japanese people are very traditional and also easily offended. They might have the strangest eating habits and the most unusual food, but Japan is still a beautiful country, and it has to be on your must-visit list. Therefore, when you finally pack your bags and head off there, you might want to remember some things regarding chopsticks.

Pointing or playing with them and stabbing the food is considered disrespectful. Moreover, always use the opposite side of the chopstick to grab food from a shared plate while eating. This is considered polite and hygienic.

8. Selfies and Shoes

Buddha statue in Sri Lanka
If you are traveling to Sri Lanka, avoid taking selfies with the Buddha statue (photo: PARTH VIRADIYA/unsplash.com)

Suppose you are headed off to explore new countries after packing your bags and booking a flight. Once you have arrived at, let's say, a Buddhist country and its magnificent temples, everything looks charming. This sounds great, but never turn your back on the Buddha statue, as that's very disrespectful. Moreover, if you take a selfie with the Buddha (which means turning your back to a statue) in Sri Lanka, you can even end up in prison!

If you are in some beautiful Muslim town and wish to enter a mosque, that's fine. However, when you see many shoes in front of the entrance, take off yours too. It's disrespectful and forbidden to enter the Mosque while in shoes.

7. Bargaining

A market in the Arab country
It's almost obligatory to negotiate the price at the markets (photo: Peter Livesey/unsplash.com)

From ancient times Arab people have been known as good traders. So if you are traveling to some Arab country and wish to buy something on the market, don't forget to bargain. They love to haggle, and it's almost an insult if you don't negotiate the price.

However, please start with a reasonable offer. Just double down the price you wish to pay and begin your bargaining. You'll see that's an exciting process, and you can buy some cool stuff at low prices while everyone is satisfied.

6. Military Pattern

Camouflage patern
Camouflage is a big no-no in almost all Caribbean Islands (photo: James Lee /unsplash.com)

Many countries have regulations regarding what's acceptable to wear. For example, Muslim women must cover their hair and sometimes even their faces. However, some Caribbean islands ban particular clothing patterns. So check your clothes, as it's illegal to wear camouflage clothing in almost all Caribbean islands. 

This includes Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent Antigua, and Barbuda. According to the law, only military personnel can wear camouflage. Moreover, you'll probably be arrested if you're caught wearing camo on these islands, so pack wisely.

5. Chewing Gum and a Bit More

A girl making a gum baloon
Singapore forbids gum chewing (photo: Charles Wright /unsplash.com)

Singapore is an exciting city with many things to see and experience. However, there are a few things you shouldn't do. Let's start from the beginning, as chewing gum is offensive and forbidden. Also, remember to flush the toilet since there's a fine for that as well.

Do you practice jaywalking? Well, think again, as Singapore forbids it. Also, why you may enjoy walking around your house naked, you can pay a fine in Singapore if somebody sees you. Nevertheless, behave, and you'll enjoy the city in a second.

4. Flying Pests

Pigeons in a city street
Avoid feeding pigeons in public places in Venice (photo: Dan Gold /unsplash.com)

If your first thought was pigeons, you were correct. You might remember how fun it was to feed the pigeons when you were a child but doing so as a tourist in a foreign country, you might be in trouble. In Venice, especially on San Marco Square, it's finable to feed the flying pests. 

This law is here to preserve the architecture, not because these animals are annoying. You see, birds are destroying the monuments by pecking the facades for the remains of the food. Also, there's a bird-dropping problem. Moreover, Venice is one of many places with this regulation, as Vienna and Singapore have banned feeding pigeons. Vienna also had a strange problem with the songbirds.

3. Building a Sandcastle

Sandcastle on  the beach
Building a sandcastle could be fun, but it's forbidden in some parts of Spain (photo: Dallas Reedy/unsplash.com)

Perhaps the most beautiful memories from childhood are building a sandcastle with your parents. You would make your sandcastle the whole day and couldn't wait for the next morning to check if it survived the tide. All those thrilling memories get you back to the happiest time of your life.

Now, you're a grownup with children of your own, wishing to show them your expertise as a sandcastle builder. Well, if you wanna impress your kids, avoid beaches in Mallorca or Galicia, as building sandcastles is forbidden, and your architectural skills could be fined.

2. Pointing Fingers

People checking out the map
Pointing fingers is very disrespectful in some countries (photo: Sebastian Herrmann /unsplash.com)

All over the world, we do some everyday stuff that could be offensive in other countries. We can all agree that finger-pointing isn't the nicest thing, figuratively and literally. Still, in Indonesia and Malaysia, that's considered offensive.

Therefore, please use your thumb to point at something or use words if you find yourself there. Either way, it's better to look clumsy than to offend somebody. Moreover, in some parts of Africa, you can finger-point at the object rather than the person.

1. Walking Shoes

High Heel shoes
High heels are not made for walking across the Acropolis, Athens (photo: Emily Gouker /unsplash.com)

Ancient Acropolis in Athens, Greece, includes beautiful monuments and impressive temples standing mighty and proud for centuries. Over seven million people visit this major tourist attraction each year!

As we mentioned, it's pretty old, resisting time, so you can't walk all over it in high heels. It's strictly forbidden to tear down the national treasure by wearing stilettos. While marbles are already slippery and impossible to walk around in high heels, you can also pay a fine. As they might be essential footwear, save them for another occasion!

As you can see on our top ten, weird laws still forbid something as simple as chewing gum, and many more in some countries. Those are better-known upfront than paying the fine on the spot. Law is strict, but don't let it spoil your adventure. Be smart, and inform yourself before traveling to a foreign country.

Have you ever had a problem with the law or felt stupid cause you didn't know some local customs? We would like to hear about your experience.


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