Questions tagged [culture]

Relating to the music, art or social behaviour of a society

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304
votes
8answers
39k views

How do you know if Americans genuinely/literally mean what they say?

I have come across a few situations when an American will say something like "We should have lunch some time" or "Let's have lunch some time." Or "you should come down to visit me in D.C. (or Miami or ...
168
votes
11answers
18k views

How to avoid drinking vodka?

This summer, I spent some time in Moscow and St. Petersburg; I also visited a friend and his family. Their custom was to drink a lot of vodka during the meal. We, the guests, also had to drink some ...
75
votes
10answers
5k views

How to successfully haggle / bargain in markets

While I've done quite a bit of travel now and back myself to handle situations when it comes to border guards, sorting accommodation and / or transportation, one thing I still struggle to come to ...
63
votes
6answers
20k views

Handshake while holding own right elbow

I have recently had contact with an acquaintance from Eastern Africa (I think from Ethiopia or Somalia). When the person greeted me, she shook my hand while holding her elbow of the right arm with the ...
62
votes
5answers
18k views

I have a tattoo. Can I visit a public swimming pool in Japan?

A friend of mine is currently traveling in Japan. She has a small tattoo on her neck. Now she wanted to visit a public swimming pool but was denied entry. It was difficult to understand the reason ...
58
votes
2answers
12k views

Why does there seem to be an extreme lack of public trashcans in Taiwan?

After visiting Taiwan a fair amount of times, this is something that has struck me as quite odd. I've never seen a country quite like Taiwan where there is a very obvious lack of public trashcans. It ...
57
votes
13answers
21k views

What is way to eat rice with hands in front of westerners such that it doesn't appear to be yucky?

In India, we eat rice using our fingers. Generally in the West, a fork or spoon is used. I have tried eating rice with spoon but I don't feel satisfied with it. We eat dry rice but we mix curry and ...
56
votes
9answers
16k views

Do Russians smile at each other?

I'm planning to go to Russia. In my culture, smiling is really common even to strangers. I've heard that Russians don't smile or laugh unless it's something funny or something that makes them happy. ...
55
votes
3answers
14k views

Are Indians as pushy to one another as they appear to be to Westerners?

So I'm in India right now and and idk... it feels like I can't walk more than a few yards without being accosted by someone trying to get me to ride their auto rickshaw or buy whatever it is that ...
49
votes
5answers
11k views

How do you know if a Japanese person means no when they say yes?

I have come across a few situations when a Japanese person will extend themselves beyond what they probably should to help people. I am often worried when asking them to do something that they will ...
48
votes
16answers
12k views

How to politely ask people from East Asia to give way? [closed]

I've arrived in Australia 9 months ago and I've noticed that often when asking people from East Asia to "give way" they will simply ignore me or even answer a "yes" but not move at all. This is a ...
46
votes
7answers
12k views

Is it socially/culturally acceptable for Indian/Sri Lankan people to visit the Oktoberfest?

I will be in Spain by the last few days in September, and since the Munich Oktoberfest ends on October 4th, I have a few days to visit Oktoberfest. I'm a Sri Lankan citizen, and I look obvious for ...
45
votes
15answers
27k views

Would it be ok to eat rice using a spoon in front of Westerners?

It seems to me that Westerners are willing to learn to use chopsticks in Asian restaurants. However, when spoons are the way the dish is normally eaten within the country of origin, Westerners prefer ...
41
votes
3answers
44k views

Are there any cultures in which the “thumbs up” hand gesture is offensive?

In the USA it's common to give a thumbs up to say "Yes, this is good" or "Thanks" or convey another appropriate positive meaning. Are there cultures in which the "thumbs up" gesture a) would not be ...
39
votes
1answer
10k views

Is it ok to take a break near the cycle path, on the grass, in Netherlands?

Today was the first time I cycled in Netherlands. I really enjoyed it. I cycled from Amsterdam to the North Sea and back to Amsterdam. When I was cycling on the cycle path I became thirsty and tired ...
37
votes
7answers
12k views

Bringing coins back home from abroad; Is that unethical to do?

I have a bad habit of not properly utilizing foreign currency coins when I tour any country. When I pay in bills and get back coins I don't know why my brain is programmed to think of them as change ...
37
votes
4answers
7k views

Is cheek kissing appropriate when being introduced to a woman in Latin America?

In Southern Europe it is common to give two kisses (one in each cheek) when being introduced to a woman. So when woman A meets person B (no matter if B is a he or a she), they will kiss in almost all ...
36
votes
3answers
3k views

Breast feeding in Iran

We are considering a trip to Iran with a 5-month old. What is the local attitude to breast-feeding in public places? Is it legal? Are there any severe consequences? Do you need to use some special ...
34
votes
4answers
5k views

When to hug, kiss, shake hands, or even “fist bump” in Europe?

I have to ask this because I'm Asian and we don't do any of these things there. I have been living in the UK and Germany for a while and I still can't understand how to do all of that in Europe. If I ...
30
votes
11answers
9k views

Is there any United States slang I should avoid in the UK or Ireland?

We'll be spending a couple weeks this summer in the UK (Scotland and London), then a week in Ireland. Is there any slang common in the United States that we be best avoided in either country? For ...
30
votes
6answers
11k views

Flashing headlights on Autobahn

What does it mean when the driver behind you on the Autobahn flashes his headlights?
28
votes
5answers
17k views

Does wearing imperial beard in the UK attract any ire of general public?

I love Imperial beard, which is also known as Friendly Mutton Chops. Take this for an example: Source: Maria Ly, via Wikimedia Commons Here is a another gentleman that more people can relate to: ...
28
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I get people to speak the local language to me?

I went to Paris 2 years ago. When I was there, I was learning the language by talking and listening to the local people. But, while I was trying to speak French with them, they would speak English to ...
28
votes
8answers
51k views

Start cheek kissing on the left/right side

Cheek kissing is a very discussed topic in each site like this, because it is quite different depending on the country (number of kisses (especially), when to cheek kissing, men/women...) and it is a ...
25
votes
2answers
4k views

Vomitorium: Only common in the German-speaking world?

The first time I saw something like this in a Swiss Restaurant in Zurich I was really confused. What should it be used for? (photo by TheoPB, available under CC-by-sa) Then I was told that you can ...
23
votes
4answers
7k views

What is France's traditional costume?

I like to see, and sometimes buy, traditional clothes when traveling in a new country. Though you seldom see people in poncho and sombrero in Mexico (at least in the Federal District), you can see ...
21
votes
4answers
4k views

Are there any women-only places in the world?

It looks like reports of a women-only city in Saudi Arabia are greatly exaggerated. But are there any other places in the world where the population is entirely or almost entirely female? The place ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Acceptable terms for describing black people in California

Today, our team was bought a drink or two by our company, so I was talking with an Afroamerican colleague and was trying to describe him that I had seen San Francisco in San Andreas GTA game, but he ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

What do travellers to England need to know about social class?

One aspect that British society is known for its social class system, but how does this apply to foreigners? I will be in London and Manchester for a week, and knowing which neighbourhoods to avoid or ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

Handling talkative neighbors when travelling [duplicate]

I'm travelling a lot around Brazil now, spending many hours in buses and planes every weekend. Sometimes I like to spend this time reading a book, listening to music or just looking out of the window. ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Where do Gamers visit in Tokyo?

Ok, I'm a huge gamer and of course a SEGA fan (played Sonic the Hedgehog since '93) and I be travelling to Japan in December. Any place in Tokyo I can fulfil the inner child in me? Looking for ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

Which countries are “Muslim countries”?

In the question about drinking beer in Dubai it arose that the term "Muslim country" can be seen as one where the laws of the country are affected by the rules of the religion (like Dubai), whereas ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

What does this long yellow sign mean in Indonesia?

When moving around Indonesia, I have noticed that some houses have this sign sometimes: What does it mean? Is it just a decoration or does it have some meaning?
16
votes
2answers
4k views

How to dry yourself after using the hand shower in the toilets?

Inspired by this question How to use toilet paper I want to ask "How to use toilet without toilet paper". During my travels through Asian countries, it was common to see the toilet without toilet ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

Are there cultures in which walking in the nude in public is not frowned upon?

Although some cultures are less prudent then others I have the impression that walking in the nude in public is frowned upon world wide. Is this a correct assumption? I know that for example going to ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Feeling the spirit of Helsinki, where?

When I visit a city, besides visiting the main tourist attractions, I usually like to see some places that can make me feel the true spirit of the place I'm visiting. As an example, if you visit Pisa ...
15
votes
6answers
15k views

Where to stay for London nightlife?

For those looking to travel to London and enjoy the nightlife, where would be the best area to stay? Requirements are nearby bars, alcohol and 20-something crowd all preferably within walking distance....
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Are inexpensive ryokans inauthentic?

A lot of people I talk to, including Japanese and non-Japanese, claim that ryokans are expensive. Once, when I discussed this further and said that some places that I've been to describe themselves ...
14
votes
2answers
494 views

What considerations should I make for traveling in Israel on the Sabbath?

I am planning to travel around Israel (from Oct 19 to Nov 5th), and I am wondering what effect the Sabbath will have on transport, restaurants and the sights. Should I be planning to not do anything ...
14
votes
3answers
523 views

Seeing a Bollywood movie in Mumbai?

It looks likely that a group of us will be in Mumbai for a few days in June. We're wondering if there's a really nice cinema (not just a chain) where we can go to watch a Bollywood screening with the ...
14
votes
2answers
482 views

Are public saunas linked to gay culture in England?

During my stay in Liverpool, England I was looking for a sauna and conducted a search "Liverpool sauna" on Google. Splash Sauna Liverpool was the first hit, no other saunas on the first search results ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

As a Canadian, what are appropriate gifts to bring when travelling to Europe?

I live in Vancouver, Canada and will be travelling to London and Paris for several weeks in October. I will be using Airbnb and CouchSurfing. I would like to bring some small gifts for my hosts and ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

What are the typical meals in Japan?

I'm going to Tokyo for tourism and I'm wondering what are the typical meals that one tourist may get during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, what are their costs? Notice that I'm a tourist staying ...
13
votes
3answers
659 views

How to cope with disgusting fellow travellers?

This summer I was in Krakow. We stayed in a hostel and did an organized tour from there. We visited Auschwitz concentration camp. We were a group of approximately 10 people and unfortunately some of ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

What is traveling for work to Saudi Arabia like? [closed]

What are the things to take into account when working for 1 - 2 months in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)? What are some of the cultural aspects that I need to take into account compared to my normal working ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Are there any travel experiences in New Zealand that offer a Maori “cultural immersion”?

I am wondering if it's possible to travel to New Zealand as a tourist and immerse in Maori culture. By this I mean homestay in a traditional Maori area where people speak the language on an everyday ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

How to find a sauna/bathhouse in Korea that allows customers with tattoos?

Apparently here in Korea there is a similar common rule to in Japan forbidding people with tattoos from using public bath houses. I was telling a couple of traveller friends in my hostel here about ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What should we consider when buying a gift for a host family in Turkey?

In September, we are traveling to Turkey. Part of the trip is a family home stay. We will be staying with a local family who will feed and house us for the night. We want to thank the family with a ...
13
votes
2answers
819 views

Is it still possible to find kisaengs in today's Korea?

Do kisaengs (female Korean entertainers, sometimes described as analogous to geishas in Japan) still exist, and is it possible to watch a performance or book an evening with them? The Wikipedia ...
13
votes
1answer
171 views

Which linguistically Tibetan areas of China are outside the official Tibet borders with the very strict permits/rules?

Tibet has very strict, difficult, and complex permits and rules. Basically most people visit as part of an organized tour group, which is not cheap and visiting as an independent backpacker is pretty ...