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Practical A to Z

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Practical A to Z


Eating out

Tips

It is customary to leave a tip equivalent to 10-15% of the bill in bars and restaurants.

Alcohol

Alcohol is served in establishments carrying the “Restaurant touristique” sign and in hotel bars.


Electricity

The voltage in modern hotels is 220V, but it is 110V elsewhere. Adaptors will be required for the plugs.


Embassies and consulates

British Embassy – Lac Windermere Street - 1053 Tunis - t 7110 8700 - http://ukintunisia.fco.gov.uk/en

Irish Honorary Consulate – 39, Avenue Kheireddine Pasha - 1002 Tunis – t 7190 6879 - hon-consul-irelandtunis@planet.tn


Getting around

By bus

Very cheap means of transport.

By taxi

Small yellow taxis – Practical and cheap, they operate inside governorates.

Large yellow and white taxis – More expensive, they operate all over Tunisia.

Collective taxis – Very reasonably priced. They too can only operate in certain areas.


Hammams

Open morning and evening to men and in the afternoon to women. Bring your own towel and toiletries.


Health

Also see Know before you go.

Illnesses

The most common illness suffered by tourists is diarrhoea.

Dangers

In the desert dunes of southern Tunisia, wear closed shoes because of scorpions. Steer completely clear of black henna, which is a mixture of natural henna and toxic products.

Food and water

Don’t eat raw vegetables or fruit without skin or peel. Wash hard-boiled eggs once they are peeled. Tap water is in theory drinkable but it is advisable to drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes.

Emergencies

Ambulance – t 190

Police – t 197

Civil protection – t 198


Money

Currency

The currency is the Tunisian dinar (DT), subdivided into 1000 millimes.

Banks

Generally open Monday-Thursday, 8am-12noon and 2-5pm, Fridays 8am-12noon and1.30-4.30pm; in July-August and during Ramadan Monday-Friday, 8am-2pm.

Exchange

Dinars can only be bought in Tunisia. ATMs are widely available and are a convenient way of changing money.

Traveller’s cheques

Generally accepted in shops and hotels.

Credit cards

Credit cards (Visa, Eurocard) are generally accepted in hotels, upmarket restaurants and some tourist shops.

Budget / cost of living

A double room in a comfortable hotel costs around DT20, a meal in a decent restaurant DT20 and a litre bottle of mineral water DT1.


Post

Post offices are generally open Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm, Saturday 7.30am-1pm; in summer, Monday-Friday, 8am-2pm or 3pm during Ramadan. Allow one week for mail to reach Europe.


Public holidays

Fixed public holidays

1 January – Gregorian New Year

20 March – Independence Day proclaimed in 1956

21 March – Youth Day

9 April – Martyrs’ Day

1 May – Labour Day

25 July – Republic Day

13 August – Women’s Day

15 October – Evacuation Day

7 November – New Era Day

Moveable public holidays

Some public holidays take place according to the position of the moon.


Shopping

Bartering is de rigueur in souks.

It is forbidden to export all antiques.

Shops are open from 8.30am-12noon and 3-6pm, often later in summertime. Closed Sundays and public holidays and earlier on Fridays in souks.

Arts and crafts

Dar Chaâbane: stone sculpture

Gabès: henna

Ghomrassen: cornes de gazelle (sweet pastries)

Guellala (Jerba): pottery

Kairouan: rugs and makhroud

Nabeul: pottery and orange blossom

Sejnane: Berber pottery

Sidi Bou Saïd: birdcages

Tabarka: coral

Also look out for copper and leather objects, straw baskets and rugs and jewellery.


Sightseeing

Museums – From April-mid-September 8am-7pm; rest of the year 8.30am-5.30pm. Closed Mondays.

Open-air sites – Open from dawn to dusk.

Mosques – Open 8am-12noon (except Fridays).


Social etiquette

Tunisia is a Muslim country and the majority of its inhabitants respect Islamic laws and precepts. Travellers of both sexes should take this into consideration.

At the dinner table

If invited to share a couscous, only use the thumb, forefinger and middle fingers of your right hand to put food in your mouth.

Tea

Green tea is a token of hospitality that it would be churlish to refuse.

Invitations

If invited to someone’s home, take a small gift, like pastries from the town’s top pastry house. Only take your shoes off if your hosts do so.

Salamalecs

It is definitely worthwhile learning a few basic words of courtesy in Arabic.

Attire

Avoid provocative clothing. Wear long-sleeves and trousers in holy places. Topless bathing and nudism are generally forbidden. Bikinis should only be worn in international hotels and very touristy areas.

Ramadan

During Ramadan, refrain from smoking, eating or drinking, or do so discreetly, in public places, with the exception of tourist restaurants and hotels.


Telephone

To call Tunisia from abroad

Dial 00 + 216 + number of the person.

To call abroad from Tunisia

Dial 00 + country code (UK 44 and Ireland 353) + the number of the person (without the first 0).

Local calls

Tunisian telephone numbers have 8 digits and start with a 7.

Mobile phones

Mobile phone numbers have 8 digits and start with a 9.

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