The Middle East contains endless gems to explore but can cause a real culture shock for western travelers. Middle-Eastern countries are typically more fervent than western nations when it comes to upholding traditions, following old customs, and obeying local laws. Making a social blunder in the Middle East can often result in a lot of negative attention so it’s best to be aware of the etiquette rules expected of foreigners.

What You Should Never Do

Ways To Show Courtesy In The Middle East

A Special Case: Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. If you happen to be traveling in the Middle East during this time, there are a few things to be aware of.Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. Muslims fast between dawn and dusk and while visitors are not expected to fast too, they are expected to show respect during this time. It’s considered bad form to eat and drink in public during the daylight hours of Ramadan. Instead, only eat and drink inside the confines of your hotel.In some countries, smoking and chewing gum during daylight hours might also be seen as a sign of disrespect. Check up on the local laws and customs before you travel.NEXT: The Safest (And Most Dangerous) Places In The Middle East