Advantages Sun nearly all year round
Disadvantages Avoid getting hassle from the locals!
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
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Tunisia - Land of sun, sea...
If you are looking to visit Tunisia on holiday you'll be nearly guarenteed sunshine all year around - just avoid November - February - it's as cold as the UK! The scenery is brilliant if you choose to go outside the hotel and on the many trips - be sure to book with your hotel rep if possible as this is usually the cheapest option and you are guarenteed not to be conned.Tips to having a good holiday in Tunisia:
1. As Tunisia is a closed currency country (you can't exchange sterling into Tunisian Dinar before entering the country) it is advisable that you exchange money in the airport - if this is Monastir airport the exchange bureau is in the luggage claiming area - beware, if you are on a late flight the hotel exchange bureaus usually close at 9pm.2. Tunisia is a muslim country - although they accept European ways in certain areas it is advisable that you respect their culture, an example is it's ok to sunbathe in bikini's etc and even sunbathe topless in the hotel grounds but in other areas the locals may not be too friendly about showing alot of skin, getting drunk etc - although quite a few of the Tunisians drink!
3. In the bars outside your hotel the locals may be friendly - many are genuine although be careful as some are hoping to make a quick buck - they may be polite and quite charming but watch out for hidden agendas - they tend to think that the UK is the 'golden land' for some reason - have your wits about you - especially the ladies - their charms are quite irresitible!4. Barter and haggle - this a way of life for most Tunisians - if you are told the price - half this and haggle hard - don't be afraid to walk away especially if they are trying that little bit too hard to sell you something.
5. The police are everywhere - this is for your protection - Tunisia is a country of two classes - the rich and the poor - life can be hard for alot of the locals, thus in my opinion they try anything to make a living. There are police on the streets, in the bars etc. - some are plain clothed and you may not even know they are there - they are looking to protect you - not arrest you - Tunisia needs the tourist industry to survive - they want you to have a good time without any problems.6. Go on the trips offered from your hotel rep - they are inexpensive for the experience gained - I don't normally go on trips when I visit other countries but I would definitely recommend it in Tunisia (see next section for ideas)
7. Try the food in the local restaurants - Tunisia has many traditional dishes - the staff will be friendly and encouraging for you to try their cuisine - in many of the resorts there are kebab stalls in my opinion the shawarma kebabs are the best you will ever taste - shreds of spicy lamb in fresh pitta with spicy Tunisian sauce.8. Tipping in restaurants - it is customary to give the waiter a tip for the service he / she has given - I would recommend 10 percent of the bill - if the service was good - as the food is cheap this doesn't amount to much. Always have a rough idea of how much your bill should come to - in my experience they sometimes try to make a bit of money on the side and you could find that the bill should be cheaper - they sometimes add a few extra beers etc. to the bill!
9. If you feel adventurous rent a car - there are many car hire places - shop around the prices can be dramatically different - for a small car in the height of the season the price is usually about 40 dinar (£19) a day although there are discounts for longer rental times, The petrol is really cheap - about 1 dinar / 50p per litre. When you rent the car ask for extra insurance (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT) it costs 30 dinar (£15) as a 1 off payment - if you have an accident you then don't have to pay any excess - if you don't take out this extra insurance you will have to pay approximately 500 dinar (£250) in the event of an accident - YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR THIS INSURANCE - THE HIRE COMPANY WILL NOT MAKE YOU AWARE OF THIS).10. If a local approaches you to go to a carpet shop etc - politely say no if you don't want to go - I would recommend this - if you want a carpet / rug (they have very good quality merchandise) ask your rep as the locals usually gain commision and you may feel pressured into buying - in my opinion I have never dreamed of going on holiday and buying such a large item although the seller will ship the goods to you.PLACES TO VISIT:
1. The trip to the Sahara is in my opinion a brilliant trip - you can go for either 2 or 3 nights and the price is reasonable for what you get. The trip is by coach and you will be shown a number of places on the way down to the Sahare: Djem - An old amphetheatre, Matmata - a place where people are still living in caves underground, lunch is provided and other landmarks are shown on the way down to the Sahara. When you reach the Sahara you can go on the camels (included in the price) if you want and then see where Starwars was filmed, then you are taken to your hotel on the outskirts of the Sahara for evening meal and relaxation - when I was there you where able to go up to the roof of the hotel and see the sun coming down. The next day you get up early and go to what appears like a lake where you can see the sun rise - it feels so close and is huge - this was the sight for me that made the trip - in my opinion it was truely amazing - on the two day tour you then make your way back to your resort - stopping off at scenic places and eventually a market before arriving back - all this was about £90!2. Tunis - the capital city of Tunisia - in my opinion very cosmopolitan, you can stroll along the main street that is lined with cafe bars and retaurants and boutiques. At the end of the boulevard the is a large flower market, fountain and clock tower, the embassies are all on the outskirts of Tunis, a good trip to see a different part of the country.
3. Carthage and Sidi bousaid - Oldy worldy - but calm and scenic - this is full of expensive villas and beautiful hotels, also the President's palace is in this area - a good place to go to feel calm and relaxed.
All in all Tunisia is a great place to visit - if you keep your wits about you, you can relax and soak up the sun.
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