Public Displays of Affection – do's and don'ts
It’s easy to get caught up in your little bubble but so that you don’t commit a serious faux pas on your honeymoon, we’ve compiled some handy cultural tips.
You might be bursting with love for each other, but it pays to
be careful about how you display your affection in certain parts of
the world. Strolling hand in hand, cuddling up in a cafe or ducking
into a doorway for a cheeky kiss might be harmless at home, but can
cause deep offence in more conservative countries.
Public Displays of Affection and physical contact:
- Holding hands is the extent of the public displays of affection
tolerated in Thai society; kissing is frowned
- Indonesia might be a tropical paradise, but it
is also a predominantly Islamic country where local attitudes can
be quite conservative. Don't go overboard on affection.
- The United Arab Emirates, has strict decency
laws such that any form of PDA (even holding hands) is
unacceptable. Even in Dubai, which has the most
relaxed social codes in the UAE, the authorities will crack down if
couples get carried away. In 2010 a British couple were jailed for
kissing in a restaurant; in May 2012 another couple were arrested
for allegedly having sex in a taxi.
- In Asia, it's considered rude to touch
anything or any person with your feet as your foot is considered
the 'lowest' part of your body. Putting your feet up on chairs is
disrespectful too. Equally, you shouldn't touch people on the head
as that's where the soul is said to reside.
- In India, the Middle East, and Asia avoid
handling things, eating or greeting someone with your left hand.
Traditionally the left hand is used for *cough* hygienic purposes
and so people deem this part of the body unclean.
- It is still illegal or socially unacceptable to be in
homosexual relationships in many places, so if you are a gay couple
it pays to research your honeymoon thoroughly. Even if you decide
to refrain from being affectionate in public, you may encounter
difficulties checking in to the same hotel room. We'll have more
tips for LGBT friendly honeymoon destinations in the coming
Other handy tips:
- Both men and women should dress conservatively
in Muslim countries; make sure that at least your shoulders and
knees are hidden. Women should cover their hair when visiting a
mosque and everyone should take their shoes off. Men shouldn't go
shirtless in public, even when it is extremely hot outside.
- Always try to start off a conversation in the local
language, no matter how bad you think you sound. A little
effort goes a long way with locals if you try to speak the
- Be considerate when you take photos of local
people. Taking pictures without permission is illegal in
the United Arab Emirates and can lead to arrest or fines. Wherever
you are, ask permission, show off your shots and (if at all
possible) make print copies to give or post to the person the
picture is of.
For LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)
travel/PDA advice from the FCO, see www.gov.uk
Image by Michael N Patterson
More like this