Currency/ Spending Money in Tunisia
  • Hi Joanne, I would suggest you bring British Pounds and exchange at the bank where you will get the correct rate. You can bring a bank card to use at the atm but sometimes on Thursday they may not give you as much as you like - as Friday is a holiday here everyone runs to the atm's on Thursday to get cash LOL!! You should be able to use your debit card but cheque with your bank as you must be able to have international useage. Forget travellers cheques......to be totally honest with you, cash rules here and credit cards are usually only used in the hotels. I hope this helps.
  • Lesley i was just wondering wot happens for a uk citizen to get married to a tunisian.Me and me boyfriend av discussed thai but i just want to b a bit clearer on exactly wot u need to do and take....thankyou
  • Hi I would just like to tell you a little bit about Skanes. I stayed at the Saadia Hotel in June 2008 and absolutely loved it. The Tunisians are lovely welcoming people and have to say it was one of the best holidays I have ever had and I have been to numerous countries. It is quiet there, but the Hotels there always have good entertainment. The Animation Team are superb and look after children brilliantly. I am going back in April this year and am so looking forward to it. Please do not be put off by scary stories about Tunisia, it is a lovely place and you will come back year after year. I wish I could of come back last year, but for the credit crunch!! Better this year! Cannot wait for my holiday in April, even staying in same hotel.
  • Loulou - there is a lot of documentation from both you and your b/f that needs to be completed before you marry. You can find out most of what you need from the embassies of both countries, their websites are extremely helpful. There is also a fabulous forum where this exact topic has been discussed frequently. www.tunisia.com and go to the forum page. I am sure you will find all the information you need.
  • Thank you 0151ducky - Tunisia is a wonderful country and I am glad that you enjoyed your holiday and will come back. I know you will enjoy your time here once again.
  • I just want to say thank you Lesley for your very informative and useful information. I have really enjoyed reading all your comments. My boyfriend and I are coming to your adopted country at the end of October for the first time. We are staying at Hammamet, and are very interested in spending a couple of days doing our 'own thing' (rather than signing up to package tours etc). We are looking at hiring a car and would appreciate any information regarding this. Also we would be interested in knowing some of the 'rules of the road'. Thanks again, and we are both very excited already!!
  • Hi Sos - welcome and I hope you will enjoy your visit. Hiring a car can be a great way to get around. We have a lot of small companies as well as Hertz and Avis and Eurocar. However, the cars are very different to those in Europe. For example, do not expect your hired car to be cleaned (in or out). It will more than likely have a few scratches and dents. They will probably not fill it with petrol (lol). You should check that you have a spare tyre and all the tools you may need. October is a good time as it is cooler but the price of hire cars here can be quite expensive so shop around or alternatively book something on line before you get here. Ah, road rules???? I'm sure we have them, but nobody seems to know what they are. Please be careful and drive slowly. In fact you can't drive fast anywhere anyhow due to the traffic and the roads. You must have eyes in the back of your head, be alert for pedestrians as 'we' walk on the roads, donkeys and a few dogs. Of course then you have to be alert for other drivers!! But I drive here and have survived!! Everyone is patient, there is no road rage and if you make a mistake, you will be forgiven. In fact even though driving here is crazy everyone is very curteous, so take care but enjoy yourselves.
  • My husband and I are going to the Royal Kenzi in June. Please could you book some very hot weather for us - just longing for some heat on the bones.

    Great forum - thanks for all the information.
  • Xandy - LOL!! Hot weather is fairly norm for June so I have duly booked - but no guarantees............but I know the sun will shine every day for you.

    I so hope you enjoy your time.
  • My hubby & myself, son-16yrs and daughter-11 are off to Tunisia on 31 March. Staying at the Sahara Beach Hotel for 2 weeks, all inclusive.
    I believe Iberostar does not own it now as of 1 Jan 2010, so not sure what goes on there e.g.new owners,refurbishments. Can anybody shed some light. Quite apprehensive but excited about the holiday as I do not know what to expect. Always gone self catering and had quite independent holidays. I always keep an open mind when I visit a new country for the first time because each culture is different.
    Is it advisable to take Euros or Sterling to exchange into Dinars?
    What would the weather be like? What type of clothing to take? Tips for a first timer in Tunisia. Cheers
  • Twinkle - I'm not sure where your hotel is so I can't help you with that. However, if you have booked through an agent you should contact them and find out.

    Either Euros or Sterling is acceptable - depends on the exchange rate and you can check on www.x-rates.com to find out the latest. At the end of March the weather is starting to get warmer and if you are in one of the coastal beach areas, you will probably find it quite warm. I suggest that you take some modest clothing (for all) and use layers as it will still be cool in the evening. I find cottons and natural fabics do best in Tunisia due to the high humidity in the summer. But I am sure you are going to enjoy your time
  • Hi I am thinking of going to Tunisa in June, with my partner and 18 yr old daughter, can you recommend a resort, cant decide between PEK, Hammamet or Yasmine Hammamet.
    Thanks
  • Algy - ok I'm going to try and help - PEK is gorgeous, purpose built for tourists, great marina area with lots of outdoor cafes, restaurants, bars, Hammamet is also lovely and quite lively so would suit your daughter, Yasmine Hammamet is quite upmarket but fairly quiet. So have I helped?? Remember that June is hot, hot, hot so you'll want a hotel with a pool and either on the beach or very close to it.

    Enjoy your vacation
  • hiya am going to sahara beach on the 5th of may i have been advised to take the thomas cook cash card but i am rather confused now as they say it can be used in any atm to withdraw cash but is it safe for me to take sterling as i am traveling with my partner an young son this would be great if u can advise me

    thanks x
  • Thanks for your great advise, im coming to hammemet but intend to travel to medjez el bab area for a few days, what is the price of cheap car hire, i dont mind roughing it in a beat up old banger. Ive been advised to hire a taxi but want to do my own thing, im visiting my uncle's grave at the war cemetry, and the battle site he was killed at so dont want the pressure of hurrying up for a waiting driver. any advice on weather last week in april for both locations thanks.
  • Samantha - I'm not sure about the Thomas Cook card - but we do have ATM (apart from small villages) and if they say it will work then it should. Of course you can bring sterling but of course you will need to exchange this at the bank for Tunisian Dinar. Just remember that cash is king here in Tunisia!!

    I am sure you are going to enjoy your vacation
  • Hi Gadgey - most of the hire cars here are beat up LOL!! Even those from the big companies. I am sorry but car hire here is not cheap and the price fluctuates depending on the season. We are coming into high season now and a car can cost from anywhere between TD45 ++ per day. It also takes a hardy person to drive here by themselves.....the roads are like a dodgem track. You must concentrate extremely well as you will find that our roads are not good, pedestrians tend to use them as well as herds of goat, sheep, cows and the odd camel. You can't drive fast and we have very few highways. Also drivers here are not as they are in other countries - you must be wary of eveyone car around you and have eyes in the back of your head LOL!! But if you feel confident then that's fine.

    You will find that the weather is warming up in April but not too hot, but the nights can still be a little on the cool side so something to wrap around you is a good idea.

    I hope you will enjoy your vacation
  • We are going to the Soviva Resort in PEK in July and have read on the tripadvisor site mainly bad reports. Do you have any knowledge of this resort and is it as bad as people make out or are they expecting far too much?
  • hi lesley

    another wee question just for us to be on the safe side would i be best to bring travelers cheques an just exchange them or just bring stirling as i have never been anywhere that has a closed currency hense my confusion lol

    thanks
  • Ketch - I've not heard anything about Soviva Resort. the problem of course is always that most people coming here don't realise that a 5* rating is more like a 4* in Europe. However, if this place is getting consistently bad reviews then perhaps you should look at another resort.
  • Samantha - travelers cheques are not easy here. My advice - bring stirling and change in the banks here. Or you can use the atm easily.
  • HI THERE ME AND MY PARTNER ARE STAYING AT THE HOUDA GOLF RESORT IN SKANES WITH OUR FOUR CHILDREN COULD YOU TELL ME IF THIS IS A SAFE ENOUGH FOR THE CHILDREN AND ARE THERE MANY TRIPS TO GO ON ? THANKYOU
  • thanks lesley al let you no how i go with my trip
  • Kirsty - Skanes is very, very quiet - apart from the pool/beach there is not much to do there. It is most definitely safe, all of Tunisia is safe. There are literally hundreds of trips - try a day in the capital Tunis and wander the old medina. Take a tour to Tataouine where Star wars was filmed - the children will love it there. Take a louage to sousse for the day, a very lively city with lots to see and do. So so much to do here and I am sure you will enjoy your holiday.
  • HI luv this forum loads of advice and info from you. I am going to Skanes sahara beach end of April and was unsure as I am a 70 yr old and on my own. Now i am looking forward to it. It is my first time abroad. Thank you for all the info
  • Guest - I am so glad that you have decided to come to Tunisia - it doesn't matter how old or young you are, you will fall in love with this beautiful country. Even you are on your own, people are friendly and welcoming and I am sure you will make friends in the hotel. Try to take a few tours around, the hotel will be able to organise that for you, and you can see a little of Tunisia while you are here - but be careful, once you have been here you will want to keep coming back.

    Have a great time and enjoy!
  • hi iam traveling to the houda hotel , in may 10 with my 3 children youngest 1yr and oldest 12 yrs .this is my first time to tunisia so not sure what to excpect if any one has been i would love some feed back plz ,i need to no as much as any one can help to what the hotel is like to the food and prices of things ,aslo can i change my money sterling to dinar at this hotel , also even tho iam allinclusive i have been told that you have to pay for ice creams ectr still so can anyone tell me how much things like this is , i need to get a idea of how much spending money i need for 2 weeks .also does any one no if the shops in this hotel cater for small children .any info would b a great help many thnx tori
  • sorry back agian i aslo forgot to ask what facilities do they have in the room ,and what sort of clothers to bring iam going may the 2
  • Tori - the Houda has just been renovated over the winter period so what it is like now I can't tell you. It was pretty tired. It is a 3* but don't expect the 3* experience of European hotels please. There are lots of sites that you can look at reviews of the hotel. they are mixed but it depends what you want from a hotel. Foreigners are charged more for everything than locals and alcohol here is pricey. I suggest you take only breakfast in the hotel and get out and about to eat elswhere on most days. Oops = I just read that you are full board - well maybe you could skip a few meals there. You are near to Monastir Sousse which are fabulous towns with lots to do.

    You can change your money at the hotel but you will get a much better exchange rate if you go to the bank or bureau de poste. The hotels tend to make a killing on the exchange rate.

    I don't know what extras you have to pay for - again, try looking at the hotel website or asking your travel agent who should have this information.

    If you want shops then I suggest you go to either Monastir or Sousse where you will get a variety and much, much cheaper prices.

    In May the weather is starting to warm up so I suggest cotton layers and something warm for the evening as it is still cool once the sun goes down.

    I hope you enjoy your stay
  • Coming to Skanes on 7th April. Weather reports seem to be mixed. Is it beach weather there?
  • I can't guarantee you beach weather. It is getting warmer but it would be a hardy person who would swim in the sea as the water temp is still quite cold. But there will be plenty of sunshine I am sure.

    i hope you enjoy your holiday
  • Thankyou for all the useful info on this site. Me and my two kids, age 10 and 12, are off to Sousse next week (first visit ever to Tunisia). Our interests are swimming, history/culture/architechture, markets, countryside/walks.
    I wonder if anyone out there can help me with 3 questions...
    (1) We were looking forward to seeing some sealife/coral if possible.
    Are there any nice beaches for SNORKELLING (near Sousse, or further afield).
    (2) I've heard that there will be various excursions available from the hotel or holiday organisers, but are these organised excursions value for money? or a bit of a rip off? Would we be well-advised to try some independant travel?
    (3) Assuming we do go off on our own, using public transport, are there any places we should avoid because they're too touristy and commercial, or because they're spoilt or unattractive.
    THANKS
  • Hi Sally, welcome to Tunisia. Sousse (sussa in arabic) is a very ancient area founded by the Phoenicians. In fact, Hannibal used this area as his base against the Romans!! You could almost divide Sousse in 1/2, the old town (medina) and the beach. the medina is very lovely and it's great to get lost wandering the maze like alleyways. Some of the sights to see are: Sofra Cistern, Souq er-ribba, Kalat el Koubba, the museum and Kasbah and of course the beach! There is a very nice market on Sunday in the Souq el-Ahad courtyard but of course it is souvenirs for tourists. Try going to PEK for the day where they have amusement park and acqua palace water park with slides etc. and the marina area is very beautiful to have coffee or lunch or even dinner. You can take the louages to many areas nearby and perhaps you could try this once, but unless you fancy being crampled in a 9 seater mini bus for a couple of hours with two grumpy hot kids then I suggest that you take some of the tours on offer. They are comfortable and I think value for money and you will get to see more than you would if you were trying to get around on your own. Please be aware that the whole of Tunisia is touristique - this is how we survive!! To get off the beaten track needs a hardy and very independant traveller as the conditions can be difficult and I do not advise it - especially with 2 children who will probably want clean bathrooms. A taste of old Tunisia is Kairouan the ancient and very important Islamic city which is quiet and very beautiful. A walk around here will not be so commercial.

    We don't have any reefs here so the chances of seeing coloured fish and coral is rare but snorkelling can still be done and you can go out further into the Med by taking a boat or boat tour. the beaches further towards PEK are very nice but most are dominated by the tourist resorts.

    I hope you will enjoy your stay
  • My girlfriend and I will be coming to Sousse in May this year, and after reading this forum, we are both very very excited. I only came to find out about ATM machines, but the information and tips provided are priceless. Thank you for all of it, and if you see an English guy and Dutch girl milling around the bar in the Sahara Beach hotel in May, come over and say hello :-)
  • I have read all your questions and answers, very helpful. I am visiting Tunisia for the first time on 18th April, staying in Hammamet. My main purpose is to go to Madjez el Bab to the hills (Mansour) near Bou Arada. I have hired a car for one day to do this. The distance seems practial but in view of some comments made, am I right? Also, should a fit solo 65 year old do this? If not what is the alternative.
  • Hi Rog, Sorry for crashing your question, i'm coming to stay in hammamet for a week on 21st and heading for mejez al bab, and the hills around sidi medienne. you sound like your visiting a war grave, that is my purpose for visiting . My uncle is buried there, 6th btn Black Watch . if you want, let me know where your staying we can meet up and have a drink. good luck .Terry
  • Hi Slater - I'm glad you found all the info here useful. And you better beware - have a beer waiting for me LOL!!! I know that you will enjoy your time here
  • Rog - I think you can probably do this but I am not sure that you will have the time to return the car on the same day. the roads are bad and you cannot drive fast and of course you have a windy road also. Fit 65 - that's not old my friend!! You can do anything! I've jsut seen a post from Gadgey who is also wanting to visit the cemetery - why don't you two hook up and share the car and the driving that way you will have some good company and conversation and more importantly another pair of eyes to watch the road and the hazards.
  • Hi lesley,

    have read some of your responses to peoples questions and wondered wether i could pick your brains for a mo?

    Me and my wife are travelling to tunisia in june for 10 nights staying at the royal kenz in port el kantaoui, we are both in our early 20's and were wondering about the resort in general, is there much to do/see, are the locals your typical tunisian with it being a tourist purpose built resort?

    with regards to the clothing issue about keeping your legs covered and things like that, without this meaning to sound quite rude and arrogant already, we wont want to cover up completely in that heat but were wondering what kind of reaction we may get by not doing??? dont really want to go and get into an argument with a local over something like this as i have just returned from afghanistan after 6 months of serving there and this is suppose to be some quality time for my wife and i after so long apart.

    We are quite keen aswell to try our hand at abit of diving and was wondering if you had any idea of what we can expect to pay for this if it is available?

    also with the diallect the locals use, is it in anyway similiar to pashtu? if not where can i find a few useful phrases, things such as thankyou, yes please etc just a few manners.

    thanks for your help

    Damion
  • Hi Damion - welcome to Tunisia and I am sure that this will provide you and your wife with some rest, relaxation and a happy time. So now, let me try to answer your questions, firstly to dress code. Tunisia is not a super conservative country, however due respect should be paid to the culture and tbh if you and your wife prefer not to be stared at you should take this into consideration. If this is of any help to your wife in particular I wear loose cotton (Indian type) tops/tunics with looser pants/long skirts/jeans etc and I don't feel hot at all. As you have been in Afghanistan you will know that covering keeps the skin from the heat of the sun and keeps you cooler. However, in and around your hotel and resort you can wear as you wish and it is not a problem. The locals here would never think to discuss your clothes or make any comments, it is considered quite rude and is not done. But, just so you know our 'hobby' is watching.........people mostly! LOL, so don't be put off by the stares, it's just part of life here.

    PEK is a purpose built tourist area but the staff are all Tunisians. But you will not see our way of life of course. This can be difficult for tourists at the best of times but your interaction will be with locals. The marina area is really lovely and wonderful for a stroll at sunset, having a coffee (or something else) and eating outside doing what everyone else is doing and watching each other. It's very nice.

    If you want to get away from the resort for a little then I suggest you go to Monastir or Sousse both easy to get to by louage or taxi and wander around, go to the old city and to the markets. Here you will find the locals and see something of the normal day to day life.

    I am not sure of the price of diving, however, your hotel will be able to organise this for you with a reputable company at a fair price.

    Our dialect is not like pashtu - it is based on standard Arabic with local words and mingled with French. some phrases you can use: Hello - Salem Aleikum and the answer is aleikum salem. Goodby - bislemma. Good morning - Sbarkheer. How are you: ca va, labess? and the answer: labess 'humdu'llah Please: aiyshek thankyou: barakolawfik. Yes - aiy and No is le. In general we use aishek a lot!! We use it as please and thankyou. If you have any French then you can use this as well. But in the resort they will be able to speak English but...........thank you so much for wanting to learn a few words. It will be truly appreciated and you will get much co-operation and praise. For a lot more phrases there is a good discussion website - tunisia.com which has a phrase thread which you will find very good.

    I hope you will both have a wonderful time in Tunisia and I wish you an enjoyable vacation.

    PS - you can also look at the Word Travels page on useful phrases for Tunisia
  • Hi there,

    Im a 28yr old female and will be travelling with my 82yr old grandma, we are having a 2 week holiday in May to Hammamet, stayin in Iberostar Chich Khan hotel, just wondered if you could give some advise on safe ways we can get around and what is in the area that we can see, do or visit?

    Many thanks
    Jo
  • Hi Lesley

    I am going to Hammamet next week with my wife and 2 boys (4yr old and 2 yr old). As we are going to be landing in Tunis Carthage Airport i was wonderin what the best mode of transport would be to get to Yasmne Hammamet and how much this would cost.

    Also, are there lots of things for children to do in Hammamet to keep them entertained?
  • JoWebbo81 - How lovely that you and your grandma are having a holiday together. Hammamet is really a nice city and you can take many day trips from there - to Sousse, Monastir, Mahdia, Karaouin etc. If you look through some of my other posts you will see in more detail about these areas.

    You can organise tours through your hotel which is convenient and quite reasonable in price. This will be the easiest way for you both but if you wanted to be more adventurous you could take the local louages (9 seater mini buses) around. They are cheap but they don't leave until all the seats are filled. But as your grandmother is 82 then I suggest that a large bus will be better and more comfortable for her.

    I hope you will both have a wonderful time
  • Khaj - the best way to get to Hammamet from Tunis is by a shuttle (taxis will cost a fortune and with 2 children I do not suggest the cheaper louages). Two companies which I am recommending at the moment are Holidaytaxis and A2B. You can find these on the web and book on line. You do ask the best way to get to Yasmine Hammamet but this is a little further than Hammamet so it depends where your hotel is.

    There are lots and lots of things for the children - the beach for one/hotel pool etc. Most of the hotels have animation which is entertainment and more importantly specifically target children during the high season. You could also check out the water park at Port el Kantaoui and there is also a zoo in the area. If you wanted to travel further afield you may like to see what the hotel can offer in the way of day trips - perhaps a trip to Tataouine or Matmata to see the Berber cave homes - the children would love this and sometimes they have baby camels that can be bottle fed. Children love this and the baby camels are adorable (yeah - I'm crazy)!!

    I know you will have a wonderful time in Tunisia
  • hi im going to thalassa village skanes in oct alone with 2 kids 6 and 11 you say travellers cheques are not good i dont have bank cards and dont fancy cash on my own is the weather hot and sunny then also have you heard about this resort thanks for your time
  • angel - why don't you organise to get yourself an atm card and that way you can access your own cash as you need it. We use cash for majority of transactions but travellers cheques are dificult here. The weather in October is starting to cool down but it is still warm and for the most part sunny. I have heard about the Thalassa village - it is quite well known for its spa and beauty treatments.
  • Hi Lesley,

    My friend and I are coming to Tunisia for the first time on the 26th September for a week holiday. We are staying in Skanes and literally after a chill out with sun and sea! Any ideas what the weaher wil be like???? I know your not psychic but I was wondering if you could give us an idea! haha. Also, would it be safe for two young (ish) females to walk around and go into the nearby town etc or are we best off staying in our hotel.

    Many thanks
    Claire
  • Hi Claire - welcome to Tunisie.

    The weather in September will still be warm but the nights will be a little cooler but very, very nice. I suggest you bring a pashmina or such to wrap around you in the evening. You must absolutely get out of the hotel! Skanes is a very quiet area but try taking the louage or even a taxi to some of the nearby cities, Monastir, Sousse, Hammamet - they are lovely and quite lively and Sousse has a beautiful medina. You will be safe but you will be approached, perhaps or stared at. Just ignore it or treat it with humour and you will be fine.

    I hope you will enjoy your vacation
  • Hi, thanks for your help Lesley.

    We had a wonderful holiday and went on a trip through our hotel, best holiday i have had. I am coming back in 1 week and for a month in October. Great place and am recommending Tunisia to everyone i know :)

    Thanks again for your help
  • Hi Jo,

    i am so happy that you enjoyed your time here and great that you are coming back!! October is a great time to visit the weather is cooler and it's easier to get around. Wow, here for 1 month, you'll get to see Tunisie in depth. I wish you a wonderful time
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