Unmarried couple sharing a hotel room in Tunisia?
  • Hi Lesley,

    My girlfriend and I are coming to Tunisia later this month. We are both under 25, she has blonde hair. I have read 2 or three pages of discussion on Tunisia on this website and many more websites reviews. It looks like a wonderful country and i have even started to try to learn a few handy phrases (please, excuse me and thank you's etc.) i hope we find it to be just that. My question regards having read earlier that couples who are under 25 and are not married should not share a hotel room as it is "illegal", clearly this caused some concern to both of us. We have an all inclusive deal to a large hotel (port el kantaoui) which i presume will be filled with tourists(hopefully not!), do you think this will still be a problem? As we dont want to cause offense before having even arrived at our room and were unaware of this when we booked. I'm also aware that it is ramadan at that time of year so thought this might play a factor? Sorry for taking so long to explain!

    Kind regards, Joe.
  • Hi Joe,

    Tunisie is a wonderful country and I am sure you are going to enjoy it very much. In regard to the sharing of a room with your girlfriend - you are staying in a very touristique area and I doubt very much that as foreigners you will be asked if you are married. In the slightest chance that you are questioned my advice is always to say 'yes' and if questioned further tell them that you did not realise that you had to bring your marriage licence with you! That will be the end of the question......they may even think that you are on your honeymoon and bonus upgrade etc etc may ensure (incha'llah!!) So don't be concerned that it is Ramadan - but please be patient with the staff and the locals. Keep in mind that we do not eat, drink, smoke etc etc from sunrise to sunset and in the heat everyone gets tired and tempers are a little frayed, apart from this the nights during Ramadan are one big party - so enjoy it while you are here.

  • Lesley - would you ever be asked why if you are married your passports are in different names? From what you say, is room sharing likely to be a problem in less urban parts of Tunisia?
  • David - I don't like to make sweeping statements, but foreigners are not likely to be asked if they are married and less likely to produce a marriage certificate. My husband and I have never been asked for our marriage certificate (I'm Australian and he's Tunisian) in a hotel. Outside of the urban areas I can't imagine that they would ever question foreigners.
    There is not a problem with passports in differing names as my husband and I have different surnames in our passports but they get that sometimes foreign women do not take the name of their husbands. Also in Tunisia women keep their family names so it is quite normal to have different surnames
  • Lesley,

    I have a question for you.

    I am an Australian citizen living in Australia. I would like to visit Tunis on a holiday. Now , I know that I need a Tourist visa which I believe I can organise via the embassy in Japan.(we dont have a tunisian embassy here in Oz). But, how about the transit. Do I need any VISAS for the countries i fly via .

    If someone can shed some light , that would be highly appreciated. and also i heard that Tourists are normally taken for a ride and ripped of their money and belongings. Is that true? I dont know know arabic would that be a big concern?

  • Hi Jono - sorry I haven't been able to reply - we have just finished Ramadan and have travelled around to visit family etc. As an Australian passport holder you can get your passport when you arrive into Tunis. It is simple (sort of). You will need to have TD (Tunisian Dinar)35 for each visa which will be issued for 1 month. If you don't have the currency, they will hold your passport at the visa window and send you through customs and security to the exchange/bank counters. Then you come back in and pay and voila, you have your visa. If you are coming via Dubai it is only a transit there and you don't need any visa, however if you want to break your journey then depending on which country more than likely you will need a visa.

    Tunisia is a safe country, but like anywhere, there are opportunists and you should always be aware of your surroundings and belongings. Yes, you can be ripped off but the exchange rate, the Aussie dollar and the cheap prices here won't feel hard on your hip pocket. We have an Arabic dialect here but try to learn a few words. It is very much appreciated. Our other language is French so if you have a few words that is helpful. If you go to the site: www.tunisia.com there is a forum and you will see one of the forums dedicated to Arabic phrases. It is really helpful.

    I encourage you to come to tunisia - it is my home and I love it. (I'm an aussie too)
  • Hey i have a question, Can an unmarried couple that consists of a tunisian man and a european women share a hotel room without problems?

    please help
    confused couple!
  • Hi there k4m - well I'm Australian and my husband is Tunisian and we have never had a problem sharing a hotel room together. We always take our marriage certificate with us but we have never been asked to show it!

    I shouldn't think you will have any problems
  • Hi Lesley,

    Firstly thanks very much for your previous postings, we are thinking of going to Sousse in early December and have found your comments very useful.

    We are not "beach holiday" fans and like to get out and about and immerse ourselves in the local life. In recent years we have been to Marrakech, Morocco when we had an overnight stay at Essourira on the coast and Banjul, The Gambia when we had a similar stay at Georgetown (Jan Jan Bureh).

    If we do go to Sousse where could you recommend for a similar trip? I have scoured the Rough Guide to Tunisia and see that we could go on a "safari" that would take us into the desert for a day or two and I also see that a day trip to Sfax is possible. Do you have any experience / knowledge of these things or could you recommend something else please? Also, we know that the weather is not going to be in the "suntan" category but what exactly can we expect.

    Any help that you can give us will be very gratefuly received.

    Many thanks.
  • Hi there Tim - you do know that Sousse is on the coast on the beach? I love Essouria - one of my favourite places in North Africa! If you want to go to the sahara it's a long weary trip from Sousse but it can be done. You could consider going to Kairouan which is a wonderful very ancient Islamic city and also where you can see the beautiful rugs of Tunisia being made. Tozeur is also a wonderful city and is where you can organise to take a trip to the desert. You could also go north along the cost to Hammamet and to Nabeul which is lovely or why not consider a day in Tunis? The ruins of Carthage are all around the capital, the old medina is lovely and the Bardo museum is a must see. It does get quite cold in Tunisia which surpises many people. I live in the North right on the mediterranean and right now it is still warmish (low 20s) but the wind and the rain is here at the moment. In the desert it will be cold at night but this is a mediterannean climate so don't expect a European winter here.

    Hope this all helps - if you want more just email me and I hope you really enjoy your vacation here and I'm glad that my posts have helped,

  • Hi again Lesley and many thanks for your post.
    You really are a star doing all this hard work for complete strangers.

    Yes, I am aware that Sousse is on the coast; for the last two weeks I have, as usual, been reading the Rough Guide to (in this case) Tunisia from cover to cover. I like to go on holiday as well "clued up" as I can be.

    You say that the sahara is "a long weary trip from Sousse". Are we looking at, say, a day to get there, a quick look around on the back of a camel, and a day to get back?

    Any advice you can offer would be appreciated as are the suggestions you have already made. Once I have posted this I will head off to research them.

    Many thanks again for your kind and invaluable help.
  • Tim - thank you so much - I actually enjoy doing this, call me majnoonie (crazy). It can take up to 7 hours each way so you would want to stay overnight at least to have a proper experience. Travel time can vary because of weather, day of the week, traffic etc. etc!! Also even though we have a 110km speed limit it is very rare to actually travel any distance (apart from the freeway) at that speed!! Can I suggest that you travel to Tozeur which is a wonderful city in the South and spend at least a few hours there having a look around and then go to a Berbere camp from there for the night and then travel back to Sousse. That would be a good couple of days and you will see some of Tunisia on your way.
  • Hi, Im Polish guy living in Tunisia. regarding the romm in hotels it is officially forbidden to share a room with a Tunisian person if you are not married. I can share with a French girl, Russian etc. but not with Tunisian. In reality it depends on the hotel some even do not check you documents and some are resistant and in this case two rooms must be taken.
  • Hi Lesley,

    I have been reading all your comments and very thank full that you have given alot of information. My self, husband, daughter aged 7 and friend are travelling to Sousse in 2 days for 7 nights. We are Turkish and aware of how to dress etc in a Islamic country. Just read that it can take upto 7 hours to the Sahara, how long do you recommend for us to stay there.
    In December, i can see the weather tempertaure being around 20-21, which should be nice. Will it be hot enough to go in the sea? Also what else would you recommend for us to go and see. Also me and my friend love markets, and would like to know if any markets will be near us?
  • Hi Mel, I've been away so apologise if this is not reaching you in time for your holiday. If you want to go to the desert I recommend at least 1 night for the experience alone. your daughter will love it, camel rides etc. etc. It is getting quite cold now and the south (desert) is very cold at night so make sure you have some warm clothes with you. I think the water temperature is dropping but you may like to put your toes in, not sure that you would or could swim now though. Bit too cool. Sousse has a lovely Medina with some local crafts etc. I'm sure you will enjoy it.
  • Hi Lesley. We got back from Sousse on Sunday thoroughly exhausted from our travels through your wonderful country.
    We did the three day, two night tour through Galaxy Tours (no one else was doing it due to lack of demand in December) and went to El Jem, Matmata, Douz, the Chott El Jerid, Tozeur, Chebika, tamerza, Mides and Gafsa. We also went to Sfax (a wonderful and very untouristy city) by train one day and finally to Kairouan by louage (shared minibus for the uninitiated) on another.
    All in all it was a bit hectic sometimes but we had a fantastic time and have brought home a thousand memories as well as hundreds of photographs and the odd souvenir. I have put a couple of reviews up on Tripadvisor if anyone is interested.
    Thank you so much for your kind help and advice, you were a great help and we really do appreciate it.
  • Hey Tim - I am so, so pleased that you enjoyed this teeny little country! It really is amazing isn't it? the different regions are all so interesting and well.....different. Matmata is one of my favourite places, the people are so genuine and lovely. The other is Tozeur, just a beautiful area. Did you go to Chakwok park? It's a laugh isn't it? But I am glad that you had a wonderful vacation and I really hope that you will return again and again - after all you didn't go to Djerba (or did you), the land of the Lotus Eaters.
  • hi, i'm going to tunisia in two days time and want to do some shore fishing from the beach. Hammamet
    what should i bring?
    what type of fish can i catch?

  • Can anybody tell me what the weather will be like in march ?? and i am travelling with my partners who is black ( i am white and blonde ) i have been told this isnt wise by quite a few people also could someone please explain why it would be an issue as i cant think what the problem would be !!!

    Thank you!!!!
  • Terryboy - wish I could help you. I live here but i don't know about the fishing. I can't even give you the names of the sorts of fish here in English. Perhaps someone else on this forum will be able to answer these questions for you
  • Viva - who are these few people who have told you this?? Absolute nonsense. We have loads of people here from Sudan, Niger etc etc..........all accepted here. Tunisians have dark skin also. I am white, I am blonde, I am married to a Tunisian, I live in tunisia - never been an issue!

    As for the weather - while we are a small country we have many differing weather regions. March in some areas is still quite cold and in others milder. Where will you be going and I can give you a better idea.

    Enjoy your time here
  • Hi Lesley, your feedback to everyone's questions is amazing and very helpful. I have a dream job in Tunis that I am hoping to apply for however I wondered if you have come across foriegn unmarried couples living together as locals? I am British and my boyfriend is South African - as the position is for 3 years, if I did get the job then we would live together (of course after we sorted his visa), but I wondered if applying for the job was even worth a try as we are not married. I would not even try doing that in Dubai - how much more strict in Tunisia? Your thoughts would be helpful. Thanks
  • Hi Tasha - dream job huh? That's fantastic. Yes, unmarried foreign couples are able to live together. It is a Tunisian and a foreigner that is not allowed or two Tunisians. Tunisia is not a super conservative country but you do need to be aware of the religious norms and the culture here. I think you and your partner would be fine. To be honest, I don't know any unmarried foreign couples living together but it does happen and I wouldn't let this worry you. Go for it!!
  • Hi,

    Thanks everyone for sharing experiences.

    I am 28 Spanish male and I am traveling to Morocco with 2 female friends, both French (one of them with Algerian roots).
    We are planning to visit Agadir, Ourazazate, Merzouga, Mekness, Casablanca and Marrakech.
    Do you know if we are going to have any problems to share room the 3 of us in the hotels of the mentioned cities?
    If so, is it better for the girls to share a room and get myself one on my own?

    Many thanks,

  • Superlbc - you may have problems. It is highly unusual for a man to share with 2 females in this part of the world. You are better to have a room of your own and the girls to share one between them
  • I would like to know Lesley, how much dos a Standard Tunisian passport cost for a tunesian a how much is a normal salery pr. month.
  • Carl - you know I can't remember how much the passport is. It's not heaps of money though, I'll ask my husband. Now there is no such thing as a normal salary - it depends on the sort of work you do. I can tell you though that a labourer may get around TD10.000 per day - not very much! But professionals get more than that.

    so how is or was tunisia ? i'm planning to be there around august, and i was having some concern abt the race issue too , since i'm black n my partner is white ... so how did it go ? n where did u guys go ? what cities n stuff ? still don't know what to visit exactly when i'm there.
  • Hi Lesley!

    I am Tunisian and my bf is aussie. We're in love and we've been together since 1 year and a half... its been so hard with the distance but we managed to visit each other.. I recently went to australia for his holidays.. I really would love to ask you more about your own experience and how did you organize your life together.. and how you're living the tunisian experience.. he's still afraid from being here even tho we had a lot of fun during his stay.. I guess being non muslim in a muslim country freaked him.. I am trying to make him visit me again this summer and he's quiet ok with it.. we are both around 28.. and we really want to be together.. but australian laws are soo complicated and tunisian traditions aren't easy to handle.. u know what I mean..

  • lagaf - there are no race issues in Tunisia..........Tunisians have dark skin and we have many, many people here from Sudan, Niger etc etc. This should not be a problem for you at all. August is very, very hot here and we also have Ramadan. If you let me know what your interests are and how long you will be here then I can try to tell you where you should go.
  • salem hb - yours is a very different situation non? It is usually the man who is with a foreigner. I think your case is complicated because your b/f is not Muslim. Will he convert? My story is a little different to most as I met my husband in Libya and really stayed with him since that time. It was the most practical thing for us to live in Tunisia and you are right, the laws for immigration to Australia are difficult but with some patience and assistance it can be done. So, to give you all my story would be impossible on this forum but if you send me your email then I am happy to give you all my experience. Just let me say that I consider Tunisia to be my country now. So, write me and I will give you much information back.
  • Hi Lesley,
    Thanx for your reply. Yeah actually is quiet complicated but I think nowadays more gals are in love with foreigners.. anyway it's not a choice.. love doesn't really give you any :) My bf is not muslim as you guessed and frankly I don't want to ask him to convert.. it should be his own decision.. he knows that it's important for me and for my familly to accept him but we're not getting married for soon.. he's still studying.. so that's giving us more time to deal with this issue.. I know your story is different.. but I am more interested in asking you about your tunisian integration and how you found people and culture here.. how you're managing to keep in touch with your familly in Australia and everything.. Here my email for more privacy : honeylittlemonster@gmail.com
    Talk to you soon!
  • Hi Lesley,
    I would first like to say that I think you are doing a fantastic thing here by helping strangers with their queries and I am afraid that I do have one myself. My partner and I are both English and travelling to Hammamet, Tunisia in July of this year, however we are worried about sharing a room as we are 18 and 19 years old. When we booked the holiday and the room we were not made aware of any reason why we would not be able to share a room but with further research of the country and its beliefs I have become worried that our age and the fact we are not married may course some concern, could you tell me whether this is going to be ok please as as you can understand we are very worried. Many thanks x
  • Linzi-jo - thank you very much. No-one that comes to Tunisia is a stranger and we hope that everyone will leave as friends! You should have no problem staying in Hammamet, as you are both foreigners you are less likely to be questioned than the locals or a foreigner with a local. If you are questioned I always tell people to say that you are married (in your case you can tell them you are on honeymoon - always good for an upgrade) and that you were not aware that you had to bring your marriage certificate. Usually works! I hope you will enjoy
  • hb - I am giving you some information in the next few days. I have not forgotten you
  • Hello,
    Myself and my partner are travelling to sousse a week tomorrow and i would very much like to go to the SFAX war cemetary.. do you know anything about this? the reason i would like to go is my great grandfather has a plaque there.

    Just wondering if its possible to go and how would i get there? and what sort of price would it be to get there?

    Thank you and you really have helped a lot of people on here its such a nice thing to do :)

    Danielle :)
  • Hi Dani,

    Sousse is about 130 km from Sfax but I have to say that I don't know the war cemetery although there are many on our coastline. It is very possible for you to get there - in fact you could take a louage which will cost you around TD4.000 each or you can get a taxi but I'm not sure how much that would be. You could also hire a car for the day although cars are not cheap to hire here but it would give you the freedom to have a look around as El Jem is on the way.

    I hope that I've helped and I wish you a wonderful holiday in Tunisia
  • Hi, I don't know if you can help with this but i'm trying to find out what the visa requirements are for Tunisia. From what I can gather there is a 3 month stay limit and you have to prove you have sufficient funds for the duration of the stay (do you know ho much?). The reason I'm asking is that my wife and her friend (both uk passport holders) have gone to Tunisia without telling anyone. I think they are both suffering from depresssion and are trying to escape from highly pressurised jobs but both have children and family that love them and miss them terribly. They are both contacting us daily but I am worried about their safety and health. I guess I should contact the embassy but I'm not sure what they can do to help. We all want them back home to get some help but don't know where they are in Tunisia we beleive they are renting somewhere over there. Can you offer any advice - I know this is a strange request but I'm trying everything I can to find a way to help them both.

    Thank you, Paul
  • Paul, I am so sorry to hear your news and my heart is breaking for you and the children. Firstly, UK passport holders can have up to 3 months without a visa but there is no requirement for minimum finance and you don't have to prove anything like that. If they are contacting their families on a daily basis it would seem to me that they haven't actually gone missing and are wanting to re-assure everyone that they are well and safe. My guess is that they would be in one of the resort areas and the Brits tend to go to Monastir, Port el Kantaoui, Sousse or Skanes. Of course there are literally hundreds of hotels and short let apartments in these areas so to try to find them would be difficult. Can you not check the bank accounts to find out where the withdrawals of money are being made? This would give you an idea of the area that they may be located. It sounds rather mean but why not put a freeze on the accounts which would mean they would start to run out of money or is that not an option. If I were you I would most definitely go to the Embassy (yours) and ask for assistance, they will be able to investigate and find out further information for you. the police here won't be that interested to be honest. the UK has an embassy here in Tunis and they will be able to get assistance from the Tunisian embassy and others. And just my opionion but I don't think they are depressed. Depression has many symptoms but organising a 'vacation' and jumping on a plane to another country is not one of them. I think they probably just wanted to escape the pressure for a while. If I can assist you any further please don't hesitate to contact me and you are more than welcome to contact me via my email as below. I hope everything will be ok for you and your wives.
  • Thanks Lesley - unfortunately she has her own bank account and has taken all her details with her so I can't check anything. I will try the Embassy tomorrow to see if they can help at all, as you can imagine I'm in a terrible state and really worried about the children. Thank you for the advice though it does help to get another opinion. Regards, Paul
  • Thankyou ever so much Lesley, you have put our minds to rest :) x
  • Paul - just a thought for you. Anyone who overstays the visa has to pay TD10.000 per day of overstay. that can add up to a lot of money and believe me the immigration here are quite tough on overstay visas.

    I can't imagine how desperate and distressed you are. Perhaps someone else within the family that she respects and listens to can speak with her? How is she contacting you - has she got a Tunis sim card or is she using her UK mobile? If she has a Tunis sim card then she will have had to provide details of address in Tunisia etc. The embassy may be able to gather details for you this way? Just thought of this.

    I hope that everything will work out for you all
  • Thanks Lesley - no she is using a uk mobile so the calls must be costing her a fortune. She texts everyday and phones most days. Her friends (who she is with) mother is also devastated and she thinks my wife may have met someone over there who may be trying to find work for them. My wife has texted today saying her friend has been sick all night and she had to call a doctor out as she was so worried but her friend rand her dad earlier and mentioned nothing, so I don't know what to believe. How easy would it be for them to find work? Her friend has been on anti depressants for a while so I'm really worried about their mental state or it could be that everything is planned and its a smokescreen, I just don't know anymore. Thanks for all your support though. Paul
  • Paul - it is impossible for foreigners to have jobs here. the unemployment rate is very high and Tunisians always have priority for the jobs before foreigners. Anyway, I doubt that they would be able to survive on an average Tunisian wage to be honest. Of course unless they are fluent in French or Tunisian dialect quite frankly they don't have a hope in hell! And - even if they were to find something they would be working illegally and someone is bound to find out and tell the police/douane etc. etc. What a nightmare you are going through. I am so sorry!
  • Hi there.

    I have a question for you. I am coming to Sousse - Monastir - Tunisia, staying at Hotel Kaiser on the 25th April 2010. I am coming with my boyfriend. I know this place is a little Islamic, so I wanted to clarify would be ok for me and my partner to share a room even though we are not married?
    And also we are both coming from the UK. Do we need to do any preparations in regards to passport and visa? Both our passports have another 7 years validity before it expires.

    We would appreciate any help.
    Kind Regards
  • Fifi - you will have seen on other posts that I can't give you any guarantee that you will not have a problem. However, as you are both foreigners you are unlikely to be questioned. However, if you are then perhaps you can tell them that you didn't realise that you needed to bring your marriage certificte with you. By the way Tunisia is 99.9% Islamic but we are not ultra-conservative here. You say that your passports have plenty of validity and you do not need to get a visa. You will be issued with your visa as you pass through customs for a period of up to 3 months.

    I hope you enjoy your time here
  • Lesley,

    Thank you so much. I hope we don't get any troubles upon landing at Tunisia's airport.

    Another question if I may.

    How does the money work, I know it is dinar, but how much do we pay for transport, food, sheesha?

    Do you know how much British pound is worth in dinar exchange?

    Kindest Regards
  • hey!
    im moroccan (muslilm) traveling with my bf (muslim also)to tunisia (hammamet). i wonder if we can share a hotel room without problems(marriage certificate).
    plz i need an answer.
  • Fifi - why would you have problems at the airport? Not at all, it will be fine. The currency here is the Tunisian Dinar - TD. there are 1,000 millims to TD1.000 oh my - how long is a piece of string. If you want to buy your own food from the market then it will be very, very cheap for you. Bread here can range from around 300 millims to 1/2 dinar depending on where you buy it. For a 'market lunch' you can probably get by with about TD2 - 3. If you are eating in a local restaurant you can pay around TD5 each depending on what you are eating. In a restaurant for tourists expect approx TD15. Again with transport it depends on how far you are going. Louage costs are very cheap taxis charge usually about TD1.000 for a km but please these are only approximations. Always make sure the taxi has a meter!! We don't take sheesha outside as we have it at home but it is cheap believe me. At the moment GBP1 = TD2 (I think)
  • Salem Zoe - I think it is going to be difficult for you to be honest. I think you are going to need 2 rooms. I'm sorry about this but that's how it is here, same as maroc!
  • Hi Lesley, when you first didn't answer my post I thought you were busy but it's been 10 days since you're posting and replying back to others messages.. I guess I got too much excited about finding an aussie who's living in Tunisia.. thought you can share your experience with others..

    Sorry to ask this but are you against muslim gal in love with a non muslim guy who's not willing to convert? Frankly I wasn't expected to be judged.. but I guess living in Tunisia changes people minds...
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