03 Feb 14 tips for visiting Morocco
While only there for a few days as you read on my original post I think that I could give a few pointers into the do’s and don’t while in Morocco, tips that could make your life easier.
I will order them in a small list since I dob’t plan to bore you with details.
- Learn some french. English is nice but you’ll be better off with a few phrases in French. Regardless if you want to eat, look for directions, just want to say thank you or read the road signs better your french, better your overall experience.
Learn at least how to respond to As-salāmu ʿalaykum(which is a traditional, religious greeting meaning ‘Peace be upon you’) by responding with
wa ʿalaykumu s-salām(which translates to ‘And peace be upon you too’). I did know for years about this and upon being greeted in Chefchaouen a big smile appeared on the man’s face when I responded back.
It is my opinion that learning a few local phrases, words show respect towards the place that you are visiting and the people who live there so I strongly encourage you to do it.
- Upon arriving in Fez don’t rush to the booths to have your passport checked. Look right and left for small cards entitled ‘Embarking/Disembarking cards’ and fill them with your data before having your passport checked. It is mandatory so don’t rush to the front because you’ll have to fill them anyway.
- Before flying in Morocco check your data plan. My operator charged 10.59 Eur/MB so I couldn’t possibly keep my number going while in Morocco. The solution is as follows. As soon as you finish having your passport checked go right until you find a small kiosk from where you can buy internet sim cards. They are from Orange and a 10GB one will cost you roughly 15 Eur. Much better than paying for enormous roaming fees.
I mentioned this first in my accommodation in Chefchaouen post and you can look there and see a picture of how the sim card looks.
- Take great care when driving. And if you can, avoid driving at night. While it might be better on highways the road from Fez to Chefchaouen at night is not extremely pleasant and I am pretty sure there are worse roads out there.
If you enjoy adventurous roads with craters, sand portions, no illumination, people walking out of nowhere, insane crossings, cars driving with no lights, animals crossing the road or just sitting in the middle of it then you’ll feel happy in Morocco.
- Pay attention to signs. If you see a writing on the wall saying things like ‘interdit aux non Musulmans'(pardon my french) don’t enter. I know you will try to explain and argue that you did not understand but trust me. Keep things simple. No means no.
- Be polite and keep your calm. Shouting at someone in Morocco might have a very different ending from let’s say shouting at someone in Madrid. Keep calm, don’t respond to provocation and it will pass. Always remember that you are not in your own country.
- Read my original Morocco article if you like photography. Guess what? They don’t. So try to have your camera shaded most of the time. It will save you frustration and nerves.
- Eat local. Yup, they do have great dishes. Plenty of vegetarian and meat dishes with many kinds of spices that will leave you wanting for more.
- Water. Drink bottled. Even though they say that in some parts like Chefchaouen, the water is pure, and I did drink tap water there, be safe.
Bottled water is not expensive or you can better yet bring a purifier bottle if you want to help pollution and stop using so much plastic.
- As stated in my original article keep your ass safe by not purchasing hashish. No need to go over that again.
- Explore as much as you can. Yes, riads are nice and beautiful but get out more. You might love it or you might hate it but when visiting a new country try walking more.
- Forget about hotels. Book riads. Apart from encouraging locals and helping them Riads are truly beautiful. The four I selected(even though I reached only two) were special and they offer so much more than just checking in into a boring hotel.
- If you like to negotiate on everything Morocco is for you. Though I consider this haggling and not negotiating like in Turkey some people enjoy spending time and arguing over the prices for every little thing they desire.
Even if you hate negotiating never pay the first price. Even though you might find it a small sum try to cut from it a bit.
- Never get in a cab before negotiating the price. NEVER.
I am sure that are plenty more things but I think the above 14 will help you when travelling to Morocco.
If you have any other tips feel free to comment below!