In Canada and many other western countries, you wouldn’t think twice before patting a child on the head, or closing a door with your foot when your hands are full. However, both these things are a no-no in Buddhist countries such as Thailand, where the head is holy and the feet are lowly.

What other minefields do you need to watch out for when travelling to countries with different cultures? To take the example of Thailand again, Buddhism is not the only thing taken seriously in that country. The King is another. Anything to do with defacing images of the King, even just criticizing him, can get you arrested. And please don’t stop coins rolling with your foot. The king’s head is on one side of all the coins!

In many countries of Asia and the Middle-East, people clean themselves using running water and their left hand after using the toilet. So the left hand is considered “dirty” and using it to hand out things, shake hands, or eat is a big no-no.

Hand gestures in general are tricky, as they have different meanings in different countries. For example, avoid making an “O” with your thumb and forefinger, as this is obscene in many parts, including Greece, Turkey, and Brazil.

Nodding or shaking your head to signify what you think are “yes” and “no” can also mean different things depending where you find yourself. In Greece for example, a single nod of the head upwards means “no”.

In some cultures, people kiss everyone they meet, while in others you can be arrested for doing so!

Yes, it’s all very confusing. The infographic below gives tips on what not to do in 15 countries around the world.

How Not to Behave in 15 Countries #infographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan

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