• Iran!

    Iran: Details on a Mosque. Go Now!

    Iran
    Iran is home to a unique language, culture, foods, and history. Even within the Middle East Iran is unlike any other country. Explore Iran!

  • Bangladesh!

    Bangladesh: Traditional houses. Go Now!

    Bangladesh
    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

  • Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    Indonesia
    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    Mongolia
    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    Kyrgyzstan
    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Social Life in Afghanistan

WARNING: Afghanistan is currently unstable, please read this travel warning before going!

Behavior

Islam also dictates a number of behavioral restrictions and requirements. For women traveling to Afghanistan, it is easiest (but not required) to travel with their husband, father, or brother. Single women travelers are looked at oddly and traveling with a man who is not related or married to you is widely considered inappropriate. Pretending you are married is not right, but most Afghans would consider it less offensive than a single man and women traveling together. It is also improper for a man to touch a woman, even holding your spouse's hand or offering to shake the hand of a person who is of the opposite sex can be considered inappropriate to a conservative Muslim.

Islamic law forbids pork products and alcohol; however there is little worry about adhering to these rules since neither is available anywhere in Afghanistan. You should note that attempting to take either into the country is also strictly forbidden.

Dress

The clothing of the people of Afghanistan varies greatly from ethnic group to ethnic group, but there are many similarities as well. Nearly everyone in Afghanistan is Muslim and Islam has a number of religious dress restrictions that are closely followed by the people of Afghanistan. Since modesty is required, the dress tends to cover the arms and legs as well as the hair on women. However, in many of the valleys the weather can be quite hot so most of the clothes is light and tend to be loose-fitting, both to stay cool as well as to cover one's self. For women the dress was traditionally quite colorful, but today basic earth-toned colors are more common, which is also true for men. Most men also wear simple vests and a hat, of which there are numerous versions. Although some people in Afghanistan do wear western-styled clothing they are a minority.

Foreigners in Afghanistan should dress conservatively with both arms and legs covered; additionally, women should cover their hair whenever in public (although this is not a legal requirement). More importantly, due to the violence, it is recommended that you wear nothing that makes you stand out as a foreigner. Most visitors to Afghanistan today go with a larger organization, whether that is a military, a non-governmental organization, or another group, which is best suited to assist in what and how to dress.

This page was last updated: November, 2013