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Traveler's Guide to Afghanistan


Visa Required
12:30 AM 12.09 Friday Kabul, Afghanistan

Top 10 things you need to know

Money

The Afghan Afghani is the official currency of Afghanistan. It is encouraged to bargain with merchants for goods and services.

Public Transportation & In country Travel

For longer trips, airline travel is advised. Most flights are in the morning, and none are operated after dark. Some cities are connected by buses, and although taxis are scarce, you can find a driver for hire by day.

Language

Persian and Pashto are both official languages, however Persian is the more prominent.

Best time to travel

It is best to avoid Ramadan, as fasting is required. Based on weather and seasonal holidays, Spring is the best time of year to travel to Afghanistan.

Hospitality

In major cities, it can be quite easy to find hotels and guesthouses. Traditionally, Afghans are welcoming of guests. There are many tour companies operating within Afghanistan as well.

Safety

The US State Department currently advises that you do not travel to Afghanistan (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html). The political environment is extremely dangerous and dangerous crime against foreigners is common. If traveling there, it is important to be discrete, and to be very cautious at night. Landmines and IEDs are not uncommon.

Food and Drink

Most Afghan meals revolve around bread, rice, stews or casseroles, and pasta that is similar to dumplings. You should leave a small amount of food on your plate or they will assume that you want more. Consuming alcohol is illegal. It is advised that you be careful about the food you consume, because their food safety standards are poor. It is best to drink bottled water. Food-borne illness is a common occurrence.

Diversity

Afghanistan is very diverse, made up by many ethnic and tribal groups, the largest being Pashtun.

Accessibility

Electricity is scarce, and many residents use homemade generators. Some mobile or satellite service is available, and texts messages can be sent to most countries.

Cultural customs

Afghanistan is an Islamic country, and the farther south you travel you will find they are more conservative. Family is most important, and men and women usually serve traditional gender roles. All Afghan women wear a head covering of some kind and it is encouraged of visiting foreigners as well. Friday is a holy day, and most everything is closed.

Things not to do

  1. Do not expose the soles of your feet.
  2. Men and women do not converse with or come in contact with each other, and should never be left alone in a room together.
  3. Do not eat with your left hand.
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