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Essential Knowledge Before Traveling to Morocco

For those who enjoy traveling in a more adventurous manner, Morocco is a great choice.
The maze-like souks, the enigma of the Sahara, the vibrant shopping excursions, the delectable cuisine, and the promise of a thrilling adventure were all there.
It obviously appeals to everyone, and it does need to be dangerous or daring. Moroccan riads are like oasis-like guesthouses that you might never want to leave.
But, BREAKING NEWS! Which, hopefully, you already know
This nation is not what you imagine it to be from those gorgeous Instagram squares or your Pinterest board. Before visiting Morocco, there are several things to be aware of.
It's far dirtier, rawer, and more authentic. filthy, crowded, people catcalling you, being ripped off, and being yelled at in real life.
Call me crazy, but the reason I adore it so much is because of the culture shock.
On the other hand, this is also the reason why many enthusiastic visitors leave the nation dissatisfied or even so upset they never want to return.
In particular for female travelers, Morocco receives a lot of bad coverage from the media and much more so from word-of-mouth.
So, in order to make sure you get the most out of this amazing country, I feel forced to give some crucial advice from my own travel experiences.
I don't claim to be an authority, but I do believe I've had my fair share of bad luck and may possibly help other tourists avoid the same mistakes I made

Are you prepared for your most daring journey yet?

Morocco is an extraordinarily diversified and thrilling place that will overwhelm you with its beauty and charm. It is an assault on the senses.
It will be like a siren luring you in as you go from the vibrant souks to the Atlantic coast, from the Berber desert camps in the Sahara to the summits of the Atlas mountains, and from mosque to madrassa. You won't want to leave!

Here are the key details to be aware of before visiting Morocco!

Islam is widely practiced in Morocco with over 99% of the population being Muslim, so typical scenes will be women (and men) dressing conservatively. Women usually wear a full burqa or are dressed head to toe in a hijab (scarf) on their heads.
Although you certainly don’t have to dress as the locals do, they are fully aware many tourists aren’t Muslim, I wouldn’t go packing your short dresses and strappy tops that show your cleavage in a hurry.
Unless you want a lot of unwanted attention, marriage proposals, groping, and male harassment? Any takers? No? Okay then.
Wear long dresses, jumpsuits, trousers, blouses, etc. to cover your arms and legs.
Don't forget to pack your secret weapon, a pashmina! This item is perfect for hiding your shoulders.

Learn a few phrases in French and Arabic

Parlez-vous fran├žais? Although Arabic is the primary language in Morocco, French is also frequently used, particularly in cities like Marrakesh.
When it comes to bartering, getting directions, and other things like booking a taxi, speaking French or Arabic might literally open doors for you.
I'm not only referring to the standard "Bonjour, Merci, Sacrebleu"; no, no. I'm referring to picking up some words and phrases that might be of assistance to you. I'll include a few useful French/Arabic expressions below.
Hello = f: Bonjour/a: Salam alikum
Thank you = f: Merci/a: Shukran
How much is this? = f: Combien/ a: Kam althaman
Where is? = f: ou est /a: ‘ayn hu

Learn to bargain

Most prices are negotiable unless the store is specifically identified as a fixed-price establishment.
Not just for items in the souk; you can negotiate prices for taxi fare, riads, meals, tours, and the lovely leather goods you see.
The truth is that you will often be treated like a stupid tourist and walking ATM who has just stepped off a plane. So, disprove them!
I still negotiate with full knowledge that people constantly try things on, even when I don't know what the price of an item should be. Sad to say, haggling is customary in Morocco, and if you don't, you might find yourself shelling out 10 times as much as you should for something.
Haggling is common and you may actually have a lot of fun with it, so don't feel guilty about it.
Knowing you have nothing to lose by not purchasing the item is the art of haggling. maintaining composure.
Having a mental cap on your price and staying inside it. If they're not being cooperative, leave and see if they come back with a reasonable offer.
If you don't receive the price you want, keep in mind that there are countless other stalls selling the same item.

Cash is king in Morocco and they use Dhirams

Morocco is a closed currency country that uses Moroccan Dirhams (MAD) and cash is ultimately king, so make sure you have a lot in your spare in your wallet! Get into the habit of changing large notes you receive from the ATM. Especially when you’re shopping at the markets or grabbing a taxi. Many won’t have the chance to exchange large notes which can cause a problem if you’re in a hurry
Another tip on ATMs; they can be a little hit and miss and few and far between! They will charge a withdrawal fee, so it may be worth getting out the maximum withdrawal which is around 2000 MAD (£200) to save losing more money than you need to.

Before you get in the taxi, haggle over the price. Also, don't let the driver bring a "friend."

Taxis in Morocco were always a hassle.
It was frustrating, to put it mildly, whether I charged too much, didn't put the meter on, or let just anybody into my cab.
a few cab suggestions for Morocco;
-Taxis in cities like Marrakesh and Fes have meters. A liar is anyone who claims otherwise. Always request to have it turned on.
-If there is no other option, decide on the price before boarding the vehicle. Remind them kindly of the agreed-upon price if they try to charge more.
-Unless it's a shared taxi, don't let anyone else in. You just don't know who this 'friend' is getting in with you; it's not just a matter of principle; it's also a matter of safety. Finally, I vehemently refused to let them ride in my cab. Amazingly, I had to raise a fuss to stop it from happening, but now it has!
Taxis were red in Fes, yellow in Marrakech, and blue in Chefchaouen, which I thought was really fantastic!

understand the separations between locations

The distances between the major tourist cities in Morocco should not be taken lightly because of the size of the nation. For instance, getting from Marrakesh to Chefchaouen is not so simple. In actuality, that travel can take 8 to 9 hours.
The easiest way to plan your journey is to consider how many days you have and then realistically cut out anything you won't have time for from your itinerary.
A typical route through Morocco is to land in Casablanca, head to Rabat, then Fes, Chefchaouen, and back, then take the overnight train to Marrakesh. Then heading into the Sahara desert.
My favourite way of planning a route is by Google maps. It’s visual and it allows you to ‘see’ a through route and see time between destinations
A popular way to get around Morocco is the CTM bus or the trains system (ONCF).  Planning your route as much as you can beforehand, will mean that you don’t get disappointed or overwhelmed.

Drugs and alcohol are strongly discouraged

Alcohol consumption is uncommon in Morocco, even though it is not prohibited, and it is discouraged in Islamic teachings. As a result, there aren't many clubs, wild parties, or happy hours here.
If alcohol is supplied, it is typically done so in licensed eateries, riads, and coffee shops that are specifically designed to serve Western tourists.
I never drank anything other than what my riad's bar offered as a service when I was secure within.
Although 50% of the world’s hash comes from Morocco, drugs are also a massive no, no. It is very much illegal to be found in possession. So, my advice would be to not partake in any such activity or to use extreme caution when buying/using.

Fridays are holy days and holidays

In Islam, Friday is a holy day when many people take off work to spend time with their families and participate in Namaz (prayer).
However, it doesn't always mean that everything will be shut down; many locations will still remain open for business. However, you could discover that a handful of the museums and tourist attractions are temporarily closed. Always double-check.
Don't worry too much; transportation will continue to operate as usual. For example, I am certain that the CTM bus runs on Fridays. You can still use your Friday reservations for a bus, rail, aircraft, or car!

If anything bad happens, alert the tourist police

In Morocco, the tourist police were excellent; at the very least, I know that they assisted me when I needed it.
Someone followed me from the bus stop all the way up to the Merenid tombs and I was frantic and I needed help. I was in a panic and unsure of what to do. I feared the worst because it was so remote.
But the tourist police literally saved my life by riding up on their horses like gliding knights to look into it. They were nothing but comforting as they told the man to leave and assisted me in locating transportation to get back to my riad.
For situations like these, Morocco has tourist police! Avoid suffering alone. Make sure to inform someone if anything goes wrong while you are traveling.



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