Unexpected Bans Around the World That You Probably Don’t Know About
People often talk about the many things banned in Singapore, of which the most famous would be a ban on the import and sale of chewing gum. In fact, the little red dot has even earned herself the reputation of being a “fine city”, a pun based on the numerous fines for such prohibitions. However, there exists a list of weird things that are banned around the world too, proving that Singapore is not an exception.
Here’s the list you probably didn’t know about but should be aware of for smoother travels.
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1. Wearing yellow is illegal in Malaysia
Let’s start with our closest neighbour just across the causeway. If yellow is your favourite colour, I’m afraid you need to refrain from wearing the colour when in Malaysia. This bizarre rule came about in 2016, after thousands of protesters wearing yellow T-shirts flooded the streets of Kuala Lumpur, demanding the Prime Minister to resign. Hence, don’t flash any yellow when travelling in Malaysia, otherwise you may be arrested under the assumption that you are protesting the government!
2. Stepping on cash is illegal in Thailand
Have you ever dropped some cash and accidentally stepped on them? Do exercise utmost caution when travelling in Thailand, as such an act is illegal. Thailand’s official currency, the Thai Baht, has images of the nation’s highly regarded King imprinted on them. So do respect the country’s practice and avoid stepping on any cash!
3. Keep left when cycling in Japan
Planning to cycle in Japan for a fun experience in the Land of the Rising Sun? Always remember to keep left while cycling. This ordinary yet important law came into effect since December 2013, due to a rise in bicycle-related accidents. If you are caught not cycling on the left side of the road, you could end up in prison for up to 30 days or pay a 20,000 JPY fine.
4. Loud noises are banned in Victoria, Australia
If you are attending a party in a residential property in Victoria, do be mindful of the noise level you are creating. It is against the law to create or allow an ‘unreasonable noise’ in the southeastern state of Australia. The Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2018 apply to noise from residential premises and residential premises under construction, with specific prohibited times. On weekdays, prohibited times start after 8 pm till 7 in the morning as this is the period when most people are trying to fall asleep. On Good Friday, loud noises are banned throughout the day. There’s also a fine if you continue to create unreasonable noise even after a warning from the police.
5. No feeding of pigeons in Venice, Italy
The sight of seeing pigeons flocking to you with grains in your palm at St Mark’s Square in Venice may be a thing of the past. This is because of a ban that took effect since 2008 in the UNESCO World Heritage city. In a bid to stop these doves from tarnishing the city’s UNESCO status, the authorities decided to ban pigeon feeding. Offenders will be fined up to 700 EUR, a hefty sum that may cost more than your entire stay in Venice!
6. No wearing of heels at all historical sites in Greece
Preparing your #OOTD to capture picture-perfect moments during a tour through the ancient landmarks of Greece? Ditch that pair of killer heels, no matter how matching it may be with your lovely dress. Since 2009, visitors to Greece’s historical sites have been banned from wearing heels. The sharp point on high-heels puts too much pressure on the ground, which adds to the wear and tear of these architectural treasures.
7. Fuel up before going on the autobahn or risk flouting the law in Germany
It can be a fun experience to do a self-drive roadtrip in Germany. However, remember to fuel up your vehicle with gas before going on one of the world’s densest highway networks (autobahn). It is illegal to stop for any reason on the autobahn, except for emergencies and unavoidable situations, such as accidents or traffic jams. Since there are petrol stations on the autobahn approximately every 50 to 55 kilometre, running out of fuel is considered an avoidable occurrence. Offenders may face fines and up to six months’ suspension, should the police deem the stop unnecessary. Worse case, the driver may face imprisonment for up to 5 years. So do check your fuel level before getting on the autobahn!
8. No kissing on train platforms in France
France may be considered one of the most romantic places on earth, but you can’t kiss on the train platform. This applies only when the train is at the platform though. Apparently, the law was passed at the request of rail chiefs to prevent the lovey-dovey French couples from delaying the train departures. So finish your goodbye kiss before the train arrives.
9. Keep the change in Canada
So your wonderful Canada vacation is ending soon, and you realised you have one too many loonies in your pocket. Before you dish out all those loonies to pay for that aromatic Americano, count the number of coins you want to use first. This is because under the Royal Canadian Mint Act, you cannot use more than 25 coins at the same place in a day. Thus, it is wiser to spend your coins a little at a time, or go to the bank to trade them for bills.
10. No blue jeans in North Korea
North Korea has remained one of the most secretive nations in the world for a long time. Perhaps that is the exact reason why you are yearning to visit the nominally communist country. Not only do you have to be on a guided tour, but there are also several prohibitions to be aware of too. For one, wearing blue jeans is illegal! Why? You aren’t allowed to wear blue jeans in North Korea as blue is associated with the United States. Thankfully, other colour variations are still acceptable, so you can still pack your favourite pair of black jeans into your luggage.
Do your homework before you travel
Now before you lament about the long list of bans in Singapore, the above list just goes to show that Singapore’s ban on chewing gum is really not an exception. Always do your homework before heading to the country to avoid breaking the law for something you wish you had known earlier!