Strictest dress codes – 5 countries with fashion police

dress code countries

Earlier this week, the “Burqa Ban” went into effect in France. Since passing into law, several burqa draped women have already been arrested, and the symbolic law is causing an uproar among the Muslim population of France and beyond. However, France is not the only country with authoritative garment laws. Many countries possess laws that limit what citizens and visitors are allowed to wear.

According to Foreign Policy magazine, these five countries have some of the strictest dress code laws in the world. The list includes countries from three continents, though France is the lone western world inclusion. It is odd that a country known for its fashion houses and pioneering designers is also home to such an autocratic fashion law. I would expect this sort of posturing from the American South, but clothing oppression along the Champs-Élysées seems a bit misplaced.France – Ban on burqas and niqabs
In April 2011, France’s law against burqas and niqabs went into effect. Essentially, the law is a ban on the traditional female Muslim dress and allows a police officer to verbally request removal of the veil before escorting any violator to a police station for ID verification and removal. Gadling blogger Meg Nesterov covered all of the details in a post earlier this week. The fine is 150 Euros for a first time offender and 30,000 Euros for a male that forces a woman to wear a burqa or niqab. I believe the excessiveness of the 30,000 Euro fine reveals the true intent of the law, but to fight the perception of oppression across cultures with oppression is a bizarre strategy.

Saudi Arabia – Ban on bare skin and cross-dressing
The old Kingdom of Saud has always been a leader in fashion constriction. Saudi Arabia is home to some of the strictest social laws on the planet, many applying exclusively to women. This separation of legal restrictions by sex seems austere by western standards, and though every country governs from a different cultural perspective, Saudi Arabia seems excessively sexist – placing 129 out of 134 countries in the 2010 Global Gender Gap Report. Aside from requiring a male guardian, a Saudi Woman must also wear a niqab and abaya in public as to not expose bare skin. Men also have restrictions – they are not allowed to cross-dress.

dress code countriesBhutan – Required gho and kira in public
Considered one of the happiest countries on the planet, Bhutan calculates its output in GNH – Gross National Happiness. While it is rare to read a word on Bhutan without being reintroduced to this policy on happiness, there are also other, less known measures in place to maintain Bhutanese culture. For example, all Bhutanese citizens must adhere to a strict dress code. In public, men must wear a gho – a knee length robe, and women must wear a kimono known as a kira. The dress code is older than the current kingdom and is known as Driglam Namzha.

North Korea – No pants for ladies and hair cuts for man
The hermit kingdom is one of the least visited countries on the planet. The lack of outside influences has bolstered the frozen in time North Korean culture. North Korea has a dead president, a money-pit ghostscraper, and laws governing a man’s maximum hair length. In North Korea, men are supposed to trim their hair every 15 days, and older men are given leniency so that their hair can grow long enough to cover bald spots. While most men are allotted a maximum hair length of two inches, fifty year old men and older can grow their hair an additional 3/4 inch. Women are not permitted to wear pants, and if an infraction occurs, the pant wearing offender faces a stint at one of the North’s horrendous labor camps.

Sudan – No make-up for men and lashes for pant-wearing women
In Sudan, women are punished for wearing pants with lashes and a hefty fine. Sudanese public decency laws are extremely strict and bear the beliefs of the predominantly Arab north. The tumultuous country is home to violent religious differences. With almost 600 ethnicities and a serious wedge between the Muslim north and Christian south, Sudan has been a poster child for racial intolerance for decades. While women are prohibited from wearing trousers, men too have laws governing their behavior. Last December, seven men were arrested and charged with public indecency for wearing makeup at a fashion show.

flickr images via Ranoush & Jadis 1958

Are you ready for a once in a lifetime cycling holiday?

Enjoy a once in a lifetime cycling holiday in 2012Pedalers Pub and Grille may sound like a place where you’d stop for some grub after a long day riding your bike, but in actually, its an adventure travel company that specializes in cycling holidays to some of the best destinations on the planet. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, the company has just announced a new tour that will take riders on an eight month, six continent odyssey that will truly be a once in a lifetime experience.

The trip will begin with a “get acquainted” ride through Vermont, which will give everyone who signs up for the tour a chance to get to know one another before the real excitement begins. That shakedown cruise will also give travelers an opportunity to work out the bugs of the trip, such as learning what to carry with them on their daily rides, how to pack and unpack the bikes, and how to endure the rigors of the open road.

From there, the route will take cyclists across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, and Central America, before eventually returning to the United States. In all, they will ride will through nearly 30 countries, including Ireland, France, Italy, Egypt, Kenya, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, and more. They’ll average anywhere form 45-60 miles (80-100km) per day on mostly paved roads with the occasional dirt track as well.

The Once In A Lifetime Tour won’t get underway until June of 2012, which gives you plenty of time to save your pennies. With a price tag of $95,000 the trip doesn’t come cheap, but that price does include all accommodations, most meals, all transportation costs, guides, tours, and even a custom built bike.

If you happen to have $100k and 8 months of free time coming your way, you may want to consider joining this trip. If nothing else, it sure seems like it’ll live up to its name and truly be a once in a lifetime experience.

[Photo credit: Pedalers Pub and Grille]

Take a photographic adventure with National Geographic

Photographic adventures from National Geographic mix travel and learningFans of National Geographic have long been drawn to the magazine’s fantastic photos, with many of us wishing we had the skills to take similar shots ourselves. Now, National Geographic Expeditions is offering us the opportunity to go on a photographic adventure while building and honing those skills along the way.

Nat Geo Expeditions is the travel arm of National Geographic, offering up some excellent adventure travel opportunities to a number of far flung places. But they also offer aspiring photographers the chance to take part in photography workshops held throughout the country including New York, Washington DC, Tuscon, and Santa Fe. Those workshops range in length from 4 to 7 days, and will teach you everything you need to know about using that fancy digital camera that you bought, but never got around to learning how to operate. For dates and pricing on those workshops click here.

Perhaps even more exciting however are the Photo Expeditions that Nat Geo has to offer. Those trips are 8-12 days in length and will send you off to some amazing places where you’ll learn everything you’ve always wanted to know about photography. Destinations include Alaska, Bhutan, Morocco, Costa Rica, and the Galapagos Islands. Much like the workshops, these trips are designed for photographers of all skill levels and are led by National Geographic photographers with years of experience in the field. They also happen to add healthy doses of culture and adventure to the mix. For more information on the Photo Expeditions click here.

For someone who loves to snap photos (like me!), but wishes they had a firmer grasp on the technical aspects of the art (also like me!), these workshops and expeditions are fantastic opportunities to learn from an expert. So whether you use a point and shoot or a high-end DSLR, a National Geographic photographic adventure is sure to be a fantastic experience.

[Photo Credit: National Geographic Expeditions]




Outside Magazine posts their 2011 trips of the year

Outside Magazine shares their selection for the 2011 trips of the yearAdventure travelers still looking for suggestions on what to do, and where to go, this year may find some inspiration courtesy of Outside Magazine which has posted their selection for the 2011 Trips of the Year online.

Compiled by the Outside editors, the list, first appeared in the March print edition of the magazine which is on newsstands now. The recommendations will send travelers off on active adventures to far flung places ranging from Alaska, Nepal, Siberia, and beyond. The trips aren’t necessarily for the faint of heart however, as the suggestions include high altitude trekking, heli-skiing, mountain biking, white water rafting and much much more.

Each of the trip recommendations includes a short description of what travelers can expect, suggested dates to go, and a recommendation of a travel company to use when booking the journey yourself. Prices are also included, and be warned that some of them can induce a bit of sticker shock. But these trips are also unique excursions to remote places, which usually don’t come cheap. They also happen to be genuinely once in a life time opportunities for most of us, and will almost certainly leave a deep and lasting impression on those who take them.

As an active traveler who happens to enjoy a bit of adventure in my getaways, each of these trips appeals to me on a different level. But were I forced to choose one or two that stand out the most, I’d recommend the mountain biking journey through Argentina’s Patagonia or the expedition across Mongolia on horseback. Both offer a fantastic adventure through stunning landscapes unlike any other on Earth.

National Geographic jumps into the adventure travel arena

National Geographic announces 11 new adventure travel options The very name National Geographic evokes images of adventure and thoughts of exciting journeys to far away places. The iconic Society has probably done more to inspire travel than any other single entity ever. Several generations have grown up gazing at breathtaking images in the organization’s popular magazine and reading about daring explorers on those beautiful, glossy pages. Now, in what seems like a long over due move, Nat Geo is throwing its hat into the adventure travel ring, announcing 11 unique trips that will offer a compelling mix of cultural and physical activity with some of the most stunning scenery on the planet as the backdrop.

The aptly named National Geographic Adventures have itineraries that are sure to appeal to any adventure traveler. For instance, they offer a 15-day trek through the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan that takes you to the 23,997-foot Chomo Lhari – the most sacred mountain in the country. If you prefer your trips keep you closer to sea level however, then perhaps the 9-day Alaska excursion would be more to your liking. That trip features sea kayaking and whale watching in Glacier Bay National Park. Meanwhile, backpackers will likely be enthralled with the 14-day hike through Chile’s stunningly beautiful Patagonia region. Other itineraries take travelers to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, on safari in Tanzania, and across Mongolia on horseback.

Each of the itineraries has been specifically crafted with the help of a National Geographic expert, who has applied their knowledge of the various regions to create a series of trips that are unlike any other. Those trips come with an activity level rating, with easy, moderate, strenuous, and “ultimate challenge” options available. Accommodations range from luxury tents to quaint mountain lodges and inns, and the group size is capped at just 16 to ensure the best travel experience possible.

To find out more about these new adventure travel options, click here, and for the full line up of trips from Nat Geo, check out the National Geographic Expeditions website as well.