Every country and its laws are different from each other. What is right in one country may be wrong in the other. Sometimes these weird laws around the world can put an abrupt halt to your amazing vacation. So when traveling, it’s very important to keep in mind the different unusual laws and customs of your destination. Responsible travel reduces the risk of being fined or arrested for something you didn’t even know about. So, here is a selection of surprising and unusual laws in the world to watch out for on your next vacation abroad. 

Smoking in public is banned in many countries
Smoking in public is banned in many countries

List Of Unusual Laws In The World That You May Not Believe It Even Exists

1. You Cannot Smoke Or Drink In Public In Ukraine

Smoking and the consumption of alcoholic drinks in public places in Ukraine – which include parks, playgrounds, sports and government buildings, bus stops, and transportation – is officially banned.

2. E-Cigarettes Are Banned In Thailand

Vaporisers, such as e-cigarettes, e-baraku or their refills, are not allowed in Thailand. If found they will be confiscated, and you could be fined or face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Thailand has also recently banned smoking across 24 beaches, including popular tourist destinations such as Phuket, Koh Samui, and Krabi, in an effort to protect its coastal environment.

3. No Tobacco In Bhutan

Taking this one step further, Bhutan has made it illegal to bring tobacco into the country. In an effort to keep mountain air pure, the country has enacted one of the harshest anti-tobacco laws in the world, as you can neither smoke nor sell cigarettes here.

4. Codeine Is Not Allowed In Japan

The use, or possession, of certain medicines that contain Codeine, such as Vicks Inhalers or painkillers are banned in Japan. Violators can face detention and deportation.

5. You Can’t Chew Gum In Singapore

In Singapore, it’s a criminal offence to chew gum unless you can prove that it’s medicinal. Selling non-medical chewing gum or chewing normal gum will result in a fine of $1000. A second offence will cost $2000, along with community service. Littering and spitting also face similar fines.

La Rambla Street in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
You cannot spit in public in Barcelona, Spain

6. Don’t Spit In Barcelona

Spitting in public is definitely frowned upon in many places, but in Barcelona, it will be met with steep fines.

7. No Durians In Public

The infamously smelly durian fruit may not be well known in many parts of the world, but in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, laws ban it in public places like buses, trains, hotels, airports, and schools.

8. Don’t Feed The Pigeons In Venice

Feeding the pigeon in St Mark’s Square in Venice will be met with a fine. This has been done to reduce pigeon numbers and the damage they cause to historic buildings.

9. Don’t Feed Pigeons In San Francisco Either

It is also illegal to feed the pigeons inside the city limits of San Francisco. Called “the rats of the sky,” authorities have termed their large population of pigeons a health hazard.

10. No Non-Islamic Religious Texts In The Maldives

The Muslim nation of the Maldives bans anything they deem goes against the teachings of Islam, including pornography, pork, alcohol, and non-Islamic religious texts. If you’re a visitor of a different faith who wants to carry a copy of your holy text, you’re allowed to bring only one copy, but make sure not to leave it out in the open, as you can face a penalty.

11. You Can’t Wear Camouflage Clothing In Barbados

Barbados, along with some other Caribbean countries like St. Vincent, and St. Lucia, ban the wearing of camouflage attire for anyone not in the army. Not even children are exempt from this rule, and adults found flouting it will be fined for doing so.

12. You Should Always Wear Speedos In France

Most public swimming pools in France have banned loose-fitting swimming trunks for men. So if you’re found not wearing Speedos, banana hammocks, budgie smugglers, or even Borat thongs, you won’t be allowed in for a dip.

13. Don’t Wear High Heels In Greece

Historic sites in Greece, such as the Acropolis, do not allow women to wear high heels to prevent causing damage to these monuments. The Colosseum in Rome also plans to implement this rule.

14. No Buddha Tattoos Or Selfies Allowed In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka treats the mistreatment of Buddhist images as a serious offense. Visible tattoos of Buddha can prevent you from entering the country or have you deported while posing for photographs in front of Buddha statues will be met with repercussions.

It is against the law to take selfies with Buddha statues in Sri Lanka
It is against the law to take selfies with Buddha statues in Sri Lanka

15. You Can’t Swear In The UAE

Obscene acts, which include swearing and making rude gestures (even online), are against the law in the United Arab Emirates. Offenders can face jail time or deportation. Isn’t this one of the strangest unusual laws in the world?

16. Don’t Deface The National Flag Of Turkey

In Turkey, it is an offense to deface or in any way insult both the currency and the national flag. If you’re found guilty, you may receive a prison sentence of six months to three years.

17. Don’t Step On The Currency In Thailand

The Thai currency has images of the country’s revered King and thus stepping on the currency is akin to stepping on His Majesty’s face. This is termed both an insult and a criminal act.

18. Keep Your Headlights On In Scandinavia

According to Scandinavian law, all drivers must keep their headlights on at all times. Even during the day, cars are expected to have dimmed headlights.

19. No Walking On The Autobahn In Germany

It is illegal to walk on, or along, the immensely fast-paced autobahn in Germany. It is also illegal to run out of fuel on the road, as it could cause accidents and traffic pile-ups.

20. Don’t Honk In New York City

It is illegal to honk your horn in New York City. If you do, you could face a fine of $350. This is one of the unusual laws in the world that will be really tough for Indians to follow.

No walking on the fast-paced German Autobahn
No walking on the fast-paced German Autobahn

21. You Can’t Bring Animals Into Australia

Australia has an incredibly fragile ecosystem that has previously been decimated by the introduction of external species. Its strict quarantine laws now stop visitors from bringing in animals that might have pests or diseases that could impact the country’s wildlife. Breaking these laws could result in large fines – just ask Amber Heard.

22. Don’t Flush After 10 Pm In Switzerland

In Switzerland, it is considered noise pollution to flush the toilet after 10 pm in many apartment blocks. While it may not be a criminal act, it is considered as being very rude to your fellow residents.

23. Only One Glass Of Wine For Married Women In Bolivia

If you are married, it’s only one glass of wine for you if you are in La Paz, Bolivia. It’s believed that more alcohol can make a woman more immoral, hence this sexist law.

24. No Passing Wind In Public After 6pm On Thursdays In Florida

This law is one of the weirdest laws in the world which says it’s illegal to pass wind in public. The law which was probably written in the 1800’s has never really been enforced in Florida. No one knows why this even became a law. 

25. Building A Sandcastle In Spain Is Illegal

Be it adults or children, whoever is caught building a sandcastle in Spain could be fined. The fines vary from location to location. Some places like in the island of Majorca the penalty amount is €100, however in places like Galicia the fine amount can go up to €1,500.

26. Climbing A Tree In Toronto Is Illegal

In places like Ottawa and Toronto one cannot climb trees without a permit. There are lots of trees in these places but think twice before even touching them. In case someone is caught climbing one, then they need to pay a hefty price.

27. Winnie The Pooh T-Shirt In Banned In Poland

Do not wear a T-shirt with Winnie the Pooh on it as it’s banned in Poland. The cuddly little bear does not wear pants, hence the ban. So if you are having one of these T-shirts, it’s best to leave them at home when in Poland. Don’t you feel this is one of the craziest laws in the world?

Wearing camouflage attire is banned in the Caribbean
Wearing camouflage attire is banned in the Caribbean

28. You’ll Be Fined If Caught Hiking Naked In Switzerland 

Hiking naked is illegal in Switzerland and can be fined if caught doing so. In 2011, a Swiss hiker was fined more than $100 for his bare-bottomed walking adventure.

Suggested Reads: 11 Unusual Dress Code Rules Around the World

Some destinations have become popular not just for its beauty but also because of its bizzare laws. Please note that laws in different countries can change from time to time. Always check with local authorities or legal sources for the latest updates before visiting any country. Do you know of any more unusual laws in the world? If so, share them in the comments below.

Some FAQs

Which country has more strict laws?

Every country has their own rules, however it’s in Singapore where the rules and laws are notches higher on locals and tourists compared to other countries. The government’s strict implementation of their rules has made this small country a world-class place with standards of living rated higher than any other European countries.

What is the most broken law in the UK?

A law that came into force in 1839 says that no one should get drunk in a public place or at a pub. This is considered to be illegal in the UK. Probably this is one common law that has been consistently broken from the time it has been around.

Is flying a kite illegal in the UK?

Though flying a kite seems to be a simple and fun activity, as per the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, it is an illegal activity in the UK. Flying of kites in public places and parks comes under this act as it may cause danger to local passengers.


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