Vacations are a long-awaited time of travel and leisure that should only leave warm memories and bright impressions. However, in some countries, obscure rules and weird restrictions can get unwitting tourists in trouble with the law.
The Red Light District in Amsterdam is famous for its brothels, picturesque canals, and coffee shops. In this part of the city, the local proprietors hate it when tourists take photos of the prostitutes standing in the windows. If you venture to this place carrying a camera, at best, someone might wrench it away. At worst, you risk being beaten up.
In this country, it is forbidden to photograph women without their consent — even in public places. Neglecting to observe this rule is considered an act of sexual aggression and is punishable by a fine of 10 million won ($8,800) and up to 5 years imprisonment.
In the United States, the laws related to taking photographs are much more relaxed than in South Korea. Still, you might get in trouble in some cases, the likeliest of which would be taking pictures of private property. It’s always advisable to first acquire permission to photograph from the property’s owner. And, most importantly, always pay attention to prohibiting signs.
United Arab Emirates
In the UAE, taking photographs in forbidden places may result in 1 to 3 months imprisonment and a $1,361 fine. In many locations, it is prohibited to use cameras because of local superstitions. Also, you cannot photograph government buildings, certain bridges, and palaces of the Sheikhs. The palace-related ban is actually written down in the country’s legislation.
If you want to visit this country, be prepared for severe restrictions on your movements and behavior. In North Korea, you are not allowed to leave your hotel without a guide, nor can you take photographs without the guide’s permission. Should you fail to comply, you’ll find yourself facing a fine or something even worse.
The Brits tend to treat camera-crazed tourists with understanding. You can take amateur photos almost anywhere in the country, but commercial photography requires special authorization. For instance, commercial shooting in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square can only be carried out with the permission of the Mayor of London.
In Japan, it is forbidden to photograph certain temples and statues. Apparently, taking snaps might annoy the spirits. Here you can find a full list of those locations — some of them mustn’t be photographed at all, while others are off-limits during certain times of the year.
Algeria is pretty much conservative, especially the southern part of the country. You can take pictures of men only after obtaining their consent. Women can be photographed only with the consent of their husbands or fathers, as they are considered to be their property. It is strictly prohibited to take photos of bridges, dams, and military objects.