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Practical information about Afghanistan

The country has seen political and social changes, which requires us to operate in a way to respect the norms and values while making the tour a worthwhile experience for our guests where they feel most welcome. The frequently asked questions below for our guests with respect to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Information and Culture recommendations for international tourists. These will help you be prepared and have a wonderful tour in Afghanistan

Updated: May 2023

Your trip

When is the best time to plan your visit to Afghanistan?

The best time to visit Afghanistan is from March to May and from September to November. During autumn and spring, the temperature is most pleasant. Afghanistan has several climate zones, where it is usually hot in the summer months and very cold in the winter months. In general, the cities have a milder climate than in the rest of the country. Our Grand Afghanistan Tour runs in September.

Do I need insurance for my trip to Afghanistan?

Yes. Everyone must take out travel and health insurance before leaving for Afghanistan. Whether Afghanistan is covered by your policy differs per insurance policy. In most cases this will not be a problem. At CultureRoad we recommend: IATI Travel Insurance. A reliable company that has different insurance options that fits your personal needs. Book with them to get a 5% discount!

Do I need a visa for Afghanistan?

Yes. You must apply for the visa for Afghanistan yourself at the nearest embassy. Make sure you start on time, because it takes at least one working week to obtain. You need an LOI to apply for the visa, we will send it to you.

What is the time zone in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan uses the time zone UCT +4.5. Afghanistan has no difference between summer and winter time.

How do I pay for things in Afghanistan?

Bring cash with you, there are no ATMs. Debit/Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard etc) do not work in Afghanistan. Bring Euros, Dollars or Pounds. You can either convert into Afghani in your home country or at the airport in Kabul. You can also ask the local tour guide to help with currency conversion upon arrival.

How much will I spend in Afghanistan?

Of course it mainly depends on yourself how much you actually spend, but as a guideline we advise approx. € 20 to € 30 per day. If you would like to buy souvenirs, you bring something extra. Local, traditional hats can cost up to € 45, handmade ceramics are usually between € 20 and € 30. In addition, you may want to buy a burqa (€ 15) or a nice carpet (in every price range). Soda is generally under € 1. A meal usually costs around € 5. Tipping local guides is always encouraged. They don’t earn much in this part of the world and it often makes a big difference to them. Of course this is according to your own preference.

Do I have to arrange my international flight to Afghanistan myself?

We are always available to advise you when booking a flight. However, most customers prefer to book the flight themselves. Often this is cheaper in terms of price and you can pick your own preferences.

What about my passport

Make sure to have photocopies of your passport in case you’re asked to submit it upon arrival or any time while in the country. Meanwhile, make sure to keep your passport with you at all times.

Practical information

What is the voltage and which plug should I use in Afghanistan?

The complete electricity supply in Afghanistan is 220 Volt / 50 Hz with European plugs. Afghanistan therefore uses the same plugs and sockets as in Western Europe. However, you may occasionally need adapter plugs, so we recommend to bring a universal plug. There is also regular power outages, so make sure to charge everything as soon as there is power in your hotel.

Is there internet access and can I make calls in Afghanistan?

Internet is available at most hotels (if it works). However, don’t expect a fast and stable connection. There is generally mobile coverage everywhere in Afghanistan. You can also choose to take a local SIM card. Your guide can help you with this.

What should I carry with me?

Carry hand sanitizers, sunscreen, water, and snacks while traveling within the country. The road travel can be long but the scenery/landscape is wonderful.

Local culture

Is it safe in Afghanistan?

Travel to Afghanistan is of course different from most other trips. We aim to give everyone the best possible tour experience, however the local guide always has the last word regarding changes in the tour schedule.
The areas in Afghanistan that we visit are places where we feel comfortable and where we feel are safe to bring people. If the situation changes, we will also respond immediately. We therefore ask for a certain flexibility from our travellers. 

What measures do you take on our travels are

Some of the measures we take on our travels are
– We wear local clothing so that we don’t stand out among the Afghans. It is also out of respect for the local culture.
– We do not discuss the itinerary or the name of the hotel with anyone. Although it will of course only be out of curiosity that someone asks, we do not share this information with others, purely as a precaution.
– If we have a long day ahead, we must start on time. If we have a car breakdown, we don’t want to get stranded after dark.
– Always listen to and watch your local guide. The guide has a lot of experience in Afghanistan and knows when something is not right (or starts to change). He sees and hears much more than we do and everyone should always listen to him.
– We advise everyone to register with your local embassy. If you have problems on the spot, it is much easier to get in touch with the embassy on site.

What are the local customs in Afghanistan?

Since Afghanistan is a strict Islamic country, we must respect different local rules and customs towards the local people.
A few rules to keep in mind:
– Always wear local clothes when we go outside.
– Always take off your shoes when entering a mosque or house. Never show your shoe sole when you sit down.
– Don’t walk in front of someone who is praying.
– It is forbidden to bring alcohol to Afghanistan
– Homosexuality is illegal in Afghanistan; therefore, we advise avoiding any such expression in public that can cause trouble.

What items are prohibited in Afghanistan?

Alcohol, pornography or anything that could be politically sensitive is not allowed in the country. Meanwhile, the use of narcotics is prohibited in the country.

Jewellery and souvenirs

Please do not wear or bring into the country excess and expensive jewellery. If you wish to buy souvenirs in Afghanistan, buy from the stores/handicraft shops which are authorised and that sell legally. In addition, buying or exporting historical antiquities without a receipt and from an unauthorized dealer is considered illegal; therefore, always ask your travel guide for advice.

Do I need to have a local guide with me?

Yes. Always travel with a local tour guide. This includes travel to the tourist attractions, villages, local markets etc. Even when leaving the hotel, always consent with your guide first. They will then decide whether you can go on your own or if they will join you.

Local culture for female visitors

Women should avoid hand-shake with the local men and vice versa, as it’s against their cultural norms. It is a cultural and religious practice not a health and safety concern. Women must wear a headscarf.

Local culture for male visitors

As a man you cannot start a conversation / contact a woman. It is a cultural and religious practice.

Can I take pictures in Afghanistan?

Yes but before taking photos of tourist sites (historical buildings, mosques etc.) and local people, make sure to seek the consent of the responsible person/people. Taking photos of government buildings, military personnel, and military installations is prohibited.

Can I bring my drone?

No. Drones are prohibited in Afghanistan.

Food and drinks in Afghanistan

Afghan cuisine is a rich cuisine. Most dishes are based on garlic and onion. In addition, ginger, tomato sauce, turmeric and dried fruits are often used.

A typical Afghan meal consists of a large amount of rice (pulao) with a lot of meat (lamb, chicken or goat) and vegetables (qorma). The rice consists of a mix of nuts, raisins and carrot. Some well-known dishes are mantu (kind of ravioli), tandoori , shorwa (soup) and kebab.

Afghanistan is not an easy country for vegetarians, however there are vegetarian options and the guide will certainly help you. Alcohol is prohibited in Afghanistan.

What do I wear in Afghanistan?

Out of respect for the local culture and that we don’t stand out among the Afghans, we wear local clothing.

Afghanistan is a strict Islamic country. It is therefore very important to respect local customs and rules. Women should wear loose-fitting long-sleeved clothing and a headscarf that covers the head and shoulders. Men should wear long trousers. We also recommend that you bring warm clothes for the evening. It can sometimes be chilly. In most hotels in the big cities you will be able to do laundry if there is time.

On tour we will make sure that everybody gets local clothes upon arrival.

Health and hygiene in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is a developing country with a very turbulent recent history. Healthcare is therefore very limited. Also in terms of hygiene, the standard is much lower than in the Western world.

We advise you always to the last (health) risk programs for the region where you’re going to visit. Check with your own government for the latest info about your destination.

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