Lagos is the most vibrant city in Nigeria. It’s seductive charms are legendary, and for good reason.
Inviting cafes and lounges, lustrous boutiques, top notch museums, and an impressive restaurant scene make Lagos the runway model of Nigerian cities—beautiful, fashionable, confident, and inspiring envy at every turn. However, its size and scope can make it a challenge and sometimes, you are faced with certain experiences that make you wonder at a traveler’s love with such an elusive town.
To avoid having these experiences, Jovago presents a list of 7 things you should never do in Lagos.
Skip your fare in a bus
Taking public transport, including the Moluwe and Danfo buses, may be the cheap option of transportation in Lagos, but it is not free.
A fare is usually required and it is important you ensure you have enough cash to settle the transport fee before jumping on the bus. While it might be tempting to skip your bus fare, either because you think the conductor will not notice or you believe you can come up with a story touching enough to make them waive the fare, don’t do it. The public embarrassment and possible physical harm will not be worth it.
Some fare-jumpers have found themselves spending quality time at the hospital, treating wounds inflicted on them for trying to play hooky.
Put Your Wallet in Your Back Pocket
While most Lagosians are nice and helpful there are always folks looking to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists (and locals!). Never place your wallet in your back pocket, as you are bound to lose it – sometimes without even knowing.
Be smart, use common sense and keep an eye on your wallet is, particularly when you’re in crowded places such as Obalande, Oshodi and Balogun market.
Flash cash around
Whether it’s when paying for things on the street, counting your money or taking out a wad of cash and then asking the waiter how to figure out the bill, flashing cash is never a good move in Lagos.
The Nigerian currency is not hard to figure out. Always keep a running tally in your head so you do not have to whip out your cash and start counting; this will also protect you from thieves.
Try to cut in line
With so many amazing things to do in Lagos, sooner or later you are going to have to wait in a line. Whether you’re queuing up to snag rush movie tickets, trying to grab a meal at a popular eatery or waiting to use an ATM in a shopping mall, you are going to have to wait along with everyone else.
If you stealthily try to make it to the front, you will be caught and blessed with the wrath of a crowd of scary, impatient Lagosians…and this is not something you want to deal with.
Taste street food with no intention to buy
In some part of the country, street vendors will encourage you to have a taste of what they are selling, even if they know you may not end up buying.
Some people actually eat to their fill by tasting street food from numerous vendors. However, in Lagos, if you are going to taste it, you better be prepared to pay for a portion, even if it is as small as NGN50 worth. Most street vendors will reign insults and curses on you, while some other will take a step further and cause an embarrassing scene if you refuse to make a purchase.
Pay a hawker before collecting the purchase
Despite the ban by the state government, the traffic in Lagos ensures that there are hawkers lurking around to meet the needs of stressed and tired commuters.
If you are looking to buy anything from a hawker, never give them the cash before you receive the item as there is a huge chance they will disappear with your cash and the item. Also, if they need to give you some change after purchase, do not hand them the cash. Instead, ask them to return with the change you need before you make the purchase.
Compare Lagos with life elsewhere
This applies mostly to visitors. Do not spend time comparing things in Lagos to things in other cities in the country or even around the world. D
o not complain that it is crowded and there is traffic almost on every street or that you come from an area with cheaper transportation. It is just rude to say where you come from is better than Lagos – so why did you visit?
Things are DIFFERENT in Lagos. The sooner you learn and accept this, the more enjoyable your stay will be.