Posts Tagged ‘behavior’

Dress Code and Best Behavior

Yapese culture is indeed intact. Even though the island is open to tourists, all visitors are expected to respect the traditions and norms of Yap.

For example, all Yapese women are required to always cover their thighs when they are in public. They are bare breasted which is as fine as men wearing no shirts. But when it comes to showing your legs in public, it is very inappropriate and disrespectful.

Therefore the Yap Visitors Bureau recommends that bathing suits are only worn for swimming, on a boat or by the pool. They say long shorts or sarongs are fine, as are jeans or slacks but men should not wear shorts that are “too short”. Walking around town in skimpy or transparent attire will put you on the radar and you will not feel welcome on the island.

Women are also expected to sit properly. Squatting in public is considered improper and disrespectful.

If you decide to take a stroll at night, make sure you have a light with you, especially if you plan to enter a village. Walking with no light in the dark is a sign that you are looking to cause trouble.

Last but not least, do not walk around villages empty handed. The Yapese would think you are visiting the area with no purpose but to cause trouble. The Visitors Bureau advises that  a small branch (Muteelpaaq) would do if you don’t have a handbag to walk around with.



There is something else that’s very unique to the Micronesian culture of Yap. The islanders use special handwoven baskets to carry all their valuables and betel nuts. There are different kinds of baskets for men and women, some are used to carry infants and others are used to carry food. How big the basket is usually shows the status of its owner in the village.

As was mentioned in the post about proper behavior on the island, there is a certain etiquette for baskets also. For example, any time a native walks into another Yap village, carrying their basket shows they have gone there in peace. If you’re a visitor, carrying a green branch with you would signify you’re not looking for any trouble. And remember, it is very rude to touch someone’s basket without asking for permission first.