28 July 2013: I am buying a bus ticket for the next day.
“Are you sure it’s for tomorrow?” I ask three times in a row, and a man is patiently nodding his head. He is smiling, can’t be the first time he’s explaining it to tourists.

I knew Ethiopia uses its own calendar, but I’ve never thought about the dates so I look down at my ticket where everything is written in amharic: 11 November, 2005, departure at 11.30.

“So we are leaving at 5.30?” I ask again, just in case, because I already know how differently Ethiopian time works. Some tourists learn about this difference only when then get to the station and find out their bus left many hours before.

  • how confusing! I have enough problems being in the right place at the right time over here!!!

  • Wow, I didn’t realise Ethiopia was on a different time. That is so interesting. Did you make any time mistakes while you were there?

    • Luckily, I found out about it before my travel, but I kept confirming everything, never sure if they mean Etiopian time or if they already give ‘tourist time’ :)

  • Having such a significant time difference makes other issues such as different language and customs the least of your problems!! I bet the whole country is full of confused tourists operating in another dimension!!!

  • Fernanda

    I had never thought about the time/date differences in Ethiopia and I can’t stop imagining how man tourists got mistaken. hahah
    I have been planning to go to Ethiopia for a while and will definitely have a look at these details before going!

  • Veronika Tomanová

    Oh no! I would be just so confused. I am always trying to adjust my watch to the local time when I am still at the airport. But sometimes, the phone switches back overnight. Hate that!

  • Chrysoula Manika

    I hope you didn’t lose the bus. Time change can be very confusing until you get used to it.

  • I didn’t know Ethiopia has a different time, that is interesting. Same in Thailand, I wasn’t aware of it until I visited the first time. Thanks for sharing.

  • Elisa Subirats

    Weird country, isn’t it? Everything is different in Ethiopia but that’s also part of their charm. I never understood how the hours work in Ethiopia but when I was there I was happy to celebrate Ethiopian New Years’ in September!

    • That must have been wonderful – to be there during Ethiopian New Year!

  • megan_claire

    Crazy! I’ve heard about Ethiopia being on a seperate calendar, though I didn’t think about how this might impact travelers on the ground – I can definitely understand the urge to double, triple and quadruple check times and dates!