Some travel for adventure, some travel solely for romance and relaxation. What about traveling to make friends? Listed are Lonely Planets top ten countries to find the Happiest and Friendliest people!
Fijians are usually considered as being the ‘friendliest people on the planet’. And why not? They’ve got lots to smile about– lush islands, varicolored reefs, cobalt sea, a plethora of marine life, world-class diving, enchanting coastlines, delicious cuisine– and they truly love to spread the love around. Fijians have a rep for assisting travellers feel welcome, thus allowing you to uncover the best from this vast collection of islands. Just don’t mention the coup.
It’s difficult to make generalisations about a country that contains so many unique cultures. Still, from easygoing Lombok to the rice fields in Java and the highlands of West Papua, the one thing travellers can safely look forward to is a wide smile from the locals. Indonesians of all different cultures share an inherent hospitality and a fascination with visitors, and they always find time to stop, meet and greet. No matter if it be spontaneous English lessons with bike-riding schoolchildren, easy conversation at streetside food stalls or bargaining for batiks, interaction with the locals is a highlight of travels within the islands.
Hundred of years of turmoil have most certainly taken their toll on the Irish: they have been left with a delightfully dark sense of humor and a welcoming attitude to strangers. That well-known ability of the Irish– to find craic (fun times with convivial company) in boom or bust times — indicates you are usually in for a treat. These days, after the end of the ‘Troubles’, a mindful optimism preponderates, invading the land once again with the spirit that anything is achievable.
Malawians identify themselves as ‘the friendliest people in Africa’, living in the ‘warm heart of the continent’. Anyone who has visited will understand that the uncommon (for Africa) cohesion of the country’s ethnic groups is solid proof for this, as is the people’s propensity to welcome you into their home along with their country. Malawi is little, and poor without a lot of amenities, but with a welcoming like that who desires Western-style comfort?
Scottish people have survived English invasion, rough weather and the agony of having the world’s worst goalkeepers. This fighting spirit against overwhelming odds has left them with an extraverted, jaunty demeanor and a darkly humorous patriotism (you would want to see the humorous side after witnessing some of those goalkeepers). Naturally, this attitude rubs off on travelers– Scots are so loyal they want you to share in the really good stuff, too. Cheers!
Wait a minute … Samoa believes it has ‘the world’s friendliest people’? Hmm well, problem is there is no validating evidence for such a claim, meaning that the Samoans are up against the Fijians, who also claim to hold the title. All Right, enough: let’s settle this with a good old fashioned Googlefight. A browse for the phrase ‘Fiji world’s friendliest people’ garners 16,600 hits; the phrase ‘Samoa world’s friendliest people’ reaps 13,800. Sorry, Samoa, the internet has spoken, although travelers can rest assured that your beautiful country has a plethora of lovely and warm people who will leave a deep and lasting impression.
Southeast Asia’s most toured country is certain to offer a lot of stereotypes and clichés. Here are some that are true: enchanting islands and beaches; lush and humid weather; fabulous shopping and exquisite food. Here is another one: ‘ the world’s friendliest people’. Yep, another contender (see Fiji and Samoa). Why even bother trying to analyse why Thai people are so easygoing and quick to give you a wide smile? They just are, and that is all there is to it.
The Turks have an unsurpassed reputation for hospitality. With their amazing cuisine, awe-inspiring coastline and incredible historical sites, the Turkish people really know there is no reason to be aloof. You can expect warm greetings, numerous cups of tea and plenty of time to relax and chat in this charming country.
Blamed for the coming of WWIII, the Anti-Christ, George Bush, The Kardashians, monster trucks, uncontrolled street crime, and noise pollution through loud talking, Americans just take it all in stride. They know there is no such thing as a ‘typical Yank’, so you may as well stuff your stereotypes in a sack, mister! American citizens will invariably welcome you and try to help you get the best out of their country – all they ask in return is for you to leave your presumptions at home.
Vietnam is yet another country inextricably caught up in Western images and stereotypes: napalm, tormented soldiers, Oliver Stone films … But Vietnam put everything behind it a long time ago and is now on a huge drive to turn into the new ‘Asian tiger’ economy. Economy and history regardless, visitors are bound to receive a friendly welcome and plenty of smiles in Vietnam.
*Front cover of this post was of a group of Vietnamese Students. Always up for having fun!
Of course there are a great deal of other super friendly countries out there… Canada, Cambodia, Venezuela, Belize, Guatamala, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Greece, Peru… just to name a few. Post your favorite travel places below!