Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Where to Find the Friendliest People in the World

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When you travel the world solo, you spend a lot of time talking to locals!  And while I’ve met kind, hospitable, welcoming people in every corner of the world I’ve visited, some places are universally welcoming — no matter where you go, you’re welcomed as a close friend or even a member of the family.

So where are these standout places?  Check them out:

Scotland

There is SO much that I love about Scotland — the scenery, the music, the haggis — but the people are what make visiting Scotland so special.  They are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and with their cool accents, you never want them to stop talking!  They also love to dance and get their drink on — if you’re a fan of either, you’ll have a rocking time in Scotland.

Koh Lanta, Thailand

One thing I marveled about Koh Lanta is that the people over and over again thanked visitors for coming.  You don’t see that on popular islands like Koh Phi Phi.  During the Loy Krathong festivities, locals kept coming up to us and making sure we were having a good time — but for me, the most memorable part was making friends with a wild group of local musicians at bars like Sweet & Sour.

Cambodia

Cambodia is one of the most impoverished countries I’ve ever visited.  And despite that fact, people always give, give, give and make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.  Despite their harrowing history, the people of Cambodia will welcome you with smiles.  I’ll always remember the Cambodian children at the carnival who grabbed our hands and clamored to ride the merry-go-round with us!

Jordan

If you go to Jordan, know that you will consume more tea than you ever have in your life.  Everywhere I went, people would welcome me and insist I stay for a cup of tea — and then another.  After leaving Jordan, I remarked that I haven’t done this much socializing without alcohol since high school.  That’s amazing.  But in Jordan, it’s just a regular day!

America

Yes, my country absolutely belongs on this list!  This brand of friendliness, where it’s common to approach people out of the blue, isn’t common in other Western countries.  And while I may be from the notoriously cold and unfriendly region of New England, in the midwest and south, everyone you pass on the street will give you a warm smile and a hello!

And the friendliest people in the world?

Bali

The Balinese set the bar high — I’ve never known any other region that comes close when it comes to sheer friendliness.  Whenever I stopped in a shop, I would be asked questions about my life for a good thirty minutes or so — not in an annoying way, but a genuinely inquisitive, friendly way!  If I mentioned another part of the island, the Balinese would inevitably say, “Would you like to go drive there together?”  Not in a creepy way — it was a gesture of genuine friendship.

And that friendliness and welcoming nature is why I got invited to my first ever white party at one of the island’s hottest clubs, and why I had a great night drinking arrak with artists in an Ubud gallery.  One thing’s for sure — if you go to Bali, you’ll leave with dozens of friends.  I still have plenty of them on my Facebook.

What about you?  Where do you think the friendliest people in the world are?

Comments

67 Responses to “Where to Find the Friendliest People in the World”
  1. Kate,
    The friendliest people in the world will not respond to a surly grouch. Much of what you find is a reflection of your own personality.
    Frank

  2. As much as I hate to say it…Texas has some dang friendly people….

  3. Barbara says:

    I’ve been in France for three weeks and I’ve been absolutely blown away by how friendly the people are. I thought French people were supposed to be snobby! Not the people I’ve met … my baby and I were invited to parties, to breakfast, taken out for ice cream and for wine tasting. French people are amazingly friendly.

    • You know, much of the French stereotype is rooted in Paris. And justifiably so. Just a different culture, plus when you add on dealing with annoying tourists all day…

  4. Mandy says:

    Hey Kate,

    I’ve lived in Austin, TX for nearly 5 years and the people here will welcome you with a warm smile and friendly smile any time of the day. Come visit!

    • Austin is a city that I would LOVE to visit, Mandy! I have friends there, too — should take advantage…

      • Richard says:

        I’ve lived in Austin for 15 years, after 12 years in Wisconsin (which is also quite welcoming but in a more restrained way), and I agree with Mandy. Strangers will engage you in conversation, tell you jokes and stories, and advise you on where to get the best barbecue (a most important topic!). Some snootiness can be found among servers and bartenders in the downtown hipster places, who want to pretend that this is a big city, but even there you’ll find many delightful people.

        • gernot says:

          Texas – isn’t that the place you are allowed to walk around armed for war and shoot anybody in “self defence” who’s looks you don’t like? No, thank you, not a place I’d like to stay

          • smittysmoove says:

            Having lived in both Texas and California, and the deep south, and traveling to 45 states, 44 countries (not that it matters), I would say a) Texas is friendly and the deep south in general along with the midwest are likely the friendliest in the country. The stereotype thing from late night movies mentioned by gernot is not true. B) The friendliest abroad for me are: Colombia, Turkey, Egypt. Heading to Cambodia next year as it has gotten some good remarks!

  5. Ish says:

    Ditto on Scotland’s sexy accent and Cambodia’s overwhelming hospitality! 🙂

  6. Awesome to know that Scotland and America are high on the list. For one, I love Scottish culture and want to spend a lot of time there one day. Secondly, I live in America and grew up in the South. You won’t find people more polite than that!

    The best thing about traveling, and I had a chance to talk to some people about this today, is connecting with people. Without that, all the museums, sights, and attractions in the world wouldn’t make traveling half as fun.

  7. DebbZ says:

    YAY !!! Bali scores 😀

  8. Julie says:

    Hi Kate,

    I think you definitely forgot the Irish people. They are well known for their hospitality, openness and friendlyness..

  9. I haven’t had the chance to explore Asia yet, but so far, I can tell the less friendly are the French and German, and the most friendly are the Irish, Scottish and North Americans. I guess in a way, we’re all cut from the same (very big) cloth. 😉

  10. Ava Apollo says:

    I like that you put the US on this list 🙂 Although people are not exactly friendly in my corner of it!

  11. Kate…I hope you visit Alaska where you will find the friendliest people on the planet; I’ve been here many many years, and the top response tourists give a high 5 to is “friendly Alaskans”…that is, after the spectacular scenery!

  12. Jarmo says:

    You can find friendly people everywhere, but you are right, some places have more friendly people than others. I found Philippines to be one of the most friendly places I visited last year. People were really nice, and you’d often be invited to drink with them, sing karaoke or go fishing with them.

  13. I really agree with you on Cambodia. I have been living here for 6 months now and have never met more friendly people. Doesn’t matter what hardship they go through they always have the biggest and loveliest smiles. You should do a post about the grumpiest people in the world. My top nomination is Londoners! I lived there for 7 years, so am allowed to say that. 🙂

  14. Jeremy says:

    Haha it IS a notoriously unfriendly region, isn’t it!? I’ve found New Zealand to have some incredibly friendly people. Can’t speak on the places you’ve been, but I’ve never experienced hospitality like in Kiwi-land.

  15. Elena says:

    Oh, Bali! People really are so kind and hospitable …

    Agree… Bali is the friendliest!

    el

  16. Hannah says:

    Definitely Jordan! I would also like to add Syria to the list, and pretty much all of the countries in the Middle East. I would say hospitality is one of the pillars of Middle Eastern culture – you won’t be able to go anywhere without getting at least several invitations for tea or dinner!

  17. Laryssa says:

    Cool list!

    Brazil, definitely. 🙂

  18. Yahia Al-Sharef says:

    Definitely, Jordan is the friendliest.

  19. Marina says:

    I have to agree on all counts. Jordan was so overwhelmingly friendly-my husband and I were even offered a wedding invitation! The amazing thing is that it all comes from such a genuine place, not just a hustle for tourists like in some other destinations.

    I also have to give a shout out to Germany-particularly Bavaria. I was told over and over again, “I hope you enjoy Germany!”

    • Ken says:

      I saw a woman standing near her doorway in Jordan, and I thought that she looked absolutely dynamic and beautiful, and then her husband caught the gaze in my face, and he appeared pleased that I appraised his wife so highly! Smart man! Confident without the least bit of jealousy or insecurity! It is funny to compare with situations in other cultures, in which a woman, who may not be the least bit appealing, can and will manipulate her husband or boyfriend into a fit of jealousy!

  20. Lucy Harper says:

    Definitely agree about America! I had such an amazing time when I went there in 2005 and 06 – everyone was so lovely and friendly, it was brilliant!

  21. Vicky says:

    I reeeally need to go to Bali! Everything about it sounds amazing and now that I know they also have the friendliest people I think it’s going to have to get to the top of my to do list. Cheers for the tips!

  22. Ayngelina says:

    I cannot believe no one has said Colombia yet – they are so friendly it scares you. Within a five minute conversation you can be invited to someone’s home for dinner, to a party or even a wedding. It’s unbelievable.

  23. Katie says:

    I would add Georgia (the country) – some of the friendliest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met. Just as one example, within hours of meeting one guy on a train, he was offering up his brother to drive me to Armenia and calling his mother-in-law to tell her he’d invited me to stay with her!

  24. Ann says:

    Laos! The people there were the friendliest I have ever encountered. The smiles are genuine and show through their eyes! The most peaceful and laid back country I have seen so far.

  25. Sarah says:

    I vote Canada!

  26. mel says:

    And I always thought they were in Australia 😉 .. but yes definitely Thailand, and I heard this about Cambodia too.
    By the way – you we came by your blog a few times and love it. So you have been spotted here, hope you like it 🙂
    http://www.localspotter.com/spotted/add/spotlight/369-7-sexy-travel-blogs-for-women

  27. A wonderful list! I would also add South Korea. We were there for two years and were always greeted with warm smiles and piles of food. Take a long hike anywhere in Korea and I guarantee you that Korean families will persuade you to sit down with them, eat their food, and drink copious amounts of soju.

  28. vira says:

    I was surprised at how friendly people were in the US when I had a chance to live there for a while, long time ago. I loved it. Does that apply in cities like NYC? (I lived in a small city East Lansing, Michigan back then).

    And yup, Balinese people are friendly and nice 🙂

    • NYC doesn’t have a good reputation, but I think New Yorkers are so nice, for the most part! But as far as Michigan goes, smaller towns in the midwest and the south are generally where you find the friendliest people in America.

  29. Steve says:

    The people in South America where very friendly – especially the poorest of the poorest. We could learn a lot from those people!

  30. Diane says:

    America is not a country, it´s a continent

  31. Mariella_Franzerra says:

    Fiji is definitely the justifyable

  32. Robert says:

    Bermudians – they win, hands down 99% (the rest are half-wit gangsters)

  33. It’s definitely the locals that have had the biggest impact on my traveling experiences. And I’m very happy to say that the amount of friendly and hospitable people have far outweighed the rude and negative ones (so far). This was a big surprise at first, as I was raised believing that the world is much more dangerous than it really is. This was a fun post to read, and I’d love to add Iceland to this list!

  34. Andy Tejada says:

    wait ’til you visit the Philippines 😉 (modesty aside).

  35. Zach says:

    I am from Texas and have to say we are some the friendliest people you will find on the planet. That being said, after visiting Nepal; I would now say that Nepal is the friendliest country I have been to hands down.

  36. Melissa says:

    Hey,
    I LOVE your blog Kate….so glad to hear you rank Scotland as one of the friendliest countries. I work in a Visitor Information Centre for VisitScotland and speak with the tourists that visit here on a daily basis. I try my best to offer a warm welcome and friendly information. I love it when our visitors tell me how much they love Scotland and how beautiful it is.
    If you ever get the chance visit the Outer Hebridean Island’s of Lewis and Harris, these are spectacularly beautiful and my favourite place in the country!
    Happy Travelling

  37. Hey Kate,

    I’m so glad I discovered your blog… I’ve been to Koh Lanta, Cambodia and Jordan and can’t find friendlier people, especially Jordan. Always happy, always thanking you and asking you to return.

  38. Petra Tour says:

    Hi
    In general all people are friendly all places are beautiful… oriental societies are more warm and social…

  39. Caitlin says:

    Great to read this post. I completely agree that Cambodia and Ko Lanta has exceptionally friendly people and Scotland is my home country so it was great to see that up there too 😀

    When we visited Ko Lanta we went to a family run restaurant a few times called Azee. On our last evening they invited us to come and have breakfast before our bus left and were adamant that we were not to pay for it. They also gave us some little Thailand bottle coolers to take home as souvenirs! Such lovely people!

    http://www.thecaitescape.com/2016/03/03/beautiful-koh-lanta/

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