14 December 2007

Trippers Best of...Friendliest People

What makes traveling around the world different from sitting in your room and watching the Travel Channel? One word PEOPLE! People are the wealth of the world. So here, a cursory ranking of the friendliest people in the world, by no means exhaustive, and heavily subjective!

1. Bulgaria - Once I crossed the border, I immediately felt at home. From having locals show me around Veliko Tornovo, to being invited to an soldier's apartment during the national holiday in Plovdiv, Bulgaria was fun, friendly, and the only country in Eastern Europe where I felt truly at home.

2. Isaan, Thailand (pictured) - A little bias because I spent three weeks there teaching english, but the people are so lovely, smile like no one else in the world, and are such a joy to be around. Read my ode to Isaan here. And my life as a Thai teenage heartrob here.

3. Dhulikhel, Nepal - Once again, volunteering bias, but my memories of living in Dhulikel, playing soccer with the villagers, and visiting the homes of my students, are of some of the most open and happy people in the world.

4. Luang Prabang, Laos - One short story. I was riding my bike clumsily through the main street in the second largest city in Laos, Luang Prabang. I turned abruptly, accidentally cutting off a Lao girl on a bike. Instead of giving me an evil glare, or shouting, she just stopped and smiled. The next day, the exact same thing happened. That is the mark of a laid back society that understand what really matters. Back home in the US, I try to keep that attitude anytime someone cuts me of in traffic.

5. Lisbon, Portugal

6. Romania

7. Malaysia

8. Osaka, Japan

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