Whether they're helping you out or giving you recommendations, warm and welcoming locals are often the key to an unforgettable trip. These are the kind of people you'll meet in one of the friendliest countries in the world to visit, as ranked by an InterNations expatriate survey. For a truly authentic, memorable experience, ask the kindly locals in these countries for the best places to grab a bite, listen to their fascinating histories, and let them share the best-kept secrets most travelers have never discovered.
Coming in at number ten on the InterNations friendliness index, the island nation of Bahrain will welcome you to the Persian Gulf with open arms. One key reason why so many travelers feel at home in this country is the lack of language barrier. Although the official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken throughout the state, making communication a breeze. Try striking up conversation with the locals while you haggle for souvenirs at one of the country's unique markets, from the A’Ali pottery district to the Manama Souq gold bazaar.
The Central American Republic of Costa Rica is ranked ninth for friendliness. Take one look at the souvenir stores, and you'll see one motto printed all around: Pura Vida. Literally translated as pure life, this concept of focusing on family and friendship is woven through Costa Rican society. Plus, the country is just as eco-friendly as it is people-friendly. Experience the biodiversity for yourself in all its glory by ziplining through the rainforest and feasting on the wide variety of fresh, local fruits.
Considering how many visitors cite locals' friendliness as their favorite thing about Indonesia, it should come as no surprise that this country made it to number eight on the ranking. While many Indonesians don't speak fluent English, they'll go out of their way to help you any way they can, showing their hospitality through their actions. The universal communication of music, dance, and art are another fulfilling way to connect with the people of Indonesia. So, don't miss the mesmerizing Kecak performances in Bali or the gamelan orchestras in Java.
Seventh on the friendliness list is the Philippines, an archipelago in Southeast Asia. Over 92% of Filipinos speak English as a second language, so you'll have no trouble communicating. Since this is one of the few Asian countries where English speakers can strike up conversation with almost anyone, it's one of the best destinations for history and culture fanatics. Many communities have left their own unique mark on the country, from the Igorot tribe and their hanging coffins to the Kalinga tribe's tattoos. Visit their hometowns to hear oral histories and true anecdotes from the fascinating locals themselves.
Sixth on the friendliness index is Colombia, situated on the cusp of North and South America and bounded by the Caribbean Sea. Foodies will be in their element in local eateries like the authentic restaurants of Popayán, a certified UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Just remember, it's considered bad manners to eat with your hands here — put them to better use in conversation, learning the locals' numerous hand gestures.
Vietnam makes it into the top five friendliest countries according to InterNations. Even in major cities, the people are hospitable and helpful to all who visit. This is also another country where food is one of the best ways to connect with locals and fellow travelers alike. Vietnam is the world's second-highest coffee exporter, so try getting to know people over coffee with one of their many interesting additions — from egg yolk to yogurt.
The people in Taiwan are some of the friendliest in the world, landing this country at number 4 on the ranking. The Taiwanese are known for their love of making friends, so don't be surprised if they offer to spend a day showing you all the best spots in your city of choice. Of course, once the day is out, Taiwan truly comes alive at night. The foodie-favorite Raohe Night Market in Taipei, the huge Fengjia Night Market in Taichung, and the cyclist-friendly Ita Thao Shopping Street in Sun Moon Lake are some of the most fascinating places to mingle.
The third-friendliest country to visit in the world is Portugal, the only European city to make this list. Physical touch is a common way to show love here, so be prepared for plenty of handshakes, gentle pats, and friendly embraces from complete strangers. Portugal is also known for its laissez-faire culture, making it the ideal destination for relaxation. Praia do Creiro in Lisbon is one idyllic Portugal beach every rest-seeking traveler needs to check out. This Instagrammable beauty boasts warm sands, refreshing waves, and plenty of and eateries within walking distance.
Mexico narrowly misses the top spot on the list of most friendly countries. You may want to learn some simple pleasantries in Spanish for the best experience, but even if you can't speak the language, people will do their best to strike up a conversation. Agave liquors taste better in their home country, so visit a local bar to sip tequila and mezcal with the locals. Of course, drinks are best paired with music, making piano bars like La Cueva de Rodrigo de la Cadena in Mexico City and mariachi bars like Casa Bariachi in Guadalajara top choices.
Last but certainly not least, Oman is considered the friendliest country in the world for travelers. Situated on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is home to lovely locals who are only too happy to share stories, dried dates, and joyous times with you. Given its no-skyscraper policy, Oman is one of the best places to take in natural beauty. Join a hiking group for an unforgettable view at the Wadi Nakhr Canyon, then take a relaxing swim with local families in the emerald pools of the Wadi Bani Khalid.