Top 10 friendliest countries in the world

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What might they be? We won’t pretend we have the answer, but one international survey could give us an idea

Our experiences of a country are undoubtedly influenced by the people we meet along the way. So, it should follow that the nicer, friendlier and happier its people, the more enjoyable a country is to visit (like the Cayman Islands; the photo above is courtesy of Don McDougall | Cayman Islands Department of Tourism). Which makes us wonder, what are the friendliest countries in the world?

Determining the friendliness of a country will never be an exact science – there are just too many variables. Some would argue it’s not possible to assess the friendliness of one person, let alone millions of them.

We won’t pretend we have the answer, but one international survey could give us an idea.

Between May and July this year, the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey asked more than 5,000 expatriates living in about 100 different countries to rate their host countries on 55 economic and social experiences.

The results are freely available on a well-designed, easily-navigable website. The website gives you the option to hone in on the aspects of expat life you’re interested in. To gauge friendliness we’ve selected “making friends”, “making local friends”, “fitting in the new culture”, “integrating into the community”, “feeling welcome at work” and “social life”.

Again, we never said this was scientific! But this mix of gives us the following top 10 friendliest countries in the world:

Cayman Islands
1) Cayman Islands. Photo by rcbodden

2) Thailand. Photo by Dave_B_
3) Spain. Photo by WaveBreaker
A Chinese wedding ceremony
4) China. Photo by kanegen
5) Mexico. Photo by william.neuheisel
United Kingdom
6) United Kingdom. Photo by Phillie Casablanca
7) Australia. Photo by Alex E. Proimos
Hong Kong

8) Hong Kong. Photo by kainet
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
9) Malaysia. Photo by j.o.h.n. walker
10) Bahrain. Photo by Jacobs – Creative Bees

Compare our top 10 with Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s friendliest countries from 2010 and there’s quite a difference! Only Thailand makes both lists (anyone who’s been there will surely agree it’s deserving of its place). The HSBC survey results overlook notoriously welcoming countries like Ireland and Fiji (both on the Lonely Planet list) – which might simply be down to there being too few expats living in those countries for them to be part of the results.

What do you think? Is there a particular nationality that you’ve found to be really happy and friendly? What about the opposites – are there any countries that you’d describe as unwelcoming? We’d love to know. Tweet us, or comment below.

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

Top 10 friendliest countries in the world was last modified: November 30th, 2012 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (1167 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to