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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    World's Rudest Countries for Travellers

    A poll has been released listing the world's rudest and least rude countries for travellers.

    Here are the 10 rudest countries on the list:

    1. France
    2. Russia
    3. United Kingdom
    4. Germany
    5. Others
    6. China
    7. United States
    8. Spain
    9. Italy
    10. Poland

    The countries voted least rude were:

    25. Japan
    26. Denmark
    27. Canada
    28. New Zealand
    29. Indonesia
    30. Portugal
    31. Thailand
    32. The Philippines
    33. Caribbean region
    34. Brazil

    Do you agree with these lists? While touring have you found any countries to be especially unfriendly? Which were the friendliest?

    I agree with Portugal being in the least rude list. I do a lot of touring there and have found the Portuguese to be most gracious and welcoming. That (along with the fact that it's rather inexpensive, has lovely backroads, delicious cuisine and is quite close to where I live) keeps me going back year after year.

    http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/li...avelers-309852
    Last edited by Ekdog; 09-16-12 at 01:22 AM.

  2. #2
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    Yeah, others is a really bad country. Should be at the top of the list in my opinion.

    All credibility lost on that one, I'm afraid.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    A poll has been released listing the world's rudest and least rude countries for travellers.

    Here are the 10 rudest countries on the list:

    1. France
    2. Russia
    3. United Kingdom
    4. Germany
    5. Others
    6. China
    7. United States
    8. Spain
    9. Italy
    10. Poland
    Yeah, Others is a really bad country. Should be at the top of the list in my opinion.

    All credibility lost on that one, I'm afraid.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    Can't understand why Germany or USA are on the top list. I've been to a lot of places and those were two of the friendliest. It depends whether you go off the tourist circuits and actually encounter local people. All tourist locations can have their share of people who would rather be somewhere else. Airport people in any country can be pretty bad, especially Australia. Please don't rate us on our airports.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Yeah, Others is a really bad country. Should be at the top of the list in my opinion.

    All credibility lost on that one, I'm afraid.
    The poll obviously has its limitations, but I think it can be a good starting point for a conversation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    The poll obviously has its limitations, but I think it can be a good starting point for a conversation.
    Maybe so, but the limitations are much bigger than that.

    Unless an individual has been to all the countries on the list, then it really can only be subjective and at any given moment. 1200 people from Europe, Australia and North America isn't a decent enough N to make this any more than a throwaway news filler for CNN (1200? With an on-line poll? You've got to be joking in this day and age of social media).

    I've found good people and rude in every country I have visited. Painting a whole country with a tar brush is not a good idea. I try to take into account cultural differences, which travellers from some big countries I can think of can't or won't comprehend.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Maybe so, but the limitations are much bigger than that.

    Unless an individual has been to all the countries on the list, then it really can only be subjective and at any given moment. 1200 people from Europe, Australia and North America isn't a decent enough N to make this any more than a throwaway news filler for CNN (1200? With an on-line poll? You've got to be joking in this day and age of social media).

    I've found good people and rude in every country I have visited. Painting a whole country with a tar brush is not a good idea. I try to take into account cultural differences, which travellers from some big countries I can think of can't or won't comprehend.
    Okay, you've made yourself clear. You're not interested in discussing this.

    I hope some of our fellow touring cyclists who are interested will chime in and give us their impressions of cycling in different countries and the treatment they've received--good or bad.
    Last edited by Ekdog; 09-16-12 at 02:38 AM. Reason: Added the last three words.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
    Can't understand why Germany or USA are on the top list. I've been to a lot of places and those were two of the friendliest. It depends whether you go off the tourist circuits and actually encounter local people. All tourist locations can have their share of people who would rather be somewhere else. Airport people in any country can be pretty bad, especially Australia. Please don't rate us on our airports.
    I've never been to Germany, but I've met a lot of Germans on the road, most of whom were very friendly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    Okay, you've made yourself clear. You're not interested in discussing this.

    I hope some of our fellow touring cyclists who are interested will chime in and give us their impressions of cycling in different countries and the treatment they've received--good or bad.
    I've got my own opinions, but why attempt to denigrate or praise another country based on what really is limited experience of those countries, their customs and cultures?

    And what about the other 170 or so other countries in the world not on the list?
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ijsbrand's Avatar
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    For cyclists it doesn't really matter how friendly the people may be, when those people immediately become egotistical bastards once they step into a car. So, in my experience, Portugal doesn't score high on friendliness because too few people there ever seem to have taken a driving test.

  11. #11
    mev
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    I have only cycled in Russia, Germany, China, US, Poland on the "worst" list and Canada, New Zealand, Thailand on the "best" list.

    First, I'll say it is pretty subjective and depends a lot on the roads chosen in those particular countries. For example, I've ridden on some roads in Canada with high speed traffic, not much shoulders and hence traffic that was rude. Other roads in Canada I cycled with lots of room and much better. In my travels in Canada, I liked routes I rode in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland best and I was least excited on my riding in Manitoba.

    Similarly, there is a pretty big variety in both roads and hence drivers in Russia. I spent five months cycling across and had some of the most challenging roads in European parts of Russia. However, there was a pretty big difference here between partially getting on the larger M7 type motorway and the small village roads. I had some of the best interactions with folks on the small roads and villages in Russia and hence would be surprised to find this on the rude list.

    Poland was challenging and again road choice definitely paid a role. It was in Poland that I first saw roads with right shoulder that was routinely used by cars to veer right to allow oncoming traffic to pass. The little roads in Poland we saw were occasionally pretty beat up. Overall, my experience in Poland would have put it in the rude category, but that is likely my experience.

    I found a noticeable style difference between China and Thailand, with drivers in China being much more aggressive. This was consistent across the country and hence I'd probably concur with that difference. However, again I got a sense of China having a reasonable variety. (I only rode 4000km from Urumqi to Beijing; and also ~200km in Yunnan - but even in this was a reasonable variety).

    My routes in Germany were pretty straightforward and hence I'm surprised to find Germany on the rude list. In contrast, I visited the North Island of New Zealand over the holiday period. I found busy roads, not as big shoulders and a lot of traffic. I'm sure I didn't pick the best time of year, but my experience would have flipped Germany and New Zealand.

    Three countries I cycled quite a bit but not on this list are Ukraine, Australia and India. Australia is another country with a reasonable variety between roads/traffic around the larger metro areas and in the outback. I spent almost all my time in the outback and would put my experiences in Australia in the less rude group (less than New Zealand), though it would also depends on roads chosen. India I would put as in-between China and Thailand. One needs to keep alert, particularly around major metro areas - but there is a certain rhythm to it all (Vietnam similar though with different rhythm). Ukraine was a country where road infrastructure we saw was on average worse than Russia and drivers at least as aggressive. It would depends on road choices and parts seen but I would have substituted Ukraine for Russia on the more rude list.

    I do think there are differences in the road conditions, type of traffic and drivers/riders and could feel contrasts between India/China/Thailand/Vietnam/Cambodia for example in my cycle travels. However, some of the larger countries on this list in particular e.g. Russia/China/USA/Canada (and Australia/India) have got quite a bit of variety within them so it would be difficult to put them into a single bucket.

  12. #12
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    The statement is so non-specific that I wouldn't have a clue what to make of it. Personally I've always found that regardless of where I travel on business - when money is no object - people are PAID to be polite to me. So what does that mean?

    Every country has poor sections where you might take your life in your hands just walking down the street and many countries have vacation destinations and guided tours that effectively isolate tourists from actually interfacing with the population at large.

    Then there are cultural differences like you might find between NewYorkers and people living in Toyoko where 'rude' take completely different forms.

    So what was the baseline reference used to define 'travelers' , 'polite' and 'rude'?

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    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    One of the things that I like most about cycle touring is that people are generally more helpful, open and friendly than when I am a regular tourist.

    IOW, that list probably will not apply to us.

  14. #14
    mev
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    Looking at the original poll, I'd agree that it likely doesn't have much relevance to cycle touring. My response above was more on aggressiveness of driving on roads I traveled which is a small subset.

    I took a look through my "favorites" photos of a Russian trip and have one photo of a busy M7 motorway and more than 20 photos saved of various interactions with locals. It is that interactions with locals, almost all off the beaten tourist track, that I remember more. At end of each day of riding we'd have what I called our "water ritual", which is going into local village and finding place to fill up on water for evening camping. That was one of my favorite times because of interactions with locals.

    Out of ~100 nights, I can think of only one time where we didn't receive friendly welcome, either on the street or knocking on a door. I attribute that one time to a case of mistaken identity. A religious group had been cycling across, spreading their message, shortly before we came. The religious group had also been on local TV. On the one day after that, local villagers saw us in bike helmets knocking at door for some water - and turned away. It took two or three before we were able to fill up. Aside from that day, we received friendly and sometimes very friendly welcome and conversations.

    Also it wasn't a case of rich or poor as many of these rural areas were fairly poor.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    The statement is so non-specific that I wouldn't have a clue what to make of it. Personally I've always found that regardless of where I travel on business - when money is no object - people are PAID to be polite to me. So what does that mean?

    Every country has poor sections where you might take your life in your hands just walking down the street and many countries have vacation destinations and guided tours that effectively isolate tourists from actually interfacing with the population at large.

    Then there are cultural differences like you might find between NewYorkers and people living in Toyoko where 'rude' take completely different forms.

    So what was the baseline reference used to define 'travelers' , 'polite' and 'rude'?
    I'm not interested in the poll. I'd find your ​experience and opinions much more interesting.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mev View Post
    Looking at the original poll, I'd agree that it likely doesn't have much relevance to cycle touring. My response above was more on aggressiveness of driving on roads I traveled which is a small subset.

    I took a look through my "favorites" photos of a Russian trip and have one photo of a busy M7 motorway and more than 20 photos saved of various interactions with locals. It is that interactions with locals, almost all off the beaten tourist track, that I remember more. At end of each day of riding we'd have what I called our "water ritual", which is going into local village and finding place to fill up on water for evening camping. That was one of my favorite times because of interactions with locals.

    Out of ~100 nights, I can think of only one time where we didn't receive friendly welcome, either on the street or knocking on a door. I attribute that one time to a case of mistaken identity. A religious group had been cycling across, spreading their message, shortly before we came. The religious group had also been on local TV. On the one day after that, local villagers saw us in bike helmets knocking at door for some water - and turned away. It took two or three before we were able to fill up. Aside from that day, we received friendly and sometimes very friendly welcome and conversations.

    Also it wasn't a case of rich or poor as many of these rural areas were fairly poor.
    More than how people drive (there have been lots of threads about that before) I was more interested in how folks treated you when you were off of the bike.

    I most certainly would not want to arrive at a village after just after a pack of fanatical proselytizers rolled through on bikes. What a stroke of bad luck!

  17. #17
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    I can't help to think there are a lot of variables left out. I have not traveled much but I have spent a lot of time talking to people who live in other countries. It seems in some places your skin color can make a big difference on how you are treated (like here in the US a lot of people hate brown people, especially in a lot of southern states). Another big factor is how you are to the locals of the country you are visiting, if you do not show any respect to local culture or customs people will likely be more rude to you, if you show a genuine interest in their way of life I can not help but think they would be much friendlier. I am certain there are exceptions to this but we all know a blanket statement can not cover an entire nation of people.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Polls and surveys like that are often filled out by people who are disgruntled by some aspect of their travels and want to express those feelings. I've read heaps of reviews of hotels and campgrounds as a part of the trip we're on, and some of the places which have been rated rather poorly have actually been quite nice for us. It just didn't meet the needs of the people who felt compelled to give a review.

    It's hard to take things like that seriously.

    It also depends on perspective. Because Rowan and I have spent the last 3 years in an area where the largest town had a population of about 2000 people, when someone who lives in large city says that a certain village is small and quaint, I'm thinking less than 2000 people. And yet we've arrived at the "small quaint" village only to discover that it is a bustling city of, say, 10,000 people. Different perspectives.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
    Can't understand why Germany or USA are on the top list. I've been to a lot of places and those were two of the friendliest.
    I suspect that friendliness in the USA changes quite a bit based on: which cities you visit and whether you speak English or not. I've noticed that many Americans have a very low tolerance for people who don't speak English... Reminds me of a European friend's favorite joke:

    What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual.
    What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual
    What do you call someone who speaks only one language? American.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The article mentions language and culture.

    I would imagine that if you know only one language and are familiar with only one culture, you may indeed find it more difficult to travel through countries with different languages and cultures. And especially if you are not willing to be open to other languages or cultures, to learn them along the way.

    One of the things I enjoyed about cycling through The Netherlands and Germany was trying to learn some of the language, and here in France, I'm trying to expand my knowledge and use more French. It's interesting and enjoyable for me ... and I've discovered that as I make an effort, the people we encounter try to speak to us in English because they want to practice their English. Great fun, and often leaves everyone laughing.

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    As an American expat living in France, I can't understand how France tops the list of "rudest" countries. I don't think the French are more rude than anyone else, it's just a different culture here. If you act like a typical American and expect people to speak English, then of course, you won't be greeted very warmly (just like a French person in the U.S. who expected people to act and speak French would not be greeted very warmly there!). A little humility and an attempt to speak the local language goes a long way no matter where you go.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
    As an American expat living in France, I can't understand how France tops the list of "rudest" countries. I don't think the French are more rude than anyone else, it's just a different culture here. If you act like a typical American and expect people to speak English, then of course, you won't be greeted very warmly (just like a French person in the U.S. who expected people to act and speak French would not be greeted very warmly there!). A little humility and an attempt to speak the local language goes a long way no matter where you go.
    We are touring in France right now, and we've both been here 2 times before ... and we can't understand it either. But then, we do speak a little bit of French.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
    As an American expat living in France, I can't understand how France tops the list of "rudest" countries. I don't think the French are more rude than anyone else, it's just a different culture here. If you act like a typical American and expect people to speak English, then of course, you won't be greeted very warmly (just like a French person in the U.S. who expected people to act and speak French would not be greeted very warmly there!). A little humility and an attempt to speak the local language goes a long way no matter where you go.
    I speak three languages. French is not one of them, alas, so should I avoid cycling in France? I run into French tourists all the time here in Spain who ask for directions but don't speak a word of Spanish. I'm happy to communicate with them in English if they speak it, and if they don't, I use hand signals or draw them a map. No problem!

    We can hardy expect travellers to speak all of the European languages. That would mean only polyglots could tour through Europe!
    Last edited by Ekdog; 09-16-12 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Added a few words for clarification.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
    As an American expat living in France, I can't understand how France tops the list of "rudest" countries. I don't think the French are more rude than anyone else...
    I've been told by Frenchmen themselves that Parisians are to blame for France's bad reputation, as many tourists visit the capital, are treated rudely, and make a judgement about the whole country based on their experience there. If one were to visit other French towns and villages, they argue, they'd receive much better treatment.

    Do you agree?

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    I wonder if a poll was taken of customers in the tourism industry, where bicycle tourists would rank. Probably quite well, I suspect.

    One of the key ingredients to any interactions is having a friendly disposition when engaging with others.
    A smile, good humour (and not in the funny way), a sense of tolerance, and an effort to at least a few of the key words that say "please" and "thank you" go a long way. Even adopting a respectful bow is helpful.

    It's been excellent for us on this trip and others in the important areas of airport, restaurants and accommodation.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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