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23 Travelers Share the Most Shocking Things They Found When Visiting Foreign Countries

Photo via [Andy Baxley / Flickr Creative Commons](https://www.flickr.com/photos/46402338@N06/7182597176/)

Photo via Andy Baxley / Flickr Creative Commons

We all have our one-off stories from a crazy vacation in some foreign country and it might even be true. Well, probably not true, but creativity counts for something right? Don’t cry to us; these Reddit users gave us the ammunition. Please enjoy responsibly.


1. FOREIGN SERENITY
How truly polite the Japanese are. And how unbelievably clean the cities of Japan are.

2. HENCE THIN-NESS
Netherlands - Bicycles are everywhere and are a far more common mode of transport than cars… yet no one wears helmets.

3. EUROPEAN MODESTY
A Dutch person telling you “I speak a little English” is like Stephen Hawking saying “I know a little physics.” I really had no idea it could be so easy to move to another country where you don’t speak the language, and that’s because the Dutch are so amazing at English (unlike other countries, for example, TV here isn’t dubbed but instead in original language and just subtitled).

4. WARNING FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY
When we were in Taiwan, my sister and I were mobbed by schoolgirls on nearly every corner who wanted photos with us. They were totally fascinated by my sister’s blonde hair and my curly hair. I had never really considered that Asian people who have never left their country might have never seen any hair types besides straight and black before.

5. OUTRAGE
Germany, how dare you charge for ketchup?

6. HEHE
Paris is a fucking shithole.

7. ADRIAN!
I lived in Japan for a year. The satellite radio at my school had a channel called “Rokki” that played the Rocky theme song on a loop 24:7.

8. STILL, WEAR YOUR SEATBELT
I got laughed at by a taxi driver in Romania for putting my seatbelt on.

9. VIRGINITY LOST
The first time I experienced falling snow was when I was in Paris at the age of 20. I LOST MY SHIT. Squealing and had a ball. Everyone probably thought I was crazy but for me it was magical and amazing.

10. NON-GMO
How small all of the fruit was in England. One apple in the US is like two UK apples. I went through a lot of apples.

11. NO SECRETS IN THE BIG APPLE
When I went to New York I couldn’t get over how familiar everything looked on my first day there. I must have seen way more films and TV shows filmed in Manhattan than I realized, but pretty much everywhere looked exactly as I expected it to.

12. SOCIALISM’S SECRETS
Swedish babies are hardcore. And people are awesomely chill and friendly. In mid-January, it was knee-deep snow everywhere, yet in Stockholm it was pretty common to see parents enjoying a drink at a cafe, with a queue of prams outside in the snow.

The babies are wrapped up heavily yes, but they are fully comfortable leaving them outside like that. No fears over child-thievery, or worries about the cold. These kids are brought up to be metal right from the word go. It’s awesome.

I imagine if you tried that in the UK (or especially US) there’d be hysteria and child services would relieve you of your parenting.

13. GUNS BECAUSE AMERICA
I went to a gun shop in Texas in a large town. It was midweek. I couldn’t believe how crowded the place was. I mean I knew guns are a big thing in Texas but to imagine that there was this many people wanting a gun at one of several gun shops at this time of the week was very interesting.

Anyway, got a few happy snaps with some giant firearms.

14. CASH PLEASE
How corrupt the police force is in Mexico.

15. SICK MINDED
Siem Reap, Cambodia: Teenaged girl feigning tears approaches us asking for “milk money” for her baby. I look at the baby in her arms, and it is that unmistakable bluish/white/purplish shade that indicates it is clearly dying. We continue on our way and eventually see another girl doing the same thing, then another, and another. After the fourth one we finally realized: even though it was a different girl each time, it was always the same fucking baby. They just hand the poor thing over from one to the next to keep the scam going. I’m 100% convinced that baby was dead by the end of the week.

16. LADY LUCK
When I visited Hollywood, I couldn’t believe how disgustingly dirty it was, and how unsafe I felt! It may just have been that I was unlucky enough to experience a couple of crazy incidences in my first two nights, but it definitely wasn’t all the glitz and glamour that I was expecting.

17. THE MORE YOU KNOW
Spotted a Ferris Wheel & Resort surrounding a reservoir in Afghanistan. Wasn’t prepared for that at all.

18. WHY IT’S HARD TO BECOME A CITIZEN
Canada - that the friendly and polite stereotypes were actually incredibly true in my experiences (I loved it!), the weather still shocked me even though I knew Canada got cold - until I experienced 2 Canadian winters I could never have even understood what that type of cold felt like. Other things: the amount of amazing squirrels, Canada’s rampant marijuana culture (I’d heard of BC bud, but I didn’t expect to smell weed every time I went outside somewhere).

19. LOCKER ROOM STYLE
In South Korea there is no separate shower in the bathroom. The showerhead sprays directly on the floor and there is a drain in the corner of the room.

20. EFFING DÖNER THOUGH…
Seriously how good a fucking Döner is. I grew up in Germany but I never got to have a Döner until I visited family. Guys why are they not available in the US yet? There’s a fortune to be made.

21. BUT MOM IT’S JUST LIQUID BREAD
People seem to drink beer all the time in the Czech Republic. Our local guide said that sometimes workers will have a few beers for lunch and then go back to work, calling it “liquid bread” or something like that.

22. EVERYBODY POOPS
Hanoi, Vietnam: Sweet-looking old woman (looks like late 80s, but was probably younger) shuffles up to a street corner where we’re waiting to cross the street. She leans her back against a sturdy tree right next to us, looks me directly in the eye and while maintaining eye contact lifts up her dress and starts to take a massive shit against the base of the tree. Even cracks a little smile mid-process.

23. GMO
How obese USA is. As a first world country, it is fucking disgusting to see.

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