It's easy to fall out of touch with the world when you aren't a frequent flyer. Without visiting countries, it's difficult to know what's fact and what's fiction. You can read books and learn about countries from there, but with misinformation and limited data from books and the internet, traveling is incomparable for learning about a country. The lack of awareness about countries throughout the world leads to the rise of falsehoods that are absurd by nature.
Although some misconceptions are understandable, some are utterly ridiculous. Including a belief that Africa is a country to French women don't shave their armpits, the list of fictitious beliefs about different countries in the world is seemingly endless. Raheel Farooq said, "Misunderstanding is generally simpler than true understanding, and hence has more potential for popularity." It's easy to believe untruths about a country. It is difficult, however, to do research and get the facts! Trying to guess who started a widespread misconception is like trying to say "what came first, the chicken or the egg?"
Whether you call them misconceptions, misbeliefs, falsehoods, or hearsay, there are at least 20 things about different countries that people actually believe (and 5 that are 100% true).
25 False: Africa Is A Country
Even in this day and age, there are still people who believe that Africa is a country and not the continent that it is. Just by glancing at a world map, you'll soon understand that the world is divided into seven continents.
If Africa were a country, it would be the largest country in the world—by far!
Most maps are distorted and make it seem as if Greenland is as big as Africa. In actuality, Africa is more than fourteen times larger than Greenland says the website of blogs.scientificamerican.com. Africa is frequently discussed for its impoverished population, but did people think the discussion was about a country?
24 False: Kobe Beef Is The Highest Quality Beef Found In Japan
The juiciest and most succulent kinds of beef are indescribably superior to their counterpart. Kobe beef provides a delicate, savory bite that has comparable texture to freshwater salmon. Contrary to popular belief, Kobe beef is not the highest quality beef found in Japan.
Hidagyu beef might be the highest quality beef in the world.
The website of foreign2food.com describes Hidagyu beef, detailing high-grade marbling and requirement for a 5 grade (excellent) texture rating. The more popular Kobe beef is often considered the best quality. Although each person has different taste preferences, Kobe beef may not even be a second-tier Wagyu or Matsusaka beef in Japan.
23 False: Water Drains In The Opposite Direction In Australia
As referenced in the animated series The Simpsons, there is a belief that water drains in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere and Australia. Since storms swirl in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere, it is possible that water would also swirl in the counterclockwise direction.
People have put this theory to the test, and the results are mixed.
Toilets and sinks are often designed with curves to make them flush in a particular direction. Chances are, it's the design of your toilet or sink and not which hemisphere your plumbing fixture exists in that is influencing its drain.
22 False: Egypt Is Just A Desert
It's easy to visualize Egypt as this vast, dry desert covered in pyramids and cacti. Growing up, many of us watched shows such as The Emperor's New Groove, which imagined Egypt as a place with ancient architecture and little to no water. Egypt's heat is extreme during most of the year. Egypt is, however, so much more than a desert.
Cities such as Cairo and Alexandria have modern buildings and are built next to bodies of water.
Alexandria is located next to the Mediterranean Sea and Cairo is next to the Nile river. As long as the Nile's water level stays high, Cairo will remain a prosperous city.
21 False: Russian Tourism Is Not Booming
The notion that tourism in Russia is not booming is a falsehood. According to Russian Beyond, tourism has seen the "highest number of travelers since the fall of the Soviet Union." One can go to St Basil's Cathedral, one of Russia's top tourist attractions; visit the Hermitage Museum, a museum with over 3 million items; or go hiking near Lake Baikal, Earth's oldest and deepest lake.
People can assume that Russia is a cold and gloomy place covered in snow.
Only specific regions of Russia, closer to the North, receive extreme snowfall in the winter and early fall seasons. In the summer, Russian temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 °F) and are usually between 20-30 degrees Celsius.
20 False: Visiting Norway Is An "Affordable Vacation"
Expect to spend upwards of 110 USD when traveling to Norway. Just about everything is more costly in Norway including water bottles, taxi fare, alcohol, and whatever else you'd buy on vacation.
The trips might not be worthwhile—there are plenty of places on Earth that are just as satisfying as Norway and are a fraction of the cost.
The website of lifeinnorway.net suggests that you buy all of your alcohol at a duty-free store and not at a regular liquor store in Norway. Taxes on wine bottles and beer are among the highest rates for Europe. Expect to pay 25% on alcohol purchases while vacationing in Norway.
19 False: India Is Entirely An Undeveloped Country
It's crazed, to say the least, to believe that there are only a handful of developed countries in the world. To be fair, there are many cities in India with extreme poverty levels and a lack of infrastructure.
There are, however, Indian cities such as Mumbai, India that contain numerous skyscraper buildings and the homes of India's wealthiest residents.
Mumbai, India is a financial center of India, and as reported by the website of economictimes.indiatimes.com, India saw more than 8.9 million foreign tourists in 2016. With tourism numbers like those, the country must have at least a few developed cities. To suggest that India is entirely an undeveloped country is a falsehood.
18 False: You Have To Gamble While In Las Vegas, United States
You don't have to gamble when visiting Las Vegas, United States; there are plenty of alternate options such as shows, restaurants, and taking a helicopter ride to tour the city.
Las Vegas is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States, but people seem to think its a place to visit exclusively for gambling.
Individuals are seen gambling in movies and other forms of media, which could be the source of the misconception, but in the end, it is asinine for anyone to think that gambling is the only activity in the Las Vegas, Nevada of the United States.
17 False: Developing Countries Are Worse Vacation Destinations
There's nothing wrong with wanting to visit developing countries. Forget the same old three-star Caribbean resort you've visited like ten times; you can take an affordable luxury vacation in South Africa and vacation with elephants. Upper-scale hotels in developing countries have wi-fi.
There are several advantages to visiting developing countries.
They can have warmer climates, they are often cheaper due to exchange rates, and they might not be a place you've visited before. Just like most other vacations, you'll be able to go jogging, bicycling, eat exotic foods, and have experiences unlike any you've had before.
16 False: African Countries Are Unsafe
It's a falsehood to suggest that African countries are unsafe. For some reason, people don't believe that African countries contain violence, poverty, dangerous animals, and poachers. Africa has the savannah, nonetheless, you have the option to not venture into dangerous regions and to avoid encountering wild animals.
However, regardless of if Africa has dangerous animals or not, it is absurd to draw into the notion that the entire continent Africa is unsafe. You may catch an unpleasant sunburn, but Africa has many resorts and spas that are worthwhile trips and are far from unsafe. If you're lucky, you'll make friends with a giraffe.
15 False: Hawaii Is A Country
Hawaii is a state in the United States. It's a volcanic state, but a state of the United States nonetheless. Why is it that people believe Hawaii and its 125 beaches are part of an independent country?
It's an independent state, but nowhere near an independent nation.
While in majestic resorts such as the Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort, you'll immerse yourself in the paradise think that nothing else matters. It's beneficial to meet new people and to have a blast on a tropical Honolulu adventure, but please, don't forget that Hawaii is part of the United States.
14 False: You Have To Visit Countries In Europe With A Group
Visiting countries in Europe with a group, especially for the first time, is not the best idea. You may want to visit certain landmarks and museums, but your friends want to shop and enjoy the nightlife of Europe. To get the most out of a Euro trip, visit the first time solo. You might wind up saving money and can see more places you want to look at.
Regardless of your gender and age, visiting Europe by yourself is recommended by most travel experts.
You can lose yourself in the markets of Venice, Italy and without friends, you are in control of everything.
13 False: Iceland Is An Icy Country
People mistakenly believe that Iceland is an icy country, and it's easy to understand why people think this. Iceland and Greenland are two neighboring countries that have unusual weather. What's strange is that Iceland is a mostly green country and Greenland is a predominantly icy country. If that's not antithetical then what is?
Greenland and Iceland are popular tourist destinations. Despite Iceland's high travel and other costs, Iceland is incomparable when considering hiking. Greenland is icy and frigid, yet the sunshine of summer can be pleasant for viewing icebergs and glaciers or for providing comforting sun rays while visiting the Uunartoq thermal spring.
12 False: The United Kingdom Is A Country
The United Kingdom is not a country even though many people from other parts of the world mistakenly believe so. England and Ireland are countries that are part of the United Kingdom.
Other countries that comprise the United Kingdom are Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
The landmark in this photo is of Big Ben, a Great Bell on a clock, which is part of the Palace of Westminster in London. It's a magnificent site that is part of the United Kingdom. If you don't live in Europe, it's understandable to make the mistake of thinking the United Kingdom is a country; you wouldn't be the first person to make the mistake.
11 False: The United States Is The Most Obese Country In The World
Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super Size Me is starring and directed by Morgan Spurlock. The film highlights America's obesity and how McDonald's is a major contributor. Eating McDonald's every day for a month may cause weight gain, but the United States is not the most obese country in the world.
In fact, it's only the eighth most obese country in the world.
The most obese countries ranked in order are Cook Islands, Qatar, Palau, Nauru, and Kuwait. Although the United States is not the most overweight country in the world, obesity remains to be an issue in need of attention.
10 False: People Of Ireland Are Non-English Speakers
English is considered a universal language and is spoken in most countries of the world. Not only is the English language used in Ireland, but it's also actually quite common. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that even though Irish Gaelic is the primary language of Ireland, only 17.09% of Irish people can speak it. According to the website of languageknowledge.eu, 97.51% of Ireland speaks English.
The hills and castles of Ireland are spectacular for sightseers. Head to a pub in Dublin for a pint of Guinness and enjoy life. Ireland is a worthwhile visit, and almost everyone speaks English.
9 False: French Women Do Not Shave Their Armpits
It's probably the most repugnant misconception on this list. A woman can choose how often, or if they ever, want to shave their armpit hair. Maybe it was a trend in France that caused this misbelief to surface. It would be difficult to find a man or woman who has armpit hair preferences.
It is entirely false to suggest that French women purposely do not shave their armpits.
French people will say that armpit hair is just as odious to French women as women from other countries of the world. Plus, what's the big deal about armpit hair? It protects the skin from bacteria and may absorb sweat to keep the body cool.
8 False: Canadians Only Care About Hockey
Grab the puck eh? The "Great White North" is not how it is depicted in movies. If you ask someone about Canada, you are far more likely to hear about maple syrup, hockey, and Justin Bieber rather than intriguing Canadian facts.
The country of Canada is bigger than the European Union, it has 10% of Earth's forests, and a Canadian invented basketball.
Also, the amount of snow is exaggerated. Cities like Vancouver, British Columbia have mild climates with little snowfall in the winter. The list of misconceptions about Canada is seemingly endless. "Eh" is not solely a Canadian term.
7 False: You'll Offend Japanese People If You Don't Learn Etiquette
Depending on whom you speak to, you may want to show proper etiquette towards people in certain countries. It can be assumed that travelers in Japan should be respectful, but if you didn't bow when a sushi chef did, it isn't the end of the world.
Of course, whenever possible, you should display Japanese etiquette such as removing your shoes when entering someone's home and not passing money to cashiers by hand.
In most cases, Japanese citizens can identify you as a tourist and won't be surprised when you forget to display common Japanese etiquette. However, it doesn't hurt to read about etiquette before vacationing in a foreign country.
6 False: Bali Is A Country
There is a common misconception that suggests the island of Bali is a country. Since it is separated from its country of Indonesia by land, it can feel like a different country at times. Bali is only one of Indonesia's 34 provinces and is not its own country.
Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia. Bali sees over 3 million tourists per year. According to the website of thejakartapost.com, Bali hopes to attract more 7 million tourists in the year 2018. They are increasing spending to about 100 billion Indonesian Rupiah to encourage more people to travel to Bali.