101 Gobsmacking World Travel Facts

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FUEL YOUR WANDERLUST

The world is a weird and wonderful place with so much to discover. If you enjoy learning about the world to inspire you to travel to new and faraway places, and experience different cultures, this wander-list  of fascinating world trivia will satisfy that desire. 

After searching far and wide I’ve collated a plethora of random world trivia facts I’m going to share with you. Here you’ll find all sorts of interesting information on different countries, people, languages, food, wildlife, flying, tourism and so much more.

So let’s have some fun and dive into these 101 gobsmacking world travel facts to fuel your wanderlust and thirst for knowledge.

101 Gobsmacking world travel facts

Places

1. Firstly, how many countries are there in the world?

There is no straight forward answer to this. 

If you define all places that have land, population and government as a country, then including independent territories, colonies and observer states, the total countries in the world is 249.

2. But the United Nations only recognises 195 of these countries.

3. Some of the countries not recognised by the UN include the Republic of China (Taiwan)Northern Cyprus, Western Sahara, and Transnistria.

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Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus
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Taipei, Taiwan

4. The largest country, area-wise, is Russia, which is 17,098,242 square kilometres.

5. Furthermore, Russia covers a staggering 12 timezones.

6. Ethiopia follows a different calendar 7 to 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar which is used throughout most of the world.

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St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

7. The Ethiopian millennium was 11 September 2007.

8. The Vatican City, a landlocked country in Rome, Italy, is the smallest country in the world. 

9. 800 People live in Vatican city, which is just over 100 acres.

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Vatican City

10. Canada has the most lakes in the world, with over 3 million lakes.

11. Nigeria has the most deforestation in the world, having lost half of its primary forest.

12. The national anthem of Spain has no words.

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Lake Louise, Canada

13. In complete contrast the national anthem of Greece has 158 verses, making it the longest in the world.

14. The USA has the most volcanoes of any country, with 173.

15. But Indonesia which has 147, has the most active volcanoes with 76 that have erupted recently or likely to erupt again.

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Mt Merapi, Indonesia's most active volcano, last in June 2020

16. Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world.

17. Zalipie in Poland is a village where the houses are painted with beautiful flowers.

18. Libya is 99% desert, and the hottest place on earth is El Azizia, Libya, where it has reached 57.8 degrees celsius.

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Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

19. The place with the longest name in the world is Taumatawhakatangihanga-koauauotamateaturipukakapikimaung-ahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand, with 85 letters!

20. The whole of China follows Beijing time, even though the country covers 5 time zones.

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Taumata sign, New Zealand - wikipedia

21. There are currently 38 different local times in use around the world.

22. More people visit France than any other country in the world. 

23. Kiribati, however, is the least visited country.

24. There are 17 countries in the world with no rivers, including Malta, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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The Louvre Museum, Paris, France

25. NorwaySweden and France each have villages named with one letter, they are called Å, Ö and Y.

26. Sudan has more ancient pyramids than Egypt, built by the Kingdom of Kush.

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Pyramids of Meroë, Sudan

27. The Great Pyramid of Giza has 8 sides instead of 4, with a slight concave in the middle of each main side, which wasn’t noticed until the 1900’s. The other pyramids have 4 sides.

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Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

28. There is a city named Rome on every continent, except Antarctica. All roads really do lead to Rome.

29. There is a floating post office on Dal Lake, Srinagar in India.

30. Australia is the land of beaches, with over 10,000 beaches.

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Queensland, Australia

31. It has been known to snow in the Sahara Desert, most recently in January 2018.

32. The largest single rock in the world is in Western Australia, called Mount Augustus which is twice the size of Uluru (Ayres Rock) and covers an area of 4,795 hectares.

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Mt Augustus rock, Australia

33. The richest countries in the world measured by Gross National Income (GNI) are QatarSingapore and Luxembourg, according to this report.

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Doha, Qatar

34. The tiny country of San Marino, landlocked in Italy, has more cars registered than people. Their population is over 33,000.

35. Only two countries have the colour purple in their flags, Nicaragua and Dominica.

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San Marino

Languages

36. About 43% of the world’s people are bilingual.

37. Spanish is said to be the happiest language, with the most ‘happy’ words.

38. The Hawaiian language has 5 vowels and only 8 consonants, 13 letters in total, including the glottal stop.

39. The Khmer language of Cambodia has a whopping 74 letters, the biggest alphabet in the world.

40. Over 820 indigenous languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea.

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Papua New Guinea

41. French was England’s official language for 600 years, from 1066.

42. The oldest language still widely spoken in the world today is Tamil in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and many other countries, with approximately 78 million speakers. Tamil is 5,000 years old.

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Tamil newspaper

Flying

43. The longest commercial flight in the world has been Auckland to Doha, at 18 hours.

44. The oldest airline in the world still in operation today is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines of the Netherlands, since 1919.

45. Jet lag affects you more when you travel west to east.

46. You can lose up to two litres of water during a 10-hour flight.

47. Wonder why airplane food isn’t very tasty? Because our sense of taste and smell is reduced by up to 50% when flying.

48. All airport runways around the world are numbered according to compass bearings.

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Food and Drink

49. Japan grows square watermelons in boxes, which are more expensive than normal watermelons. 

50. The Margherita Pizza is said to be named after the once Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, and the unification of Italy with red, white and green toppings.

51. In Sweden, banana is often put on Pizza together with curry powder. 

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52. Up until 2011, beer was classified as soft drink in Russia.

53. In France it’s illegal for supermarkets to throw away food, so they must donate it or compost it.

54. Indonesia produces the most coconuts in the world.

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55. The most popular drink in the world after water, is tea, followed by coffee and then beer.

56. Bruges, Belgium, literally has beer running through the streets, in underground pipelines, built in 2016, with 2 types of beer.

57. 14 Billion espresso coffees are consumed in Italy each year.

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58. North Korea and Cuba are the only places you can’t buy Coca-Cola.

59. An unopened bottle of white wine found in a Roman tomb is 1,693 years old. It is the Speyer Wine Bottle, housed in a German museum. Wine anyone?

60. Dragon’s Breath Chilli Pepper can kill you if eaten. It was developed in the UK and can be used as a topical numbing anaesthetic alternative.

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Speyer Wine Bottle - wikipedia

61. The Corn Palace in Mitchell South Dakota, USA is decorated with murals and art designs all made of corn and grains.

62. Apple Pie wasn’t originally American, but was first made in England.

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The Corn Palace - wikipedia

Tourism

63. Tourism, began in 1760, when people first travelled for recreation, on the ‘beaten path’, enjoying established amenities.

64. There are 1121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, across all continents. The Taj Mahal is one of the most visited. The Palace of Versailles is another very popular site.

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Taj Mahal, Agra, India

65. The most popular is the Banks of the Seine River in Paris, France.

66. The cities with the most cultural attractions are Tokyo, with more than 8,800 places open to the public, followed by Paris, then London.

67. Paris, France, has the most museums in the world with almost 300.

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Tokyo temple, Japan

68. The most expensive hotel in the world is the Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, at US$100,000 per night, for the 2 storey villa.

69. The largest pool in the world is the Citystars Sharm El Sheikh pool in Egypt at over 23 acres.

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Las Vegas strip, USA

70. When admiring a statue of a person on a horse, take note of the horse’s legs – one leg up means the person died of wounds, both front legs up means they died in battle, all legs down means the person died of natural causes.

71. There are more than 1,200 water parks in North America.

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72. The biggest shopping mall in the world is Iran Mall in Tehran, a mega-complex of more than a million square metres.

73. The largest hotel, with the most rooms, is First World Hotel in Genting Highlands, Malaysia, with a total of 7,351 rooms.

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Genting Highlands, Malaysia

74. The largest cruise ship in the world is Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas, with 18 decks. 

75. It has robot bartenders to serve drinks.

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People

76. China and India have the biggest populations, with over 1.4 and 1.3 billion people respectively.

77. Indigenous Peoples, or First Nations, make up 6% of the world’s population.

78. There are 5,000 distinct first peoples.

79. Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050.

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80. About 30 million people in China live in underground caves, in Shanxi, Henan and Gansu provinces.

81. Two thirds of the people on earth have never seen snow.

82. Many playgrounds for the elderly are springing up around the world, especially popular in China and Spain.

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83. People in Finland engage in a mobile phone throwing competition, a national sport, held annually in Savonlinna.

84. Travel is romantic, as it promotes intimacy between a couple. 

85. Travel helps reduce stress and improve mental and physical health.

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Wildlife

86. Turtles live on every continent except Antarctica.

87. Elephants are the largest land animal and have the largest brain of all animals.

88. China owns all the pandas in the world and they rent them out.

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89. Polar Bears are the largest land predator.

90. Male giraffes know when to mate by head-butting the female in the bladder to make her urinate, then tasting it.

91. Koalas sleep up to 22 hours per day.

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92. French poodles are not French, but are from Germany.

93. New Zealand has a lot of sheep, 5.6 for every person, but there used to be many more.

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Matamata, New Zealand

Other world travel facts

94. There are 180 currencies in use around the world.

95. Which is the oldest currency in use? The British Pound.

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96. All countries use the metric system of measurement, except the USA, Myanmar and Liberia. UK uses both.

97. Taiwan has the fastest internet in the world.

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Taipei, Taiwan

98. There is a World-o-meter of the current world population ticking over constantly with births and deaths around the world.

99. The average person walks the equivalent of 3 times around the world in their lifetime.

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100. A yellow flower that smells like chocolate is found in Mexico and Southwest parts of USA. It’s called Berlandiera lyrata or Chocolate Daisy.

101. Lastly, there is a rainbow coloured river called Caño Cristales (Crystal Channel) in Colombia, with striking colours of yellow, red and green.

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Caño Cristales, Colombia - wikipedia

And that’s my gobsmacking travel facts.

I hope I’ve given you some travel inspiration, as well as plenty of trivia knowledge to impress your friends with.

Please leave any comments you may have below.

Cheers.

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