Cultural Quirks I Noticed Traveling The World

TravelHardcoreTravel9 Comments

Like us?

A lighthearted post today. When you travel the world and live in different countries for an extended time, you come across different customs, cultures and habits. I find the little things that are different the most interesting.

So here’s some quirks I noticed from different countries.


In Colombia they sell most milk in bags. They have the cartons too, but sometimes you have to look for them. The bags aren’t practical at all, but apparently it’s supposed to keep the milk fresh for a longer time.

bag of milk

Just a bag of milk


In the Philippines, people point by pouting their lips in that direction.


It’s that way!


Thai people show respect whenever they pass a temple or a shrine. This might not sound so surprising but you’ll notice it at unexpected moments as well. Like when a bar girl will greet the little shrine in the strip club after shooting pingpong balls from her vagina (yes, they have shrines inside the strip bars).


Sorry God, for what I’m about to shoot out of my vagina


In Indonesia, if you’re white, you’ll get a lot of attention from the locals. Especially in second tier cities. Many Indonesians have flat noses and they admire the big caucasian noses. To the point that some pregnant women will walk up to you and ask you to rub their pregnant bellies. They believing it may cause the baby to have a beautiful nose just like you.

Man touching pregnant woman's stomach, cropped portrait --- Image by © Takahiro Igarashi/Corbis

Rub my belly, so my baby looks less like my husband!


For a country with such work ethics and strict social protocols, Japanese people seem to be very casual about they sex toy requirements. When I was in a 7-store high sex shop in Tokyo (each floor had it’s own theme), the customers were actually using shopping carts. They were buying sex dolls and dildos as if they were having a stroll in the vegetable aisle of the local super market.

fake vaginas

Fifth floor: The fake vagina floor


Brazilians are famous for knowing how to party and dance. The girls’ dance moves can get very sexual. Especially when they are playing “funk” (a type of Brazilian reggaeton). One of these dance moves is just squatting on the dance floor and moving their hips whilst sitting down. One night when I was out in Rio, suddenly the club looked half empty. Nearly every girl was doing this squat move to a specific song.

To get an idea of this music style and the dance moves, check the video below. If you’ve never been in Brazil, it may sound horrible; it’s an acquired taste.

Dominican Republic

DR girls take the weirdest pictures for their Facebook or online dating profiles. There are two categories. One is where they show their asses in a not-so-subtle way: slightly bent-over and while looking back over their shoulders at the camera. The second one, I never figured out; they squat down next to objects in their house, like a plant, a painting or even an electrical outlet. Example below. I count it as a favela point.


What’s this pose??


In Myanmar it’s considered to be attractive when girls put yellowish tree bark paste on their face. They call it “Tanaka”. While some girls draw pretty patterns on their faces, this appears to be completely optional. Most girls just slap two yellow stains on their cheeks and are set for the day.


“I can’t leave the house out without some tree bark on my face”

Noticing these kind of small differences, is why I love traveling. You can never get these experiences and observations by reading, watching pictures or YouTube videos, etc. You have to actually be in a country to get to know the little things.

What are some the cultural quirks you experienced in a country or while traveling? I really find these interesting. Share them in the comments!


Like us?
About the Author


I’m TravelHardcore, but people simply call me THC, although I don’t smoke. I speak several languages and suffer from insomnia. I left a well paying job, stuck in a miserable office to go out and see the world. I simply live for adventure. Cheers.

  • Constipated Canuck

    Girls in Ukraine going up on their toes for pics when they aren’t wearing heels, and even sometimes when they are wearing heels.

    In ukraine they get botox in their upper lip. They think it’s beautiful when the upper lip is bigger than the lower. To me it looks swolen, like someone punched them in the face.

    • It seems every country has it’s photo pose. In Brazil it’s one hand in the hip, and their heads tilted so they can show of their hair. Ive seen 3 year old girls doing it, copying their moms 🙂

  • jazz

    Funny about the dom rep. In colombia many products are packed in a bag to reduce packaging costs. You really think it woukd keep the milk fresh for a longer time?

    • I was wondering why they did it, so I googled it. 1 min research, so not conclusive. Cheap packaging makes more sense

  • DerWeltenbummler!

    This post reminds me that I should really start to write down the cultural traits when I notice them on my travels…I always notice them but then forget…until I return.

    One of the biggest cultural traits is the concept of time.

    Take Spain for example. When I lived in Spain it took me a while to get used to their mealtimes. I wasn’t used at all to have dinner so late…but began to enjoy it after a while.

    Breakfast: 7-9 a.m. (desayuno)
    Lunch: 2-3 p.m (almuerzo)
    Dinner: 8:30 – 10 p.m (cena)

    Spaniards also start to hit the clubs really late. Most Spaniards don’t go before 1am, whereas in other countries clubs are nearly closing at that time (take Britain, for example).

    Oh, and don’t expect them to meet up on time.

    What surprised me in Italy is that you sometimes you only get the piece of meat for your second main course in a restaurant (no side dish!). I found it really awkward to eat just the meat on its own.

    If you want to really irritate an Italian, go to a fancy Italian restaurant and order a “Pizza Hawaii”, because this is the best pizza ever!!!
    Say this with a serious tone and nod your head slightly while you say it. Watch their reaction, priceless!

    Most Italian and French girls are dressed stylish. They really know how to dress well. Big turn on.

    On all my travels I have never met an Irish guy/girl who has refused my offer to have a drink…oh yes, and never ever try to compete with them, you’ll lose!

    • Great observations DWB. Yeah, you have to write these down or you’ll forget about them. I spend a while living in Italy, they have so many gems (the hand gestures, their coffee habits, etc.) I concur the girls can dress well.

    • BaroiKalimotxo

      Yes, easieast way to troll Italians at food joints is to order “ranch” sauce for your pizza (disgusting) or asking to replace the mozzarella from your salad with Gorgonzola. You’ll see the boiling point starting to escalate.

      In Switzerland a barbecue means only grilling sausages, do not expect any other meat cuts.
      Also in Switzerland, meeting for coffee is restricted to an unwritten time frame of 25 minutes roughly… after that time, no matter how good the conversation is going, it stops and people split each on their own way.

      In Catalonia, they celebrate their own Valentines: St Jordi. Usually, boys have to give roses to their sweethearts while girls give a book to theirs.

  • Evan

    Would be cool to hear 20s take on Poland, Mexico, Romania, and other spots cultural quirks…

  • BaroiKalimotxo

    About milk bags, it’s true.. they do it in Central America and other parts of Latin America; it’s supposed to be for fresh milk meant for immediate consumption. (Since the hot weather can spoil it, and it’s more economical than glass bottles).