Fun facts about 130 countries – and 9 fun fakes (part 2)

As the title suggests, this is part two of the list of fun facts about 130 countries. (Here’s part one.) This one is a bit more difficult: There are only three fake facts in this post. Can you find them without resorting to Google?

Thirty percent of the residents of Monaco are millionaires.

Mongolia’s population density is just two people per square kilometer, making it the most sparsely populated nation on Earth.

The oldest, continuously used institution of higher learning is the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Morocco, which has been operating since the year 859 CE.

An estimated 45% of the population in Mozambique is younger than 15.

In October 2005, Myanmar moved its capital city (and thousands of surprised staffers) from Yangon to Naypyidaw, 186 miles (300 kilometers) north, which the government built in secret in a mere four years.

After its independence in 1990, Nambia became the first country in the world to include environmental protections in its constitution.

Nepal generates 92% of its energy from hydroelectric plants.

There are more bicycles in The Netherlands than people.

In their 2001 census, more than 53,000 New Zealanders marked their religion as “Jedi,” making it the second most popular religion in the country (at the time) and the highest per capita of Jedis in the world. By 2006, a disturbance in the Force caused the number of Jedis in New Zealand to drop to just over 20,000.

Nicaragua’s military accidentally invaded Costa Rica in 2010, due to an error on Google Maps.

Nearly four-fifths of Niger is desert, making it one of the hottest countries in the world. It’s often referred to as the “Frying Pan of the World.”

Though exact records aren’t available, the city of Igbo Ora, Nigeria is famous for having the highest instances of twins in the world, at roughly 158 sets of twins per 1,000 births. (The U.S. has 33 sets of twins per 1,000 births.) There’s no empirical evidence to explain this phenomenon, but there’s a theory that a local yam may be stimulating women’s’ ovaries to release eggs from both sides.

Most North Korean households have a government-issued “radio” which literally cannot be turned off (a hard line delivers the signal, not over-the-air broadcast, to keep foreign agents from listening in). Mercifully, one can turn down the volume.

Norway’s army includes a highly decorated penguin: Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III.

You need special permission from the government, and a very good reason, in Oman if you want to paint your house/building any color other than white.

The Edhi Foundation in Pakistan has held the title of “world’s largest volunteer ambulance organization” since 1997, according to Guinness World Records. They run a 24-hour emergency ambulance service, shelters for the homeless, free health care, drug rehabilitation, orphanages, adoption services, and disaster relief both at home and abroad.

Panama City, the capital of Panama, is the only city in the world with a natural rain forest within its boundaries.

More than 850 languages are spoken on Papau New Guinea

Here’s a non-fact that’s nevertheless repeated on many travel blogs: It is NOT true that in Paraguay “pistol dueling is still legal as long as both parties are registered blood donors.”

La Rinconada, Peru is the highest permanent human settlement in the world, sitting at an elevation of 16,700 feet (5,100 meters) above sea level.

The people of The Philippines are crazy about social media, but they are even crazier about texting. It’s estimated that Filipinos collectively send about 400 million text messages per day. That’s roughly 142 billion texts per year, which is more than the U.S. and Europe combined.

In Poland, it’s still common for men to (very lightly) kiss a woman’s hand on special occasions, like a first meeting, their name day and so forth. Depending on the situation, it’s considered an act of respect, sympathy and/or friendship.

Portugal was the first country in the world to decriminalize all drugs in 2001 and has since seen a dramatic decrease in overdose deaths, new HIV cases and incarceration for drug offenses.

Qatar’s popular camel races now feature robot jockeys. Historically, camel jockeys were small children, but this was finally banned in 2005, due to the danger to the children, who were often the victims of child trafficking from poorer countries, and human rights abuses.

Romania and Chad have the exact same national flags. Legend has it that the two countries didn’t discover this coincidence until the first modern Olympics in 1896.

In Russia they play a form of golf (seems more like croquet to me, but whatever) using helicopters. The pilot must single-handedly fly the helicopter while wielding a giant, 22-pound mallet, which they use to bop a three-foot diameter ball through a course made of snow.

Rwanda has the highest percentage of women in parliament in the world (61.3%).

Saudi Arabia has more cars per capita than any country in the world, averaging 3.6 cars per person.

Senegal has a lake that is naturally pink.

Singapore was “granted” independence against its will in 1965, when Malaysia expelled it from its federation.

There are 10,000 beekeepers in Slovenia. The country’s population is just over two million, so there are five beekeepers for every 1,000 people.

South Africa has three capital cities.

Almost 20% of men in South Korea wear makeup. Also, even well-groomed beards are considered slovenly and gross.

The Spanish national anthem has no words.

Sri Lanka was the first county in the world to have a female prime minister.

The pyramid field of Nuri, Sudan

Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt.

Sweden has 267,570 islands, the most of any country in the world.

Switzerland has the world’s longest staircase: 11674 steps, 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometers) long, and a vertical incline of 5,476 feet (1,669 meters).

Taiwan hosted the first video game world championships in 1983, including “Donkey Kong,” “Pac-Man,” and an obscure game called “Colonize America,” which was never released in the U.S. for obvious reasons.

The Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 in Tanzania was the shortest war in history, lasting only 38 minutes. (Some sources claim 40, 43 or 45 minutes.)

The full name of Bangkok, Thailand is “City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Vishvakarman at Indra’s behest.”

It’s still technically illegal to wear the iconic fez hat in Turkey. The hat was banned in the 1920s, because newly elected Prime Minister Mustafa Kemal Atatürk felt it was too closely associated with the Ottoman Empire and he felt the best path forward for Turkey was to westernize the country.

The licensing of Tuvalu’s popular internet country code “.tv” brings in 10% of the country’s annual revenue.

The United Arab Emirates holds so many world records, and still more on the horizon, that Guinness World Records has an office in Dubai.

The people of the United Kingdom collectively drink more than 60 billion cups of tea every year.

Almost 100% of Uruguay’s energy comes from renewable resources.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

Angel Falls in Venezuela is the tallest waterfall in the world, at 3,212 feet (979 meters).

The first internet cafe in the world was in Vietnam.

Thirty-two percent of Zambia is national parks.

The first president of Zimbabwe, elected in 1980, was President Banana. After two presumably insufferable years, a law was passed prohibiting citizens from making fun of his name.

To see the three fake facts in this post, keep scrolling.








Saudi Arabia has more cars per capita than any country in the world, averaging 3.6 cars per person.

Taiwan hosted the first video game world championships in 1983, including “Donkey Kong,” “Pac-Man,” and an obscure game called “Colonize America,” which was never released in the U.S. for obvious reasons.

The first internet cafe in the world was in Vietnam.