Different countries and different cultures call for different greetings. Learning about how people greet each other during your adventures can be fun, it can also avoid some embarrassing moments if you're well aware of different cultures and forms of communication.
If you're a wanderer at heart or if you just want to be culturally competent, go ahead and bookmark this page right away.
Arab countries: It's a common practice in the Middle Eastern countries to greet each other with a handshake. Men may follow this with kissing cheeks. If you want to showcase a heartfelt greeting, you can place your palm on the person's shoulder as you greet.
As a practice, physical contact between the opposite genders in public is avoided. Hence, it's preferable to not offer a handshake to the opposite sex.
Native greeting: Asalaam Alaykum
China: The Chinese tend to be slightly on the conservative side. When meeting someone for the first time, they usually just smile and nod their heads or shake hands if it is a formal situation.
Native greeting = Nǐ hǎo
France: When you meet someone, you have three options - shake hands with a stranger, kiss friends or family or simply say 'bonjour.' It is usually customary in France; too often to kiss on both cheeks, both upon meeting and leaving.
Native greeting = Bonjour
Greece: If you've known someone long enough you can embrace or kiss each other on both cheeks and pat men on the back or at shoulder level when greeting each other. Shaking hands firmly is the most appropriate greeting when meeting someone for the first time.
Native greeting = Yassas
India: 'Namaste' is a Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use in India. It is performed by pressing hands together towards the midriff portion. Hugs are usually exchanged for casual greetings.
Native greeting = Namaste
Japan: In Japan, the common way to greet someone is to bow down, as opposed to a casual handshake or a hug. Bow differs by gender - Men bow with their hands at their sides, whereas women bow with their hands touching their thighs.
Native greeting = Konnichiwa
Spain: Most of the Spanish-speaking countries are usually tactile - they're connected with a sense of touch. They hug, exchange pecks and hold hands most of the time. In a more formal situation, they would usually shake hands.
Native greeting = Hola
Thailand: In Thailand, it is customary to press the hands together, hold them as if offering prayer and slightly bow down to the one you're greeting.
Native greeting = Sawasdee ka (for girls to speak)
Sawasdee krab (for guys to speak )
USA: In the USA, greetings are quite casual – a handshake, a smile, and a hello will do just fine. In this country, it is unusual for men to kiss when they greet each other.
Native greeting = hello
UK: On meeting someone for the first time, British generally shake hands if it’s a formal situation, or even just smile at each other. If it’s a friend or casual acquaintance, they kiss on the cheek or hug.
Native greeting = hello
In case you forget all of the above, just remember to smile - it will get you out of most troubles and the best gesture to greet anyone at anywhere.