The world's most boring countries (by some measures)


Everyone has their own definition of what's boring and what isn't. Some people can be enthralled by board games while others couldn't think of a worse way to spend an evening. Same with food – someone's bland roast is another's rich meaty goodness.

Therefore, when deciding whether a destination is dull or not involves a high level of subjectivity. Unless, of course, you resort to Proper Hard Science and lay down the criteria you're using to define how boring somewhere is. So, we picked seven different measurements, to see which they define as the dullest country on earth…

The Maldives – flatness

It may have more than its fair share of extremely expensive overwater bungalows, but anyone coming to the Maldives for the mountain views is going to be disappointed. The highest peak on the Indian Ocean archipelago is a whopping 5.1 metres above sea level – with the somewhat dubiously-named Mount Villingili doubling as the fifth tee at the Shangri-la Villingili Resort's golf course.

The Maldives does have competition on the lack of elevation extremes dullness front, however – the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu is equally summit-averse, and weighs in with a maximum difference in height of about five metres too.

See also: The hardest thing to do in the Maldives? Meet a local

Mongolia – emptiness


Photo: Alamy

If you want to wander around for days without finding anyone to chat to, then Mongolia is the place for you. Those of us who are a little more sociable might find Mongolia's sheer emptiness a little more wearing, however. No country on earth has a lower population density, with just 3 million people spread out over an area of 1,564,100 square kilometres. That's just 1.9 people per square kilometre. Even Australia – which is third on the list with three people per square kilometre – is more densely packed-in than that. At the other end of the scale, Monaco has a whopping 18,589. Unsurprisingly, real estate there is somewhat pricier.

See also: Mongolia - stunning to behold, hard to photograph


Singapore – political stability


Photo: Alamy

In many ways, Singapore is far more fun than its reputation suggests – it's arguably the greatest city in the world for cheap eats, there's loads to do, and it regularly dreams up startling attractions like the Gardens By The Bay. But on the measure of political stability – the World Bank and rate it as the most stable country on earth just ahead of New Zealand and Liechtenstein – there's not a lot of excitement to be had. But this is clearly one of those measures where dull is rather desirable.

See also: 10 things you didn't know about Singapore

Kuwait – no alcohol

<i>Kuwait City</i>

Kuwait City. Photo: Alamy

If your idea of fun is a good night out on the town, aided by several delicious alcoholic beverages, then many Middle Eastern countries are going to be disappointing. In Qatar, the booze is strictly limited to top hotels, while in the UAE the definition of hotel is fairly loose so drinks are readily available at a price. But others are far more strict. In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait there are stiff penalties for buying or selling alcohol, so you can't even get a drop at the hotel bar. Brunei is another particularly hardline destination – but you can bring in duty free spirits as long as they're for your own use.

North Korea – lack of diversity


Photo: Alamy

Another possible measure of a country's interestingness is diversity – how homogenous is the population? Well, according to a study by Alberto Alesina in the Journal of Economic Growth, of the countries he could find data for, North Korea was the most ethnically homogenous. Japan and South Korea followed shortly afterwards. At the other end of the scale were Uganda, Liberia and Madagascar – probably due to the number of different tribal identities present. North and South Korea also had the lowest diversity of languages, while Yemen and Somalia had the least variation in religion.

See also: How to visit the world's most isolated country

Kiribati – weather


Photo: Alamy

If you're the sort of person who likes distinct seasons, with coats in winter, shorts in summer and varying layers in between, then equatorial climates are unlikely to thrill you too much. The only thing that changes in many equatorial countries is the amount of rainfall.

The temperature variance in the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati is astoundingly dull even by equatorial standards, however. Its average high temperatures range from 31.3 degrees in January to 31.8 degrees in October.

Things get a bit more wild in the average low temperatures, though – they go from 24.5 degrees in January to 25.7 degrees in August. A whole 1.2 degree difference! Cor!

See also: Kiribati - the Pacific's hidden paradise

Mexico – working hours

Despite top-drawer spicy food, lavishly colourful festivals on a daily basis and rich lashings of cultural heritage, Mexico's not quite as much fun if you have to work there. A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that the average Mexican spends 2255 hours at work per year – the equivalent of about 43 hours per week. At the other end of the scale, German workers put in just 1363 hours per year. Costa Rica and South Korea were also at the slog-yourself end of the spectrum.

See also: The ultimate first-timer's guide to Mexico

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See also: The world's ten most divisive foods