The Best Places for People Watching

I love people watching whenever I travel because by doing so you get to see how the locals live every day. Not only that, you also get to see how passersby (a.k.a. the tourists) behave. It is especially interesting when you see the two of them interact. Febby of Jalan2Liburan sometimes likes to watch other tourists while on the road, and it can often be a fun thing to do.

People watching also allows me to relax and enjoy my surrounding, taking my time, slowing down – that is always an important aspect of my travel. Beside Febby and I, our friend Noni of Nyonya Sepatu also loves people watching, don’t miss out read her experience on her blog.

If you love to people watch like us, here are some places where you can do just that.

The Hawker Centres of Asia

Whether you’re in Bangkok or Singapore or Penang, take a pick of its many hawker centres, have a meal there and take some time to enjoy your surrounding. Hawker centres are THE place where locals usually hang out, this is where people get their meal and where they meet up with friends and family. Whether it’s a crowd full of young people talking about their latest smartphone purchase or a group of grandpas taking careful sips of their coffee, hawker centres are the place to be for people watching.

TIP: Find a hawker centre that is near a local neighbourhood. There will be less tourists and more locals.

A hawker centre in Penang

Local Parks

This is definitely no surprise. Parks are so often used by people to relax, therefore the perfect place for people watching. I love hanging out at a local park, with a book in hand or usually eating my lunch while watching the people around me. From old couples bickering sweetly with each other to a group of girls practicing their cheer leading skills – it’s surprising what you can see at a local park.

Cheerleading practice

Old Towns

The old town of a place is a great place to do tourist watching. I love sitting at a cafe (preferably outdoor), and watching the weird things that tourists do (well, OK, this is a tourist watching other tourists thing – but come on, you’ve done this too right?!). It doesn’t have to always be the old town of a place, it can also be popular tourist attractions, like the Louvre – it’s amusing to see just how many silly poses you can see simultaneously here.

Found this man doing a headstand in Warsaw’s old town

Places of Worship

Be it the churches in Europe or the temples of Bali, places of worship are also a good place to do people watching. Here, you will find that people are not so rushed and you might even find some serenity and peace yourself. Comparing how people are in this setting in different countries is also interesting. For example, I found the churches in Europe to be quiet and calm, often locals would come and light a candle at their local church and then say a little prayer, afterwards they would go out, back into the craziness outside. It was a little different in Singapore, where the places of worship, the temples for instance, were just as crowded as the streets. There were so many people, and yet amidst the crowd, people could still pray and found their own version of peace, even if it was only for a few minutes.

TIP: Although there those famous, must visit places of worship (like Sagrada Familia, Notre Dame and Borobudur) don’t forget to also visit the smaller, more local places of worship too. You will be surprised in what you can see.

Depending on WHO you want to watch, the locals or the tourists, people watching is not only a great way to absorb your surrounding, but also a way to slow down while you travel. Apart from that, who knows, you could also spark a conversation with a local or a fellow tourist and become great friends!

Do you like people watching? Where do you like to do it?


#CeritaJalanAsik is a weekly travel theme where we share our travel stories based on a certain theme by Jalan2Liburan, Nyonya Sepatu and Dream Explore Wander. Check out our posts every Wednesday!

This week’s theme: People Watching

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