Countries That Are Bigger Than You Think

Countries That Are Bigger Than You Think

Last updated on January 20th, 2024 at 11:08 am

When you look at a world map, some countries seem massive, while others are minuscule. If you have never visited a country in person, you may be unaware of how expansive it is, despite its small size on a map.

Most everyone knows the largest country in the world is Russia. This country has a total land area of 6,601,665 mi².

When you compare Russia to other countries on a world map, it seems to engulf smaller land areas.

Today, we will be discussing some of the countries that are much larger than many people realize. You are going to be shocked when you see some of the country names on our list.

You will never look at them the same way again.

Countries That Are Bigger Than You Think

Countries That Are Way Bigger Than You Think

If you have never traveled the world, you are missing out on many countries that are absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and expansive.

The following are some countries people think are diminutive but are actually much larger.


When viewing a world map, Indonesia is one of those countries that is easy to miss because it looks much like a small archipelago.

What many do not realize is that Indonesia stretches as wide as the United States.

Indonesia is the fourth largest populated country in the world, coming in just under the United States in the fourth position.

Even more shockingly, Indonesia has 17,500 islands.

One island alone, Java, contains 140 million people. Visiting all 34 provinces in Indonesia is equivalent to visiting all 50 states in the US.

map of indonesia


Vietnam is another country people overlook on the world map because it appears so small. Most people consider Vietnam to be a small country because it gets unfairly compared to China.

If you could line up Japan and Vietnam on the world map, you would be surprised to see they both are very similar in land mass.

Vietnam is 127,881 mi², while Japan is 145,914 mi².

Vietnam has a population of 98.17 million as of 2021. There are 392 rivers in the country, and they are the largest exporter of cashews and black pepper.

vietnam map


Although Algeria is the largest country in Africa, many people think it is a smaller country because of its size on the map.

Believe it or not, Algeria is the 10th largest country in the world.

Only 12% of Algeria’s land is inhabited because of the Sahara Desert. Amazingly, around 90% of the country’s population resides in the northern coastal area.

While most people know this country speaks Arabic and Berber, many are shocked to learn residents also speak French. Who would have thought?

The Fennec Fox is the national animal in Algeria. This country is also home to the endangered Saharan Cheetah.

Algeria on a map


We all know India has a large population, coming in only second to China, but you may not realize how truly expansive this country is or how many people live in India.

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India is 1.269 million mi² and is the seventh largest country in the world. India is about one-third the size of the United States and is around the same size as Argentina.

If you plan to visit India, you need to know cows are considered sacred in this part of the world.

In fact, cows are protected by the Constitution. If you kill a cow, it is a crime.

One fact that often shocks visitors is that India has the second-largest population of English speakers.

You will find there are 22 languages spoken in India.

India on a map


Chile is often viewed as the minuscule border of South America. When looking at a world map, Chile looks like a thread of a country, but it is actually much more expansive than you may realize.

Chile has a land mass size of 292,260 mi². As of 2021, the population of Chile is 19.21 million. Around 1/3 of the country’s population resides in Santiago.

This country is a hotspot for earthquakes. Surprisingly, Chile experiences about 8,000 earthquakes a day and up to two million a year.

Most of these are minor earthquakes, but Chile has around 18 major ones each year.

map of Chile


Thailand is another country that is often mistaken for being much smaller than it is in reality. Although this Indo-Chinese peninsula looks tiny on the world map, it is actually 198,117 mi².

Thailand is around the same size as Sweden.

As of 2021, the population of Thailand is 69.95 million. Around 95% of the population are Buddhists.

Another fun fact about this country is that the Thai alphabet has 76 letters.

map of Thailand

The Philippines

When you look at a world map, the Philippines is one of those countries that seems to get lost in the crowd because it looks so tiny compared to other countries, including China.

The Philippines is 115,831 mi², and the country contains 7,641 islands. This country is roughly the same size as Italy or the state of Arizona.

The population of the Philippines is 111 million as of 2021.

Many people are surprised to learn people in the Philippines speak over 176 languages.

This country is the fifth-largest English-speaking nation in the world.

Philippines on a map

Now You Know

The world is a giant ball of land and water. There are 195 countries in the world, and some of the smallest-appearing are quite large once you visit and realize their land mass.

While Russia is the largest country in the world, Vatican City is the smallest, with a land area of only 0.19 square miles.

Although many people mistakenly believe the countries above are small, they are much more massive than people give them credit for when looking at the world map.

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