Why explore local culture?
Some of the wisest people who ever travelled will always say one thing which is common among all of them: “Always explore local culture”. They are not wrong and traveller in truest sense know what I mean. How will any of your trips become an actual experience unless you have explored something so special that it stays with you forever? Exploring local culture of any city, country is what makes my travels special because I have learnt from the diversity so much. Now, if all this sounds daunting to you or you’re wondering ‘I already know a lot about any place I visit, then what is she talking about?!’ then I have some news for you. You may not be good at educating about a certain place but if you have lived the local culture when travelling, you have stories and experiences to share. From mine and some really cool travellers I know, here are 10 amazing ways of exploring local culture when travelling.
Pick home stay instead
Homestays give a very personal exposure to what living in a real home in that particular city or town might feel like. I remember trekking to Tosh from Kasol (a small village-town in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh) and living in a small house which had been recently converted into a home stay. So, you can tell the fresh vibes which felt so comforting and homely in that cold quaint town.
Look, if you are looking for pizzas and hakka noodles in a place like Amritsar, India or Hanoi, Vietnam, think of the things you must be missing with respect to the local cuisine in their local culture. Try a few things local no matter what. You always can find something new that you might actually love. I remember going to Manali and trying one of their local dishes called Sidu. Surprisingly, nothing that we had tried earlier. Maybe, some street food?
And drink local too!
Obviously, if the place has some local dishes to eat, it also has locally made drinks. Like it or not, you can at least tell how good or bad the drink might taste.
See things on foot
A crucial thing about exploring the local culture is to take things slow and explore the place on foot. You might have to walk through roads full of traffic and pollution but that’s not omnipresent. Just like you can see Vatican City on foot, you will love exploring Delhi on foot too.
Take up some volunteering activities
Travellers who love to spend several months together in a country can always pick an activity they would like to volunteer. There are several organizations and NGO’s which have short-term volunteering opportunities across the globe.
Take the local transport
Cabs get you to places in your own privacy, but taking the local transport gives you the real feel of local culture. I always loved taking a local or State transport when travelling to a new place within a couple hundred kilometres. It’s always nice to interact with your co-passengers and learn about their experiences.
Sign up for culture/community/group tours
There are several tours going on local level like Heritage walk in Ahmedabad every morning. Where ever you travel to, you can always find out event on local level by looking up online or checking the local newspaper.
Buy local souvenirs
Local handicrafts can be great souvenirs to get for your friends and family. Look around and ask the locals so you can take back some memories for the people you love. Also, explore the local markets. You’ll be surprised how every market feels and looks different.
Participate in Local festivals/events
I love being a part of local festivals. They give you the truest sense of a community. You can always be polite about your interest in being a part of their gathering and I am sure they will happily greet you.
Chill, don’t freak out
Frankly, exploring local culture is not rocket science. All you need to do is just broaden your mindset and be prepared to dive into learning something new about the people and their lives of any geographical location you plan to travel next.
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