Back to blog listing

Culture vultures

Live life as a local

Clive Wedderburn June 30, 2017

Life’s too short to spend too much of your holiday on the sun lounger, especially when there are so many fascinating cultural experiences to be had that will enrich your stay. Unlock the secrets of exotic locations worldwide with these authentic experiences and live life as the locals do.

1. Otentik experiences – Attitude Hotels – Mauritius

Mauritius isn’t just a gorgeous tropical island in the Indian Ocean, its home to hospitable Mauritians, renowned for their friendly nature. Get to know them better when you stay at Attitude Hotels that offer a range of Otentik experiences. Learn to cook Mauritian-style with chefs or dine out as a guest of local communities, spend time in markets with traditional artisans, learn to play Mauritian music or drive off the beaten track to discover the natural wonders and cultural heritage of the island.

2. Oistins Fish Fry – Barbados

Join locals on a Barbados tradition, Friday nights at Oistins to see dapper chaps and sassy ladies turned out in sharp suits and floral dresses, on a night that begins with the scent of swordfish grilling on the barbeque. Situated near St Lawrence’s Gap, Oistins used to be the place where islanders would congregate around the best fish stalls for the freshest catch of the day. Today, the food shacks selling chilled beers attract a melting pot of visitors drawn to the vibrant community spirit and the promise of moonlit beach parties. Chilled beer, fried snapper with Spanish rice and yellow pepper sauce… what’s not to love?

3. Souks in Qatar 

Qatar is a modern, thriving country whose architectural ambitions are on a par with the dazzling landmarks of Dubai, but underpinning this expansion is the enchanting culture of the Middle East, and their souks and bazaars are central to the heritage of the region. You’ll find the Souq Waqif one of the best examples of Qatari culture, situated near the Doha Corniche, a fascinating place of spices and handicrafts complimented by cafes and restaurants and traditional Arab architecture. Just sitting down to a delicious mint tea with konafeh (a sweet cheesy pastry) is an experience in itself, as is wandering among the gold and textile stalls and spotting the odd falcon for sale. Picturesque and perfect for people watching, the souks of Qatar are not to be missed.

4. Hanoi Morning tour – Vietnam

Vietnam is a fascinating country on so many different levels, from the iconic scenery of junks bobbing on Halong Bay to the historic Chu Chi Tunnels of Ho Chi Minh and the culinary skills of street vendors whose techniques and skills are having a big impact on the global foodie scene. Take a Hanoi Morning Tour and you’ll discover another enchanting side to Vietnam: Its fascinating urban life. Start with a stroll through scented flower markets, followed by a soothing class of tai chi overlooking picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake. Having worked up an appetite, indulge in a traditional breakfast of pho (noodle soup) and Vietnamese coffee. We can’t think of a more perfect way to start your day in this enchanting capital city.

5. South Africa – Cape Town – be an insider

Cape Town comes alive with music events in the summertime. The Kirstenbosch Sunset Concert is a city favourite, located at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, it’s the perfect opportunity to pack a picnic basket for a feast of music in stunning, tropical surroundings. Another local favourite is the Old Biscuit Mill in the suburb of Woodstock, packed with independent boutique stores, food markets and eateries where artisans ply their trade both night and day. It’s a great way to meet South Africa’s most talented purveyors of fine food and innovative arts. Add to your list the First Thursday Art Gallery scene, where every first Thursday in the month you can explore Cape Town’s art galleries and cultural attractions and in no time at all you’ll be feeling like an insider on your next holiday to South Africa.

6. Baseball game at Fenway Park – Boston

American traditions don’t come more central to their way of life than the game of baseball. More than just a sport, baseball is as American as mom’s apple pie, played during long, hot summer days, where family and friends gather to eat hot dogs, drink beer and enjoy the spectacle of America’s favourite pastime. There’s no more iconic place to absorb the culture of baseball than Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Socks – one of the most prestigious names in sport. Immerse yourself in this cornerstone of American culture when you take a stadium tour and watch the game as part of an amazing holiday in Massachusetts.

7. Local life experience – Khao Lak – Thailand 

Part of the allure of Thailand is how easy it is to access the cultural aspects of this extraordinary country – so interwoven into everyday life are Thailand’s customs and traditions. So, if you find yourself in stunning Khao Lak, take our word for it, and embark on a Local Life Tour. You’ll be escorted by an English-speaking guide who will lead you through the enchanting old town spotting ancient houses, discovering Chinese and Buddhist temples, meeting monks, stopping to have moon cakes and roti at local bakeries and cafes. After meeting the children of the local Thai school we guarantee you’ll feel like an insider with a rare and privileged insight into the everyday lives of amazing Thai people.

Would you like to discover exciting experiences around the world? Visit our cultural holiday’s pages and find new flavours, customs and traditions of exotic destinations that will make your stay an unforgettable adventure with Hayes and Jarvis.