When you think about the different cultures, faiths and histories that make up the tapestry of countries and borders we see today - where would you even begin to start exploring? To start you off, we’ve rounded up six popular cultural holidays all over the world with one common thread; to offer you a deeper insight into the history and culture that has shaped the place you’re travelling in.
With the comfort of a private driver throughout, begin your exploration in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital. Visit the Temple of the Tooth, one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites which houses a relic of Buddha’s tooth, before watching a cultural show with Kandyan dancers and fire walkers. Next, visit a tea plantation to discover where the favourite brew originates and how the leaves are picked and processed. Next, head to Horton Plains and Yala National Park for the chance to spot local wildlife including buffalo, sloths and even the elusive leopard. A blend of culture and wildlife in one week!
From Delhi, take the train to Amritsar, where you can visit the spectacular Golden Temple, one of the most revered spiritual sites for Sikhism. Marvel as tens of thousands of pilgrims being fed daily by the kitchens at the gurdwara, and then watch the daily ritual of flag-lowering at the Pakistan-India border ceremony. Drive into the foothills of the Himalayas to Dharamsala, home to the exiled Tibetan Dalai Lama before continuing to Shimla, popularised as India’s ‘summer capital’ by colonial Brits. India’s allure is other-worldliness to the westerner, and this trip will undoubtedly increase the contrast.
Japan’s reverence for the past and head-long progression into the future is evident from the moment you touch down in Tokyo. Prepare for the mesmerising contrast of traditional Buddhist temples nestled side by side with glassy skyscrapers. Board a speeding bullet train, and in a few hours, you’ll arrive in Kyoto where charming wooden townhouses, old-world geishas and the glimmering Golden Pavilion will delight. Visit a traditional tea house and enjoy a cookery class where you’ll learn how to make rolled sushi, miso soup and Japanese salads – the ultimate souvenir skill!
New Zealand’s Maori culture is widely evident across the North Island, so why not explore the highlights with a self-drive? Starting in Auckland, drive north to the beautiful Bay of Islands. Here you can visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the history of New Zealand was changed forever with a pact between the British and Maori people. Head down to Rotorua and you’ll discover this city offers many ways to learn about Maori life including watching the haka performed at a Maori village, tucking into a Hangi feast that’s been cooked underground and seeing incredible geothermal geysers and mud pools at Te Puia.
Landing in Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands, you’ll soon find yourself slipping on to ‘island time’ as you begin to live like a local. You’re very likely to be welcomed at the airport by locals with guitars singing a welcome song while bestowing you with fragrant floral lei! Join an ‘island night’, and you can experience the rich Polynesian culture first-hand, through the sharing of food, music and dance. No visit is complete without a flight over to the spectacular Aitutaki Lagoon. It’s the ideal place for an afternoon cruise or snorkel amidst crystal-clear, warm turquoise waters. Heaven!
Experience both Chile and Argentina in one trip! First, explore the Chilean capital, Santiago then venture out the pretty seaside resort of Valparaiso, lined with colourful houses. From here, continue to Pucon for some outdoorsy, thrill-seeking experiences, before arriving in San Carlos, Bariloche in Argentina. Get stuck into ranch-life as a traditional gaucho (cowboy) on the back of a horse before tucking into a tasty barbecue meal. The final stop is Buenos Aires – known for its passionate tango moves, mouth-watering steak, and world-class wines. The perfect blend of cities and traditional life.
Then don't choose! We've included all of these trip ideas in one incredible round the world holiday that includes all your flights, transfers, accommodation and any touring - see our Round the world discovery: sacred sites and ancient civilisations:
Every holiday we make is entirely tailor-made to suit your style and budget, so we can arrange any of these experiences or combine several to create your perfect trip. We can show you how to connect destinations that you might not have considered and find you incredible accommodation and touring options that you'll love - see our tailor-made holidays as examples of what we can plan.
To start planning, check out our round the world holidays and tailor-made holidays, call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.