Each year, the 21st of May marks UNESCO’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. It’s a chance to celebrate the many ways of life and a reminder that meaningful, cross-cultural connections are so important for a brighter future.
Trafalgar has been helping with this since 2009, when we launched Be My Guest experiences in Sorrento, Italy. The Esposito family invited our travellers to their farm for shared stories, laughter and homemade limoncello. And today, our tours make time for moments like this across the world, offering a local window into a destination while supporting time-honoured traditions – whether that’s harvesting Inca corn or singing around a campfire in the Wild West. These are some of our best Be My Guest experiences today…
1. Tamaki Māori village
Experience Māori culture first hand in Tamaki, an ancient forest marae (a Māori village) in Rotorua, on New Zealand’s North Island. On this bespoke evening, Trafalgar guests are welcomed by a karanga and haka performance among many Māori art forms and traditions. In a private whare, tuck into a hāngī feast, cooked authentically underground, with a side order of poi dance.
GET INSPIRED BY: New Zealand Uncovered
2. A royal Japanese ryokan visit
In Japan’s cultural capital, connect with locals over an authentic kaiseki lunch in a 1930s ryokan. Built beside Mt. Yoshida for Emperor Akihito’s uncle, it’s a beautifully preserved example of Shoin architecture and a window into Japanese history. Dine like a member of the Imperial Court, learn about local culture and see the crests of Urakiku. As a show of the family’s gratitude, Trafalgar guests receive a hand-calligraphed waka poem.
GET INSPIRED BY: Splendours of Japan
3. Family dinner in Malaysia
Admire stilt houses as a local expert guides you through Kampung Cantik, stopping to smell herbs, spices and fruits grown nearby. These ingredients come together in traditional Malay dishes shared with the Hassan family – Abu’s rendang is delicious. Fuelled up, immerse yourself in Malay customs and traditions, learning about rubber tapping, top-spinning and the art of self-defence.
GET INSPIRED BY: Highlights of Singapore and Malaysia
4. A taste of Xhosa culture
Near Tsitsikamma National Park, the coastal town of Knysna is the jewel of South Africa’s Garden Route, famed for its forests, oysters and cliffs overlooking the lagoon. Eastern Cape local and host Ella Mapurisa welcomes guests into her home to share a traditional Xhosa meal, stories about the community’s age-old customs and the meaning behind their joyful click songs. Have a go on the traditional African drums.
GET INSPIRED BY: Best of South Africa
5. Fifth-generation Norwegian farmers
The Øvre-Eide family has run its small farm on the outskirts of Bergen since the 1500s. It’s a unique opportunity to get up-close with Norwegian agriculture, meet beautiful purebred horses and learn about the home’s regal heritage. In the 18th century, outlaw Gjest Baardsen is believed to have been imprisoned in the dungeon here. Finish the day with local food – sour-cream porridge, almond cakes – and a showcase of colourful national costumes.
GET INSPIRED BY: Scenic Scandinavia and its Fjords
6. Yazir mountain village
Venture into the scenic Taurus Mountains to dine with the Yazir community. Many of the villagers were once nomads, living in tents before they settled here in the 1990s. Today, they welcome Trafalgar guests into their homes to share speciality dishes and stories of Central Asian traditions. Later, walk around the village to see animals and pick the cherries, pomegranates and plums that make this community almost self-sufficient.
GET INSPIRED BY: Best of Turkey
7. Peruvian hacienda experience
In the Sacred Valley of the Incas, family-run Hacienda Sarapampa preserves the living legacy of Cusco’s Giant White corn. Learn about the unique production process as part of our Be My Guest experience before a back-country lunch of Alpaca meat, Andean trout and homemade ice cream. You’ll also revel in the romance of a Marinera dance performance. Delights for all the senses.
GET INSPIRED BY: In the Footsteps of the Incas
8. Happy Pappy’s cowboy cookout
The spirit of the American Frontier is best understood through the eyes and tales of its locals. In Big Sky Country, meet cowboy Happy Pappy for a taste of the Old West, including a down-home cookout and stories of life in the saddle. After dinner, hunker down for songs by the campfire – Happy Pappy will grab his guitar and harmonica. You’ll likely treasure the red bandana memento. This is true Western hospitality.
GET INSPIRED BY: Western Frontiers
9. Aboriginal cultural evening
Immerse yourself in the 40,000-year-old history of Tjapukai people, one of the world’s oldest living cultures. Just outside Cairns, Queensland, an Aboriginal host greets Trafalgar guests with a Welcome to the Country ceremony and an ancient Dreamtime creation story. A high-energy performance by indigenous dancers ups the drama before a locally sourced dinner serenaded by the low-pitched hum of the didgeridoo.
Which cultures are you most eager to experience first hand? Let us know in the comments, or get in touch with our Travel Experts to start planning your great escape today…