Somes destinations can expose you to more than one culture at the same time

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  • Published on August 25, 2022
  • Last Updated March 10, 2023
  • In Spotlight

Diverse areas, such as port cities and refugee safe havens, offer different ways to think about exploring cultures.

Often when planning a getaway, we think about immersing ourselves in the food, music and customs of a single culture. However, organically diverse areas, such as port cities and refugee safe havens, offer different ways to think about exploring cultures while sharing your own on a trip abroad. If you plan for it, you can find a swirling blend of rich cuisine, languages and customs that illustrate a broader impression of how culture influences the human experience. Explore the following countries to get a sense of how different cultures come together within shared spaces:

Zanzibar

With an African population of Swahili speakers of Bantu descent who have occupied the islands since 1000 AD as well as a sizable population of Arab descents stemming from an 1800s-era influx of immigrants from Oman, this semi-autonomous island nation off the coast of Tanzania has a history steeped in cultural fusion stretching back hundreds of years. In addition to those groups, Persian, Somali and Indian enclaves have sprung up on the island, creating a rich blend of traditions that visitors can experience on a trip to Zanzibar.

São Paulo

With streets decorated in Japanese-style lamps, stops for authentic Italian fare and stretches of protected indigenous lands, São Paulo represents Brazil’s most diverse city, one that has stood apart globally as a welcoming destination for immigrants across history and culture. São Paulo has the largest expatriate populations of Lebanese, Japanese and Italian people with a growing number of immigrants from African countries as well.

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The Japan House in São Paulo, Brazil, opened in 2017 as a celebration of the spread of Japanese culture. The House serves as a museum with seasonal exhibitions that give a glimpse into Japanese art, culture, people and ideologies. Shutterstock

Singapore

A country that boasts a rich diversity of different languages, cultures and religions, the people of Singapore are mostly of ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indian descent with 30% of the population comprising foreign nationals. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism and Islam all have a palpable presence on the island, which creates space for traditions that have historically not always peacefully coexisted.

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Performers put on a Chinese lion dance in a pagoda in Chinatown Singapore. Shutterstock

This story was created by Detour, a journalism brand focused on the best stories in Black travel, in partnership with McClatchy’s The Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald. Detour’s approach to travel and storytelling seeks to tell previously under-reported or ignored narratives by shifting away from the customary routes framed in Eurocentrism. The detour team is made up of an A-list of award-winning journalists, writers, historians, photographers, illustrators and filmmakers.