11 of the most unique and beautiful cultures around the world, in pictures

by | 21 Aug 2022

There are so many interesting and different cultures around the world. Each comes with its own customs, traditions, and worldviews. Through travel, we’re able to broaden our minds by seeing how others live and think differently. Take a look through some of the most unique and beautiful cultures in the world, in pictures.


The Sinhalese people are native to Sri Lanka and constitute about 75% of the Sri Lankan population. Their culture dates back over 2600 years, is referenced in ancient Buddhist texts, and is still preserved today even after years of colonial rule. Performing arts is a key part of Sinhalese culture, particularly the ritualistic Kandyan dance. Meet the Sinhalese and experience a Kandyan dance on our Classical Sri Lanka tour.


The Sami are known as the last indigenous people of Europe. Few things are as important to the Sami as the sacred reindeer, whose influence is evident in the Sami’s language, games, and songs. Their whole culture and economy circles around this Arctic deer, and they have long worked as reindeer herders. They are well integrated into modern society, and inhabit an area in northern Scandinavia called Sápmi. Step into the home of a Sami family and learn about their ancient art of reindeer herding on the Scandinavian heritage tour.


This indigenous group live primarily in Northern Namibia in a semi-nomadic, pastoralist lifestyle. Visually remarkable, with ochre-pasted red skin and hair, intricate jewelery, and goat-hide clothing, this tribal community is one of the most unique cultures found around the world. Their way of life is still preserved today, as they live in remote villages unintegrated with the rest of Namibian society.


The Quechua people of the Andean highlands predate the famous Inca empire and still hold a strong sense of identity, evident from their characteristic dress and the survival of their ancient language, Quechua. While the Quechua people differ depending on region and dialect, they are most predominantly found in Peru, particularly in the Sacred Valley. Quechua people are enticingly unique. Their textiles, made from natural dyes and often the wool of their trusty companion, the alpaca, are famous throughout the world for their quality and beauty. The Quechua have even been studied for their adaption to the high altitudes of the Andes, a lifestyle that has influenced their cuisine – corn, cuy (guinea pig), and Pachamanca, a traditional cooking method involving volcanic stones and an earthen pit used as an oven.

When you first visit Peru, you absolutely cannot miss out Machu Picchu. Our tour of the ancient sky city includes a meeting with Quechua weavers, where you’ll learn about their ancient textile traditions.


The Berbers are descendants of the pre-Arab population in North Africa, scattered across several countries but predominantly settled in Morocco. They’re famous worldwide for their artistic legacy in henna art, pottery, weaving, and design. On our Best of Morocco tour, you’ll drink Berber tea with locals in a traditional Nomad house in Dades Valley.


The Sama-Bajau, or ‘sea nomads’, are a collection of Austronesian tribes found throughout South East Asia. They gained the ‘sea nomad’ moniker for their distinctive seafaring lifestyle, a unique way of life that distinguishes them from other world cultures. They live on small houseboats, historically only coming ashore for supplies or shelter from storms. Many of them freedive for their food, and are as comfortable in the water as they are on land, boasting eye watering breath holds lasting for minutes on end. So prevalent is their diving culture, that nature has naturally selected for them to evolve bigger spleens to assist in diving.


The Nubians are descendants of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, traced back to 3500 BC. Known as one of the ‘cradles of civilization’, Nubia was the old name for the region surrounding much of the Nile through modern Egypt and Sudan. The Nubians are in fact the indigenous people of this land, but their influence faded after being conquered by Ancient Egypt. The remnants of Nubian culture can still be found in much of the same land as their ancient ancestors throughout South Egypt and Sudan. Visit a Nubian village and bazaar as you trek down the Nile on the Wonders of Egypt trip.


The Bedouin people are desert-dwelling nomadic people inhabiting several countries in North Africa, the Middle Eastern deserts, and Arabian peninsula. They are Arab-speaking and tribal, with a deep connection to the desert. Even their name, ‘Bedouin’, means ‘desert-dweller’. Have tea under the stars in the Jordanian desert with Bedouin locals on the Jordan Experience tour.


This East African tribe is one of the few that still have their traditions and lifestyle preserved today. A dominant demographic in pre-colonial times, the Maasai suffered a blow to their prevalence during European colonisation.

Known for their distinctive red tribal dress and unique musical tradition where there are no instruments, only singing and dancing, the Maasai culture is beautiful yet wistful. Their presence serves as a fragment of our anthropological past, still preserved yet under constant threat from modernisation.


“Fine horses and fierce eagles are the wings of the Kazakh”. Descendants of ancient Turkic tribes and one of the largest minorities of Mongolia, these semi-nomadic people have a rich, distinct ethnic identity which was marred by Soviet rule, where about half of their population was killed. Their economy and culture became dependant on Russian Communism, and since the Soviet collapse, Kazakh identity was left confused and inert. Now there is a movement to rediscover this cultural identity, made unique by its seasonal movement, inhabitance of dome-shaped tents called yurts, fur clothing, and use of eagles for hunting.


Rajasthani culture is one of vibrancy, beauty and sophistication. Traditionally known as the ‘Land of Kings’, this part of India is opulent and bountiful, attracting visitors worldwide with its magical architecture, feisty folk dances and gorgeous color scheme. On the Classical India with Nepal tour, you’ll visit one of Rajasthan’s famous colored cities – Jaipur, or ‘the pink city’.
I'm Jay – born in Italy, raised in South London. Having French sisters and Hungarian ancestors, I've always been fascinated with the world and its cultures, and I carry this curiosity into my writing for Insightful. My favourite destinations I've traveled to so far have been Italy, Peru, France and Brazil.