Backpacking is probably the best way to really experience a place of interest. You interact directly with the local people, take part in a cultural celebration, visit interesting religious sites and become a part of the community.
The experience will be very much different from domestic hiking trips.
We just came back from a weekend camping trip and after a long day hiking on the first day I was anxious to finally get in and get the tent setup. I hadn't even started the cooking fire, and I could smell the food already from the hunger I had worked up. Your stomach and your head will team up and play tricks like this on you after a full day in the woods.