It’s hard to witness the culture of a city in its tourist spots, through the windows of cabs, from the cleanliness of its toilets or any other shortcut you’ve relied upon to cook a quick opinion.
The pulse of a place lies in its local areas. The transport everyone uses ( Think non a/c bus instead of a cab), the places they go out normally to have a good time, the streets of residential areas.
It’s not what you assume, have read about or heard. It’s how the locals make you feel at ease, give their love and accommodate you.
Go, explore the culture of a place, observe its people and have a good conversation.