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South Asia

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South Asia comprises the countries lying between the Himalaya range and the Indian Ocean (north to south) and between the Ganga and Indus river valleys (east to west): mainly, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India, Afghanistan, Maldives, and Pakistan. The Indian Ocean shoreline is divided between the Arabian Sea (in the west) and the Bay of Bengal (in the east). The extensive, triangular-shaped landmass of South Asia is sometimes referred to as "the South Asian Region", or "the South Asian Peninsula". Main attractions include the Himalayas (especially Mount Everest, Pokhara, the Taj Mahal, Lumbini, and Pashupatinath. Home to 1.75 billion people, South Asia has the world's tallest mountains, and is the origin of some of the world's oldest civilizations and the wellspring of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism.


Map of South Asia's countries
Majority Muslim nation from the Bengal region and home of beautiful mangroves. Famous for its rivers. Bangladesh is a country where rivers are highway!
The last Shangri-la. A Buddhist-majority country influenced by the Tibetan culture and way of life.
Considered to be the heart of South Asia. A country of ancient and rich cultural heritage with the Himalayan Mountains in the north, Thar Desert in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south.
Home to gorgeous beaches, with a culture influenced by India and the Middle East.
Home to Mount Everest, adventure tourism, and extreme hospitality. It is also one of the most diverse and democratic countries in the region.
The first and only country created in the name of Islam, rich in culture and history, varying climates and terrains from hot deserts to snowy mountains, and home of 5 of only 14 8,000-metre mountains on earth, but tourism is suffering due to the unpredictable security situation. T
Sri Lanka
The pearl of the Orient, has a tropical climate and cultural influences from the rest of South Asia. Has a really interesting historical journey from about 2500 years. It's natural landscape makes it different from the rest and was known as Ceylon in the west.

Afghanistan is sometimes considered part of the region and is often involved in South Asian regional organisations.

Iran is occasionally considered a part of the region, but is predominantly in the Middle East.

Myanmar (formerly Burma) may be considered a part of South Asia for long-standing historical and political ties to India, but is usually categorised as being in Southeast Asia.

Tibet is sometimes considered to be part of South Asia

Major Cities[edit]

  • Chennai - The city having the world's second longest natural urban beach.
  • Colombo - The city that never darkens.
  • Delhi - The administrative capital of India.
  • Dhaka - capital on Bangladesh
  • Hyderabad
  • Islamabad
  • Karachi
  • Kathmandu—where history and culture align with nature.
  • Kolkata - The cultural capital of India and former capital of the British Raj, Kolkata is a city full of culture and history.
  • Lahore
  • Male - The island city of beauty.
  • Multan
  • Mumbai — most eclectic and cosmopolitan city of India, well-known for the Bollywood film industry.
  • Peshawar
  • Srinagar
  • Thimphu

Other destinations[edit]

  • Bandarban — hill district in Bangladesh with trekking through unspoilt forests
  • Hunza Valley — one of the more stunning and popular parts of Pakistan's high mountain areas
  • Mount Everest — the world's tallest mountain straddling the border of China and Nepal
  • Sundarbans National Park — one of the best places in Bangladesh to see tigers
  • Taj Mahal — the incomparable marble tomb in Agra

See Islands of the Indian Ocean.


Some commonalities exist in this area, mainly of climate and culture.

Climate: Apart from the Himalaya, the climate is tropical, with monsoon in summer and dry winter. However, you have the extremes of this climate, i.e. in Western Pakistan monsoon is quite non-existent and in Southern India, it lasts for six months. Sri Lanka even has two monsoons, one in May, one in October/November.

Culture: The influence of historical Indian culture can be seen everywhere. Two of the main "world religions" have their origins within South Asia: Hinduism and Buddhism. A third, Islam, was introduced by Muslim invaders starting around the 7th century and rose to prominence during the Mughal Empire.

An additional layer of South Asian cultural unification derives from the influence of British culture, and especially the frequent and growing use of the English language, as a result of India having formed the "Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire before Independence in 1947. The British impact on India is most well understood in the former capital, Kolkata

Population density: South Asia is one of the world's most densely populated regions - approximately 1.6 billion people (or roughly a quarter of humanity) make their home there. The average population density of 305 people per square km is 7 times the world average.


The region does not have a lingua franca. However, as much of South Asia was under British rule, English is widely spoken by educated people. Hindi and Urdu are spoken over much of India and Pakistan. As the two languages are mutually intelligible, if you have to learn one before visiting, pick one of these. Hindi will also help you in Nepal, as the Nepali language is quite similar. Bengali is another major language spoken in Bangladesh, West Bengal and understood in some other eastern states of India (Assam, Meghalaya).

Other than these, South Asia has a fascinating diversity of languages. India, in particular, is home to hundreds of them, and Pakistan too has quite a few. In the major cities and tourist destinations, you will be able to get by with English with varying degrees of difficulty.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

International airports include:

Many flights from the west coast of North America arrive via Singapore and Bangkok, while flights originating on the east coast usually have a stopover somewhere in Europe depending on the airline.

Flights from Europe arrive via Dubai, Doha and several other major airline hubs.

The number of direct flights between India and U.S/U.K is increasing.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]


Buy[edit][add listing]

For most countries in the region, haggling is essential while shopping--see How to haggle.

Do[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Save valuable travel money and help our environment. Buy your drinking water for the same price as locals do.

If you or your group stays in a place for more than one day, buy your water in the biggest bottle possible. This will save your money! Drinking water comes in bottles much bigger than 1.5L, some of them have a tap that allow you to refill your own or your friend's smaller bottles.

"Help! I would like a big reusable bottle of water. Where can I get it?" or "Water ... Drink ... Big ... Where?" ask this at the place you stay, where you are eating or other travellers where to buy cheap water or how to get it delivered.

Stay safe[edit]

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