South Asia is the region of Asia which is bounded on the north by the Himalaya mountain ranges, on the west by the Arabian Sea, and on the east by the Bay of Bengal. This region consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India
Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The South Asian countries are known for their deep cultural roots. Even though they share some similarities, each country has something different to offer. Whether youÕre looking for an adventure, scenery for your lens to capture, a glimpse of natureÕs magic, or connection with history, South Asia has the complete package.
South Asia comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan's beauty lies in its poetry and handicrafts. It is also the home to the world's busiest single runway airstrip. Bangladesh's money resides in its garment industry. The Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh is known to be the world's longest sea beach. India is the largest country is South Asia, and it's known for its rich culture and history. It is home to many forts and palaces. This diverse nation conveniently encapsulates a variety of colours, aromas, and flavours making it an ideal tourist spot. Maldives, otherwise known as the necklace of Indian Ocean, is the epitome of natural beauty. Its blue skies, fresh air, and sun-kissed beaches have made it a popular destination amongst tourists. Nepal is a landlocked country between India and China known for its mountains. It is home to ten highest peaks in the world including Mt. Everest and Kanchenjunga. Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful forests, beaches and landscapes, in addition to its rich cultural heritage. It is also well known for the many natural resources it produces.
Stay Option in South Asia
South Asia offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from budget hotels to luxury hotels. B&Bs are also a popular choice. An interesting albeit slightly expensive accommodation option in India is renting a fort or a palace.
Food in South Asia
The Indian subcontinent offers a wide variety of cuisines. Each country provides numerous choices of dishes guaranteed to tickle your taste buds. Common staples include rice, wheat, corn, potatoes and various other vegetables. South Asian food is known for its spices. Spices play an important role in the food's flavour, appearance, and aroma. Majority of the desserts are made from dairy products.
Culture, Religion & Language of South Asia
The South Asian culture is a vibrant mixture influencing societies, nationalities, ethnic traditions and cultural heritages.
The one thing these cultures have in common is their emphasis on celebrations and festivals. Dance is common to all the culture components as a form of announcing harvest, spring and the onset of winter. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam are the major world religions founded in South Asia. South Asia is home to a variety of languages. However, English is a common language understood by the people.
Tips for visiting South Asia
Carry clothes depending on the weather at that time. Make copies of your travel documents. Always keep your belongings in sight when walking on the street or being in a crowd. Bargaining is acceptable and mostly essential in South Asia. Take off your shoes before entering a temple. Avoid hitchhiking.
Shopping in South Asia
Shopping in South Asia is quite cheap, and bargaining is common. Clothes are cheaper in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan and Pakistan sell beautiful handicrafts and rugs. Popular items to buy in India are pashminas, handicrafts, silk sarees and spices. Popular purchases in Nepal include clothing materials, handicrafts, metal works and jewellery.
Festivals in South Asia
The festivals of South Asia are a vibrant blend of colours, art, music, and affection. Some of the popular festivals of India are Holi, Diwali, and Janmashtami. The Bengali New Year, Pohela Boishakh, in Bangladesh is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. The Kathmandu, Bhutan, and Afghan Arts and Culture festivals celebrated in Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan form unforgettable experiences. The Esala Perahera of Sri Lanka has been celebrated since the fourth century, and its extravagance continues to grow rapidly, each passing year. Maldives's South Ari Atoll is a unique celebration appreciating the island's marine diversity.
Hygiene in South Asia
Sanitation in some areas is not that great, and hence, travellers should be cautious of the street food. One should only drink filtered/bottled water. Make sure to be up-to-date on routine vaccines including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Additionally, one should get vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria, Rabies.
Customs of South Asia
Removing your shoes when entering a temple or mosque is essential in South Asia. It is also normal practice to remove your shoes while entering someoneÕs home. South Asians are very conservative in their dressing. Public display of affection is frowned upon. Tipping is not necessary, but 5-10% tip in a restaurant will be appreciated.