Top 7 Things to Do in South Asia

From majestic peaks to mystical religions, from ancient ruins to non-stop trance parties, South Asia has it all. Comprising some of the most colorful nations in the world this region has a multitude of offerings for travelers from across the globe.

A list of top things to do in South Asia could be endless but, as with any other list of this nature, who knows, you might just find the one holiday you had been missing so far. For this reason, the following travel highlights of the South Asian Region will serve as the perfect place to begin your quest:

1.Trekking in Nepal
Trekking in Nepal is definitely the number one thing to do in South Asia as the Himalayas is probably its most outstanding natural landmark. Not only that, it also forms a major source of life to the entire subcontinent, represented by the numerous perennial river systems born in these high mountains. Without doubt, it is the most challenging high altitude experience anywhere in the world that takes you through lush green valleys and precipitous gorges on the foothills of the highest peaks on the planet.

2.Backpacking across India
There is no other way to experience India – the most colorful and vibrant cultural capital of the East – than to go hopping betweentrains that cover the length and breadth of the entire region. But if you are not a fan of the bumpy train or bus rides and want more freedom of choice, hire a motorbike at one of the main citiesand enjoy a life changing journey through this vast, prolific land of contrasts.

3. Exploring the mangrove forests in Sunderban
The Sunderbans is a dense forest of mangroves and other tropical vegetation which thrives on the wet monsoon winds from the Bay ofBengal. It occupies much of Bangladesh’s southern half and some parts of West Bengal. The forest is spread over an area of about 4200 sq. km. and is the natural habitat for a huge collection of endemic species, most notably the eponymous Royal Bengal Tiger, whose population has dwindled to a mere 270 according to the latest census. To walk through this forest, you will need a permit from the Sunderban National Park.

4.Snowman Trek in Bhutan
A surefire entry to the list of top things to do in South Asia is the Snowman Trek in Bhutan, although it’s not recommended for the faint-hearted. It is a month long trek of epic proportions that takes you across Bhutan’s pristine mountains amidst some of the most unparalleled views you’ll experience in your life. You will cross numerous high passes, with an average height of around 16000 ft, feasting on the majestic snow covered peaks and turquoise lakes that are home to several species of wildlife like the extremely elusive snow leopard, blue sheep and yaks to name a few. It also gives you an opportunity to witness the culture of Bhutan, an ancient kingdom where man lives in eternal harmony with nature.

If you want to do this trek, contact a local company and they will take care of everything, although bear in mind that traveling in Bhutan is fairly more expensive than in most other South Asian countries.

5.Beach Holidays
If traveling overland is not your idea of the perfect holiday, don’t worry. South Asia has something for everyone. India, Maldivesand Sri Lanka offer some of the most amazing world-class beaches where you can simply grab a beer and watch the sun move across the sky. There are some world famous beaches in places like Goa and Kerala while the coastline of Sri Lanka and Maldives have remained untouched.

6.Yoga and Meditation
Before it took on the form of routine physical exercise, yoga originated in India as part of the Hindu philosophy of physical and spiritual self discipline required to attain enlightenment. Therefore, to learn the different forms and features of yoga from an actual yogi in India is nothing less than discovering its true meaning and purpose.

There are a number of options in touring India for yoga and meditation. One of the best ways to do this is to get enrolled in a yoga school. However, it is also possible to learn these things outside of a school by visiting a yoga retreat center or by exploring the real world of yogis in places like Varanasi and Hrishikesh.

7.Cultural Tours
The countries in South Asia are so rich and diverse in culture that you will find myriads of castes, religions and ethnicities in every corner of the region. So many of these communities have their own rituals, festivals, attire and food, which is a remarkable fact in itself. For an outsider, this diversity in culture and lifestyle can sometimes be so appealing that they actually live in those communities and experience those lifestyles on a personal level. It is a very common sight in any of these countries to find travelers from around the world who have stayed behind for long periods of time to learn new cultures in exchange of their own. A good way to do this would be to volunteer in one of the many social organizations in these countries.