Short gaps via South Asia
South Asia, otherwise known as the Indian sub-continent, is made up of Bangladesh, Bhutan India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Travelling around South Asia can be a truly magical and spiritual experience. The region is like no other, from the burning-hot deserts of India and Pakistan to the ice-cold Himalayas of Bhutan and Nepal.
India, Nepal and Sri Lanka are the three most travelled destinations in South Asia, though the little more adventurous of you might want to get off the beaten track into Bangladesh or Pakistan. Both are stunning and relatively untouched by westernisation.
Not many consider a stop gap in South Asia, which is strange as it’s quick to fly to, cheap to travel around and has some of the best sites and activities in the world. A lot of people are put off by the size, but if you pick a specific area or state to see, then South Asia can make the perfect stop gap.
Landing in the hectic hustle-and-bustle of Delhi will really let you know you're not going to be queuing in Tesco’s anytime soon. Take your time to explore the rest of Asia's glorious kaleidoscope of experiences, from the remote majesty of the Tibetan Himalayas to the glory of the Taj Mahal and the hedonism of a Goan trace party. All you need to do is get there…
If you have any time between school, university or a job then a stop gap is for you. You’ll be amazed what you can do in a short amount of time.
Key stops in South Asia
Delhi and Mumbai are the most common stops for those travelling to India. From India, you can travel onto any other country in South Asia, either overland or flying. Air Asia and Air India are budget airlines that fly into major cities such as Dhaka and Colombo.
If you’re travelling to Nepal then you’ll fly into Kathmandu. You may be tempted to fly to Nepal just to get a sneak peak at Mount Everest; it is the world’s tallest mountain after all.
Popular routes that include South Asia
London >> Delhi >> Jaipur >> Udaipur >> Jaisalmer >> Amritsar >> Agra >> Delhi >> London
London >> Mumbai >> Goa >> Kerala >> London
London >> Kathmandu >> Pokhara >> Kolkata >> London
Most popular countries in South Asia
The most popular country in South Asia is India. With a population of 1.1 billion it’s not exactly small, but it has some amazing sites and activities, such as the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple, the mountains in Darjeeling, the back waters in Kerala, and the golden beaches in Goa.
Next is Nepal. It’s the beauty of the Himalayas that attract people initially, but it’s the people that capture the hearts. The Nepalese are kind, loving people and their generosity knows no boundaries. Trekking in the Himalayas with a local porter and guide, staying in simple home-stays, is an experience you’ll never forget.
Sri Lanka offers everything on one island – beaches, diving, forests, and food galore. The Sri Lankans are cricket mad, so try and fit in a game or two whilst you’re there.
The countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Pakistan are less travelled, and most people won’t consider these countries as a stop gap, but you can travel to them. They offer a different style of living and a different style of living.
The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is a tour of Delhi, Jaipur in Rajasthan and the Taj Mahal in Agra. It is one of the most popular tourist tours in India, and tourist and travellers alike all want to see the Taj Mahal, one of the most recognisable buildings in the world.
A tour around Rajasthan, India’s most western state, can take anywhere between two weeks to a month. Many consider is India’s best state to travel through and sites include the blue city of Jodhpur, the ancient fort at Jaisalmer and the floating palace at Udaipur.
What we recommend...
We recommend flying into Mumbai, taking the train down to Goa, chillaxing on the beach for a couple of weeks in Goa, and then making it to the backwaters of Kerala.
You can spend a year travelling around India alone and still not see all that it has to offer. Try and target one area for your stop gap.
India is not as difficult or scary as you think and if you leave Nepal without trekking one of the trails then you’ve missed one of the most magical experiences in the world. No matter how unfit /non-outdoorsy you think you are, this is a ‘must do’.
Why South Asia?
It’s an experience like no other. People come back with the most amazing stories and you’ll be the envy of your friends for doing something different. You want reasons to go? There are the temples, the Himalayas, the curry, the jungle, the traditions, the dazzling saris, the amazingly cheap prices, the prayer-flags, the monkeys, the markets, the hiking, the beaches, the yaks, the palaces and the encounters with fascinating people. There’s all of that and so much more. It’s hard to describe just how amazing and different South Asia really is, so we recommend you experience it for yourself.
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