South Asian region, popularly called “South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation” or SAARC, is a conglomeration of 8 countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. All these countries are fascinating in their own ways – with their own rich traditions, culture, heritage, exclusive cuisines and geographical attractions.
If you are planning to visit Asian destinations for your next holidays, then it will be in the fitness of things to consider exploring South Asia, particularly the SAARC countries. Each of these nations with their varied attractions are found to fascinate you endlessly.
Let us embark on a virtual tour of these countries one by one so that you get a brief insight into all that these destinations have to offer to their quintessential visitors. This will help you prepare well for your forthcoming holidays.
India is the biggest country in the comity of SAARC nations. This vast country is a land of diversity with amazing landscapes, historical monuments, pilgrimage sites, ancient forts, majestic palaces, gorgeous beaches, and nature and wildlife reserves. With its rich culture, history, and colorful, multi-cultural people, India is a prime destination in Asia for millions of tourists from around the world.
The country attracts scores of tourists with its myriad attractions. The most-frequented destinations that continue to attract tourists in a big way include the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Konark Sun Temple, Khajuraho Temples, Qutub Minar, Delhi’s Jama Masjid and many more. A visit to India will take you to some of its key cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad and several others.
Bangladesh is among one of the best SAARC countries to spend your vacations. The First SAARC Summit was in fact held in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. The country has been blessed by nature’s bounty and unparalleled in its beauty. The country is home to many cultural, historical and archaeological sites. Bangladesh is renowned for its famous Royal Bengal Tiger and attracts thousands of tourists from different parts of the world round the year.
Formerly a part of undivided Bengal, the key cities of Bangladesh such as Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna are prime attractions for the tourists. The rich traditions of classical music, sweets, fish dishes and colorful festivals have earned Bangladesh a place of prominence in the world. The country is specially known for its cottage industry, and the varied handicraft products are a great rage with international tourists.
Nepal is a prime destination for adventure tourism in South Asia. The country is home to the mighty Himalayas with eight out of 10 highest mountain peaks in the world present here. Nepal is the perfect place for indulging in adventurous sports including climbing and trekking. The country boasts of Mt. Everest, world’s highest peak, constantly attracting millions of tourists from various parts of the world.
Nepal with its popular attractions is undauntedly a great destination to visit in South Asia. Some of the important places of interest worth visiting here include Royal Chitwan National Park, Annapurna Sanctuary, Syambunath Temple, Hanuman Dhoka, Bodhnath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Changunarayan Temple, Kathmandu Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
Like other South Asian countries, Pakistan is also a great destination to visit. The country is home to ancient civilizations of Mohenjodaro and Harappa rivaling to those of Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. The country has also been crucible of Buddhism and Hinduism, world’s two major religions. With its major attractions such as beautiful valleys, ice-capped mountains, lush forests, stunning waterfalls, expansive deserts, sea and mountains, Pakistan continues to attract thousands of tourists from around the world every year.
Prominent places of interest that should be visited in Pakistan include the Khyber Pass, Hunza Valley, ruins of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, and Karakoram Highway. The important cities to consider visiting in the country include Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan.
The small island nation of Maldives is an amazing destination to visit in the South Asian region. Maldives welcome you with its tropical climate and plenty of sunshine round the year. The diverse flora and fauna, sparkling water, pristine beaches and palm fringed islands make Maldives the world’s most popular honeymoon destinations.
The wonderful coastal beauty keeps people enticed and prompts them to visit this fantastic island country year after year. Apart from its gorgeous beaches, Maldives is also great favorites with all those who love adventure and water sports. It’s a veritable paradise for those passionate about snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing. The lagoons, spa and fresh seafood are among major attractions as well.
The tiny landlocked Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan is renowned as a great cultural and adventure destination in South Asia. The predominantly Buddhist country is known as the last Shangri La on Earth. With its marvelous landscape, historic relics, snow-capped mountain and beautiful valleys, Bhutan attracts a large number of tourists from different parts of the world. The key cities to consider visiting in Bhutan include Thimpu, Paro and Punakha.
Bhutan is home to many attractions. The important places of interest to visit in the country include Buddhist pilgrimage site of Takstang Lhakhang, country’s oldest shrine Kyichu Lhakhang, mystical temple Chimi Lhakhang, historic temple Kurje Lhakhang, hot springs and rare wildlife at Jigme Dorji National Park, and National Museum.
Sri Lanka is presently one of the most frequented destinations in the world. The island nation with its beautiful location in the midst of Arabian Sea is undoubtedly a fantastic place to visit. The country is renowned for its exotic beaches, rich cultural heritage and picturesque landscape.
Sri Lanka has a wide range of attractions ready to captivate the visitors endlessly. The famous beaches on the country’s South Coast such as Hikkaduwa, Bentota and Beruwala are great to visit, and so are the beaches of Negombo and Mt. Lavinia on the West Coast. Other attractions here include Temple of Tooth, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, museums and archeological sites.
Afghanistan is the newest member among SAARC countries. The country is home to historical monuments, ancient mosques and magnificent mountains. The famous attractions to visit here include Band-e Amir (a cluster of five lakes), Kabul Museum, Minaret of Jam, Tora Bora mountain cave complex, and Panjshir Valley.