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Hello everybody! On this submit, I’ll be sharing our itinerary for 16 days in South Asia visiting Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Our preliminary itinerary didn’t embody Malaysia, as we have been planning to fly on to Sri Lanka from Bangladesh, however on the finish, the flights by way of Kuala Lumpur have been twice cheaper, so we determined to spend 2 days in Malaysia as nicely.
This itinerary could be too busy and tiring for some individuals, so in case you favor relaxed journeys, I might counsel dropping Bangladesh and Malaysia from this journey and specializing in Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
Additionally, our itinerary didn’t embody any trekking in Nepal, in case you’re planning to trek, permit a minimum of 7 days for the trek and ensure to spend 1-2 days to see Kathmandu!
Earlier than we begin with the itinerary for 16 days in South Asia, I’ll attempt to reply the questions you may need earlier than the journey.
Do you want visas for the counties in South Asia?
Relying in your nationality, you would possibly or won’t be eligible for the visa on arrival. All of the EU nation residents can get a visa on arrival in Nepal and Bangladesh. For Sri Lanka, you could apply in your e-Visa earlier than the journey and for Bhutan, you could purchase a tour package deal, because it’s not doable to go to Bhutan and not using a tour.
For Malaysia, EU residents don’t want a visa for as much as 90 days.
How one can transfer between counties in South Asia?
The simplest (and quickest) means could be by airplane. Nevertheless, in case you really feel prefer it’s an excessive amount of flying, you possibly can cut back the variety of international locations visited on this journey. You may verify the costs and availability of the flights right here.
Are these counties secure?
We felt completely secure in Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. As for Bangladesh, we didn’t have any issues both, however some areas of Dhaka could be a bit tougher than the others. It’s at all times nice to have journey insurance coverage although. For those who don’t have any, you possibly can verify the costs right here.
The most effective time to go to South Asia
We travelled in November and stayed in Sri Lanka throughout the first week in December. It’s a very good time to journey round South Asia, because the climate is mostly good in every single place and never too sizzling.
Nevertheless, in Sri Lanka, we bought very unfortunate with the climate – we solely had 1 day with out rain. As for different counties, Bhutan was fairly chilly in November.
How costly was this 16-day journey to South Asia?
For those who’re questioning, how costly was our 16-day journey to South Asia, I’m at all times open to speak about journey prices. The most costly a part of the journey was the tickets and the price of the tour to Bhutan. We flew from London and took a multi-city journey arriving in Kathmandu, Nepal and departing from Colombo, Sri Lanka. We paid £500 for every ticket (return).
Bhutan is pricey as a result of you could pay a minimum of $200-250 per day per individual for the tour. That’s why we opted for the shortest and therefore, probably the most reasonably priced tour. The flights to Bhutan have been additionally costly. In whole, the Bhutan a part of the journey to South Asia value us ca $3000 or £2200. Is Bhutan price that value? You may learn extra on this submit.
For the remainder of the journey (4 night time in Nepal, 1 night time in Bangladesh, 1 night time in Malaysia, 5 nights in Sri Lanka), we paid roughly £500 for inns, £350 for inside flights and £400 for meals. We additionally spent £130 on visas (visa to Bangladesh was the costliest one).
In whole, we spent round £4600 on this journey or £2300 per individual, which isn’t that dangerous in any respect for a 16-day vacation, however positively isn’t low cost.
A 16-day journey to South Asia: Our Itinerary
4 night time in Nepal -> 4 nights in Bhutan -> interchange in Dhaka, Bangladesh -> 1 night time in Kuala Lumpur -> 5 nights in Sri Lanka
4 nights in Kathmandu, Nepal
An apparent itinerary to South Asia would come with India, nonetheless, as we went to India final 12 months, we didn’t embody India within the journey this 12 months. Furthermore, it will have made the journey much more tiring.
We wished to journey to Nepal, so we began with Kathmandu. We didn’t need to trek this time, as for trekking, we would wish to enhance our bodily situation first. Furthermore, I don’t really feel nice in excessive altitudes, which makes trekking a bit extra problematic. Anyway, it’s a bucket listing exercise, that I hope to perform sooner or later!
We have been planning to remain in Kathmandu for two full days, nonetheless, because it turned out, we have been tied to the schedule of the flights to Bhutan and the one accessible flight was departing on Wednesday. Therefore, we stayed for 4 nights in Nepal and didn’t remorse it.
After we realised that we’ll be staying 4 nights in Nepal, we itinerary wished to go to one other metropolis, nonetheless, we discovered quite a lot of recommendation on Tripadvisor saying that 4 days wouldn’t be sufficient to see one other inside vacation spot in Nepal.
In Nepal, we spent the primary night time in Bhaktapur – one in every of 3 cities of Kathmandu Valley. We stayed on the Inn Sangrahalaya subsequent to Durbar Sq.. The remainder of the journey, we stayed at Kathmandu Suite Residence – an incredible lodge very near all the principle landmarks and eating places.
Kathmandu was a bit overwhelming typically with all of the site visitors and the mud, however the structure was gorgeous, meals was nice and other people have been very welcoming.
I wrote one other weblog submit about our itinerary for 4 days in Kathmandu Valley right here, ensure to test it out, in case you’re !
The highlights of Kathmandu that we visited:
Kathmandu Durbar Sq.
4 days in Bhutan
Our subsequent vacation spot was Bhutan. As I discussed earlier than, due to authorities coverage, Bhutan could be very costly for non-SAARC international locations.
We’d love to remain in Bhutan for per week, however that will be too costly. Nevertheless, because it turned out, 4 days have been good to see the principle highlights of the nation.
You will discover my itinerary for Bhutan and extra data on which company we used on this submit about 4 days in Bhutan.
Bhutan was very completely different in comparison with our expectations – it wasn’t higher or worse, simply completely different, that’s it. Nevertheless, many individuals have extremely excessive expectations for Bhutan. Learn my second submit about Bhutan and whether or not it’s price it and the way to not be dissatisfied in Bhutan.
As all the things was achieved and organised for us (as we had to purchase a tour in Bhutan), we couldn’t decide our inns and I can’t suggest you any.
The highlights of Bhutan that we visited:
Large Buddha in Thimphu
Chorten Nationwide Memorial in Thimphu
Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest).
1 day in Bangladesh – interchange in Dhaka
Probably the most handy and reasonably priced flight from Bhutan was to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Nevertheless, whereas we have been nonetheless planning the journey, the flights from Dhaka to Colombo in Sri Lanka bought very costly, so we needed to provide you with a unique plan.
We waited for a month and purchased promo tickets to Kuala Lumpur from Dhaka with Malindo Air, and from there, very low cost flights to Sri Lanka with Air Asia. Due to the late departure time, we had over 12 hours in Dhaka and we determined to exit to the town.
As there isn’t any left baggage or lockers at Dhaka Airport, we needed to guide a really low cost lodge simply to depart the baggage, nonetheless, we ended up spending a little bit of time on the lodge, as we bought very drained from the flight.
Our flight to Malaysia bought delayed by 6 hours, so ultimately, we had much more time in Dhaka.
All people had warned us that site visitors in Dhaka is loopy! Nicely, it was, however we nonetheless managed to get to the town centre and see a few stunning buildings. Total, I need to say that we didn’t see a lot in Dhaka, nonetheless, we managed to get an total impression of the town.
It’s definitely not as dangerous because it’s typically portrayed and we’re completely satisfied that we managed to see it with our personal eyes!
Dhaka can also be altering quite a bit and shortly there can be a metro that hopefully will assist to unravel the site visitors drawback a minimum of partially.
What we noticed in Dhaka
- Gulshan neighbourhood
- Gulshan 2 Lake Park
- Curzon Corridor of Dhaka College
If you wish to learn extra concerning the issues you are able to do in Dhaka throughout a protracted layover, right here’s a submit I wrote: 8-12 hours transit in Dhaka: what to do.
1.5 days in Kuala Lumpur: one of many highlights of the journey
Despite the fact that our flight from Dhaka with Malindo air was severely delayed (and I like to recommend staying away from Malindo Air as nicely) and we misplaced a little bit of our useful time in Kuala Lumpur, we nonetheless managed to see quite a bit. We landed in Kuala Lumpur round 10:20 am.
In Malaysia, we had a day and a half or roughly about 36 hours. I already printed a submit about the perfect issues to do throughout a protracted transit or a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, you possibly can learn it right here. Simply to summarise, I completely like to Kuala Lumpur and I believe the town deserves far more than two days or even perhaps per week, if I had the possibility I might keep there for a minimum of a month.
As we have been solely staying for lower than two days in Kuala Lumpur, we determined to guide a pleasant lodge and it was additionally as a result of there are even the nicest inns in Kuala Lumpur is the place not as costly because the are in locations like Tokyo or Hong Kong. We managed to guide a Mandarin Oriental are for simply £140 per night time and that included a marvellous breakfast.
Our lodge was situated simply 10 minutes strolling to the well-known and fashionable Bukit Bintang – a buzzing purchasing district of Kuala Lumpur.
Bukit Bintang is among the fundamental highlights of Kuala Lumpur and it has nice purchasing and eating choices for any style. There may be even a Japanese shopping center. There are such a lot of meals choices in Bukit Bintang – from standalone eating places to the enormous meals courts on the numerous purchasing malls.
In case you received’t discover what you fancy consuming in Bukit Bintang, you possibly can head to the native avenue meals market, nearly 5-10 minutes from Bukit Bintang.
Another wonderful areas to discover embody Batu Caves that has not too long ago undergone a wonderful makeover, China City and the Central Market. On the Central Market, you should purchase quite a lot of souvenirs, meals and garments. Additionally, the realm across the Central Market appears to be like very fairly.
For me, Kuala Lumpur was a foodie capital of Asia – there have been so many wonderful locations to eat, from Japanese to Indian and all the things was wonderful.
For those who nonetheless have time, ensure to take a look at the Botanic Backyard of Kuala Lumpur – it’s very spectacular; with a lake within the center, it resembled Central Park in NYC.
Total, Kuala Lumpur was most likely my favorite cease of your entire 16-day journey to South Asia, nonetheless, this submit just isn’t over but, as I’ve a small half about Sri Lanka as nicely.
5 days in Sri Lanka: driving round Sri Lanka (and not using a driver)
The final leg of our 16 days in South Asia was Sri Lanka. I had little or no expectations from Sri Lanka, however I fell in love with this island. Meals in Sri Lanka was wonderful, individuals have been pleasant and the costs have been very budget-friendly. It’s onerous to consider that we solely extracted £100 and didn’t spend them throughout 5 days in Sri Lanka – and we ate in some nice locations and even paid for the gasoline.
We employed a automobile in Sri Lanka and determined to drive ourselves, with out hiring a driver. It wasn’t as difficult as we thought. Nevertheless, we wanted to get hold of a Sri Lankan driving allow earlier than coming to the nation, so Sixt automobile rental simply made it for us for a price. The automobile rental most likely ended up being severely overpriced, however our automobile was good and new and introduced us to all of the wonderful locations in Sri Lanka.
I wrote two separate posts about Sri Lanka: a information to driving in Sri Lanka (issues you could know) and whether or not Sri Lanka is price it – first timer’s information to Sri Lanka (spoiler alert – it’s 100% price it).
Total, I need to say that 5 days weren’t sufficient to see all of Sri Lanka, because the distances within the nation are large and the roads are slim and filled with vehicles. You would possibly find yourself driving 150 km for 4 hours and even longer. Be sure to not repeat our errors and don’t plan an excessive amount of throughout even 1 week in Sri Lanka. In 5 days, I simply suggest you to see Sigiriya and Kandy and perhaps Ella or simply go to the South seashores as an alternative – e.g. Tangalle, Matara and different stunning seashore spots in Sri Lanka.
Abstract of our itinerary for 16 days in South Asia
Total, I actually loved this 2-week journey to South Asia and this itinerary for 16 days in South Asia was good. Nevertheless, we returned a bit uninterested in this vacation. Then once more, our itineraries are normally busy and jam-packed and permit us to see a lot of the world whereas working full-time for a corporation in London.
If I had an opportunity to look again and alter one thing, I might have spent solely 2-3 days in Nepal (not 4-5) and attempt to get to Sri Lanka straight from Bhutan (by way of a change in Nepal or India). I believe that Bangladesh in 12 hours wouldn’t be sufficient and Kuala Lumpur definitely deserves a separate journey (as there are wonderful locations to go to in Malaysia).