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Overview to India and Central Asia: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

Bustling City Streets

To the traveler first arriving in the region, Asia remains as beguiling, challenging, frequently exhausting and, most of all, wonderfully mystical, as ever.

First and foremost, India is totally unique. A massive country, everywhere you go you’re confronted with dramatic forts such as Gadi Sagar in Jaisalmer, the Meherangarh in Jodhpur and the Red Fort in Delhi, or temples like the incredible Meenakshi Gopurams, and, of course, sumptuous palaces like the unmistakable Taj Mahal.

India is also blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, from Varkala in Kerala to Mandrem in Goa. Nature reserves like Kaziranga and Keoladeo Ghana National Parks will also feature heavily on any traveler's itinerary.

Meanwhile, its bustling, vibrant cities – Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta – are overflowing with sensory riches. With their narrow streets and noisy markets almost impossibly full of life, the cities of India are quite different to anywhere else in the world.

The scene in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is a similarly intoxicating one. Sri Lanka mixes stunning stretches of palm-fringed sand and lush jungles with an array of impressive monuments. Temples such as Ridi Vihara, the huge symbols of religious devotion like the Aukana Buddha, and, rising impressively out of the surrounding forests, the rock fortress of Sigiriya, are all unmissable.

Lowly Bangladesh, on the other hand, surprises all those who visit with the sheer weight of things to see and do. There's the atmospheric Mainimati Ruins and the Buddhist monastery of Somapuri Vihara, while the Sundarbans National Park is a huge mangrove swamp packed full of wildlife.

To the north of the region, the scenery changes dramatically. Nepal is synonymous with soaring, snow-capped mountains – and, of course, Mount Everest – offering the energetic traveler the experience of a lifetime scaling some of the most dramatic peaks in the world.

Or, if that’s a bit much for many travelers, the Old Royal Palace of Hanuman Dhoka, the temples of Dakshinkali and Bodhnath, and the remarkable Royal Chitwan National Park, all offer slightly less strenuous adventures.

In travel terms, Mongolia is pretty much virgin territory. Few backpackers – or indeed anyone for that matter! – get to see the monastery of Amarbayasgalant Khiid, the eerie enormity of the Gobi Desert, or spend the night in typical yurt-style accommodation… But that merely adds to its appeal.

All in all, a journey to Central Asia offers an impossibly wide range of experiences far removed from that of other parts of the world.

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