Central and South Asia

Okay, SighSee, I need your help.

I'm going to Dubai for work in December and since I'm going to that region I want to take the opportunity and travel a bit further east and visit Asia. Flying out of Dubai is fricking expensive, therefore I've made a shortlist of the places I'm willing to visit and I need your help choosing. I have ~6-10 days available for the trip.

Khatmandu (Nepal) - Very high on the shortlist, but if I go there I have hike/trekk the Himalayas and I'm not sure if it will be feasible in December and in such a short trip without spending 5k.
Samarkand (Uzbekistan) + Tajikistan - I'm considering flying there and also go to Dushanbe or Toshkent mostly for hiking in the mountainous regions but again, I'm worried about the weather in December. Are those countries even safe? I have no idea.
India - I'm mostly considering Mumbai or New Dehli, but I'm indifferent about where I go in India, flight prices are basically all the same.
Islamabad (Pakistan) - Probably the most realtraveler© option. I would like to hike in the north, but again, the weather. Also, I'm a mega pussy so I would like to join some sort of tour to the mountains which I'm afraid will cost too much.

I call on all realtravelers to help me choose.

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  1. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    I haven't been to Tajikistan or Uzbekistan but have visited the other three countries on your list. Did a 10-day motorbike trip in Nepal, spent 6 months in Pakistan, and lived in India for several years.

    If you're going in December, the weather should be reasonably pleasant across the Subcontinent, at least outside of the Himalayas. You can more or less go where you'd like, although--as you said--higher-altitude locations could easily be problematic. Considering this, I think it'd be helpful if you provided a bit more information about your actual interest and intent. Do you just want to go hiking, or you after anything else?

    FWIW, Islamabad isn't much of a "Real Traveler" option. It's probably the single most sterile city in South Asia. There isn't much to do there. The hiking trails north of the city are pretty nice, but they're not exactly prime trekking, either--you get great views, but you'll be disrupted every 20-25 minutes by screeching Punjabis heading out into the bush to drink, picnic, or take TikTok videos.

    I doubt you'd be able to do any hiking in Northern Pakistan that time of year, either (the same is 100% true for India). I did the Rakaposhi base camp hike in 2021, and there was several feet of snow on the slopes in May. There's no way you're going high into the Himalayas and taking a pleasant stroll that time of year.

    • 7 months ago
      Anonymous

      Travelling in these regions takes a long time, 6-10 days is one country.

      I believe other emirati states sell free connecting flights to dubai to poach airfares, kuwait, quatar, not sure if that's the case but it's worth checking the cost of combined tickets (not two seperate flights).

      Nepal has an appalling air safety record, the result of corruption and low wages. But trying to hike so soon after arriving might cause altitude sickness. This is often more imagined than real, I never got any but hey just don't try to summit everest the day after arriving.

      Bishkek and Almaty are closer to one another, neither is mind blowing as a destination.

      Bhutan might be worth, 6-10 days is guided tour territory and there aren't many other ways to do bhutan.

      You could try the triangle in delhi/agra/raghestan. Flights would be good, night train makes it work. English is speaking.

      Iran and khazakstsn take a long time, wouldn't really recommend as a short stop. More of a cultural destination.
      Pakistan wouldn't be ok, but it's not high on the list for short trips. Probably works for flights.

    • 7 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Khatmandu (Nepal) - Very high on the shortlist, but if I go there I have hike/trekk the Himalayas and I'm not sure if it will be feasible in December and in such a short trip without spending 5k.
      It's the only region on your list where hiking is possible in December. Early to mid-December is peak comfy with clear days that aren't too hot, but without Oct-Nov crowds. Late December is when winter hits. Won't cost you 5k either.
      >Samarkand (Uzbekistan) + Tajikistan - I'm considering flying there and also go to Dushanbe or Toshkent mostly for hiking in the mountainous regions but again, I'm worried about the weather in December. Are those countries even safe? I have no idea.
      They're safe and the Fann mountain between Dushanbe and Tashkent are amazing, but December is full on winter. No hiking possible, and while I can't speak for Tashkent, Dushanbe isn't worth visiting in itself.
      >India - I'm mostly considering Mumbai or New Dehli, but I'm indifferent about where I go in India, flight prices are basically all the same.
      Haven't been
      >Islamabad (Pakistan) - Probably the most realtraveler© option. I would like to hike in the north, but again, the weather. Also, I'm a mega pussy so I would like to join some sort of tour to the mountains which I'm afraid will cost too much.
      Haven't been either but have looked at it, hiking is out of the question due to winter. I ended up going to Nepal instead.

      Travelling in these regions takes a long time, 6-10 days is one country.

      I believe other emirati states sell free connecting flights to dubai to poach airfares, kuwait, quatar, not sure if that's the case but it's worth checking the cost of combined tickets (not two seperate flights).

      Nepal has an appalling air safety record, the result of corruption and low wages. But trying to hike so soon after arriving might cause altitude sickness. This is often more imagined than real, I never got any but hey just don't try to summit everest the day after arriving.

      Bishkek and Almaty are closer to one another, neither is mind blowing as a destination.

      Bhutan might be worth, 6-10 days is guided tour territory and there aren't many other ways to do bhutan.

      You could try the triangle in delhi/agra/raghestan. Flights would be good, night train makes it work. English is speaking.

      Iran and khazakstsn take a long time, wouldn't really recommend as a short stop. More of a cultural destination.
      Pakistan wouldn't be ok, but it's not high on the list for short trips. Probably works for flights.

      Thanks bros, I guess that hiking in proper mountains in December is out of the question. I'm probably going to stick to India

      • 7 months ago
        Anonymous

        As mentioned before, December is excellent for hiking in Nepal.

  2. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    >Khatmandu (Nepal) - Very high on the shortlist, but if I go there I have hike/trekk the Himalayas and I'm not sure if it will be feasible in December and in such a short trip without spending 5k.
    It's the only region on your list where hiking is possible in December. Early to mid-December is peak comfy with clear days that aren't too hot, but without Oct-Nov crowds. Late December is when winter hits. Won't cost you 5k either.
    >Samarkand (Uzbekistan) + Tajikistan - I'm considering flying there and also go to Dushanbe or Toshkent mostly for hiking in the mountainous regions but again, I'm worried about the weather in December. Are those countries even safe? I have no idea.
    They're safe and the Fann mountain between Dushanbe and Tashkent are amazing, but December is full on winter. No hiking possible, and while I can't speak for Tashkent, Dushanbe isn't worth visiting in itself.
    >India - I'm mostly considering Mumbai or New Dehli, but I'm indifferent about where I go in India, flight prices are basically all the same.
    Haven't been
    >Islamabad (Pakistan) - Probably the most realtraveler© option. I would like to hike in the north, but again, the weather. Also, I'm a mega pussy so I would like to join some sort of tour to the mountains which I'm afraid will cost too much.
    Haven't been either but have looked at it, hiking is out of the question due to winter. I ended up going to Nepal instead.

  3. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    I have a small YouTube travel channel and UAE has a program to pay for influencers flights and lodging. I go over every three months and just do some tour videos even if they aren't really popular. 1 video got 100k views so that was enough for me to get in the list in case it happens again. I would cut your trip to one or two places and just do 6-10 days

  4. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    Also there's a war going on in azerbaijan, iran might be tense because the whole N/E is aziri.

  5. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    redpill me on Kathmandu, Nepal will be spending 3 weeks there soon for some university stuff and ive never been to a 3rd world country.

    • 7 months ago
      Anonymous

      Dusty, sprawling, crowded, bad traffic going in or out of the city, lots of people offering you hash, some people offering to guide you at Durbar square (don't skip Durbar, figure out when people go for prayer and offerings, well worth it). Swayambunath Monkey temple and the giant stupa are also recommended. Thamel is the tourist hotspot, but it's nice to stay just outside of it to dip your toes into local life. Random small beautiful temples. Even the hash dealers are friendly and discreet in their typically straightforward approach. Lots of rubbish but the air is generally too dry for it to smell really badly.

      Worth visiting, check out the highlights, but your lungs will suffer because of the dust, exhaust gas and cooking fire soot. Spend some time SighSee if you can.

      • 7 months ago
        Anonymous

        Would agree with this. Y'all make throw some flak my way for saying it, but Kathmandu made big Indian cities feel developed. So far as I can recall, there weren't even traffic lights in the city.

        You'll have definitely have a good time there, but you'll probably have more fun exploring the countryside.

    • 7 months ago
      Anonymous

      The air is unbelievably polluted. Its a valley, all the dust and smog has nowhere to blow away- so rain is the only thing cleaning it. There's not many places where cities are possible in the hills and mountains.

      The Dubars are all great, but Basantapur Durbar is just sad- all touristy and not much soul remaining. Dont miss the Bhaktapur Durbar Square though- its the best of the three durbars, and has preserved its soul the best.

      Go to Shivapuri National Park if you want to hike close to Kathmandu.

      Avoid Pashupati Temple area if you are avoiding Indians- its a religious destination. Swayambhu is okay tho. Go to Boudha instead of Swayambhu if you want the Buddhist experience, minus the thousand stairs. The little tourist area near Boudha is fun.

      The air is crisp outside of the valley, especially (of course) in the mountains. You wont notice it once you get used to it- so whatever.

  6. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    In India, it's better to explore Rajasthan or Goa/Karnatka in dec

  7. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    Indian here, OP if you are planning to visit India make sure you do atleast 3-4 safaris. India is very underrated for wildlife tourism.

    I'm an hobbyist wildlife photographer and I would recommend you to do safari in these national parks:

    Ranthabhore
    Bandhavgarh
    Kahna
    Pench
    Gir
    Kaziranga
    Bandipur
    Nagarwhole

    The best time to see wildlife is March-June imo but it gets too hot for foreigners. You can travel in winters but feb-march will be the sweet spot.

    Also if you can endure altitude sickness , you can have a Snow Leopard expedition in Ladakh or Kibber, Himachal Pradesh.

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