Eco-friendly travel guide to South Asia advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in South Asia, Asia.
- Air quality: 2.0 - 2.5 / 5
- Bus connections: 2.5 - 3.0 / 5
- Train connections: 4.0 - 4.5 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 2.5 - 3.0 / 5
- National parks: 4.0 - 4.5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4.5 - 5.0 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2.5 - 3.0 / 5
- Safety: 3.0 - 4.0 / 5
- Accommodation: US$20 - $70
- Budget per day: US$40 - $80
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
If you plan to visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, or Sri Lanka, you are going to the South Asian region.
Being a tourist in this region is usually an experience as you enjoy many amenities that may not be in your home country.
There are some activities in these places that might be triggering, so you should avoid them. one of such is elephant riding. You will realize that some of the countries in this region use elephants for hard labor. When you engage in elephant riding, it breaks their backs. Thus, do not engage in such an activity.
The countries in the South Asia region promises a lot for foreigners when it concerns tourism, so you will have a swell time.
Air Quality and Pollution
There are some concerns about air pollution in the South Asian region. After researching, we see that many countries in this region expose their households to air pollution through various activities.
It could be either through the burning of waste or fuels. Such activities are prone to affect the air quality in the region. Thus, we cannot say that any South Asian country will rank high when it concerns air quality.
When there is a low air quality in a region, it leads to a decline in health. This is noticeable in South Asia. As a foreigner, you might react to the environment in this region due to air pollution. Thus, ensure that you prepare before visiting to avoid any triggers.
Respect the Culture
The importance of being respectful to the locals of any region cannot be overemphasized. It is necessary when visiting South Asia.
It will be best if you are willing to learn the region’s norms and conform to them for the duration of your stay. One of such examples is the way they dress.
We would not say that the people in this region are prudes or conservative in dressing. But they love to dress modestly. Thus, exposing certain parts of your body will be seen as being disrespectful. This mostly happens in the rural areas of different countries.
Irrespective of your religion, you need to respect the religious practices and worship places where you visit. They do not force you to follow their worship way, but you should not talk down on it.
Engaging in a public display of affection is also seen as being disrespectful in South Asia.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Here are some of the top places you cannot miss visiting in countries across the South Asian region:
• Babur Garden (Afghanistan): It is a beautiful garden and the first Mughal emperor Babur’s resting place. Due to this place’s beauty, it is not surprising that many people will choose it as the perfect spot to have a picnic. It is full of plants that have a calming effect on individuals. One cannot miss visiting this place when in Afghanistan due to its historical lineage.
• Rohtas Fort (Pakistan): Pakistan does not have many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but this is one of the existing few. It has a museum that helps to tell the historical story about the fortress. People usually have a fantastic time exploring the fort and surrounding. It helps one connect better with the country.
• Humayun’s Tomb (India): It is hard to miss this place when visiting India as many people talk about it. Thus, it is not surprising that it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country. Humayun's tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India, and was commissioned in 1558. It is a beautiful sight and always gets the attention of many, especially architects.
• Lake Pichola (India): Although this is an artificial lake, it is one of the top tourist attractions in the South Asian region. If you have not experienced the views at this place, it will be wrong to say that you enjoyed your stay in India. It contains beautiful palaces. Watching the sunset at this place is something that you cannot afford to miss as it brings an unexplainable calm and peace.
• Swayambhunath Stupa (Nepal): If you are curious about the places of worship in the South Asian region, this is one example. It is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. People can explore this place, but you must follow all the laws and regulations. It is essential to be respectful of their religion and traditions when in this region.
• Bumdrak Monastery (Bhutan): Exploring this place is a highlight that any foreigner should not miss. It helps people connect closer with nature, making it a perfect location for camping. It is not surprising that it is also ideal for hikers. You will find many exciting things when hiking at this place, including a Buddhist temple. The view from the top of the mountain is always breathtaking.
• Ratargul Swamp Forest (Bangladesh): We do not know if you have ever visited a freshwater swamp forest before. This is one of the rare ones in the world. Exploring this place allows you to see something new, and the experience is always worth it. One of the top highlights for many people is going on serene boat rides while exploring. Interestingly, the boat can take up to 8 people. You can also see animals like monkeys at this place.
• Hukuru Miskiy (The Maldives): Have you ever seen a mosque made from coral stone? This place is an example. Typically, it gets the interest of anyone, making it a top tourist attraction in the region. It is one of the oldest mosques in its city.
• Komandoo (The Maldives): We have noticed that many people have The Maldives on the top of their holiday list. One of the reasons is because of its water bodies. Thus, a resort in this place will be on top places to visit in South Asia. It is relaxing staying in this resort. People describe it as all-inclusive, and it is for adults only. Snorkeling is an activity you can do to keep busy at this place.
• Elephant Orphanage (Zoo) (Sri Lanka): If you can remember, a way of being a responsible tourist in this region is by not engaging in activities that endanger elephants. It is not out of place that there is an elephant zoo, and you can visit it. You get to see how the elephants are well-treated, and you can sometimes touch them.
People are usually hyper when leaving their familiar environment. There is that joy and excitement that comes with going to a new place, and they cannot help but want to explore the region.
With such thoughts in mind, foreigners have their fingers crossed with hopeful wishes about any place they desire to visit. If you are going to South Asia, we can say that your wishes will come through as it has various places for a foreigner to explore. These places usually bring a sense of calm and happiness.
One trick to not experiencing difficulty while exploring is to have company. The best company or companion when in a new place will be a local. They understand the environment better and have answers to your questions.
We do not know your ideal option when it concerns exploring. But for some people, they desire to visit city parks.
The South Asian countries have lovely city parks across some of their cities, so we are sure that it will be easy for you to find one. At these city parks, you will see plants and flowers that will intrigue your curiosity. Looking at them can also put a smile on your face.
Sometimes, these parks are quiet. Other times, they might be busy. It depends on its location. However, you will always have a fantastic time while exploring these places.
If you are ever looking to have a quiet time, you can visit any city park. If you are also looking to make friends, you will see people at these parks.
City parks are not the only kind of parks that South Asian countries have. There are also national parks. One might be wondering the difference.
A city park is dependent on its present location, while a national park belongs to the entire country and is under the government’s care.
Interestingly, most of the national parks in the South Asian region are well-kept. Thus, making it appealing for people to visit at any time.
You can see wildlife at some of these places. In such cases, you will have a tour guide who helps you to navigate the area. Visiting the national park is usually fun as it allows you to connect with the environment.
Some of these national parks also have bike and hiking trails.
Some people say that you cannot go wrong when exploring a beach. If you agree with this train of thought, we know that you will be on the lookout for South Asia beaches.
We know that you can see beaches in this region. However, if exploring a beach will be one of your top highlights, The Maldives is the perfect South Asian country to visit.
Due to its water bodies, you can never fun out of beaches at this place. The beach will also relax you throughout your stay, and it brings happiness.
There are many activities a person can do on a beach. Exploring beaches is always fun, and you can make new friends. We know that you will make many memories on a beach that will make your trip unforgettable.
It is also always crucial for a place to have landmarks so that foreigners will have ease in navigating the area. The South Asian countries do not fail when it comes to this.
We cannot start highlighting the various landmarks in each of the countries as they are many. However, it will be hard for you to miss. After all, a landmark is usually visible to serve as a guide.
In a country like Afghanistan, the Minaret of Jam is a perfect landmark for anyone. Due to the tallness of this structure, you can see it from afar. Thus, it is impossible to miss. Interestingly, it is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
As you visit other countries in South Asia, you will also see their landmarks.
We have not seen a place you will visit that will not have a museum. After all, every place strives to protect its history, and the best place for such is at a museum.
The museums in the South Asian region are well-preserved, and we are sure that you will not have any complaints when visiting. These places usually have knowledgeable tour guides that can answer any of your questions. the goal is to ensure that people do not leave confused.
Learning the stories and history about the place you are visiting should be a top highlight as it gives an idea of things you should do and what to avoid while at this place. Thus, exploring a museum should always be on your to-do list.
One cannot afford to miss the fantastic traditional dishes of a new region. Imagine if you are visiting South Asia from Africa. Understandable, the local meals will not be the same. Thus, the ideal thing is to try the traditional South Asian meal.
Some people might want to play it safe at first and go with an option that they know. Thus, we would recommend the Banh Xeo. It is a type of pancake made from pork or shrimp.
If you love eating rice, biryani is an option that you must try. It is especially common in India and Pakistan. The preparation process of this rice involves lots of chicken and vegetables.
Nepal offers a traditional dish called Momos. It is usually served with a delicious sauce that you cannot resist.
With all these delicious options, the next thing is to ask questions or wonder where you can get these local dishes.
Every country has traditional local restaurants that serve these meals, so you are covered. It is not hard to find such restaurants in any South Asian country as they are always ready for foreigner’s visitations. They strive to impress foreigners with these local dishes.
If you ever experience difficulty in finding these restaurants, ask a local. They will give you directions to the best traditional local restaurant.
Realistically, everyone can’t have the same food preferences. It is why we have a group of people called vegans. It is also not fair if a region cannot attend to their food preferences.
We can assure you that there are many vegan restaurants in that region for those who desire to visit South Asia. As a vegetarian, you will not find it hard to get what to eat. It will almost be like you did not leave your home.
These restaurants would typically have a sign that indicates that they attend to vegan preferences. It does not mean that other people cannot eat at these places. The restaurants do not fall below par because they consider vegetarians. We are sure that you will love them.
The South Asian region is also peculiar in terms of street food. Everyone usually enjoys this option whenever they visit. Some of their street foods have gained popularity worldwide, so you could have eaten them before. However, some will be new and tasty, and we know that you cannot wait to eat them.
Kathi Rolls will have you craving for more, especially when you are in India. It has kebabs and vegetables as fillings. Most times, people lose count of how many they are eating.
Samosa is another street food you can find in the South Asian region. It is popular in both Nepal and India. The popularity of this street food has spread far to other continents also. You will enjoy eating this snack.
You can get different drinks in the South Asian region, but it depends on the country you visit. If you are in an Islamic country like The Maldives, the chances are getting alcoholic drinks is when you stay in a resort.
The people of the South Asian region are lovers of coffee. You will see it in different varieties in each of the countries. You can also get fruit drinks. These are typically on the menu in various restaurants.
In Pakistan, you can get Shikanji. If you love to drink lemonades or any drink made from lemon, we know that you will enjoy this option. Falooda is also another option that foreigners enjoy. It is a blend of rose syrup, vermicelli, and milk.
Foreigners relax by exploring the different drink options in this region.
If there is a drink that people cannot stay without taking, it is water. Every human depends on this drink, so we have to talk about it.
When talking about water, one of the first options that will come to mind is tap water. It is one of the easiest ways to get water. However, you need to ensure that the tap water is portable before drinking it. We advise that you desist from drinking tap water for those visiting South Asia as it not portable.
Instead, you should buy bottled water from the shops around. Depending on the accommodation facility you stay in, some of them would have means for water purification. However, the tap water in this region is not suitable to drink.
We would not say that all the countries in South Asia have adequate water bodies. However, there is a substantial amount. Thus, some activities a foreigner can do in this region can depend on water bodies.
If you are confused, we are talking about fishing and kayaking. These are exciting activities that keep people busy. But you can only do them in a place that has water bodies.
You will see that the people in South Asia also find these activities exciting. Although we cannot say these are every-day activities for them, they engage in them. If you love to engage in these activities, you should monitor or ask questions and join the locals. It is impossible to have a dull moment while fishing or kayaking.
Have you ever been on a yoga retreat? We are asking because yoga is also a feasible activity in South Asia. You can see that there are many things to do in this region. Thus, nothing should stop you from visiting it.
The locals see yoga as a means of bonding and usually organize yoga retreats. If you have never gone on one, this is your opportunity.
It could be that you have never engaged in yoga before. This should not bother you, as the locals are ready to tutor you if you indicate interest. They believe that with the right mindset, anyone can become a yogi.
You will have fun while engaging in this activity, and we know that you will never regret attending a yoga retreat.
Before you take the big decision of leaving your home to go to another region, one of the things that have to be in place is your accommodation plans. This means that you should sort out where you wish to stay.
We can all agree that comprising your comfort when in a new region will affect your holiday fun, so this should not happen. However, it will occur if you do not have solid accommodation plans.
Before you visit a new region, you should check out the different accommodation types available. It allows you to see the option that goes with your accommodation budget.
If you do not have an accommodation budget already, it helps you to plan and make adjustments. Thus, checking for accommodation is a crucial process.
There are many green hotels in South Asia, and you will always be in awe when you see them. Before going further, let us explain a green hotel.
A green hotel is a sustainable facility. It is eco-friendly as it has things in place that do not destroy the environment. This place is usually appealing to environmentalists and people who love being eco-friendly.
It could be that you have never stayed in a green hotel before. We give a high recommendation to the green hotels in South Asia as they are outstanding. They have a pleasant and relaxing ambiance that anyone craves when it concerns accommodation.
The customer service at these places is also superb as they strive to ensure that their customers are comfortable. It is never a bad idea to stay in a green hotel.
Hostels and Guest Houses
You can also see hostels and guesthouses as a part of the available accommodation options in South Asia.
These places are ideal for those traveling in groups as you will have bunk beds in some of them. Thus, everyone can stay in one room instead of being separated.
We cannot say that staying in a hostel or guesthouse is luxurious, but you will be comfortable. Most of them also have a relaxing environment.
It comes in handy that most of these places are close to the city centers, so navigating will not be an issue.
In a place like Sri Lanka, you will get a great view from the rooms. We have seen many people who stayed in hostels and guesthouses while in South Asia, and they had no complaints.
Many speculations surround staying in an apartment. Some people say that it is a luxurious option. Others say that it is only people with a high accommodation budget that stay in apartments.
We cannot talk about the amount you will pay when you stay in an apartment as it differs depending on the country. If you have stayed in an apartment before, you will agree that the experience is exceptional. The apartments in South Asia are not any different.
Staying in an apartment can add to the highlight of your holiday. Due to the pleasurable experience when some people stay in an apartment, they sometimes do not want to return to their home city.
It will be best if you never forget that apartments are a part of South Asia’s available accommodation options.
Now, let us talk about those that wish to visit a new place like South Asia but do not have the money. Their traveling budget is usually low, and it could be that they cannot afford to pay for accommodation.
Such persons can decide to opt for the Couchsurfing option. With this option, you get to have free accommodation and more while in the region.
The idea here is to stay with a local. Thus, you get to have a personal experience of the place as the host becomes your tour guide.
Understandably, it is not always easy staying with a stranger. However, it would help if you have an open mindset as it pacifies everything. Once you have an open mindset, you will be ready to make compromises, allowing you to enjoy your stay.
Does South Asia have places that can be camping sites? The answer to this question is yes.
There are various camping sites in South Asia that are waiting for you to explore. These places usually give foreigners a feel of the environment, putting a smile on everyone’s faces.
It is not hard to locate these places as any of the locals can help with directions. However, it is best if you do not go camping alone since it is foreign terrain.
Going camping in groups is usually fun, but it becomes more pleasant when there is a local in your midst. This way, you are well guided on the different things to do.
It is always a fantastic time while camping, and we know that it will add to your memory bank.
Getting There and Moving Around
Other essential factors play out when a person is traveling, especially to a new place or region. One of such is knowing how to get there.
We can all agree that there are various means of transportation when it concerns traveling. However, not all these transportation means can move from your present location to your destination. Thus, you need to know your best option.
It also helps to know the best route to not go in the wrong direction or spend a long time trying to reach your destination.
For those who desire to go to South Asia, we will highlight some of the available options to help you get there. This way, you will have a smooth journey.
We know that many people will breathe a sigh of relief once they get to their destination. However, that is not the end, as you also need to know how to move around.
As a foreigner, it is already in place that you will want to explore. Thus, you need to know the different ways of moving around.
If you do not know how to move around when you are in a new place, you will be stuck in one position, and time will be running out. We do not know how long you plan to stay when you travel, but we know that you cherish, and every moment counts.
Knowing how to move around helps you cover more places before you leave the region.
Walking is a means of moving around in South Asia. We would say that it is a universal means of movement as people can walk anywhere.
We cannot say that South Asia is a small region. However, if where you wish to go is close by, you can walk down there. For places that need to cover far distances, you will need to use other means of moving around.
Sometimes, a person may feel the need to have personal time. Walking can also be helpful in such a situation as you get to relax when you walk around. As you walk around, you might see something that gets your interest. If you are with a camera, you should not waste time capturing it. However, ensure that you take permission first if a local is going to be in the picture.
Using a bicycle is also a means of moving around in South Asia. Depending on the country you stay in, you may be lucky to see bicycle lanes.
If there are no bicycle lanes, you should study how the riders drive before cycling on the roads.
It is not hard to get a bicycle as there are many rental shops. These people understand that using a bike helps in moving around and foreigners need to have them while in the region.
Using a bicycle comes in handy if you are the type of person who likes doing it personally. It means you would like to transport yourself to wherever you desire.
Cycling is usually fun, so we know that you will enjoy using a bicycle in South Asia.
There is also the option of using a scooter while in South Asia. This is under the classification of electronic vehicles.
Some people may say that using a scooter is dangerous. It is why you have to be safety conscious by having your safety gear at all times. These gears could be your helmet or shin guard.
The rules of using a scooter in South Asia vary depending on the country, so you need to become familiar with the law of the country you are staying in. However, most of the countries treat using a scooter to driving a car. Thus, it will be best if you observe all the road and traffic regulations.
Once everything is in place, you will enjoy riding your scooter. Thus, it is best not to forget that this is an option of moving around in South Asia.
South Asia is one region that is easily accessible through flights from different parts of the world. Thus, using air is a way of getting into the region.
All South Asian countries have international airports, so getting a flight to these places will not be difficult. We do not know your current location. However, the first thing you should do if you want to use a flight is to check if there is a direct flight from your present location to the South Asian country you desire.
There are high chances of getting a direct flight. In cases where there your no direct flights, check for the closest location where you can get a direct flight. When you use air, you are sure to get there quickly.
You can also use air to move around in South Asia. It could be that you want to travel between countries in the region or within cities in a country.
It could be that you are going from India to Pakistan. You can use air for such a journey as there are available flights.
If you are within India or any other South Asia country and want to do an inter-city movement, there are available domestic flights.
It is safe to say that you can use air for getting in and moving around in South Asia. This news is usually pleasing to many people as using way is a fast means of movement, and it helps them go to many places within the duration of their holiday.
Using a public bus to this region is not always feasible. It is hard and rare to see a public bus to South Asia if you are not within the area.
It is why many people prefer using air as it is a sure means of getting into the region. If you are already within South Asia, it is possible to get a public bus that travels within the countries.
We recommend that you do not have thoughts of using a public bus if you are coming in from another region or continent. Suppose you stay in Australia and desire to reach South Asia; it will be impossible to use a public bus.
It is safe to say that using a public bus is not among the feasible options for getting into South Asia.
In another perspective, you can have a public bus as an option when it concerns moving around in some of the South Asian cities. Although it is not a prominent option in most of them, it is feasible.
It could be that your home city as public buses as the feasible option of moving around. Thus, you are used to it and desire to use it when in South Asia. You can see these buses as a means of moving around.
If you want to use a public bus, you should make inquiries from a local to give you the correct procedures and processes. This ensures that you do not make mistakes that can leave you stranded, as this will dampen your mood.
Some people usually ask if they can use a train to South Asia. We reply by saying that using trains to any place usually depends on a railway connection.
If you are in an African country and wish to reach a South Asian country, is there a railway connection that links? The answer determines if you can use a train or not.
Using a train to get into South Asia is not feasible as there are no railway connections between this region and other continents or places. Thus, it will be best to focus on other available means of getting into the region, like using air.
If you love to use a train, it can be possible when going to other places but not South Asia.
The fact that you cannot use a train to reach South Asia does not mean that you cannot use it as a means of transportation within some countries. In a country like India, you will see that using a train is a means of moving around.
There are different types of trains in India, depending on your budget and where you are headed. There are luxury trains, regular trains, and mountain trains. We can say that the use of trains is prominent in this country.
Talking with a local will give you more details on how to board and use a train in this region. However, we know that you will not enjoy using a train if you are not a fan of crowds. In this case, you can choose other options.
For those who might have never been on a train, this is your opportunity.
The concept of hitchhiking means getting a free ride to wherever you are headed. Within the South Asian region, you can use this as a way to move between countries.
However, hitchhiking becomes easier when you can speak the local language. It is how many of the drivers communicate, and that is the only way they can understand you.
It would also be best if you stand on the main road that leads to where you are going. When you get an offer, be sure to clearly state that you do not have money to pay to have no misconceptions.
You can get into some counties in the South Asian region with a cruise boat. This can happen in a place like Bangladesh.
However, it is not every time that this is possible. Thus, it will help if you did not put all your mind or hopes into it. The proper thing is to research and check if there is any cruise boat available. If there are none, you need to use other means of getting into the region.
Using a cruise boat can be fun, so many people hope to be lucky to use one.
There are many ways to be a responsible tourist when you visit a new place. One of such methods is by engaging in sustainable shopping. It means that you have to buy things from the locals as that is a way of encouraging them and boosting their economy.
Many people tend to ignore sustainable shopping. However, conservations with some people who indulge in it show that it is a perfect way of buying things in a new region.
Some people do not know how to engage in sustainable shopping. This ignorance is something that we hope to change with time. If you visit a food market in any place you are visiting, you are engaging in sustainable shopping. Each country in the South Asian region has various food markets that are awaiting your visit.
At these places, you get to buy food ingredients and much more. The food market may seem like an unlikely place, but it is one of the best places to make friends with the locals.
Have you ever bought things from a second-hand store? If yes, you are engaging in sustainable shopping, especially when you are in a new place.
The second-hand stores help the locals to sell off things that they do not need anymore. When you visit these stores, you will be surprised to see items you need but did not realize.
These stores help you to purchase items for a fair price. Everyone needs to visit a second-hand store at a point.
The fashion and design industry are also not left out in ways that you can engage in sustainable shopping. Some fashion designers have become more creative and involve the use of recyclable items to make fashionable items.
Most items, people are not about that the things they buy are from eco-fashion. Each country or region has its way of infusing eco-fashion. As a foreigner, it is always right to patronize them and purchase these items.
We cannot say that there is a high rate of recycling going on in South Asia. However, they are not faring poorly.
These people engage in recycling through plastic bottles, eco-fashion, and others. The idea is to minimize waste by turning them into something useful.
One of your duties is to know how the country engages in recycling and join hands to support them as a foreigner. If they recycle bottles, you should ask for the channel to send in your bottles.
It is essential to know that South Asia’s people and government have waste management as one of their significant concerns. They strive hard to ensure that the environment is always clean and a channel to dispose of solid waste.
Various means spring up every time, and it is commendable. As a foreigner, you should not flaunt any laws regarding waste management; else, you might pay a fine.
Following the laws and properly disposing of your waste shows that you are a responsible tourist.
Work and Study Abroad
South Asian countries have some of the best educational systems in the world. One of which is India, especially when it concerns medicine. Thus, people from different parts of the globe are enthusiastic about studying in this region.
However, one question that usually pops up is people wanting to know if they can work while studying in South Asia.
There is no general Asian law that prevents students from working while studying. Some countries may be an exception. But this should not be a bother if you desire to learn in the region.
We see cases where students desire to leave their present institutions and change to an institution in South Asia. There are various reasons why this may happen.
It comes in handy that many South Asia institutions are willing to take exchange students, so the process is usually not complicated.
There should be no second thoughts if you desire to be an exchange student in this region as you will see many international students.
If you are looking for short-term work within South Asia, one of the best ways to get such jobs is through the au pair system.
All you need to do is register on the au pair website and input the county you are staying in. From there, you can get work notifications from that areas, and you connect with the poster.
It helps people who need something to do for a while.
The next time you see people who say that they desire to be volunteers in a foreign place, you should not give them a weird look.
Volunteers are always needed in a place. If you have the skills that can be beneficial to a region like South Asia, there is no reason why you should not apply to be a volunteer.
This way, you are leaving your mark and helping people in return.