The Don 2 director used the region as a backdrop for Lakshya, his 2004 film starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan.
Akhtar told NDTV: "I think that film... being there for five months and adapting to that [environment] teaches you a lot about yourselves and what you are capable of achieving if you want to do it. It changed me completely as a person."
The 38-year-old, who learned spanish for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, said that travelling is a learning experience.
"You learn so much about yourselves, about your resilience and sense of adventure, how curious you are about history and geography and people of that place. You learn a lot about yourselves while learning about that place," he said.
And while he has travelled the world, the director said there's no place like India, especially when it comes to food.
"In India, every five or 10km, you'll find something different to eat. Every place has its own flavour and style of cooking food," he added.