Visa Friendly Countries : For Indians, however, spontaneity usually begins and ends with whether or not to get the special Asian Vegetarian Meal. Let’s be honest – trip planning for Indian passport holders is often a nightmare that’s filled with what I like to call the 4Ps of terrible travel – papers, proofs, perseverance and patience. And not to mention a little luck.
That said, it’s not an entirely tragic situation. There are indeed pockets of hope, or countries with heart, that welcome Indian citizens with arms wide open. Here’s a list of 10 awesome countries that allow Indians to travel within their borders either with a visa-on-arrival or without a visa altogether out of more than 50 countries and territories around the world. Disclaimer – the rules may change by the time you read this so please double-check with the specific country’s consulate before you go. Don’t blame me if you get turned away at the check-in counter. Now that would be tragic!
What to See: Nepal is a backpacker haven, making it a great place to visit even if your friends are too busy slaving it in their cubicles to join you. Chances are, you’ll easily find company for the Annapurna Circuit or a bungee jump in the cafes of Kathmandu and Pokhara.
How to Enter: Indians do not require a visa to enter Nepal. Just carry your passport or a government-issued photo ID and you’re good to go!
What to See: The happiest country in Asia is home to Himalayan peaks, tranquil monasteries and colorful festivals known as Tshechus.
How to Enter: No visa needed – just take your valid Indian passport or Voter ID Card and you’re good to go!
3. Sri Lanka
What to See: Those who think “Arrey, but what is there in Sri Lanka?” are making a huge mistake. Sri Lanka has white sand beaches, ancient ruins, rolling hills and all sorts of wildlife crammed into an island that’s half the size of Tamil Nadu.
How to Enter: Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) online. No passport copies, documents or photographs are required. The ETA entitles Indians to 30 days of travel. It costs $15 and you’ll get your response within 24 hours.
4. Myanmar (Burma)
What to See: Word is just catching wind that Myanmar has opened up so go, go, go, before it finds itself squarely on the tourist trail. A visit here is a trip back in time where just two years ago there wasn’t a single ATM. Gaze upon the stupas in Bagan at sunrise, eat something other than khao swe and drift slowly on the Ayeyarwady River – come here to get away from it all.
How to Enter: It takes just three days to get your approval letter through Myanmar’s new e-visa system.
What to See: Ummm…what’s not to do here? Thailand is famous the world over for all-night parties, cheap and delicious food, pristine beaches and lady boys, of course.
How to Enter: Indians have been queuing up at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport’s visa-on-arrival area for years. All you need is a valid passport and a couple photographs, which you can take at the nearby booths.
What to See: Comprised of almost 13,500 islands, Indonesia has something for everyone. Literally. You can trek to see endangered Orangutans in Sumatra, dive to get close to over 3,000 species of fish, feel the rumble of volcanoes, party in Jakarta and chill in Bali. And that’s just scratching the surface’s surface.
How to Enter: You can get a visa-on-arrival for a stay of up to one month. It costs around $25.
What to See: Love-struck honeymooners, luxurious resorts and turquoise blue waters.
How to Enter: Once you drum up the necessary finances to visit this tiny, sinking island nation, you’re granted a free visa-on-arrival for 30 days. Though you’ll probably be broke well in advance of the expiration date!
What to See: For a country with just one million inhabitants, Mauritius is a melting pot of cultures and flavors. “Thanks” to indentured labor under British rule in the 1800s, people from mainland Africa, China and India came to Mauritius’s shores and never left. And who can blame them? Mauritius is home to spectacular beaches, untouched forests and vibrant markets.
How to Enter: Entry to paradise is visa-free, my friend.
What to See: Landlocked Laos may not be on most people’s bucket lists, but that’s because it’s overshadowed by Thailand to the west and Cambodia to the south. Taking a two-day slow boat on the Mekong from northern Thailand to Luang Prabang is worth the trip in and of itself. Once in the cultural capital, pop in and out of colonial-style cafes and walk the quaint streets, which are filled with the aromas of fresh baguettes.
How to Enter: Laos has a visa-on-arrival system. Just make sure you have a valid passport.
What to See: There’s more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat. After temple hopping around Siem Reap for three days, head south to Phnom Penh where you can see first-hand the effects of the Khmer Rouge atrocities. After that, make a bee-line for Sihanoukville on the coast.
How to Enter: Cambodia has recently launched an e-Visa to make your visit to the Kingdom of Wonder an easy and efficient experience from the get-go. It costs $27 and is valid for three months from the date of issue. The visa allows you to travel for 30 days.
Have you been to any of these countries? Know of any others? Let me know in the comments below!