Monday, March 3, 2014

10 Visa-free Destinations For Indian Citizens

Indian travellers may rue the declining rupee but there are other perks to being an Indian citizen. Holders of Indian passports have visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to about 52 countries and territories around the world. At least 28 of these nations allow Indian passport holders to visit without a pre-issued visa.

1. BHUTAN : Bhutan, the happiest little nation in the world, is among the most sought-after Himalayan destinations for tourists but the Himalayan mountain kingdom is very conservative when it comes to tourism. Travel writer Pico Iyer mentioned it in his book, Falling off the Map, as one of the world\'s remotest places. Until recently, Bhutan restricted tourist numbers. Though that has changed, the country still requires foreign tourists to pay for their entire holiday in advance and travel on a pre-issued tourist visa. Flying into Bhutan\'s solitary airport at Paro is possible only through the national carrier Druk Air, which operates flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Bangkok and Yangon. rnrnIndian citizens, however, have it easier. On production of a valid passport or voter\'s identity card, a permit is issued that is valid for two weeks.


1. BHUTAN : Bhutan, the happiest little nation in the world, is among the most sought-after Himalayan destinations for tourists but the Himalayan mountain kingdom is very conservative when it comes to tourism. Travel writer Pico Iyer mentioned it in his book, Falling off the Map, as one of the world\'s remotest places. Until recently, Bhutan restricted tourist numbers. Though that has changed, the country still requires foreign tourists to pay for their entire holiday in advance and travel on a pre-issued tourist visa. Flying into Bhutan\'s solitary airport at Paro is possible only through the national carrier Druk Air, which operates flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Bangkok and Yangon. rnrnIndian citizens, however, have it easier. On production of a valid passport or voter\'s identity card, a permit is issued that is valid for two weeks.


3. COOK ISLANDS : The Cook Islands lie in Polynesia, off the coast of New Zealand. They are named after Captain James Cook, who discovered them for the western world in 1770. Since 1965, the islands have been self-governed with free association to the government of New Zealand, which controls the islands\' defence, foreign affairs (including passport control) and currency. Immigration is strictly controlled. Indian citizens are allowed to stay for up to 200 days without a visa, but must show proof of reserved accommodation and are not exempt from paying the departure tax of NZ$55 for adults and NZ$15 for children. Rarotonga International Airport, the main port of entry to the Cook Islands, is connected to Auckland via daily flights and weekly flights from Sydney, Fiji and Los Angeles. rnrnApproximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1,60,000 (via Singapore and Auckland)rn


4. DOMINICA : Not to be confused with the Caribbean nation known as the Dominican Republic, the island of Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by the British. It has beautiful hiking trails, rainforests and beaches with great opportunities for snorkelling. Indian citizens are allowed to stay for 22 months without a visa. rnrnApproximate cost of round trip flight: INR 2,00,000 (via Paris and Saint Maarten)rn


5. EL SALVADOR : El Salvador, the most densely populated country in Central America, lies between Guatemala and the Honduras. Volcanoes, mountains and cloud forests offer plenty of nature discovery and hiking opportunities. Old colonial towns and UNESCO World Heritage Sites beckon heritage tourists. Indian nationals are permitted to stay for a maximum of three months without a visa. rnrnApproximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1,44,000 (via Paris and Miami)rn


6. GRENADA : The beautiful Caribbean islands of Grenada offer much to tourists in the form of beaches, waterfalls, historic forts and spice gardens. Indian tourists can travel visa-free in Grenada for up to 90, but must show proof of sufficient funds to cover the cost of their travel.rnrnApproximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1.60,000 (via London and Miami)rn


7. HAITI : Haiti is off the travel map for most tourists owing to the devastation left by the 2010 earthquake. One of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere, its current political situation and concerns over the safety of tourists has prompted many countries to issue strict travel advisories. That said, Indian tourists are welcome without a visa for a maximum stay of three months.rnrnApproximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1,52,000 (via Dubai and New York)rn


8. JAMAICA : Jamaica is the most populous of the English-speaking Caribbean countries and its easygoing culture, cuisine and music, besides its many beaches, are attractive to tourists. Indian tourists can stay without a visa on producing a passport valid for six months and sufficient proof of funds and onward travel. rnrnApproximate cost of round trip flight: 1,53,000 (via Dubai and New York/ Toronto)rn


9. MONTSERRAT : Not to be confused with the Spanish region of the same name, Montserrat is an island in the Caribbean southeast of Puerto Rico and once a popular resort. Since 1989, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions forced its closure but the island is slowly limping back. Indian citizens must show proof of citizenship but can travel visa-free on furnishing proof of onward travel and adequate funds. rnrnApproximate cost of round trip flight: 1,30,000 (to Antigua, via London) and a 15-minute air-hop from Antigua to Montserrat (about INR 5,000)rn


10. MICRONESIA : The far-flung Federated States of Micronesia are a group of 607 islands in the Western Pacific Ocean, comprising the states of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. It is considered one of the most remote and beautiful places in the world, with pristine coral reefs, quaint cultures, exotic food and picturesque islands. Indian citizens can travel visa-free for 30 days upon producing proof of sufficient funds, onward travel and accommodation. rnrnApproximate cost of round trip flight: 2,04,000 (via Hong Kong, Guam and Truk) rn



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