It’s a well known fact that if you’re an Indian citizen and have an Indian passport, travelling to anywhere outside of our little country is no easy feat. Most countries require a visa to be able to enter, and have very strict rules for how you can obtain one.
In most cases, one has to show proof of stay, including flight tickets, hotel bookings, itineraries etc. Imagine having to plan out your entire trip and pay for tickets and bookings without having a visa and not knowing if you’ll be approved for one or not!
But wait, don’t lose hope just yet! It turns out there are places you can visit without a visa if you’re an Indian citizen, apart from places within India itself, of course! Passport Index ranks India’s visa-free status at 49. In comparison, Germany has the highest score of 158, and U.S.A is at 155.
Here are a few beautiful destinations you can go to with just your Indian passport:
Nestled between the majestic Himalayas, Nepal is an enchanting destination for hikers, trekkers and nature lovers. Visit the Chitwan National Park, home to over 500 species of migratory birds, and animals such as crocodiles, elephants and rhinos.
The capital, Kathmandu, is a place of religious and cultural importance, and is filled with monasteries, temples and palaces such as Pashupatinath temple. Take a panoramic flight across the Himalayas, or a Mt.Everest helicopter tour. The options are endless here!
Cambodia is filled with stunning beaches, magnificent ancient temples, and mouthwatering cuisine (and cheap beer!).
Visit Rabbit Island, and eat some amok (a traditional curry with magic spices). Take a trip to the Angkor Archeological park and then hit the beach at Sihnoukville to enjoy the waves and sand.
Mauritius immediately brings up images of powder while sandy beaches and tropical palm trees. This sunny destination isn’t just about beaches though – If you can get away from the exotic sands for just a second, Mauritius has a ton of activities, historic sights and lush forests to explore.
Hike to the Chamarel waterfall, skydive to the lovely birds-eye views of Mauritius, enjoy some water sport adventures in Grand Baie Resort, and explore Grand Bassin, a lake high up in the mountains with a historical Shiva Temple hidden in the midst.
Being the last of the Himalayan kingdoms, there is nowhere quite like Bhutan in the world.
Take a trip to Taktsang Lhakhang (Tigers Nest Monastery), which hangs off a sheer cliff above Paro Valley, and is only accessible by foot. Visit the National Park that is home to endangered species like the red panda, snow leopards and tigers. Dance with the monks at Teschu festival, or hike the Jhomolhari trail to fantastic views of sacred 7,314m Jhomolhari peak on the Tibetan border at Jigme Dorgi National Park.
Fiji is an isolated island paradise, with a lot of fun and offbeat things to add to the mix.
If you visit in February or March, its the time Fijians break out their colored paints and powders to celebrate the Holi Festival! Take a dip at the Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool, skip the commercialized islands and take your pick out of 333 other islands that make up Fiji, like Qalito (also called Castaway Island). Not for the faint of heart, swim in Fiji’s underwater limestone caves of Sawa-i-Lau for a unique and thrilling adventure.
Have you heard the saying “a New York minute is a Hong Kong second”? Hong Kong is a place teeming with energy, and it will not let up from the moment you arrive.
Get on the Star Ferry at Tsim Sha Tsui and set sail to Central to get one of the best (and cheapest!) views of the Hong Kong skyline. Visit Ocean Park and take the cable car at over dramatic cliff faces before reaching the many adrenaline-inducing amusement rides.
Maldives is the perfect destination if you’re looking for beaches that look equally stunning in the night, as they do in the daytime. There are a host of islands you can pick up (read all about my magical trip to the Maldives here!), but I suggest the ones that have glowing waters – bioluminescent planktons in the water give these beaches an ethereal feel at night.
Have an adventure with loads of fun-filled water activities like snorkeling, deep sea diving, jet skiing etc. Later, hit the spa for a much deserved pampering, and take a stroll through the beach after scrumptious meals. Ah, this is the life!
From interesting and lively cities such as Yogyakarta, to pristine beaches and waters of the Komodo Islands, Indonesia has varied attractions to explore.
Visit the volcanoes of the ring of fire; explore the thick jungles, witness traditional dances and partake in the delicious cuisine of Indonesia. Visit the sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, and if you dare, take a peek at the Ghost Palace hotel, an abandoned hotel in the highlands of Bali is shrouded in stories of ghosts, curses, and corruption.
Jordan, the land of the nomadic Bedouins of the desert, the land where the Red Sea meets the Dead Sea, the land of Ancient Wonders.
Hundreds of candles illuminating the mile long trail through the Siq
Explore the lost city of Petra, the red rose city as old as time itself. Float in the water of the Dead sea, which has such high salt levels that marine life cannot survive, but our bodies will stay afloat! Jordan has some world class street cafes, so take a stroll in the marketplace and choose from its many offerings.
Massive mountain peaks getting lost in the clouds, the highest navigable lake in the world, several bustling metropolises, jungles and rivers and tons of wildlife, and the largest salt flat on Earth – Just a few reasons why Bolivia is at the top of my bucket list!
Spend a few days at La Paz, with its amazing ethnic food options, and a super happening night life scene at Sopocachi. If you dare, drive down the most dangerous road, cheerfully titled the “Death Road” for an 11,000 foot, 50 mile descent down a snaking, winding, narrow road with hairpin turns at every corner.
An isolated island sitting off the east coast of Africa, more than 80 per cent of Madagascar’s wildlife is endemic.
Spot the many species of lemur present in Andasibe National Park or take to the water on the trail of humpback whales. Experience some world class hiking and river canoeing expeditions through rainforests and waterfalls. And when you’re done, leave a little bit of yourself behind by visiting volunteer shelters and donating anything from cash, to toys and school supplies.
If none of these look interesting to you (not judging, but seriously?!), or you’ve already visited most of these (I want to be your friend hi!), fear not, there are a host of other places too: Take your picks from Thailand, Ethiopia, Laos, Ecuador, Jamaica, Kenya, Uganda, and Seychelles.
Let me know your top picks from the list, in the comments below 🙂
Happy traveling, and as always thanks for reading!