An honest confession-I love travelling in South East Asia. The region has beautiful architecture, delectable food, warm and friendly locals and so much history which sometimes isn't taught in classrooms. One needs to visit to understand the language, culture and traditions in these South East Asian countries.
However, if you hold an Indian passport, the first concern is always, ‘Would I require a visa?’ Well, yes and no. India currently ranks 75 in the global passport index with visa-free entry to 51 countries. Don’t be fooled because most countries require a visa and you can get it when you arrive apart from the ones you need to get ahead of time.
Though many countries in South East Asia give visa on arrival to Indian passport holders, some require visitors to apply for e-visas for short stays or proof of documents like accommodation and finances.
If you find yourself in South East Asia with an Indian passport, these five countries should be on your go-to list!
Almost everyone I know in India goes to Thailand or at least has been there because it’s so easy! Just book your tickets, arrive and stand in line, pay 1000 baht (Rs 2000 approx) and voila, you've got yourself a 15-day stay in the country. Head to the spectacular beaches to relax, soak in the architecture, enjoy the picturesque paddy fields of the North or party till dawn in Bangkok, Thailand has something for every traveller! In case you are a traveller who oversees every minute detail, you can apply for a visa at the embassy prior to your travel.
One of the most gorgeous countries in South East Asia with an incredibly sad past, Cambodia offers tourists a heady mix. Angkor Wat is usually on everyone’s bucket list, but don't forget to check out the whole complex which holds other temple ruins. The capital Phnom Penh is a modern city with quaint architecture while the beaches are perfect for some fun under the sun. Indian passport holders can pay $30 (Rs 2000 approx) to get a 30-day stay on arrival at the airports or at certain checkpoints if coming by land. There is also a provision of applying for an e-visa or directly to the embassy prior to your travels.
Though not technically South East Asia, Hong Kong offers Indian passport holders free entry for 14 days after successfully completing a pre-arrival registration. So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets to visit Disneyland or indulge in delicious street food such as dim sums, wanton and brisket noodles and various roasts!
Why don't you head to the Indonesian islands to check out the spectacular temple complexes or enjoy a relaxing holiday by the various beaches? The brave-hearted can head to Mt Bromo, an active volcano, while the nature-lovers can see exotic creatures such as the Komodo Dragon! Remember that if an Indian passport holder is visiting just for tourist purposes and not planning to stay beyond 30 days, its free entry! Yes, you heard right! However, understand that it cannot be extended in any which way but if you pay $35 (Rs 2300 approx) and make use of a 30-day stay in the country, there is a possibility of an extension.
Indian passport holders require no visa if visiting the Las Vegas of Asia for 30 days or less! Visit the Venetian Macao to experience Italy’s famous gondolas and gamble to your heart’s content. A very glamorous autonomous region, take in sweeping views of the city atop the 338m high Macau Tower!