4 Picturesque Countries Indians Can Visit Without Visas

The Indian passport just got a tad mightier.

On January 9, the Henley Passport Index ranked the subcontinental giant 80th in its quarterly rankings. 

This is a global ranking for countries based on the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) data, implying trustworthiness of its security measures, in-land laws, and citizens. 

You know what this means?

India now has visa-free access to 62 destinations, with Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Thailand most recently adding India to their visa-free lists.

Indian tourists are in for a world of unhassled travel, and Feriados (FAM) has compiled a swashbuckling list of four visa-free, photograph-friendly destinations for them.  

Kenya: From the Highlands to the Hippos  

Kenya has something for everyone. 

From the gently rolling savannah plains of Masai Mara, to the eyes of hippopotamuses gliding just over the surface of the river Ewaso Nyiro, you can find emotional release no matter your type of personality. Extroverts and introverts alike can find all the activities they came for. 

Here’s a breakdown of the country to make your trip easier:

Nairobi, The Capital City:

Start your journey in Nairobi, the bustling capital city. Visit the Nairobi National Park, where you can see wildlife against the backdrop of the city skyline. Explore the Giraffe Centre to get up close and personal with these gentle giants. Don’t miss the Karen Blixen Museum, dedicated to the famous author of “Out of Africa.”

Maasai Mara National Reserve:

For an unforgettable safari experience, head to the world-renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve. Witness the Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest and zebras traverse the plains in search of greener pastures. The Maasai people, with their distinctive attire and rich cultural heritage, add a unique flavor to your safari adventure.

Amboseli National Park:

If you want to capture postcard-perfect views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National Park is the place to be. The park is famous for its large elephant herds, offering fantastic photo opportunities with the snow-capped peak in the background.

Coastal Paradise – Mombasa and Diani Beach:

Head to the coastal city of Mombasa for a blend of history and beach relaxation. Explore Fort Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and wander through the narrow streets of Old Town. For pristine beaches and turquoise waters, make your way to Diani Beach, where you can indulge in water sports, sunbathing, and vibrant nightlife.

The Great Rift Valley:

Discover the stunning landscapes of the Great Rift Valley, home to several lakes and wildlife sanctuaries. Lake Nakuru is renowned for its flamingos, while Lake Naivasha offers boat rides amid hippos and diverse bird species. The Hell’s Gate National Park provides a unique opportunity for hiking and rock climbing.

Samburu National Reserve:

For a more off-the-beaten-path safari experience, visit Samburu National Reserve. This less crowded reserve is home to rare species such as the Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, and Somali ostrich. The Ewaso Ng’iro River adds a scenic touch to the landscape.

Cultural Experiences:

Immerse yourself in Kenyan culture by spending time with local tribes. Engage in a traditional Maasai village visit, where you can witness their dances, crafts, and way of life. Attend a vibrant local market to experience the lively atmosphere and purchase authentic handmade souvenirs.

Practical Tips:

  • The currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES).
  • Kenya’s official languages are Swahili and English.
  • Ensure you have the necessary vaccinations before traveling.
  • Respect wildlife and follow the guidelines provided by park authorities during safaris.
  • Kenya offers a tapestry of experiences, from thrilling safaris to cultural encounters, making it an ideal destination for a diverse and enriching travel experience. 

Karibu Kenya! (Welcome to Kenya!)

Thailand: Get a Bicycle and go to Beaches! 

Welcome to the Land of Smiles.

Known for its rich culture, stunning beaches, bustling markets, and delicious cuisine, Thailand is a vibrant destination that caters to all types of travelers. 

Here’s a short travel guide to help you navigate this enchanting country:

Bangkok, The Capital City:

Kickstart your Thai adventure in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok. Visit the Grand Palace, a magnificent complex of temples and courtyards. Explore Wat Pho to see the iconic Reclining Buddha and experience the vibrant street life of Khao San Road. Don’t miss a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River to get a glimpse of local life along the waterways.

Chiang Mai – Northern Charm:

Head north to Chiang Mai, a city surrounded by mountains and known for its rich history. Explore the Old City with its ancient temples, such as Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang. Experience the unique atmosphere of the nightly bazaar, and consider participating in a traditional Thai cooking class.

Phuket – Tropical Paradise:

For sun-soaked beaches and vibrant nightlife, Phuket is a must-visit destination. Relax on the white sands of Patong Beach, explore the lively Bangla Road, and take a boat trip to the nearby Phi Phi Islands for snorkeling and island hopping.

Ayutthaya – Historical Wonders:

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayutthaya is a historical city showcasing the remnants of ancient temples and palaces. Rent a bicycle to explore the archaeological park, including Wat Mahathat and Wat Phra Si Sanphet.

Krabi – Nature’s Beauty:

Discover the stunning limestone cliffs and clear waters of Krabi. Railay Beach is a rock climber’s paradise, while Ao Nang offers a more relaxed beach experience. Take a boat tour to the Phi Phi Islands or explore the Emerald Pool and Hot Springs in the lush jungle.

Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle:

Visit the northernmost city of Chiang Rai and explore the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten). Take a boat ride along the Mekong River to the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet.

Thai Islands – Tropical Bliss:

Experience the beauty of Thailand’s islands. Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan offer a mix of stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and water activities like snorkeling and diving.

Thai Cuisine and Street Food:

Indulge your taste buds in Thailand’s world-renowned cuisine. Try Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup), Som Tum (green papaya salad), and finish your meals with the deliciously sweet Mango Sticky Rice. Don’t miss the vibrant street food scene for authentic local flavors.

Practical Tips:

  • The official language is Thai.
  • The currency is the Thai Baht (THB).
  • Respect local customs, especially when visiting temples (cover shoulders and knees).
  • Tuk-tuks and Songthaews are common modes of transportation in cities.
  • Thailand’s unique blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation makes it a top destination for travelers seeking a diverse and memorable experience. Enjoy your journey through the Land of Smiles!

Sawasdee (Hello)!  

Sri Lanka: Spicy with a dash of Sea Spray  

This island nation in the Indian Ocean is known for its rich history, diverse landscapes, and warm hospitality. 

Here’s a short travel guide to help you explore the wonders of Sri Lanka:

Colombo, The Capital City:

Begin your journey in Colombo, the vibrant capital. Explore the historic Fort area, visit the Independence Memorial Hall, and stroll through the Galle Face Green promenade. Don’t miss the bustling Pettah Market for a taste of local life.

Kandy – Cultural Heartland:

Head to Kandy, the cultural capital nestled in the hills. Visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, which houses a tooth of Buddha. Enjoy a scenic boat ride on Kandy Lake and explore the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya.

Sigiriya – Ancient Rock Fortress:

Marvel at the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and discover ancient frescoes on your way up. Nearby, explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, known for its well-preserved archaeological treasures.

Dambulla – Cave Temples:

Explore the Dambulla Cave Temples, a complex of five caves adorned with intricate Buddhist murals and statues. The panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the top are breathtaking.

Ella – Hill Country Charm:

Immerse yourself in the lush greenery of Ella in the central highlands. Hike to the top of Ella Rock for stunning views, take a scenic train ride through tea plantations, and visit the iconic Nine Arch Bridge.

Nuwara Eliya – Tea Plantations:

Discover the tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as “Little England.” Take a guided tour of a tea estate, enjoy a scenic round of golf, and relish the cooler climate.

Yala National Park – Wildlife Safari:

Experience the thrill of a safari in Yala National Park. Known for its leopard population, the park also houses elephants, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species. Udawalawe National Park is another excellent option for wildlife enthusiasts.

Galle – Colonial Charm:

Explore the historic Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through cobblestone streets lined with colonial-era buildings, visit the Dutch Reformed Church, and enjoy the views from the fort walls.

Sri Lankan Cuisine:

Indulge in Sri Lanka’s diverse and flavorful cuisine. Try traditional dishes like rice and curry, kottu roti, hoppers, and fresh seafood. Don’t forget to savor a cup of Ceylon tea.

Practical Tips:

  • The official languages are Sinhala and Tamil.
  • The currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR).
  • Respect local customs, especially when visiting religious sites.
  • Sri Lanka has a tropical climate, so pack accordingly.
  • Sri Lanka’s blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and warm hospitality makes it a captivating destination. Enjoy your exploration of this enchanting island!

Ayubowan (May you live long) and welcome to the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka! 

Nepal: The Holy Roof of the World 

Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, this enchanting country offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler. Here’s a short travel guide to help you embark on your journey through Nepal:

Kathmandu – The Cultural Hub:

Begin your adventure in Kathmandu, the capital city. Explore the Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with palaces, temples, and courtyards. Visit the sacred Pashupatinath Temple and the Boudhanath Stupa, both significant pilgrimage sites.

Pokhara – Lakeside Bliss:

Head to Pokhara, a picturesque city set beside the tranquil Phewa Lake and surrounded by the Annapurna and Machapuchare mountain ranges. Enjoy a boat ride on the lake, explore the International Mountain Museum, and take in the stunning sunrise from Sarangkot.

Annapurna and Everest Regions – Trekking Paradise:

Nepal is a trekker’s paradise, with the Annapurna and Everest regions offering some of the world’s most iconic trekking routes. Experience the Annapurna Circuit, trek to Everest Base Camp, or opt for shorter trails like the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek.

Chitwan National Park – Wildlife Safari:

Immerse yourself in the lush jungles of Chitwan National Park. Embark on a wildlife safari to spot rhinoceros, tigers, elephants, and a variety of bird species. Enjoy a cultural experience with the indigenous Tharu community.

Lumbini – Birthplace of Buddha:

Pay a visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. Explore the sacred garden, Maya Devi Temple, and various monasteries representing different Buddhist traditions.

Bhaktapur – Living Heritage:

Wander through the medieval city of Bhaktapur, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its well-preserved architecture, intricate woodwork, and vibrant squares. Don’t miss the Nyatapola Temple and the 55-Window Palace.

Cultural Festivals:

Time your visit to coincide with one of Nepal’s colorful festivals. The vibrant celebrations of Dashain and Tihar provide a unique insight into the rich cultural tapestry of the country.

Adventure Activities:

Besides trekking, Nepal offers a variety of adventure activities. Try white-water rafting in the Trishuli River, go paragliding in Pokhara, or experience the thrill of mountain biking in the hills around Kathmandu.

Nepali Cuisine:

Sample the diverse flavors of Nepali cuisine. Enjoy momos (dumplings), dal bhat (lentils and rice), and indulge in local sweets like sel roti and yomari. Don’t forget to try the traditional Newari feast called “Nepal Bhoj.”

  1. Practical Tips:
  • Nepali and English are widely spoken languages.
  • The currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR).
  • Respect local customs and dress modestly, especially in religious sites.
  • Nepal has a varied climate, so pack accordingly based on your travel dates and destinations.
  • Nepal, with its warm hospitality and breathtaking landscapes, invites you to explore its cultural heritage and natural wonders. Enjoy your journey through this Himalayan haven! 

Namaste and welcome to the land of majestic mountains and spiritual serenity – Nepal! 

And that’s it for Feriadoss’s travel guide to visa-free countries! 

Happy travels!

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