Of the nearly 200 nations in the world, about 50 will take us in with a visa on arrival. That’s a fourth of the planet. Our pick of the best of the lot
The reclusive Laos, just emerging from its strife-torn past, is a little-known wonder that Indians have begun discovering. Explore the largely untouched Bolaven Plateau on motorcycle, walk the streets of Vientiane’s Chinatown, or take a boat cruise up the Laos section of the Mekong River. You will need to fill up the form (available online), carry a photograph, confirmed itinerary, and US$ 40 (visa fees). Your passport must have at least six months of validity.
Fun, food, beaches, and shopping—you cannot go wrong with Thailand. It is one of the most popular destinations for Indians, thanks in part to the hassle-free visa process. When flying to Thailand, carry your photographs, proof of funds, confirmed itinerary, and 1,000 baht (visa fee) along with your application form. At the airport, head to the Visa-on-Arrival desk, with these and your passport, which must have at least six months of validity.
Cambodia may not be as slick and touristy as Thailand, but it makes up for that with natural beauty, history and architecture. The temples at Angkor Wat are a must-see, and the street-food is mind-blowing. To explore all this and more, Cambodia gives you a 30-day visa on arrival. You will have to bring along a passport-sized photograph, proof of funds, confirmed itinerary and US$ 20 (visa fees). Your passport must have at least six months of validity.
Vietnam has plenty of war memorabilia, but it’s also a vibrant country with plenty of great street-life (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City) and natural wonders (Ha Long Bay). Vietnam issues a 30- or 90-day single or multiple-entry visa on arrival. You need a prior approval letter from a Vietnam-based tour-operator (can be obtained online in a couple of days). This will cost you approximately US$ 25, plus another US$ 25 at the airport for the visa-stamp.
Hundreds of rare, indigenous species of animals, birds and plants have prompted people to refer to Madagascar as the eighth continent. Visit the Ankarana and the Montagne d’Ambre National Parks for their caves, canyons, rainforests, volcanoes and waterfalls. Constance Tsarabanjina, in the Nosy Be Archipelago, offers unspoiled beaches and superb diving. There’s more to Madagascar and you may want to use all of the 90 days you will be allowed on arrival.
Hong Kong will give you a visa on arrival provided you show an air-ticket confirming your return within 14 days, and forex sufficient to fund your stay or an international credit card. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months and should have two or more unused pages. Once inside, visit The Peak, Hong Kong’s highest point. For kids, there’s Disneyland and Ocean Park, while for shopaholics and foodies, there’s the Temple Street Market.
Indonesia is a vast country and sprawls across two time zones. It is home to ancient tribes, thick tropical forests and some stunning islands. Thrill-seekers can walk up the Gunung Bromo volcano. You will need all the time you can get to explore this beautiful country, perhaps why it offers a 30-day visa on arrival. The fees for the visa are US$ 25. You will need to produce a passport-sized photograph, proof of funds, and a confirmed itinerary.
Explore lost cities of the Testament, dine with locals and sleep in a Bedouin tent amidst the dramatic desert scenery of Wadi Rum. Take a trip through history via Petra’s magnificent architecture. Jordan has plenty of attractions, and it gives you a 14-day visa on arrival to explore all of them. Carry a photograph, proof of funds, a confirmed itinerary and JOD 20 towards visa fees. Your passport must be valid for three months or more.
If Ethiopia has never been on your travel list, the 30-day visa-on-arrival should serve as an incentive. Addis Ababa, the capital, is home to The Merçato, one of Africa's largest markets, and is the resting place of Lucy, mankind's oldest ancestor. Do not miss the gorgeous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. Explore the stunning Simien Mountains, especially the city of Gondar with its magnificent castles. Axum is Ethiopia's oldest city, and was once home to the Queen of Sheba.
This third largest island in the West Indies is easily the most famous of them all. Home to Bob Marley, music is a part of Jamaica, as much as the beaches, rum and jerk chicken. It’s not just reggae; calypso, ska and African tribal music also dominate the scene. Bars, clubs and just a sing-song on the beach are Jamaica’s favourite pastimes. Getting in is a breeze—you get a 14-day visa on producing a photo, proof of funds, and a confirmed itinerary.