The best kind of holidays are the unplanned spontaneous ones. Like in the movies, where you pack a bag and race to the airport to buy a ticket on the next departing flight to paradise.
For us in reality however, there are things like visa’s to consider. And also, everyone knows packing a child’s bag takes a million years as well! (Fellow parents, I know you’ve been there, done that. ). I’ve noticed that we’re always so busy with work, family, school, life and then before you know it a long weekend appears. And then you’ll find me scrambling to find somewhere to go. Anywhere! The beach, mountains, a hill station? Fingers flying away at my keyboard, I’ll be googling, opening every travel website in creation, with 30 tabs open on the computer looking for hotels and flights, etc. One day before the holiday. Gosh darn it! I wished there was some kind of go-to list that I could refer to, for places we could just book and fly off to without the hassle of a visa application. And just like the movies, in the blink of an eye I’d be sipping champagne at a beach club on some exotic coast.
Well, here’s my go to list: 5 best places you don’t need a visa to travel with an Indian passport
Calling all Reggae lovers, we’re off to the Caribbean! Bob Marley’s birthplace and home to the Bob Marley museum, Jamaica’s capital Kingston is a fun and vibrant city to begin your encounters in the Caribbean. A pinata of art, music, culture and great food, I’m sure your getaway to Jamaica will beckon you to revisit the Caribbean once again. Montego Bay is a popular cruise ship port and boasts of great night life, numerous beaches, and a Marine Park. Treasure Beach for its mysterious coves , Port Antonio for snorkeling and nightlife, Ochos Rios for horseback riding on the beaches and river safaris. I found great information and resources for Jamaica here.
Polkerris Bed & Breakfast, Montego Bay – Winner of the Tripadvisor Travelers choice 2016, this quaint B& B is full of character and great for an authentic Jamaican experience. Close to Doctors Cave beach and Aqua Sol theme park too.
Half Moon, Montego Bay – With 2 miles of private beach along the Caribbean sea, this hotel with gorgeous decor, many restaurants, 54 pools where you can also swim with dolphins(yes you read that right.54) is absolutely amazing!
Mystic Ridge Resort, Ochos Rios – I love the bright airy contemporary decor and its just 1 km away from Mystic Mountain Rain Forest Adventure Park. Great reviews too.
2. Islands of Indonesia
Already been to Bali? No worries, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida islands are just a short ferry ride away. And since they are relatively undiscovered, you wont find hoards of tourists on their beaches.There are even better islands off the coast of Bali for avid divers and snorkelers. The Gili islands are also a ferry away and are not commercial tourist spots which is exactly what some of you are looking for. Pack your hiking gear for these places as there are much more than just secret beaches to discover. I’ve heard there’s cliff diving, waterfalls, caves and forests you can explore too.
Le Pirate Beach club on Nusa Ceningan and Gili Trawangan – They have accommodation and gorgeous beach clubs too. Also try their Explorer boats to go island hopping and explore the archipelago.
There are varied options for Gili islands ranging from simple shacks on the beach to luxury villas. Book hotels at the Gili Paradise website.
There are plenty of cool and fun AirBnb options on these islands so take your pick.
You can even camp out on the beach in Nusa Penida. Details here.
Boasting of beautiful weather throughout the year, consider visiting Seychelles for a short break of about 3-4 days. For snorkeling and diving visit in April/May/June and September/Octovber/November for perfect visibility. Mahe is the main island and has fabulous resorts and beaches, but if you want something different, stay at Praslin island. It is about 50 minutes away by speed ferry. Whats even better, is that you can spot dolphins in the sea from the upper deck of the ferry. ‘Vallee de Mai’ is a UNESCO natural world heritage site located on Praslin island thats great for bird watching and hiking.
Les Villas D’Or – Baie Sainte Anne, Praslin. – This resort is villa styled on the beach with BBQ’s and great facilities.
AVANI Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa, Mahe. – Just indulge yourself with this one. Its exuberant, located on a pristine crescent-shaped beach and has fabulous services.
Coral Strand Smart Choice – Beau Vallon Bay, Mahe. – Beach front property at a great rate. Good reviews too.
Perfect for a babymoon or even a surprise weekend getaway. The Maldives are a vanishing gem that must be experienced at least once in your life. The weather is wonderful in Maldives all year round. Wouldn’t you like to swim in the crystal clear turquoise water and feed baby manta ray fish? Most hotels have plenty of exciting activities you can do, so a 3 night trip is ideal.
Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef – A gorgeous Taj property with All Inclusive packages
Sun island – A short sea plane ride away from Male airport, this is a 4 star hotel with water villas and plenty of water activities.
Paradise Island Resort & Spa – A 5 star resort with great beach villas and water villas , and no need for an expensive sea plane ride.
Adaaran Hudhuranfushi and Adaaran Select Meedhuparu – 4 star hotels with all-inclusive packages.
Kihaad Maldives – Perfect for night swims with the magical bio-luminescent plankton found in the waters here.
The tiny tropical island nestled in the deep blue waters near Madagascar is Mauritius. It’s one of those destinations where you get the best of the sea and the city, great weather all year round (But keep in mind that November – April is tropical hurricane season), fabulous resorts and rich historical and natural wonders to see. Popular among honeymooners and families, you can choose from kid free hotels or family friendly resorts with so many facilities and activities you’ll never want to leave. Home to the most spectacular beaches in the world, its easy to forget the many other amazing things to do in Mauritius. While you’re there, check out the Caudan waterfront to shop, Grand Bassin, Charmarel, Ile aux Cerfs island, and also sample the great food.
LUX Belle Mare: They have themed buffets and even a food/ ice cream truck. Its worth opting for the all inclusive package here. This beautiful beach hotel is just a short boat ride away from dive sites. You can relax at the Spa or enjoy the views from your private terrace or balcony in the room as well.
Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort, Bel Ombre – A chic and laid back 5 star resort in the lush greenery of Bel Ombre. This luxurious resort has sea view rooms, excellent reviews and great food. They also have a supervised kids club and playground.
Tamassa – A favorite among Indian honeymooners and vegetarians, this hotel has a fantastic Indian chef and has honeymoon freebies.
Ambre Resort and Spa – Set along a tranquil beach, this adults-only resort is great for a romantic honeymoon getaway.
So keep this list handy or bookmark it for quick ideas for a spontaneous mini vacation. Of course, there are so many countries in the world offering visa on arrival and free visa options for Indians, so I’ll be picking the most fun ones to add to my next list.
Till then, Happy Travels!