Singaporeans try to escape the country by taking overseas holidays as often as they can. In fact, we travel much more than our regional and global counterparts, according to this survey. But to be fair, they’re not stuck on a tiny island.
Leaving the country is easy for us, as we’re number 5 in travel freedom worldwide, according to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, which means we get to travel to a huge number of countries and territories without having to apply or pay for a visa.
In fact, we get to holiday visa-free so often that we tend to get taken by surprise when we actually discover we do need a visa to go somewhere, just like that Singaporean family I saw get turned away at the airport because they didn’t know they had to apply for a passport to go to Myanmar.
Don’t let that happen to you! Before booking your tickets to these four destinations, don’t forget to apply for visas to the below countries.
A few years back, nobody in Singapore ever ventured to Myanmar for tourism purposes, but these days it’s one of the most popular undiscovered locations. The number of photos of Bagan temples on my Facebook feed threatens to drown me on any given day. Still, don’t assume you can get in free just because you’ve done the same thing for other Southeast Asian destinations like Thailand and Cambodia.
You’ll have to apply for a visa online before you’ll be allowed to fly. How and how much? A tourist visa costs $35 and gives you 28 days, extendable by an additional 14 days. You can apply online here. The process usually takes only a few days and is fuss-free.
(Update: As of 1 December 2016, Singaporeans can now travel to Myanmar visa-free for up to 30 days! Check out our latest article on countries that still need visas if you have a Singaporean passport.)
You might already be familiar with the stunning royal couple ruling Bhutan, or maybe you just think of it as the place where Tony Leung and and Carina Lau get married. The mysterious nation is known for its Gross National Happiness quotient, which kind of makes it the opposite of Singapore. However, if you think it’s going to be cheap to go to paradise, think again. Visas to Bhutan will cost you a whopping 200 to 250 USD a day. That’s how they keep the country safe from the ravages of obnoxious tourists.
How and how much? Tourists are only allowed to visit Bhutan with a tour guide, who will help you to arrange for your visa. The price varies depending on whether you’re going in high or low season, but expect to pay either 200 or 250 USD per day. A list of tour operators can be found here.
You might have cheered when Shashlik Restaurant announced it was going to reopen or adored the animated film Anastasia, but unfortunately it’s going to take a little more effort to find out that Russia is nothing like what you’ve imagined. Try to avoid the bitterly cold winters unless you’re gearing up to down lots of vodka.
How and how much? The tricky thing about applying for a Russian visa is that you need to submit a tourist confirmation from an authorised travel agency or hotel (you can order one online here for about 40 SGD). You then apply for your visa by filling up a form and sending it together with your documents ot the Russian Visa Application Centre. Your visa will cost $70.
If you’re a Singaporean of Indian descent who still has relatives in India, you might already have visited multiple times. For first timers, India is about as challenging a travel destination as it gets, but the chaos is oh so rewarding so long as you don’t come down with too awful a case of Delhi Belly. A visit to India is particularly interesting for Singaporeans as we’re familiar with our own brand of Indian iconography, food and customs.
How and how much? Applying for an e-Tourist visa online is fairly straightforward and costs 25 USD (34 SGD). If you’re of Indian ethnicity you might be able to apply to be recognised as an Overseas Citizen of India, which then grants you visa-free travel to India.
Have you visited any of the above countries before? Tell us in the comments!
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