We bet you’re excited for the escape of your honeymoon trip as much as you are for your wedding. One of the biggest challenges of honeymoon planning is obtaining your visa in a timely manner. We wanted to take some of the stress away by shortlisting eight visa-free destinations for Sri Lankan travellers. Singapore and the Maldives were deliberately excluded because many of you have already travelled there. Though there are many beautiful places to choose from, we excluded the ones that have major ongoing political and economic struggles. While our top choices are safe to visit, we still recommend exercising a high degree of caution. Before buying your plane tickets, consult an official government or NGO website that outlines the travel risks for each province or city in the country of interest. We recommend the travel advisory section of the Canadian government. Hopefully, this little guide has minimized the number of organizational hassles faced in getting your honeymoon off the ground and on a plane ASAP. Bon Voyage!
1. Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia are a paradise of coral reefs, jungle, lagoons and volcanic islands.The country is made up of the four island states of Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap as well as hundreds of smaller islands. The Mangrove Bay Hotel, Bar, Restaurant and Marina is our top accommodation pick on the island of Pohnpei. The famous Sokehs Rock and surrounding jungle and lagoon can be seen from the hotel. Request an excursion to the ancient village of Nan Madol, located in the southeast of the island. The Pohnpei Surf Club at the hotel offers guests the choice of sea and land excursions, fishing and surfing. While there are no Sri-Lanka specific visa requirements, visitors need to have a passport issued by the government of the country of citizenship or nationality, valid for at least 120 days beyond the date of entry.
Indonesia is known as being the country with the most number of islands in the world. Keeping with the spirit of island adventuring, we suggest taking your honeymoon adventure up a notch by staying on The Alia Purnama, a luxury boat. The name of the vessel refers to the full moon in Bahasa Indonesia. We think its a fitting name for a luxury experience that will have you exploring different places such as the Komodo islands for every day you spend on holiday. In fact, we insist that you stop off at the Komodo National Park. In addition to the famous Komodo dragons, the park is made up of red volcanic hills, savannah and thick jungle. Sri Lankan tourists are able to stay visa-free for thirty days.
3.Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
Though we had a tough time deciding between all the beautiful islands, Bequia is our top choice of honeymoon destination within Saint Vincent & the Grenadines because of the annual Easter Regatta and Music Fest. In addition to the beautiful beaches and mountains, the hidden caves and unique mix of cultures makes this tiny island a fascinating place to honeymoon in. Stay at The Tropical Hideaway, an intimate boutique hotel with the most stunning tropical gardens and panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and Admiralty Bay. Time Magazine declared the 58′ wide panoramic infinity pool as one of the best in the Caribbean.
Nepal is a land of mountains and mysticism with more to offer than just picturesque mountain treks. We suggest visiting the ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapu, that form the Kathmandu Valley that is nestled at the foot of the Himalayas. This scenic valley is home to several important stupas including the oldest Buddhist temple of Swayambhu. The Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan are also located in the valley. These holy sites are important, due to the significance of the Buddhist and Hindu faiths in Asia. Stay at the Dwarika’s Hotel in Kathmandu. A triumph of restoration, this luxury hotel echos the ancient cultural heritage of the country. Sri Lankan citizens are given a visa on arrival in Nepal.
The Pacific paradise of Palau is a country of three hundred and forty islands. We suggest staying in the Palau Central Hotel. Apart from the usual luxury hotel amenities, this hotel offers diving, fishing, kayaking, shark safaris, shipwreck tours, snorkelling and WWII historical tours. In close proximity to the Philippines, Micronesia, Malaysia and Indonesia, Palauan cuisine is heavily influenced by these countries while still retaining a unique flavour. Try a chicken soup that contains papaya and ginger called Tinola, as well as a deep fried shrimp and squash fritter called Ulkoy.
6. The Republic of Madagascar
Make a safari in Madagascar the highlight of your honeymoon! After all, Madagascar is the only place on earth that you will see lemurs in the wild.We recommend visiting the Isalo National Park and staying at Isalo Rock Lodge.
Sri Lankans get a receive a visa upon arrival. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least six months. You can prove that you will be leaving after your honeymoon by presenting the immigration officer with your return ticket to either your home country or to the next destination on your itinerary.
7. The Seychelles
Somewhat of an enigma, the Seychelles were uninhabited for most of history. Legend has it that the islands were the Indian Ocean hideout of pirates in the 1500s. The hundred and fifteen granite and coral islands that form the Seychelles are dense with tropical flora and fauna filled forests that snake down to pristine beaches, which make the legends seem plausible. Although we can’t guarantee any pirate sightings, we promise that you’ll have a whale of a time at the Aride Island Nature Reserve. Boasting of one million breeding seabirds, this island is a well known conservation spot. Stay at one of the private residence villas at Four Seasons Resort on Mahé Island.
8. Carbo Verde
Like our own paradise island, Carbo Verde aka Cape Verde is a former Portuguese colony. Ten jewel-like islands form the archipelago of Carbo Verde in the Atlantic Ocean. Hotel Morabeza is a resort on the island of Sal, near to the village of Santa Maria. The island has white sandy beaches and a lively kite-surfing culture. Sri Lankan citizens can get visa on arrival for travelling to Cape Verde as tourist.
Menik Senanayake is a writer and blogger living in Toronto, Canada. She’s a polyglot who ironically prefers the company of animals over people.You can read her travel stories at lavenderlune.org and follow her on Instagram here.