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Thailand extend visa exemption for Indians, explore beyond Bangkok

Thailand's popularity among Indians has been on the rise, driven by various factors such as its affordable food, accommodation, vibrant nightlife, and serene landscapes. This Southeast Asian destination has become a top choice for many Indians looking for an exciting getaway.

One of the reasons behind Thailand's appeal is its proximity to India, with just a four-and-a-half-hour flight from the national capital, Delhi, at relatively low prices. Additionally, social media and Indian travel influencers have played a significant role in promoting Thailand as the ultimate "party heaven," attracting travelers who seek to rejuvenate themselves from their daily lives.

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Last year, Thailand further solidified its popularity among Indians by introducing a visa-free entry policy for Indian citizens. Initially set to expire on May 10, 2024, the Thai government has now extended the visa-free entry period until November 11, 2024, in response to a significant increase in tourist arrivals from India. This extension reflects Thailand's commitment to welcoming Indian tourists and further strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.

Thailand's visa-free policy has contributed to a notable surge in Indian tourist arrivals, with over 9,68,000 visitors recorded between November 2023 and April 2024. As a result, Thailand has become the top country with the highest number of booked holiday packages by Indians, according to a recent study by MakeMyTrip.

Apart from Thailand, other countries in the region, such as Sri Lanka, have also eased travel restrictions for Indian tourists. Sri Lanka's existing visa-free policy for Indians was extended last year as a pilot project, making it a popular destination for nature lovers. Although the extension has been postponed until May 31, 2024, it highlights the growing trend of Southeast Asian countries welcoming Indian travelers.

For those planning a trip to Thailand, here's a suggested 7-day itinerary:

- Day 1: Arrival in Bangkok
- Day 2: Bangkok City Tour
- Day 3: Day Trip to Ayutthaya
- Day 4: Travel to Pattaya
- Day 5: Island Hopping Tour (optional)
- Day 6: Explore Phuket
- Day 7: Departure from Phuket

Thailand's increasing popularity is evident from the rising number of flight bookings, with tickets available for as low as Rs 10,000. Whether you're interested in exploring rich cultural heritage, relaxing on stunning beaches, or indulging in vibrant city life, Thailand offers something for every traveler's taste.

May 11, 2024 1:40 p.m. 4657

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