Singapore has one of the most powerful passports in the world, letting citizens breeze into most countries around the world. Surprisingly though, there are still some countries that require Singaporeans to get a visa in order to visit. Among these countries, there are a few exotic ones which we think are worth the effort and extra money!
Here are 5 countries that Singaporeans need a visa to travel to. Totally worth it, except, perhaps, the last one!
Venezuela is a large dose of nature in one package. The country has everything from pretty islands, beach towns, an extended coastline along the Caribbean, Andean mountain ranges, national parks, colonial towns, diverse wildlife, and the highest waterfall in the world – Angel Falls. Caracas, the capital city, has a touch of colonial history, art galleries and museums to keep you busy.
A typical Venezuelan itinerary spans lazing on white sandy beaches to exploring the chaotic cities, and everything in between. Spend your days exploring this bounty of nature interspersed with breaks that allow you to tuck into local gastronomic favourites – chocolate, coffee, and rum.
You need to visit the embassy to get the visa.
Best time to visit: September to April.
Venezuelan Tourist Visa cost: S$27
At the time of writing, Venezuela is facing an economic and political crisis. Do exercise caution and make sure the area is safe before you travel. When in doubt, always make sure you are equipped with travel insurance.
Travelling to a country the size of Russia must be complemented with an itinerary of equal measure. Spread across a continent, Russia’s treasures include everything that is epic. Visit the cities in the east, Moscow and St Petersburg, where each spired church and shiny onion-domed structure tells a story steeped in history.
Peep into its historical palaces and countryside villages – both enigmatic in their own ways. Expand your cultural horizons by paying homage to great art housed in its museums, explore its mountains and lakes, and salute its national drink with a couple of vodka-soaked nights. Making the effort to get that Russian visa will be well worth the trouble.
Best time to visit: May to October.
Russian Tourist Visa cost: S$42
Bhutan, the happy country. Home to a beautiful landscape, Bhutan adds unparalleled charm to the world with its monasteries and fortresses perched precariously on misty mountainsides, and its pretty valleys. The Buddhist kingdom is mystic and modern at the same time. Tradition is important here – with temples, monks, festivals and culture being predominant.
Image Courtesy @beautifuldestinations
A visit to Bhutan is as exciting for the culturally inclined as it is fun for those looking for a dash of activity. Trekking the Himalayan ranges, hiking in the forests, cycling your way through the countryside, and negotiating the various rivers make up some of the adventure sport that the country offers.
A trip to Bhutan, despite the visa fee and its infamous daily tariff for tourists, is totally worth it.
Best time to visit: October to April.
Bhutan Visa cost: Visa cost is included in a package that costs between S$266 and S$332 per day, and can be arranged through approved tour operators.
*Update* As of 10 Feb 2018, Singapore passport holders can enter Uzbekistan visa-free for up to 30 days
Uzbekistan is home to the famous Silk Road responsible for most of what draws the tourist to this country. The ancient cities of Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara with their iconic gates, walls and fortresses, are all by-products of this historic trading route.
Image Courtesy @acamerastory
The old culture, mosques, madrassas, mausoleums, and mosaic covered architecture add an exotic touch to this country of super friendly locals. Seeped in history, a trip to Uzbekistan revolves primarily around sights, in fact, some of the most spectacular sights, in Central Asia. Get that visa; this architecture has no parallels!
Best time to visit: April to May and September to November.
Uzbekistan Visa cost: Depending on the period of your stay, a visa should cost you between S$195 and S$305. (that’s how much you saved now that Uzbekistan is visa-free for Singaporeans)
5. North Korea
North Korea is not on everyone’s travel bucket list. In fact, the Singapore government’s travel advisory recommends not visiting it for non-essential travel! But if you do happen to make the effort to get that visa, here is what you should expect – accompanied tours with at least one official guide with you at all times, restricted photography, and tours of only designated areas.
You get to visit the demilitarized zone, Juche Tower – the symbol of North Korea, the Worker’s Party Monument, Kim Il Song Square, Pyongyang Stadium, and the ancient Pyongyang subway.
Image credit @kyliejebediah
Other than this list and some more monuments and palaces, you can also visit Paekdusan, an extinct volcano with a crater lake, or sign up for a homestay at Chilbosan.
This visit is for the adventurous soul!
Best time to visit: April to June and September to October
North Korean Visa cost: Visitors receive a visa on arrival but must book a tour with approved guides. It costs about S$1,329 for a 5-day guided group tour and more if you wish to travel alone with your guide.
Other than the countries mentioned above, Singaporeans still need a visa to visit Australia (AUD20 for visa) and India (USD25 for visa), but you already knew that right?