Indulge 14th Anniversary Special: Here’s a list of countries you can go to for a holiday from Chennai right now
Keep your passports ready, as vaccination numbers go up and countries lift restrictions, international travel is making its comeback with a bang
As countries open up to visitors and even waive mandatory quarantine, other pandemic protocols are firmly in place. One still needs to steer through necessities like RT-PCR tests and vaccine proofs, all of which fluctuate from nation to nation. Some destinations, like Dubai and Maldives have welcomed travellers since late last year, while others, like Sri Lanka and Switzerland are just beginning to reopen.
Here’s a list of countries you can head to for a holiday from Chennai right now, that are welcoming vaccinated travellers with no quarantine requirement. Bearing in mind how dynamic the scenario is and with travel guidelines changing every now and then, a good idea is to check with your travel agent before you go ahead and plan your vacation!
Do remember to fill your self-declaration forms on Air Suvidha after getting an RT-PCR negative report a day prior to your travel back to India. An RT-PCR test is also a mandate on your arrival from an international destination at the airport. And yes, do not forget to buy yourself good travel health insurance.
Whether you want to soak in the beauty of Interlaken, revel in the alpine exquisiteness of Zermatt or perhaps visit the Einstein Museum in Bern and use your Swiss Travel pass to the maximum, yes, you can do this all if you are fully vaccinated with Covishield and have completed15 days from the second dose. You can fly in via Abu Dhabi, Doha or Dubai or via Frankfurt or Amsterdam. The airlines might however need a negative RT-PCR result prior to embarkation.
Once in Switzerland remember to carry your vaccination certificate and an ID card which is a mandate for dining inside a restaurant.
Ready to walk around Pearl-Qatar navigating nearly four enormous square kilometres, which reminds one of a pastel painted Venice and shop and dine at Souq Wakif after the sunsets? Deep-rooted in custom and an affluent heritage, Qatar is an abode that needs to be seen to be believed. I would definitely endorse including the Museum of Islamic Art to understand calligraphy, figure in art, early Islamic art and a distinguishing display gallery. An RT-PCR negative test report within 72 hours of travel with a QR code and a fully vaccinated (with Covishield) certificate is all it takes to get there and with direct flights by IndiGo and Qatar Airways, it makes for a great vacation spot from Chennai.
Fully vaccinated with the second shot taken a minimum of 14 days prior to the trip? Hold a negative RT-PCR report from Chennai? Yes, to both? Then you do not need to do a PCR test on arrival in Colombo and can begin your travel and vacation in Sri Lanka. To avail the best deals on tickets you need to book directly on the Sri Lankan Airlines website. Sri Lanka is receiving completely vaccinated Indian tourists including those with Covaxin. The Chennai sector has five weekly flights to Colombo…so go climb the Sigiriya rock, shop at Colombo’s coolest design and local store Pendi, stay at the ultra-luxe villa of Thotalagala, dine at Ministry of Crab or just laze around in Resplendent Ceylon.
Sample this, sipping a Turkish coffee in your suite at the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul and watching the sunset over the Bosphorus or watching the beautiful views beneath you on a hot air balloon in Cappadocia. If you are a foodie, you will love the diversity of restaurants and the spice souk in Istanbul and if you are a beach bum than Antalya is the perfect vacation spot for you. And yes, all this is possible to those who are fully vaccinated with Covishield (with the mandate 15 days after the second shot) and an RT-PCR Negative report not over 72 hours old. The shortest flight is via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways and the cheapest is via Dubai on Fly Dubai.
Wish to explore the local wine region of Penedes near Barcelona, enjoy sunsets in Ibiza or just enjoy some Paella and Sangria on the beaches of Valencia? The good news is that Spain is now open to fully vaccinated (with Covishield) Indian tourists, provided the second dose was taken 15 days ago. One needs to fill a health form and save the QR code for a check along with an additional health check on arrival. The shortest route from Chennai is via Dubai on Emirates.
Fancy a walk by the French Riviera in Nice? A gastronomy trip in Lyon or simply enjoy Champagne in all its glory? I would highly recommend trying foie gras in Strasbourg. According to history, it was Governor Marechal who asked Jena Pierre clause to create an exceptional and unique dish. It was in 1789 that Clause (a popular French chef) sweated a whole foie gras in a pie crust which became an overnight success! And yes, book a hotel in Petit France. Just ensure you have your final COVID-19 certificate in place 14 days before the trip and an RT-PCR negative report within 72 hours of travel. The shortest route to France is via New Delhi on Air India.
To visit the pyramids of Giza is a dream trip for many. If you are fully vaccinated, you are exempted from an RT-PCR but Indian immigration requires you to get one within 72 hours of your travel. You will also have to endure a rapid test upon entrance after which you can securely discover Egypt; do check out the newly-opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo. The visa applications, however, are only accepted in Delhi and Mumbai, so best is to book through a trusted travel agent. The shortest flight from Chennai to Cairo is via Abu Dhabi on Etihad.
Unlike most European cities which have suffered over the last century due to war and the communist lack of architectural vision, Prague escaped relatively intact, so what you discover to your awe is a fairy tale city of medieval spires and churches that capture your heart instantly! For those who do not know, Czech Republic or Czechia is the home of beer, and beer has been brewed here since at least the 12th century. Fully vaccinated with Covishield and a Negative RT-PCR report no more than 72 hours old allows one to enter the country. The shortest route to Prague from Chennai is via Dubai on Fly Dubai or Emirates.
Though Germany is known for sausages, Hamburg is unquestionably the place to go for marine fare. If you happen to be in Hamburg on a Sunday, don’t miss out on the famed fish market. Hamburg and Northern Germany use heaps of seafood in its gastronomy and just when rambling around the fish market, you will realise, what all can be gathered in the Northern Sea. Once a city accurately separated in two by a wall, Berlin today is a lure for creativity, the arts, entrepreneurship, expertise and most recently, food. But within all of those happenings and metropolitan spaces are massive areas of green space, rivers, and canals. When the sun is out, you will come across locals relishing spontaneous jamborees and picnics. When the sun goes down, it’s time to party. And there’s so many more such places to discover in Germany. A vaccination certificate (14 days post second dose) or a negative RT-PCR report or a COVID-19 recovery report is needed to enter Germany. The shortest route from Chennai is via Abu Dhabi on Etihad.
Remember the movie Sound of Music? The movie was shot here and is a favourite travel destination. The Austrian specialists detailed that those who get a full vaccination certificate post 14 days of taking the second dose (Covishield for India), do not need to register for pre-travel consent, nor undergo quarantine. The shortest route to Vienna is via Doha on Qatar Airways.
Meanwhile, there are other countries you could visit — albeit with a bit more effort. Here’s why:
1) United Kingdom, Mauritius, South Africa, Ukraine, Egypt and Oman are open for travel with a fully vaccinated certificate and a negative RT-PCR report. However, a test is done on arrival and if found positive, there is a mandatory quarantine of 10 or 14 days depending on the country you are in.
2) Serbia is open with a negative RT-PCR test report but there is a seven-day mandatory quarantine on arrival.
3) Russia is open for travel but transit is not allowed and going on a flight with stopovers may not be a great idea. You can travel on a direct flight from another country after spending 14 days there.
4) Bahrain requires a lot of RT-PCR tests during one’s stay itself so can be travelled to once more travel restricts are lifted.
5) UAE aka Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Fujairah, and the seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah are all open and can be flown to with a fully vaccinated (Covishield) certificate and have a negative RT-PCR report. There will be RT-PCR tests required on going to or from any emirate.
6) USA is opening its door to fully vaccinated Indians from November 7.