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Archive for December, 2009

Indian Visa Requirements

December 31st, 2009
American citizens traveling to India are required to have both a valid passport and an Indian visa.  India won't issue a visa for you at the airport, so it is crucial to gather all of the necessary documents and submit your visa application well before you plan to depart. Indian visa requirements vary depending on what type of visa you are applying for (for more information, see Types of Indian Visas). Here are the requirements for the two most common types of visas, tourist visas and business visas. Indian Visa Requirements for Tourists. If you are going to India as a tourist, you will need the following documents: Your valid US passport 2 recent passport-sized photos A completed Indian visa application form. To ensure that your visa application is approved, make sure th


Get a Cambodian Visa To Visit Phnom Penh

December 27th, 2009
Phnom Penh, the bustling capital of Cambodia, is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. The city encompasses almost 7 centuries worth of history, some of it beautiful and some of it incomprehensibly tragic. According to legend, Phnom Penh was founded in 1372 by  a Buddhist nun named Penh. As the story goes, the old woman was going about her daily chores, and went down to the Mekong River to get some water. Miraculously, she found a dead tree floating in the river with five  statues of the Buddha inside. After retrieving the statues, the old woman had her neighbors pull the tree onto dry land and use the trunk to build a pagoda. The statues were placed inside the pagoda, and the shrine came to be known as Wat Phnom Daun Penh, after the old nun. It is from this templ


Get an Ethiopian Visa to See the Stone Churches of Lalibela

December 27th, 2009
Lalibela, Ethiopia is named for an Ethiopian king who reigned from 1189 to 1229. Originally called Roha, the town was renamed in honor of King/Saint Gebre Mesqel Lalibela. Christianity became established in Ethiopia during the 4th century AD, long before Europeans ever set foot in the country. King Lalibela is famous for building a "new Jerusalem" in the town that was later named after him, after Jerusalem itself was taken by a Muslim army led by Saladin in 1187. Depending on the source, King Lalibela is said to either have spent time in Jerusalem as a young man, before he ascended to the throne, or to have seen it in a vision. As a result, many of the landmarks in the town of Lalibela are named after areas in Jerusalem.  King Lalibela also commissioned many stunning cross-shaped ch


World Heritage Site of the Week: Get a Tanzanian Visa to Visit the Stone Town of Zanzibar

December 26th, 2009
This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage site lies on an island off the coast of Tanzania. The Stone Town of Zanzibar is the old heart of Zanzibar, built when it was an ancient trading town. Zanzibar is located on the island of Unguja. According to Wikipedia, people have been living here for almost three centuries, but the stone buildings that make the old town so distinctive today date back to the 1830s. The old town consists of large stone houses, mosques and bazaars, all connected by a maze of narrow alleys. Walking is essential here, as most of the alleyways are too skinny to take a car down. One of the most interesting architectural features of the city is the elaborate doors on many of the houses.  The wealthy Arab traders and businessmen who originally owned the houses comp


Get a Kazakhstan Visa To Watch a Golden Eagle Hunt

December 23rd, 2009
You've heard of people hunting with hawks and falcons, of course, but what about eagles? In Kazakhstan and other nearby countries, hunting with golden eagles, called berkutchy, is an ancient tradition that goes back centuries. However, it's also a tradition that's become very rare. According to this article on the Epoch Times, there are only about 50 professional eagle hunters left in the entire country. When the Soviets took control of Kazakhstan, people's traditional nomadic way of life was disrupted and eagle hunting was banned. Now, Kazakhstan is independent. Given how fast the country has modernized itself, you might not expect a traditional sport like eagle hunting to be making a comeback, but you would be wrong.  Eagle hunting is one way for the Kazakh people to keep in touc