Archive for May, 2010

Cambodian Visa Requirements to Visit the Temple of Preah Vihear

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Cambodia, along its border with Thailand.  The immense temple of Preah Vihear is one of the jewels of Khmer architecture.  Construction on the temple began in the 9th century, but the temple complex was rebuilt and improved by successive generations of Khmer rulers. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, it was eventually converted to a Buddhist temple when Buddhism overtook Hinduism in popularity in the region.

Located along a cliff for maximum dramatic impact, the temple is an impressive sight for pilgrims and tourists alike.

Since the temple is located right along the border of Thailand and Cambodia, it was the source of a decades -long dispute between the two countries.  However, in 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded it to Cambodia. If you enter Preah Vihear from Thailand as a day trip, you won’t need a Cambodian visa. However, American tourists staying in Cambodia do need Cambodian visas.

You can get a Cambodian visa on arrival if you enter at a major border crossing or fly in through Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports.  You can also apply in advance if you’d prefer to have it hand before you leave the States.  Here’s what you need to apply:

  • A Cambodian visa application.
  • 2 passport-sized photos.
  • Your US passport. Check the expiration date as it needs to be valid for at least 6 months past the date you plan to enter Cambodia-if yours expires sooner than that, you’ll need to apply for a passport renewal before you can travel. Also, make sure there’s enough room in the back for your visa and add pages if necessary.
  • A copy of your travel itinerary.

RushmyTravelVisa can make applying for a Cambodian visa quick and painless. We’ll walk you through the application process and deliver your visa application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Cambodian visa today!

5 Reasons to Get a Chinese Visa

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

China is a magical place, at once ancient and modern, as more and more American tourists are discovering. There are innumerable reasons to get a Chinese visa and go exploring, but here are 5 of our favorites:

  1. The Great Wall- Yes, visiting the Great Wall may be something of a cliché. But it’s still impressive.
  2. Tomb of Qin Shi Huan: The tomb of Qin Shi Huan features thousands of terracotta soldiers and horses, each one unique. If Qin Shi Huan got in a fight in the afterlife with an Egyptian pharaoh, the Chinese emperor would most likely win.
  3. Tiger Leaping Gorge: If you are the outdoorsy type, Tiger Leaping Gorge offers what is quite possibly the best backpacking trip in all of China.
  4. Chinglish- Chinese and English are too very different languages. When attempting to translate between them, hilarity often ensues. This article from the New York Times has some great pictures of “Chinglish” signs from Shanghai.  Please keep in mind, though, that if Americans tried to write signs in Chinese for Chinese tourists without the assistance of a professional interpreter or someone who knows both languages really well, the results would probably be equally amusing.
  5. REAL Chinese Food- After years of Chinese takeout, the sheer variety of Chinese food in China will be a revelation. Depending on the region you visit, you might find crispy, delicious duck, boiled scorpions or even “thousand-year” eggs preserved for a rainy day in ash and straw.

American citizens who want to visit China must first obtain the appropriate Chinese visa. China does NOT issue visas on arrival, so  make sure you apply in advance.

If you’re traveling to China as a tourist, you’ll want to apply for an “L” visa. You can choose to apply for apply for a single entry Chinese visa valid for 3-6 months, a double-entry visa valid for 6 months or a multiple-entry visa valid for 6 months, so double-check and make sure that the visa you are applying for gives you enough entries to accommodate your itinerary.

For more information on how to get a Chinese tourist visa, see Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get a your visa quickly and easily.

Apply for your Chinese visa today!

Brazilian Visa Requirements for Birdwatching

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Have you ever seen a black-hooded antwren? How about a cock-tailed tyrant?

With 1,622 different known species of birds, Brazil is a birdwatchers’ paradise.  In fact, when it comes to sheer variety of birds, Brazil comes in third place among all the countries in the world, behind only Columbia and Peru.191 of those species are found nowhere else on earth, making Brazil a “must-visit” destination for birdwatchers with a taste for the exotic.

Brazil is home to over 70 different kinds of parrots, as well as countless other types of birds: flamingos, hummingbirds, hawks, eagles, toucans, penguins and many more.

Because Brazil is such a popular destination for bird-watchers, many companies offer “birding tours” to take you to the best places to view a variety of different species.  Or, you can hook up with local bird-watchers via sites like BirdingPal.Org.

To visit Brazil, you’ll need both your passport and a Brazilian visa.  Unfortunately, at times, navigating the Brazilian visa system can be like trying to get through a labyrinth.  To get started, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Your passport. Check the date- to apply for a Brazilian visa, your passport needs to be good for at least 6 more months. Also, make sure there’s room in the back for the Brazilian visa, which will take up at least 2 blank pages.
  • One Brazilian visa application.
  • 2 passport-sized photos.
  • A copy of your itinerary showing the dates you plan to enter and leave Brazil.
  • A  clear, legible copy of your driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
  • If you will be visiting friends or relatives, you also need a letter from your hosts.

To enter Brazil, you may also need a yellow fever vaccination. Vaccines are required of travelers who have been to any of the following countries in the past 3 months (90 days): Angola, Bolivia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Republic of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sudan or Venezuela.

Once you have all of your paperwork together, you need to apply at the correct embassy or consulate.  Brazil’s visa system is jurisdictional-each embassy is assigned a specific region of the US, and will only process visa requests from people who live in that region.

After all of that,  catching a sighting of the elusive and rare black-hooded antwren probably sounds like a piece of cake. But, no worries, RushMyTravelVisa is here to help. We’ll review your itinerary to make sure you know exactly which travel documents you need for your trip, then we’ll walk you through the application process step-by-step.

Finally, we deliver your Brazilian visa paperwork to the appropriate embassy or consulate, saving you time and stress by providing the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Brazilian visa today!

Panama Visa Requirements For An Evening in Panama City

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Panama City is Panama’s capital and largest city. As you might expect, there’s no shortage of ways to spend your time there. In fact, you may find yourself with too many activities to choose from.

To get the most out of any visit to a new city, it’s best to ask a local. Recently, Time magazine asked 3 famous native Panamanians for their recommendations. For example, according to New York Yankee’s pitcher Mariano Rivera, the best time to visit the Panama Canal is from late afternoon until sunset, while the best seafood restaurants are located on the Calzada de Amador.

Architect Spiros Vamvas recommends an itinerary that starts with whiskey sours at the Bristol Hotel and ends with dinner and dancing at Habana Panama. Naturally, jazz pianist and composer Danilo Perez recommends visiting during the Jazz Festival.

Americans visiting Panama City are required to carry passports. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not need to apply for a Panama visa in advance as well.

If you will be flying into Panama, you probably don’t need to apply for a visa in advance-instead, you can buy a tourist card when in the airport. Call your airline, as the cost of the tourist card may be part of your ticket.

If you are visiting Panama as part of a cruise, your cruise line should provide a tourist card for you if necessary.

You can also apply for a Panama visa, good for multiple entries, before you leave the US. Please note, if you are entering Panama by land, you must apply for your visa ahead of time.

Here’s what you need to get a Panama visa:

  • A valid US passport, good for at least 3 months past the date you arrive in Panama.
  • 1 completed Panama visa application
  • 1 passport photo
  • A copy of your itinerary.
  • A copy of your plane tickets (if you’re flying in)
  • A letter of invitation or a copy of your hotel reservation.
  • A copy of your bank statement.

RushMyTravelVisa.com can help you get your Panama visa quickly. Our visa specialists make the application process easy and virtually stress-free.

Apply for your Panama visa today!

Bolivian Visa Requirements to Visit Salar de Uyuni

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Located in Bolivia, the Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. Stretching for 4,086 square miles, the landform is virtually flat, save for a few “islands” created by the tops of old volcanoes.

As the name suggests, the surface of the salt flat is made entirely of a crust of salt. Underneath the salt is a pool of brine, containing possibly the world’s largest reserves of lithium.

The Salar de Uyuni has to be seen to be believed. Describing the  a trip to the Salar de Uyuni for BootsnAll, Christian Celind writes “A picture is worth a thousand words” doesn’t even apply here. How do you explain an optical illusion in words?”

You might think that a salt flat this big would be barren, utterly devoid of life. For the most part, you’d be correct, but some of the islands shelter cacti that are over 1,000 years old, and the flats themselves are an important breeding ground for pink flamingos.

To visit Bolivia and the Salar de Uyuni, Americans are required to have valid passports and Bolivian visas.  You can apply for a Bolivian visa ahead of time or when you enter the country, but in most cases it’s easier to just get one in advance.  To get your visa, you need to have the following documents on hand:

  • 1 Bolivian visa application form.
  • Your  passport. Check the expiration date-you need it to be valid for at least 6 months after enter the country.
  • 1 passport photo, which must be 4 centimeters by 4 centimeters in size.
  • If you will be staying in a hotel, you’ll need a hotel confirmation letter.
  • If you are staying with friends or family, you need a letter of invitation.
  • A copy of a roundtrip airline ticket.  However, if you will be entering by bus or car, you can substitute  a written statement saying when and where you plan to enter and exit the exit the country.
  • A recent bank or credit card statement showing that you have sufficient money to take care of yourself in Bolivia.
  • An international yellow fever vaccination certificate.

RushMyTravelVisa.com can help expedite the process of getting your Bolivian visa, as well as visas for any other country you plan to visit.

Apply for your Bolivian visa today!

Indian Visa Requirements to Travel the Grand Trunk Road

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

The Grand Trunk Road is one of India’s oldest, longest and most important highways. Here’s how Rudyard Kipling described it in his novel Kim:

“Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers, barbers and bunnias, pilgrims -and potters – all the world going and coming. It is to me as a river from which I am withdrawn like a log after a flood. And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle. It runs straight, bearing without crowding India’s traffic for fifteen hundred miles – such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world.”

Winding 2,500 kilometers from Bangladesh, through India and into Pakistan, the road passes a variety of interesting destinations of cultural, historic and religious significance, including the Taj Mahal and the city of Varanasi, where Hindi pilgrims come to die beside the holy Ganges river and to have their ashes scattered in the water.

You can drive the Grand Trunk Road yourself,  hire a car and driver, book a tour, or even cycle it.  However, driving/cycling on the Grand Trunk Road is not for the faint of heart.  World Hum travel writer Jeffery Tayler, who cycled the road in 2009, observed that “For these drivers, cows alone were sacred.”

To travel the Indian portion of the Grand Trunk road, you will need an Indian visa.  To get one, you need the following documents:

  • Your US passport
  • 2 recent passport-sized photos, taken within the past 6 months.  If you wear glasses, take them off for the photos.
  • A completed Indian visa application form. Write legibly and proofread the application carefully before you turn it in.  Write“tourism” in the section that asks you to state why you are traveling to India.
  • A copy of your plane tickets or your itinerary.
  • India has a jurisdictional visa system, which means that each embassy handles applications for a different part of the US, and you must submit your Indian visa application to the embassy or consulate that serves your home address. So, you must also include a legible copy of your driver’s license or a utility bill showing your name and address.
  • A copy of your birth certificate

RushMyTravelVisa.com makes applying for your Indian visa easy and fast. Apply with us today!

Egyptian Visa Requirements to Visit the Valley of the Whales

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

65 million years ago, the Mediterranean sea was larger, and its coastline was located much further south than it is today.  These warm waters and ancient mangrove forests were ruled by Basilosaurus, giant 60-foot-long sea mammals that were the ancestors of today’s whales and dolphins.

The sea retreated, and eventually the ocean floor turned into the Egyptian desert. However, the skeletons of many of the great beasts were preserved as fossils.  In the Valley of the Whales, this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can walk on what was once an ancient seabed, and see the fossilized remains of Flipper’s oldest relatives (h/t Bootsnall.) The fossils are the earliest known record of the whale family- some of them even still have the remnants of legs!

The Valley of the Whales was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. According to the UNESCO Web site, it was selected because:

“Wadi Al-Hitan is the most important site in the world to demonstrate one of the iconic changes that make up the record of life on Earth: the evolution of the whales. It portrays vividly their form and mode of life during their transition from land animals to a marine existence.”

To visit Egypt and see the Valley of the Whales, you do need an Egyptian visa. If you are entering by land, you need to have your visa in hand ahead of time. If you are flying in, you should be able to get a visa on arrival-although if you apply for one in advance, you’ll make it out of the airport much more quickly.

To get an Egyptian visa, you need the following:

  • A valid US passport.
  • A separate passport photo.
  • Plane tickets or a copy of your itinerary
  • A completed Egyptian visa application.

RushMyPassport can make getting your Egyptian visa ahead of time faster and easier. We’ll help you with the application and personally deliver it to the appropriate Egyptian embassy or consulate for the fastest possible service.

Apply for your Egyptian visa today!

Travel Visa Requirements To Follow in the Footsteps of Alexander the Great

Friday, May 21st, 2010

From 336 to 323 BC, the Macedonian army, led by Alexander the Great, blazed through the Middle East as Alexander strove to conquer Darius, the king of Persia.  Although Alexander’s reign was short, his impact on history was tremendous. Now, reporter Theodore May is retracing the path the army took, on foot.

Currently in Lebanon, he is blogging about his journey here.  For real-time updates, you can also check out his Twitter feed here.

Of course, travel visas weren’t really an issue back when Alexander the Great traveled this route. Even if they had been, I seriously doubt he would have cared. You, however, are not Alexander the Great, and you don’t have the entire Macedonian army at your back. If you want to undertake a similar journey, researching travel visa requirements is an important first step.  Here’s a breakdown of the visa requirements for each country:

Turkey- Visas are required, but as long as you’re traveling as a tourist, they are easy to get and can be obtained for $20 on arrival.

Syria-You do need a travel visa to enter, and make sure you apply in advance. Also, you will not be allowed to enter if your passport shows entry/exit stamps from Israel.  For more information, see Syrian Visa Requirements for Tourists.

Lebanon-You do need a visa, but if you are an American citizen you can get a tourist visa at the airport.  Entry/exit stamps from Israel will get you into trouble here, too.

Iraq-You need a visa, and you need to apply in advance. Although you can get in via the Kurdistan Region without one, you won’t be able to travel anywhere else in Iraq unless you get an Iraqi visa prior to your trip.

Israel- You need a passport valid for at least 6 months, proof that you can support yourself financially in Israel and an onward ticket, but you should be able to get a visa on arrival.  Please note that the Israeli authorities may question you extensively and will do a background check, and if they see anything they don’t like, they don’t have to let you in.

Egypt- You need a passport and a visa. If you are flying in, you can get a visa on arrival at the airport or get one ahead of time. If you are entering via land, apply for your visa in advance For more information, see Egyptian Visa Requirements for Tourists.

Bolivian Visa Requirements for Noel Kempff Mercado National Park

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the Bolivian Amazon.  Consisting of 5,880 square miles of protected land, the park encompasses several distinct and important ecosystems, including evergreen amazon rainforests, palm forests, cerrado, swamps, savannas, gallery forests, and semi-deciduous dry forests.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site notes that “The park boasts an evolutionary history dating back over a billion years to the Precambrian period. An estimated 4,000 species of flora as well as over 600 bird species and viable populations of many globally endangered or threatened vertebrate species live in the park.”

Innumerable different types of animals make their home in the park, including parrots, monkeys, giant armadillos and fearsome jaguars.  The park even shelters a variety of jaguar that is solid black.

Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is accessible from Santa Cruz, although you will need to charter a small plane with one of the companies that offer tours in the park.

To visit Bolivia, you will need both a valid passport and a Bolivian visa. Here’s what it takes to get a Bolivian visa if you are traveling as a tourist:

  • 1 completed application form.
  • Your US passport, which must be valid for at least 6 more months from the day you will enter Bolivia.
  • 1 passport photo
  • Your hotel confirmation, if you are staying in a hotel.
  • A letter of invitation
  • A copy of a roundtrip airline ticket.  However, if you are planning on touring South America by bus or by car instead of flying in, you can submit a statement saying when and where you plan to enter and exit the exit the country.
  • A recent bank or credit card statement showing that you have enough cash or credit to cover the cost of your trip.
  • An international yellow fever vaccination certificate.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you apply for a Bolivian visa, as well as any other visas you might need for your trip. We make the visa application process quick and easy by providing you with expert assistance and guidance. Then, we deliver your application to the appropriate visa or consulate for the fastest possible service.

Apply for your Bolivian visa today!

evergreen amazon rainforests, palm forests, cerrado, swamps, savannahs, gallery forests, and semi-deciduous dry forests

Get a Thai Visa to See the Floating Market of Damnoen Saduak

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

When you visit another country, even mundane activities like shopping are transformed into interesting new experiences. As Gadling.com notes, shopping is also a great way to interact with local people and experience the culture of the place you are visiting.

If you are visiting Bangkok, one of the coolest shopping experiences is actually located outside the city itself, in the floating market of Damnoen Saduak.  From around 8am to 11am each day, the canals of Damnoen Saduak are packed full of the boats of both shoppers and vendors. This is a great place to buy food of all types, as you can see from the video above.

Most of the produce comes from small farms located alongside the canals-about as fresh as you can get! Still, even if you don’t buy anything, it’s worth a trip just to take in the spectacle.

To visit Thailand, you will need a valid passport, of course. Check the expiration date, because you need at 6 months remaining before it expires or they won’t let you in.  However, Americans won’t need a Thai visa unless your trip is longer than 30 days if you enter by air, or 15 days if you enter at a land border crossing.

If you plan to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, you do have the option of applying for a Thai visa valid for up to 60 days before you leave. Here’s what you will need to apply:

  • Your US passport
  • A completed visa application
  • 2 passport photos
  • A copy of your itinerary or round-trip ticket
  • A copy of a bank statement showing a balance of   $500 per person or $1000 per family.

Depending on what your itinerary is like, you may also need transit visas if you will be stopping in other countries on your way to or from Thailand. RushMyTravelVisa can review your itinerary, help you determine which visas are necessary and expedite them so you get them as quickly as possible.

Apply for your Thai visa today!