Archive for July, 2010

Travel Visas to Climb Cho Oyu

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

If mountaineering is one of your hobbies, climbing an 8,000-meter-tall mountain is probably on your life list of goals. That means a trip to the Himalayas. While climbing Mount Everest is a difficult and expensive undertaking, there is a more accessible option for amateur mountain climbers- Cho Oyu,  the “Turquoise Goddess” of the Himalayas.

At 8,201 meters above sea level, Cho Oyu is the 6th highest mountain in the world. There are 14 mountains in the Himalayan range with summits higher than 8,000 meters. However, Cho Oyu is generally considered the easiest and most approachable of these giants.

That doesn’t mean you can just go without any preparation, however. 8,000 meters is way up there, and the risk of altitude sickness and other altitude-related problems is still quite present even with the help of oxygen and a team of Sherpas. You need to be in the best possible shape before you climb a peak like this, and many of the companies that guide you to the top require that you’ve climbed at least one really high mountain successfully prior to attempting to summit Cho Oyu.

Most Cho Oyu expeditions start in Nepal, where you meet up with your climbing group.  However, the climb actually starts on the Tibet side of the mountain, so you’ll need both Nepal and Chinese visas to complete your journey.

Nepal visas can either be obtained ahead of time, before you leave the US, or in the airport on arrival.  If you take the time to apply for your Nepal visa in advance, you get the advantage of peace of mind from knowing that your visa is already taken care of and you’ll spend less time in the airport.  For more information about how to apply, see Nepal Visa Requirements for Tourists.

Some trekking companies will have you apply for your Chinese visa in Nepal, but you can also apply for it in advance. For more information about what you need to get your Chinese visa, see Chinese Tourist Visa Requirements.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you apply for these visas as well as any other visas you might need for your trip, including transit visas. Contact us about your travel visa requirements today!

Get an Indonesia Visa to Get Up Close and Personal With a Tarsier

Friday, July 30th, 2010

At this point, you’re probably wondering: what, exactly, is a tarsier? About 5 inches long from nose to tail, the tarsier is the tiniest of all primates. Known for their huge, saucer-shaped eyes and basically for being adorable, they are also, unfortunately, endangered.

Although tarsiers are classified as primates, they are very primitive and look more like adorable, furry pocket-sized aliens than monkeys. They don’t adapt well to captivity at all, so you won’t find them in any zoos. If you want to see one, you’ll have to travel to their natural habitat.

Tarsiers are endemic to Southeast Asia, and can be found in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Indonesia has a decent-sized population in Tangkoko National Park near Manado. With the help of a guide, you can look for tarsiers in the jungle at night (the only time they come out of their nests.) In fact, over on the Environmental Graffiti blog, there’s a great post describing just such an excursion. There is also incredible scuba diving close to the park, in case you decide you don’t want to spend your entire trip in the jungle.

To visit Indonesia, you need a US passport and an Indonesia visa. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after you enter Indonesia, and you need to have at least one blank page in the back to accommodate the visa. Indonesia is very strict about this and will turn you away if your passport expires in less than 6 months, so apply for a passport renewal if necessary before you go.

Indonesia visas are available on arrival to tourists at most airports, or you can apply in advance. See Indonesia Visa Requirements for Tourists to see what documents you’ll need for the visa. Also, keep in mind that if you are entering Indonesia by land or flying into the Banda Aceh airport, you are not eligible for an Indonesia visa on arrival and you must apply in advance.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get your visa quickly and easily. We’ll also take a look at your itinerary and let you know what visas are required for each stage of your trip, including any transit visas.

Apply for your Indonesia visa today!

Indian Visa Requirements for a “Tree Pilgrimage”

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

“I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree.” Joyce Kilmer

There’s something really special, almost magical, about old trees. Being in the presence of a living thing that has been around for hundreds of years really puts our short human lives into perspective. Each tree is unique, shaped by both its own internal biology and the forces of nature. It’s no wonder that people often give names or even build shrines to trees that are particularly old or distinctive.

India is an excellent place to see some of these giants. In fact, Matador Travel currently has a post up by YD Bar-Ness describing the “tree pilgrimage” he took across the country. I love trees, but I must admit that until now I’d never thought of traveling to India to see them. I’d always imagined touring temples, visiting the Taj Mahal and finishing up with the proverbial elephant ride. However, according to Bar-Ness, India is one of the best places in the world to go in search of distinctive trees:

Additionally, there’s nowhere else in the world with so many temple trees, popular shade trees, historical marker trees, and trees used as business locations. The Hindu and Sikh religions, especially, recognize many famous trees. Trees are used as landmarks and reminders of events, and are often planted by dignitaries to mark special occasions.

See the post on Matador for descriptions of the trees Bar-Ness visited on the “pilgrimage” and some truly amazing photography.

If you want to follow in his footsteps, you’ll need to apply for a passport and an Indian visa. India doesn’t do visas on arrival, so you’ll need to apply for your Indian visa in advance and have it in hand before you leave the states. See Indian Visa Requirements for Tourists for details on what documents you’ll need and how to apply.

If you’d like help applying for your visa, RushMyTravelVisa can assist you. We’ll take a look at your itinerary to make sure that you know which documents are needed for your trip and don’t run into any nasty surprises along the way. We’ll also help you with the visa paperwork, answering your questions and helping to catch mistakes that could delay your application. Then, we’ll deliver your Indian visa application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Indian visa today!

    5 Reasons to Get a Tanzanian Visa

    Sunday, July 25th, 2010

    Tanzania is a beautiful, relatively stable country, and a trip there is a great way to start exploring Africa. Here are 5 great reasons to get a Tanzanian visa and go visit:

    1. Mt. Kilimanjaro: The tallest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro ‘s three snow-capped, volcanic cones tower over the surrounding landscape. Whether you choose to appreciate its grandeur from a distance or test your strength and endurance in an attempt to summit, the mountain is definitely worth seeing.

    2. Old Zanzibar: The old stone buildings of Zanzibar are nothing if not charming. The historic center of the town preserves buildings and architectural styles that date back to the 1830′ s.  Old Zanzibar is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    3. The Serengeti:Serengeti National Park is the oldest national park in Tanzania.  It is home to over a million and a half wildebeest and 250,000 zebra. Their annual migration is a spectacle right out of “The Trials of Life.”  The northern section of the park has more hills and trees and is a perfect habitat for elephants and giraffe.

    4. Kalambo Falls: Located along the border between Tanzania and Zambia, Kalambo Falls is the second-highest waterfall in Africa. Plummeting 772 feet into the Kalambo Gorge, the falls are definitely a sight to see. The area is also a fascinating archaeological site, with artifacts and other evidence of human habitation that stretches back 250,000 years.  A large breeding colony of Marabou storks live next to the falls. Interestingly, despite that old story about storks delivering human babies, the Marabou stork is actually a scavenger that eats carrion as well as preying on smaller animals and birds. In other words, a stork would probably sooner eat a baby sooner than deliver it.

    5. Gombe Stream National Park- This national park is Tanzania’s smallest and is only reachable by boat. The park is home to many different types of primates, including the family of chimpanzees that Jane Goodall made famous.

    If you’re an American citizen, you do need a visa to visit Tanzania. Although you can get a visa on arrival, the US Department of State recommends getting one before you leave the US, in order “to avoid long delays at entry points.”

    For more information about getting a Tanzanian visa, see Tanzanian Visa Requirements for Tourists.

    RushMyTravelVisa can make applying for a visa much quicker and easier. We’ll examine your itinerary to make sure you have the right travel documents for each stop, so that there are no unpleasant surprises. Then, we’ll assist you with the paperwork and expedite your application for the fastest possible processing.

    Apply for your Tanzanian visa today!

    Jordan Visa Requirements To Visit the “Rose-Red City”

    Saturday, July 24th, 2010

    “Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,a rose-red city half as old as time.”
    John William Burgon

    This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Jordan’s oldest and most beautiful cities.  Located between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, Petra was an important trading city during Biblical times, and has been inhabited for far longer than that.

    Petra rose to power as the capital city of the Nabataeans. The Nabataeans traded not only goods but also water, and Petra is constructed with a system of dams, water storage and irrigation that allowed them to capture water when it rained and dispense it as needed during dry periods.

    After the Romans took control of the area, trades routes shifted and Petra’s location became much less advantageous. Eventually it was all but abandoned, before locals led a Swiss explorer to the city in 1812.

    The entire city is built into a mountain, carved into and constructed out of the same gorgeous red rock. According to UNESCO, Petra “is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture.” It is also Jordan’s most popular tourist attraction.

    Fun Fact: The last scene in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was filmed in Petra.

    To visit Petra, you need a valid passport and a tourist visa.  In most cases, you can get a visa to visit Jordan when you arrive. However, if you are crossing over the border with Israel at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge crossing, you must apply for your Jordan visa in advance.

    No matter how you are entering Jordan, if you’d rather have your Jordan visa paperwork taken care of before you leave the US, you do have the option of applying ahead of time.  The application process for a Jordan visa is pretty straightforward. Just submit your US passport, 1 Jordan visa application form, and 1 passport-sized photo taken within the past 6 months.

    Also, keep in mind that you may need other tourist or transit visas depending on your itinerary. RushMyTravelVisa can help by reviewing your travel plans and researching visa requirements for each stop. Then, we can help you with the application process and deliver your paperwork to the appropriate embassy or consulate to expedite processing.

    Apply for your Jordan visa today!

    Indonesian Visa Requirements for Volcano Tourism in Java

    Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

    It’s hard to believe that anyone would want to leave Indonesia’s gorgeous beaches if they didn’t have to, much less to explore a landscape that strongly resembles Mordor in Lord of the Rings. And yet, according to the New York Times, “volcano tourism” is rapidly growing in popularity amongst visitors to Indonesia.

    As the name suggests, volcano tourism involves hiking in and around Java’s active volcanoes. Tourists may go for day trips, or they may stay in nearby villages, as the New York Times writers did on their journey.

    What makes the volcanoes so appealing? The New York Times explains:

    Exploring Mount Ijen and the other volcanoes that form the spine of Java offers travelers a chance to understand how geology has so deeply influenced the lives and culture of the people who reside in the highlands. Over the centuries, eruptions have buried villages, destroyed farmland and filled the air with black haze, contributing to the ancient belief that the volcanic gods must be appeased.

    One of the most popular places to explore these volcanoes is in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. In addition to both active and dormant volcanoes, this park preserves several other interesting geological features. The Tengger Sand Sea is a sea of sand that covers the caldera of an enormous, ancient, long-dormant volcano. Inside, 5 younger volcanoes have formed: Mt. Bromo, Mt. Batok, Mt Kursi, Mt Watangan and Mt Widodaren.

    The area around the volcanoes is also home to the Tenggerese people, a Hindu minority in this mostly Muslim country. Living and working this close to the volcanos inspires both fear and reverence. According to the New York Times, once a year the Tenggerese hold a festival in which they sacrifice both food and money to the volcano.

    If you don’t mind a little fire and brimstone and you want to see these volcanoes for yourself, you need two things: a passport valid for at least the next 6 months and an Indonesian visa.  If your passport expires within the next 6 months, you need to apply for a passport renewal before you apply for the Indonesian visa. Once you have your passport in order, see Indonesian Visa Requirements for Tourists on how to proceed. Depending on how you plan to enter the country, you may be able to apply on arrival or you may decide to apply in advance.

    If you need a visa to visit Indonesia, RushMyTravelVisa can make the process of applying in advance much faster. We’ll walk you through the application process and deliver your visa to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

    Apply for your Indonesian visa today!

    With a Kenya Visa, You Can Stand Face-to-Face With Wildlife On Crescent Island

    Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

    Most African wildlife parks require visitors to give wildlife a wide berth, preferably viewing them from the relative comfort and safety of an automobile or from behind  a fence. With predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas around, it’s easy to see why.

    However, at Crescent Island on Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, the barriers between you and some of the largest and most beautiful animals in Africa vanish. On Crescent Island, you can get as close as you like to many of the animals, so you’re almost guaranteed to come back with great stories and spectacular photos.

    In a recent article, New York Times travel writer Alexis Okeowo explains what makes the place so special:

    Crescent Island rivals any zoo for diversity: zebras, impalas, giraffes, wildebeests, gazelles, waterbucks, antelopes, dik-diks, steenboks, buffaloes and several other types of animals populate the island. And because there are no predators, fences or cars, visitors can walk freely among the animals.

    During her visit, Okeowo was even able to play hide-and-seek with a baby giraffe. Awwww!

    It’s not all Disney out there, though. If you visit Crescent Island, remember that hippos and water buffalo, both of which live on the island, can be extremely dangerous if you make them mad or if they see you as a threat. In fact, just about any type of large wildlife can hurt you if you corner it or otherwise harass it.  Use some common sense, and remember that this isn’t a petting zoo!

    To visit Kenya, Americans need both a valid passport and a Kenya visa. Here’s what you need to have to get a Kenya visa if you are visiting as a tourist:

    • 1 Kenya visa application form.  The form must be filled online and printed, as it is required to be typed no matter how neat your handwriting is.
    • 1 passport photo
    • A copy of your travel itinerary

    RushMyTravelVisa makes getting a Kenya visa much quicker and easier. We offer help with the application and then expedite your visa by hand-delivering your application for the fastest possible processing.

    Apply for your Kenya visa today!

    Get a Brazilian Visa to Visit Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves

    Sunday, July 11th, 2010

    Brazil is justly famous for its ecotourism opportunities, and the country boasts more than just rainforests to explore. For example, Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves, this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets. The islands themselves are beautiful but hardly pristine, as all of the original forests were cut down in the 19th century to improve security for the prison that was once located there. The real attraction is the marine life that surrounds the island, especially the group of spinner dolphins in Golfinhos Bay.  The coastline surrounding the islands is great for diving, and there’s even the remnants of an old Portuguese warship to explore.

    To visit , Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves, you do need a Brazil visa. Brazil doesn’t issue visas on arrival so you must apply in advance. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need to get the visa:

    • A valid passport with an expiration date at least 6 months in the future. Also, check the back-you need at least 2 blank pages left for the visa.
    • One Brazil visa application
    • 2 passport-sized photos
    • A copy of your itinerary showing the dates you plan to enter and leave Brazil.
    • A  photocopy of your driver’s license or state-issued ID card. The copy must be neat and easy to read.
    • A letter from your hosts, if you are visiting friends or relatives.

    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.

    Also, keep in mind that Brazil has a “jurisdictional” visa system.  Before you apply, you need to determine which Brazilian embassy or consulate serves the city you live in, as each embassy only processes visa applications from certain regions of the country.

    RushMyTravelVisa can make the process of getting your Brazil visa much quicker and easier. We’ll guide you through the application process and hand-deliver your application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for expedited processing.

    Apply for your Brazil visa today!

    Travel Visas To Travel the Silk Road

    Sunday, July 11th, 2010

    The Silk Road-even the name sounds romantic, doesn’t it? The Silk Road connected China with the West and provided a vital distribution route for ideas, culture and materials goods like silk.  Even today, many of the major stops along the Silk Road are vibrant and interesting tourist destinations.

    If you want to tour the Silk Road, the first step is determining which route to follow. There were actually two main land routes. The northern one led from China to the western boundary of the Roman Empire or to Iraq. The southern route led from China to the Levant in Syria or to Alexandria in Egypt.

    After you decide on a route and book your travel, the next step is to secure the necessary travel documents. To help you out, here’s a list of countries that you might travel as part of a Silk Road tour, with information about visa information and whether or not you must apply in advance:

    • China: Tourists need travel visas and must apply in advance. See Chinese Tourist Visa Requirements
    • Kazakhstan: Apply in advance. See Apply for a Kazakhstan Visa
    • Azerbaijan: You need a visa, but if you’re flying into Azerbaijan directly you can get one in the airport. If you are entering by land, you must get one in advance.
    • Georgia: If you’re a US citizen visiting Georgia for 360 days or less, you do not need a Georgian visa
    • Turkmenistan: You need a visa, and you must apply ahead of time.
    • Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan does not issue visas on arrival. Apply for yours in advance.
    • Tajikistan: Apply in advance for your Tajikistan visa.
    • Syria: Obtain your visa prior to travel.
    • Egypt: Tourist visas can be obtained on arrival at the airport or in advance. If you are arriving by land, you need to have your visa ahead of time.

    RushMyTravelVisa can research your exact itinerary to make sure you have the documents you need for your trip. We can also help expedite your visa applications, making the entire process of getting your travel visas much quicker and easier.

    Need a travel visa? Apply with us today!

    See the Pyramids of Saqqara with an Egyptian Visa

    Saturday, July 10th, 2010

    When you visit Egypt, the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx are must-sees, of course. However, unless you are seriously short on time, don’t spend all of your time at Giza, home of the most famous sites.  Many of the tombs at Saqqara are even older than the pyramids at Giza. They are also far less crowded and equally interesting, especially if you are interested in Egyptian history.

    Saqqara is the home of the very first pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Djoser. Unlike its more famous descendents, the Step Pyramid of Djoser is not smooth-sided but rather built to resemble a series of steps leading up into heaven. According to Gadling, a couple of gorgeous painted tombs have been discovered recently, along with the tomb of a royal scribe.

    To visit Egypt and see Saqqara, American citizens are required to have an Egyptian visa. If you are entering by land, you should apply for your visa in advance and have it before you leave. If you are entering by plane, you should be able to apply for your visa when you land. However, you also have the option of applying in advance, and if you do, you’ll be able to leave the airport faster.

    To apply for an Egyptian visa, the following documents are required:

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

    If you’re applying in advance, RushMyTravelVisa can help you get your visa more quickly and easily. We’ll review your itinerary for you to make sure you know exactly what documents you’ll need for your trip. Then, we’ll help you with the paperwork and expedite your application with the appropriate embassy or consulate.

    Need an Egyptian visa? Apply with us today!