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Archive for September, 2010


5 Reasons to Get an Indonesian Visa

September 26th, 2010

Indonesia’s motto is “Unity in Diversity,” and this is an apt description of a country that consists of 17,508 islands and 206 million people speaking 742 different languages. Opportunities for tourism in Indonesia are equally diverse-there’s so much to see and do that it’s hard to narrow it down. Nevertheless, here are 5 of the most spectacular reasons to get an Indonesian visa:

Bali:

Bali is a wonderland of clean white and black-sand beaches, gorgeous rice terraces, and enchanting temples. The island is also one of Indonesia’s most important artistic centers, nurturing dancers, painters, sculptors and metalworkers alike. It’s no surprise, then, that Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist attraction.

Sumatra:

Sumatra is a wild island packed with smoky volcanoes and verdant jungles (at least in areas where logging and development have been kept at bay.) It’s also Indonesia’s most productive coffee-growing region.

Kalimantan

Kalimantan is Borneo’s beating heart, secret and mysterious. While it’s not on most tourist itineraries, it’s definitely worth your time. Explore the canal city of Banjarmasin, visit traditional Dayak villages or look for orangutans, monkeys and even sun bears in Kalimantan’s jungles.

Java

Indonesia’s most densely populated island, Java is fringed with active volcanoes, adorned with richly decorated temples and palaces, and vibrates with the energy of 120 million people.

Tana Toraja

Tana Toraja is the homeland of the Toraja people. The Toraja are famous for their intricate wood carvings and incredibly elaborate funeral ceremonies. Funeral rites can last days, involving hundreds of people and including music, dancing, feasting and chanting to help the deceased person’s soul journey to the next world. The Toraja are also known for carving burial sites into the sides of cliffs.

To visit Indonesia, you will need an Indonesian visa. You can apply for one in advance, before you leave the states, or you can apply for your Indonesian visa on arrival. See Indonesian visa requirements for tourists for more details on what you’ll need.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you apply for your Indonesian visa, as well as any other visas needed for your trip. We make the process quick and convenient, taking you through the application process step-by-step and expediting the paperwork for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Indonesian visa today!

Israel Passport Stamps and Travel Visas

September 24th, 2010

Israel is one of the most popular countries in the Middle East for American tourists. US citizens do not need to apply for a travel visa in advance to visit Israel-all you need is a passport valid for at least the next 6 months and you’re good to go. However, having an Israeli stamp in your passport can make it difficult to get travel visas for certain other countries. For example, if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport, the following countries will not issue you a travel visa or allow you to enter the country:

  • Libya
  • Sudan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait
  • Yemen
  • Iran

For this reason, most travel guides recommend making Israel the last stop on your Middle East tour. You can also ask the Israel customs officials to stamp a detachable sheet of paper inside of your passport rather than the passport itself. In most cases, they will comply, but the US Department of State advises that making this request means that you “may face additional, often time-consuming, and probing questioning by immigration and border authorities, or may even be denied entry into Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza.”

You do have another option: applying for a second passport. US citizens are able to get a duplicate valid passport with authorization from the State Department. The second passport is valid for only two years, but if you’re a frequent traveler, it’s a good investment anyway because it makes applying for travel visas much less of a headache.

No matter where you’re going, RushMyTravelVisa makes it easy to determine exactly what documents you’ll need. We’ll research your itinerary and walk you through the application process, helping you avoid common mistakes and ensuring that you get your travel visas as quickly as possible.

Let us help you get the travel visas you need today!

Thai Visa Requirements to Play with Fire on Ko Phi Phi Island

September 23rd, 2010

Travelers to Thailand tend to either love or hate Ko Phi Phi Island, the idyllic setting of the movie version of “The Beach.” If you fantasize about unspoiled, quiet tropical islands, you’ll more than likely be disappointed. However, if what you’re looking for is an all-night beach party, Ko Phi Phi will probably knock your socks off.

One thing that makes the beach parties at Ko Phi Phi so interesting is the large numbers of people playing with fire. Thai locals perform stunts like poi (dancing/gymnastics with fire) and jump rope with flaming jump ropes, often inviting tourists to join in.

Over at Nomadic Matt’s blog, Sean Ogle recommends a sobriety check before indulging your inner pyromaniac. Thai beach parties are almost always fueled by innocent-looking children’s beach buckets filled with a not-so-innocent concoction of Red Bull, soda and booze, and Ko Phi Phi is no exception. Ogle explains the dangers of this flammable combination:

The combination of buckets and the fire antics that take place at beach bars such as Ibiza and Apache put inebriated travelers in a position to have the best nights they’ll never remember, yet leave them with scars that will never let them forget the nights they spent on Ko Phi Phi.

Yikes! So remember, kids: fire jumping first, buckets of booze second.

Also, remember to make sure you know what travel documents you’ll need before you go. Americans entering Thailand don’t need a visa for stays of less than 30 days. However, if you’re taking a few months off to travel in Thailand and surrounding countries, you might want to stay longer than that.

In that case you can apply for a 60-day Thailand visa before you leave. To submit your application, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Your US passport
  • A completed Thai visa application
  • 2 passport photos
  • A copy of your round-trip ticket
  • A copy of a bank statement showing a balance of $500 per person or $1000 per family.
  • RushMyTravelVisa can help expedite your Thai visa, as well as any other visas you might need for your journey. We’ll review your itinerary and let you know what visas you need, help you with the applications, and expedite your visa paperwork for the fastest possible processing.
    Apply for your Thai visa today!

Chinese Visa Requirements to See the Temple of Confucius

September 21st, 2010

As you probably already know, Confucius was an extremely influential Chinese philosopher. His philosophy emphasized the importance of honoring family and tradition, but also the importance of treating other people with kindness, empathy and respect. He lived from 551 to 479 BC. Although we don’t have any manuscripts written by Confucius, his teachings were preserved by his students and compiled into the Analects.

However, don’t bother reading the Analects if you’re looking for the short, pithy quotes that Westerners often jokingly attribute to Confucius. Per Wikipedia, here are some things Confucius actually did say:

  • “To know your faults and be able to change is the greatest virtue.”
  • “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”
  • “Knowledge is recognizing what you know and what you don’t.”

For thousands of years, the Analects have been required reading for anybody who wishes to be taken seriously in Chinese society. So, it’s no surprise that a temple dedicated to Confucius, this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site, has sprung up on the site of his family home. However, what may surprise you is the scale of the monument, which consists of around 100 separate buildings.

There is also an enormous cemetery, which holds the remains of Confucius and over 100,000 of his direct descendants. It’s really quite amazing, when you think about it!

To visit the temple and cemetery of Confucius, you will need a Chinese visa. Americans visiting China for tourism should apply for an “L” visa and have it in hand before leaving the US, as Chinese visas are not issued on arrival.

For more details about what you’ll need to apply, see Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists.

RushMyTravelVisa can make the process of applying for a Chinese visa much quicker and less stressful. We walk you through the application process and expedite your visa with the Chinese embassy for the shortest processing times around.

Apply for your Chinese visa today!

5 Reasons to Get a Nepali Visa

September 19th, 2010

On the other side of the world and shrouded in mystery, Nepal seems more like a dream than reality to most Americans. However, if you’re willing to brave the long plane ride, you’ll find a welcoming country filled with awe-inspiring scenery and plenty of opportunities for adventure. Here are 5 reasons to get a Nepali visa and go:

The Annapurna Circuit:

The Annapurna circuit is 128 miles of rugged but spectacular terrain: a parade of rivers, mountains, small friendly villages and remote Buddhist monasteries. Backpacker Magazine calls it “the world’s best trek.” If it’s on your bucket list, I’d recommend hiking it in the next year-a road is set to fill more of the circuit with Jeeps in 2012, according to the New York Times.

The Great Himalayan Trail

Eventually, if the dream behind the Great Himalayan Trail is realized, you’ll be able to walk all the way from Nanga Parbat mountain in Pakistan to Namche Barwa in Tibet, but so far, only the Nepal portion is complete. Expeditions start this February. The entire Nepal section of the trail would take 157 days to finish, so you may want to consider just doing a small portion. This trail is more remote than Annapurna and, if you walk the whole thing, you’ll get to see all of Nepal’s 8,000m peaks.

Everest:

Most people don’t have what it takes to climb Mount Everest, but getting to base camp is doable and is definitely a worthwhile experience.

Wildlife at Chitwan National Park

Nepal’s oldest national park, Chitwan’s name means “heart of the jungle.” The park is a great place for safaris to see rare animals like rhinos, tigers, leopards, antelopes, crocodiles, monkeys and more.

Lumbini

The birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini is a popular place for Buddhist pilgrimages. The Maya Devi Temple is said to mark the exact spot where he was born. The temple is surrounded by colorful prayer flags and many different monasteries.

To get to Nepal, you’ll need your passport and a Nepali visa. You can apply for your visa on arrival, but if you’d prefer to have it ahead of time you can apply at a Nepali embassy before leaving the US.

To find out more, see Nepali Visa Requirements for Tourists.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you apply for your Nepali visa, walking you through the paperwork and expediting your visa at the appropriate embassy or consulate.

Apply for your Nepali visa today!