Archive for December, 2010

Get a Russian Visa for a Second Christmas

December 31st, 2010

Christmas always seems to go by too fast, doesn’t it? If you’d like to extend the holiday season, consider applying for a Russian visa. As Gadling reported earlier today, Russia celebrates Christmas about 2 weeks later than the United States, on January 7th.

Gift-giving, however, happens tonight, as back when Russia was communist giving gifts on Christmas was officially frowned on.

How festive is the Christmas season in Russia? Contrary to what you might expect, it’s actually quite festive, as Gadling’s Meg Nesterov discovered:

“I arrived in Moscow last Friday (western Christmas Eve) to find the capital freezing but festive, with New Year’s yolki (trees) decorated all over the city and various versions of Ded Moroz walking the streets, and now in St. Petersburg, locals are rushing home with Champagne and Charlie Brown-like trees under their arms. Nearly every public square has a large decorated tree and every store has elaborate holiday displays.”

If you want to head to Russia to bask in the Christmas spirit for just a little bit longer, you will need a Russian visa. Unfortunately, the process of getting said visa might be enough to wipe the holiday cheer from your heart, especially if you try to obtain one on your own. The Department of State notes that “Russian visa requirements are highly complex, and U.S. citizens must take care that they do not unintentionally violate entry and exit regulations.”

Here’s what you’ll need to get a visa if you plan on entering Russia as a tourist:

  • Your passport.
  • A completed visa application form
  • 1 passport photo
  • A copy of your airline tickets or a copy of your itinerary showing your flight number and the dates that you’ll be in Russia.
  • A tourist invitation from a Russian travel agency or hotel that can serve as your visa sponsor. The hotel or travel agency must be registered with the Russian government.

When applying for a Russian visa, a visa agency like RushMyTravelVisa can be a tremendous help. When you submit your application through us, you get personal assistance from a dedicated visa specialist. Your caseworker will answer any questions you might have and review your paperwork to catch common mistakes that could delay your visa. Then, we expedite your visa application with the appropriate Russian Embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Russian visa today!

2011 Destinations: Get a Bangladesh Visa for a Frugal Adventure

December 30th, 2010

Since it’s almost New Year’s Eve, I thought it’d be a good idea to spend the next few days looking at different destinations that travel experts have recommended for 2011. First, let’s take a look at Bangladesh, a country that is definitely under-utilized by tourists at the moment.

The folks over at Lonely Planet recently recommended Bangladesh as one of their top value destinations for 2011, so if you’re not yet feeling the economic recovery, this Southeast Asian country might be a good choice for you. According to Lonely Planet, you can eat quite well for less than a dollar a meal and get a decent night’s sleep in a hotel room for less than $10.

Bangladesh features a menu of activities worthy of even the most seasoned adventure traveler: hiking through dense jungles in one of the country’s many national parks, stalking tigers in the Sundarbans (or joining the local honey gatherers, called maualis, on a dangerous jaunt into the forest), canoeing and whale watching. If you’d prefer something a little less active, hang out on the beaches at Cox’s Bazaar or contemplate the silence of an ancient temple.

To visit Bangladesh, you’ll need a Bangladesh visa. Technically, you should be able to get one when you land, but don’t count on it. The US Department of State notes that “Travelers may encounter delays in airport visa issuance or refused entry if they do not have visas prior to arrival. Additionally, if issued, landing permit validity is usually limited to a maximum of 15 days.”

So, it’s best to get your visa before you leave. Here’s what you’ll need to get one:

  • Your US passport
  • 1 Bangladesh visa application form
  • 1 passport photo
  • Roundtrip airline tickets or itinerary. If you are traveling by land, you’ll need a letter explaining when and where you will be entering and leaving the country.

Also, keep in mind that parts of Bangladesh are experiencing unrest and may not be safe for tourists. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t go, of course, but you should educate yourself about the security situation in different regions and plan your trip accordingly. The Department of State’s Consular Information page on Bangladesh (referenced above) will help.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get a Bangladesh visa quickly and easily. We’ll help you with the paperwork and expedite your application with the Department of State for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Bangladesh visa today!

Chinese Visa Requirements to Tour the Tea Horse Road

December 26th, 2010

The Silk Road may get all the glory, but there’s another, lesser-known Chinese trade route that’s no less interesting to explore. The “Tea-Horse Road”  once carried tea from China to Tibet, where the Chinese traded it for tough Tibetan horses.

The original trail was incredibly difficult and rough, and yet Chinese tea porters made the journey with packs of tea on their backs that weighed more than they did.  National Geographic travel writer Mark Jenkins recently traveled what remains of the  Tea Horse road, and found some elderly Chinese porters who were willing to talk about their days hauling tea. The traditional tea porter song that they sang for him illustrates how hard the work was:

Seven steps up, you have to rest.

Eight steps down, you have to rest.

Eleven steps flat, you have to rest.

You are stupid, if you don’t rest.

Nowadays, most of the trail itself is gone, either paved or left to fall to ruin. However, the places where the road once stopped are interesting enough to make a Tea Horse Road itinerary more than worthwhile.  Potential tea horse road destinations could include the tropical rainforests of Xishuangbanna; Pu’er, the home of highly esteemed Pu’er tea; laid-back Dali; and Llhasa in Tibet.  Several Chinese tour operators run Tea Horse Road-themed tours; hitch a ride with them or create your own itinerary.

To travel the Tea Horse road, you’ll need a valid passport and a Chinese visa.  You must apply for your Chinese visa and have it hand before you leave the United States. If you’re traveling as a tourist, see Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists for more details.

Also, keep in mind that you need a permit to visit Tibet and even then will only be allowed in certain areas. In addition, if your itinerary takes you through other countries on the way to China, you may need visas for those countries as well.

RushMyTravelVisa can research your itinerary to ensure you have the correct paperwork. Plus, we’ll help you apply for any visas you may need and expedite them with the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Chinese visa today!

Get a Brazil Visa to See the Oldest Rock Art in South America

December 26th, 2010

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Brazil’s most significant archaeological treasures. Serra da Capivara National Park is home to numerous examples of amazing rock art that dates back to the Ice Age. In fact, one rock shelter has some paintings that date back to 26,000-22,000 BC, making it the oldest known rock art in South America. At over 25,000 years of age, some of the rock art in Serra de Capivara makes the famous cave paintings in Lascaux, France (painted “only” 17,300 years ago) look like modern art.

Serra da Capivara’s main draw may be the rock art, but it’s also notable for its unique plant and animal life. Some species are not found anywhere else outside of the park boundaries.

UNESCO granted World Heritage status to the park in 1991, calling it an “outstanding testimony to one of the oldest human communities of South America.”

Guided tours of the park are available and hotels are located nearby. If you’re interested in going, this article has in-depth information about how to get there and how to book a tour.

To visit Serra da Capivara, you’ll need not only a valid passport but also a Brazil visa. Brazil visa requirements are notoriously complex. Here’s a brief overview of what you’ll need to get a tourist visa:

  • A valid passport with an expiration date that’s at least 6 months in the future and at least 2 blank visa pages in the back. Before you submit your Brazil visa application, get a passport renewal or add pages as necessary.
  • One completed Brazil visa application form
  • 2 passport-sized photos
  • A copy of your itinerary verifying the dates you plan to enter and leave Brazil.
  • A clean 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.

Why stumble through the Brazil visa system on your own? RushMyTravelVisa can guide you through it step by step. We’ll help you with the paperwork and expedite your application with the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

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Nepal Visa Requirements to See the Temple of Boudhanath Stupa

December 25th, 2010

Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most beautiful and impressive Buddhist temples in Nepal. Towering over the country’s capital Kathmandu, it is one of the city’s chief tourist attractions. It’s easy to see why — the glistening white dome is topped with a gold canopy and surrounded by innumerable brightly colored, fluttering prayer flags for an amazing visual impact.

According to legend, the stupa is the final resting place of an important sage called Kāṣyapa. There are several interesting legends describing how it was built. In one, recounted on the NileGuidance blog, an old woman petitioned the ruler of the area for land to build a temple to house the remains of the sage. The king granted her “as much land as a buffalo skin could cover,” so she cut the buffalo skin into thin strips and used the strips to encircle the area where the stupa now stands.

Per Wikipedia, another story is that after the old woman was granted permission to proceed building the temple, the scale and grandeur of the construction made nearby wealthy noblemen uneasy. They went to the king and said “if such a poor old dame were allowed to complete building such a stupendous tower, they themselves would have to dedicated a temple as great as a mountain, and so they decided to ask the King to disallow the further progress of the work.” The King refused, saying that he could not take back permission once he had already granted it. That is why the temple’s name literally means “Have finished giving the order to proceed with.”

Go during the Tibetan New Year, in February or March, to witness the Losar festival, which according to Sacred Destinations is the largest festival in Nepal.

To visit Nepal, American citizens need both a valid passport and a visa. You can get a visa on arrival, but of course you’ll get through the immigration line faster if you apply ahead of time, before you leave the US. No matter where you apply, to get a Nepal visa you need the following documents:

  • One Nepal visa application
  • One passport photo
  • The appropriate visa fees for your desired length of stay. A 15-day multiple entry visa is $25, a one-month visa is $40, and a three-month multiple entry visa is $100.

RushMyTravelVisa makes getting your Nepal visa a breeze. We walk you through the paperwork and expedite your visa application for the fastest possible processing. If you plan to stop in other countries along the way, we’ll also research your itinerary to ensure you have all the visas you need to make it to and Nepal and back. Let us help you get your Nepal visa today!