Archive for January, 2011

Get a Vietnamese Visa to Walk Along the Great Wall of Vietnam

January 31st, 2011

Archaeologists working in Vietnam just announced the discovery of what is being called “the Great Wall of Vietnam,” a 79-mile wall that is up to 13 feet high in some places.

The discovery is the work of Dr. Andrew Hardy of the French School of Asian Studies. Dr. Hardy’s quest began when he found a reference to the wall in a Nguyen Dynasty court document. The ensuing exploration and excavation took 4 years, but revealed what Vietnamese history Professor Phan Huy Lê told CNN is “the longest monument in Southeast Asia.”

As it stands now, the Vietnamese government tries to discourage outsiders from traveling to Quang Ngai, the province in which the wall is located. During the Vietnam War, the area was the site of the tragic My Lai massacre. However, that will most likely change soon. The monument has been submitted for National Heritage status, the first step in a plan to develop it for tourism.

CNN declared that while the plan will change tourism in Vietnam, which at the moment is geared toward controlled package tours, “it may also create the greatest trek in Southeast Asia.” I’m in! Read the rest of this entry »

Get a Tajikistan Visa to Visit the Ancient Ruins of Sarazm

January 30th, 2011

Tajikistan is one of those countries that’s often overlooked by American travelers, and with some good reasons. It’s a relatively undeveloped country, and tourist facilities are often non-existent.

Still, if you don’t mind roughing it, a trip to Tajikistan can be an amazing experience. The scenery – golden steppes, towering mountains and isolated lakes – is simply breathtaking.

Visiting this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site gives you a chance to take in the scenery and get a close look at the ruins of one of the country’s oldest settlements.

The city of Sarazm dates back to the 4th millennium BC, which makes it older than the Egyptian pyramids. It was abandoned in 2000 BC, but came to life again as a mining town about 500 years later. Many of the tools and structures unearthed by archaeologists were used for metalworking.

A visit to Sarazm is often included in tours of the Zeravshan Valley. Arranging travel through a tour operator or travel agent is probably the way to go, given the logistical difficulties that traveling in Tajikistan can sometimes present.

You’ll also need a Tajikistan visa. If you’re visiting as a tourist, you’ll need to obtain one before you leave the US. The following documents are required: Read the rest of this entry »

Indonesian Visa Requirements to Help Build An Eco-tourism Village

January 29th, 2011

Habitat for Humanity has a new project in Indonesia: turning the small village of Soran into an eco-tourism community.  (h/t Jaunted)

The village is located near the Prambanan Temple and the volcano of Mt. Merapi, so once the community is complete it will provide environmentally conscious travelers with an excellent base for exploring the area.

More importantly, it will also provided upgraded housing for the people of Soran, as well as an opportunity to make additional income. Since 60% of the people in Soran are below the poverty line, this is relief that they desperately need.

In a press release, James Tumbuan, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Indonesia, commented on the project:

“This is the first Habitat project in the world that creates shelter and economic opportunity for an entire community, and it is precisely the kind of project needed to combat Indonesia’s poverty. This unique program not only improves housing for most of the community, it also allows Soran villagers to economically benefit from the art and culture they have preserved for centuries, and to share it with the world.”

If you’d like to help, information on volunteering with Habitat for Humanity overseas is located here.

You’ll also need an Indonesian visa.

Tourists are able to obtain visas on arrival, called “visitor visas,” at designated airports and seaports. However, if you’re volunteering it’s a little bit different. According to the US Department of State, “even gratis volunteer work with local or international NGOs is not permitted on visitor status.” So, you’ll need to apply for a “social visit” visa in advance.

To apply for your Indonesian visa, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your passport. The expiration date must be 6 months or more in the future and have two blank pages in the back for the visa.
  • 2 completed Indonesian visa application forms
  • 2 passport photos
  • A copy of your most recent bank statement
  • A letter from your boss verifying that you are employed or on a leave of absence. If you don’t have a job, you’ll need to include a detailed letter explaining that fact. If you’re retired, you’ll need to submit proof of a retirement fund.
  • An itinerary letter that explains why you are going to Indonesia.
  • 2 copies of an invitation letter. This will be provided by the company you volunteer with in most cases.

If you’re traveling to Indonesia, RushMyTravelVisa can make getting your visa quick and easy. We walk you through the paperwork, and then expedite your visa with the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest processing available.

Apply for your Indonesian visa today!

2011 Destinations: Indian Visa Requirements to Visit Hyderabad

January 28th, 2011

Hyderabad, India is the country’s 6th largest city. Also known as the “City of Pearls,” it is a hub of the India’s film and IT industries.

Doesn’t sound like the best spot for a vacation, does it? Actually, while Hyderabad is big and busy, it’s also packed with gorgeous historical and architectural treasures. Plus, you can stay in a real palace! The New York Times named the city as one of its “41 Places to Go in 2011,” saying

“The latest buzz is the debut of two five-star hotels…The first, Park Hyderabad, is a futuristic structure designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, with an aluminum and glass facade inspired by the settings and metalwork found in the Nizams’ jewelry collection. The new Taj Falaknuma Palace, on the other hand, is a window into the past. It’s a wedding cake of a building that still belongs to the Nizam family, and it took the Taj Hotels group 10 years to renovate the European-style castle.”

To visit Hyderabad, you’ll need a passport and an Indian visa. The Indian visa must be applied for in advance, and you’ll need the following documents:

  • Your US passport
  • 2 recent passport-sized photos, taken within the past 6 months. No glasses are allowed in the photos.
  • A completed Indian visa application form. To ensure that your visa application is approved, write clearly and proofread the application carefully for mistakes. Make sure that you enter in “tourism” in the section that asks you to state why you are traveling to India.
  • A photocopy of your plane tickets or your itinerary.
  • A legible copy of your driver’s license or a utility bill showing your name and address.
  • A copy of your birth certificate.

RushMyTravelVisa makes getting an Indian visa quick and easy. We’ll help you with the application, greatly reducing the chance of common mistakes that could delay your visa. Then, we’ll submit your visa to the appropriate Indian Embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Indian visa today!

    Get an Armenian Visa for a Wine Tour in the Home of the World’s Oldest Winery

    January 27th, 2011

    According to the BBC, the world’s oldest winery was recently discovered in a cave in Armenia. The primitive winery consists of a shallow basin used as a wine press, along with a deep stone vat for fermentation. Dried grape vines and the remains of pressed grapes were also found on site, leaving little doubt as to the purpose of the basin and the vat. The wine press is 6,000 years old.  Morbidly enough, it was located in the center of a graveyard. Archaeologists believe that the wine it produced was used in funeral ceremonies.

    When you think of wine today,  famous wine-producing countries like France, Italy, Chile and Australia come to mind. But Armenia also has an ancient tradition of viticulture, typically producing sweet red wines. With this in mind, several travel companies offer wine-tasting tours of Armenia. One company, Armenian Holidays, even goes so far as to claim that “Noah planted the first vineyards in the Valley of Ararat after his ark descended on the biblical Mt. Ararat.”

    If you desire something a little bit stronger, Armenia is also known for its brandy, particularly the spirits produced at the Yerevan Brandy Factory in Yerevan.

    To visit Armenia, you’ll need a valid passport and an Armenian visa. Armenian visas can be purchased ahead of time or when you enter the country. However, getting one in advance does make getting through customs go that much more quickly.

    For more information about Armenian visa requirements, see Getting an Armenian Tourist Visa.

    RushMyTravelVisa can assist you in the process of getting an Armenian visa. We’ll walk you through necessary paperwork and make sure you have all the appropriate documents, then expedite your application with the Armenian embassy for the fastest possible processing.  We’ll also research your itinerary to ensure you have all of the necessary travel documents for any other stops you plan to make on the way.

    Apply for your Armenian visa today!