Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

Southeast Asia Considers Introducing One Travel Visa to Rule Them All

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Right now, planning a tour of Southeast Asia requires more research and paperwork than a tour of Europe. Each country has its own travel visa requirements for tourists, ranging from relatively permissive (Thailand) to restrictive bureaucratic spiderwebs like those in Vietnam.

In as little as 5 years, though, that may change. As part of its strategic plan to encourage tourism in member countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is trying to introduce one travel visa to rule them all: a Schengen-like visa that would allow tourists to travel effortlessly between countries such as Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei.

Stuart McDonald of TravelFish.org told the Inquirer Global Nation that visa regulations in these countries are a source of confusion for many would-be travelers: “One of the most common questions that we see on travelfish.org is people asking visa questions: What kind of visa can I get? How long is it valid for? What does it cost? The rules change all the time and it introduces a level of uncertainty and confusion that the industry can do without.”

A common visa for all of Southeast Asia would undoubtedly be a good thing for tourism, but don’t expect it to happen immediately. In its strategic plan, even Asean itself noted that there are many obstacles to overcome first: “The establishment of such a visa will not likely occur in the next five years due to barriers of technology, political issues, concerns of sovereignty and security and the different visa systems in the member states.” (more…)

Travel Visa Requirements for the “Banana Pancake Trail”

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

If you’ve considered a trip to Asia, particularly a long-term backpacking trip, you’ve probably heard the term “banana pancake trail” thrown about. You might have thought to yourself, “Hey, I like pancakes. I like bananas. Where do I sign up?”

It’s not really that simple-the banana pancake trail doesn’t really have a beginning, end or set route. It’s not a backpacking trail per se, though you’ll certainly meet lots of backpackers on it. The term “banana pancake trail” is simply used to designate areas of Asia that get a lot of young Western tourists, usually backpackers. The name comes from the banana pancakes that are often served at guesthouses serving this clientele.

That said, there are definitely cities and towns that are indisputably part of the banana pancake trail. Whether you’ll want to visit or not depends on the type of traveler you are; if your goal is to see places that are untouched by tourism you may be better off elsewhere. Here’s a list of some of the most popular stops, along with the travel visa requirements for each:

India

If you’re planning on traveling to India and you have a hankering for banana pancakes check out Goa, Pushkar and Varanasi. See Indian Visa Requirements for Tourists for details on visa requirements.

Vietnam

Halong Bay, Hoi An, and Hanoi in Vietnam are popular backpacker stops. As with India, Vietnam requires American tourists to get visas in advance; see Vietnam Visa Requirements for Tourists for details.

Thailand

In Thailand, the following regions are known for being great places to hang out and party, if that’s your bag:

  • Bangkok, especially Khao San Road
  • Pai
  • Ko Pha Ngan, known for its notorious full-moon party
  • Ko Phi Phi

Laos

In Laos, you can follow your breakfast of banana pancakes with a day of river tubing in Vang Vieng. You can either get your visa on arrival or before you enter the country- see Laos Visa Requirements for Tourists for details.

Cambodia

In Cambodia, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap (near the famous temples of Angkor Wat) are the main banana pancake trail stops. See Cambodian Visa Requirements for Tourists for more details on visas.

Malaysia

Penang, the Perhentian Islands and Melaka are popular “banana pancake trail” stops in Malaysia. You do not need a visa for stays of 90 days or less.

Indonesia

Lake Toba, Yogyakarta, Mount Bromo and the islands of Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan are all great places to feast on banana pancakes before going sightseeing. You can apply for a visa on advance or get one on arrival- see Indonesian Visa Requirements for Tourists for details.

China

Banana pancakes have been sighted in China in Dali, Lijiang, and Yangshuo. You’ll need to get a visa in advance to enter China. See Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists.

No matter where you’re going, RushMyTravelVisa can help you get the travel visas you need to get there. We’ll research your itinerary and help you with the paperwork, then expedite your visa for the fastest possible processing!

Travel Visa Requirements for an Asian Culinary Tour

Friday, November 19th, 2010

There’s so much more to Asian food than Chinese buffets and sushi. To help spread the word, Asian restaurant chain Pei Wei is having a contest to find a new food blogger (h/t Gadling). The lucky winner will get take a two to three-week culinary tour of Asia and document his or her findings. Yum!

Per the Pei Wei website, here’s what it takes to win:

“A talent for writing, a boundless appetite and willingness to experiment with the unknown, an eye for the unforgettable image and the ability to capture it, comfort both on-camera and behind the lens, a spontaneous spirit but a grounded work ethic, and a passion for Asian cuisine.”

Basically, it’s a talent contest. You “audition” by writing as few as one or as many as 5 sample blog posts, and posting a YouTube video if desired.

Of course, there’s only one winner. What if you wanted to replicate the tour on your own? Although you won’t have Pei Wei’s retinue of chefs on hand, a quick Google search for “Asian culinary tours” makes it clear that you won’t lack for tour options.

To keep travel visa requirements from leaving a bad taste in your mouth, here’s a quick summary of the visa policies for each country:

  • China: You’ll need to apply for a visa before you travel. See Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists for details.
  • Vietnam: Again, you’ll need to apply for a visa in advance. See Vietnamese Visa Requirements for Tourists for instructions.
  • South Korea: US citizens do not need a visa for stays of less than 90 days.
  • Thailand: Americans entering Thailand by air are eligible for a visa on arrival good for 30 days. If you enter by land, you’ll be issued a visa good for 15 days. You can also apply for a visa in advance, if desired.

No matter where your taste buds take you, RushMyTravelVisa can help. We’ll research your itinerary and let you know exactly which visas you’ll need to travel. Then, we’ll help you with the paperwork and expedite your applications.

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

Bangladesh Visa Requirements For Tourists

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Bangladesh is a small country (about the size of Wisconsin), surrounded by India to the north, east and west and the Bay of Bengal to the South.  Although tiny, relatively poor and prone to natural disasters, Bangladesh is nonetheless an intriguing place to visit, with an abundance of natural parks, ancient ruins and unspoiled beaches.

However, US visitors to Bangladesh do need to obtain a Bangladesh visa. In theory, you should be able to get a visa on arrival. However, as the US Department of State notes, “Bangladesh has not widely publicized their policies for visas on arrival.  Travelers may encounter delays in airport visa issuance or refused entry if they do not have visas prior to arrival.”

Also, visas issued on arrival are valid for a maximum of 14 days, while visas issued ahead of time can be valid for longer periods.

So, it’s best to get your Bangladesh visa from an embassy or consulate before you travel.  Here are the documents you will need to apply:

  • 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, while some countries will allow you to travel with a valid visa in an expired passport, in Bangladesh your visa is only valid if it is inside a valid US passport. If your passport has expired, you need both a new passport and a Bangladesh visa.

RushMyTravelVisa makes it easy to obtain a Bangladesh visa, as well as any other visa documents you might need for your journey. We review your itinerary and research the visa requirements for every country you plan to stop in, ensuring that you don’t run into any unpleasant surprises along the way.

Then, we provide you with personal attention and simple instructions to make filling your visa application as easy and painless as possible.  This also reduces your chance of making common mistakes that could delay your application.

Apply for your Bangladesh visa today!